The Best 10 Bedtime Teas To Help You Sleep Better

We may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through our links. To learn more visit our disclosure page.

Did you realize that tea is the most popular beverage choice in the world that is not just plain water? Even in the US it’s more popular than you might guess, with 80% of adults reporting that they drink tea at least occasionally and 50% indulge in a cup of tea on a daily basis.

There are some great reasons to drink more tea, especially versus coffee. Caffeinated tea offers a similar boost in alertness in the morning but with not quite as much caffeine, so you can safely enjoy it later in the day without risking your sleep, whereas experts say that you shouldn’t drink coffee after 2pm if you don’t want to keep yourself awake unnecessarily.

There is another ‘class’ of teas though that, aside from being absolutely delicious in most cases, serve a different purpose.

They are known as bedtime teas, or ‘sleepytime’ teas and they can, fans of these teas say, help relax and calm you at bedtime and some even say helps combat insomnia.

But do they really work? Or do they just taste good and is the sleepy effect a placebo? That’s what we are going to take a look at here, as well as at some of the best teas you can try for yourself to (maybe) help you get a better night’s sleep.

Bedtime Tea Basics

Standard caffeinated black or green tea will NOT help you sleep, as well, it contains caffeine. Less than coffee, but probably enough to keep many people awake.

Bedtime teas are free of caffeine and are usually completely herbal in nature. Some of the teas considered best for sleep are actually forerunners of modern sleeping pills and sleeping aids, just usually a lot cheaper and easier to ‘take’, which are great reasons in themselves to give a cup of tea at bedtime a try.

The herbs commonly used in bedtime tea recipes have more than a mild sedative effect though. Some are said to help calm stress and anxiety -both of which are big contributing factors to insomnia for many people – while others help reduce the heart rate and some can even help combat high blood pressure, things also sometimes a factor in insomnia.

Do Herbal Bedtime Teas Actually Work?

Even the act of drinking tea at bedtime – the actual ingredients aside for a moment – is something many people find to be calming and relaxing, and therefore an aid to them getting a better night’s sleep. It’s almost, some experts say, like taking a lukewarm bath before bed, but a bath for your brain.

How?

Even though the tea – or the bath water – is warm it actually eventually cools you down. A drop in body temperature signals to the brain that it’s time for bed, much as the drop in body temperature after a warm bath does. So, if you had the time to take a warm bath and then relax with a hot cup of sleepytime tea? That might be the best pre-bed ritual of all. But as most of us don’t, at least not on a daily basis, sticking to the evening ‘cuppa’ may be very effective.

The 10 Best Bedtime Teas for Sleep

If you start shopping, either online or off, you’ll find that there are a HUGE number of teas on offer right now claiming to be bedtime teas. The real key to a good bedtime tea is not the brand though, or the color on the box or what it’s marketing optimized name is, it’s the ingredients it contains.

Therefore, when shopping for the best bedtime tea the most important consideration is what is in the tea, not how many bears in nightcaps are on the box.

Here’s a look at some of the best bedtime teas to promote sleep and what each of them has to offer.

1. Catnip Tea

Fun fact: catnip has opposite effects in people and cats! Catnip is a mild sedative primarily used for occasional sleeplessness. Catnip (Nepeta cataria) is a perennial herb belonging to the mint family, Labiatae. Throughout history, this herb had been used in humans to produce a sedative effect. Catnip also has a long history of use for relieving coughs, indigestion, headaches and anxiety. Combining catnip with valerian root (another mildly sedating herb) is quite common.

What’s It Taste Like: Catnip is a whitish-gray plant with a minty odor and  has a woodsy, almost grassy taste.

Shop for catnip tea.

2. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a daisy like flower that has been used as an aid for insomnia and as a general relaxant for centuries.

In addition to helping promote sleep Chamomile is helpful for calming and relaxing people who suffer from anxiety disorder and well as acting as an effective muscle relaxant, which can be very helpful for those who suffer with chronic pain disorders like fibromyalgia.

Many studies have found that chamomile is helpful for the things discussed above, but there are very few formal studies that relate to effectiveness for simple insomnia with no underlying cause. One 2011 study did find that splitting two groups of people who suffered from simple insomnia and instructing one group to drink a chamomile tea before bed did result in better quality sleep for many of the tea drinkers.

However, there is an abundance of anecdotal evidence for the effectiveness of chamomile tea in combating occasional insomnia. Drinking it should be avoided before any surgeries though as it can have mild blood thinning properties.

The best way to drink chamomile tea is without milk, and with sugar or sweetener to taste – bearing in mind that it is quite sweet naturally, with a light flowery taste. You should let the tea – or tea bag – steep in boiling water for five to ten minutes before drinking it to achieve both the optimal taste and temperature.

What’s It Taste Like: This soothing brew has a soft sweetness with earthy floral flavors of chamomile.

Shop for chamomile tea.

3. Hops Tea

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Alex Dragan (@plantbasedmedicinegirl) on

I was so happy to learn about the medicinal benefits of hops and hop tea. Most of us have heard of hops because they are one of the main ingredients used in beer brewing, but hops is another great sleep aid and relaxing sedative herb. Hops (Humulus lupulus) are in the Cannabaceae family, which is the same family as cannabis and hemp.  It’s particularly effective for inducing sleep when combined with valerian.

What’s It Taste Like: Hop tea is known to have a strong, bitter flavor, which some find invigorating and refreshing.

Shop for hops tea.

4. Passionflower Tea

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by North East Online Nursery (@northeast_online_nursery) on

Since I love herbal teas I’ve been curious about passionflower for a while now, especially since I heard so much about it. Passionflower extract is considered by some to be such a powerful sleep aid that it is actually used as one of the major ingredients in many of the over the counter sleep aids that are sold in Europe.

Passionflower is actually a very useful little herb as it can also be used to help relieve asthma symptoms and reduce nervousness as well as induce sleep. It is an acquired taste however, even when taken as a tea, and some find it a little too sweet and cloying. However, for those with a sweet tooth it may be the perfect choice.

For a restful night’s sleep, try sipping a cup of passionflower tea or brew 1 tbsp. dried passionflower in 1 cup of hot water right before bed.

What’s It Taste Like: Mild in flavor with a grassy earthiness and smells a little sweet and meadow-like.

Shop for passion flower tea.

5. Lavender Tea

It was the Ancient Greeks – and later the Ancient Romans – who first discovered the powerful calming properties of lavender. They used it in their baths, added it to their food and drank it as a tea.

Most people are aware of lavender’s calming properties and are probably used to seeing it used in aromatherapy, in those room sprays that are designed to induce sleep and even in calming body washes for both adults and children. They may be less familiar with it as a tea.

However, there is good evidence to back up drinking lavender tea if you want to fall asleep faster. One large Taiwanese study found that women who drank an 8oz cup 20 minutes before bed experienced significantly better sleep – and fell asleep faster – than a control group that did not. There is also extensive evidence that its scent in itself is calming, and so all those delicious smelling vapors that come off a cup of hot tea will help too.

The taste of lavender tea makes some people nervous, as it has such a strong scent. However, it’s actually a light, floral taste that is slightly sweet and in no way bitter. Some people do add a little milk to their lavender tea, but it is just as pleasant when prepared ‘neat’ with just a little sugar to taste.

What’s It Taste Like:  A very complex flavor profile with a mint-like scent and flavor on top of mild and sweet flower aroma.

Shop for lavender tea.

6. Lemon Balm

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Night all!! Lemon Balm Tea- it really is the best way to unwind after a hectic or stressful day and I swear it has such instant calming, sedating effects!! It can help quieten the mind and induce sleep. This is mainly due to the fact that lemon balm increases levels of GABA- which are the calming neurotransmitters in the brain. GABA plays a role in our sleep cycle and helps to regulate stress levels in the brain even under physical and mental pressure. Low levels of GABA are associated with stress and anxiety. Lemon balm also contains a compound called rosmarinic acid which has anti anxiety effects and helps to increase GABA levels. I love using fresh lemon balm leaves which you can add to a tea infuser or in a pot and steep for about 10 minutes. you can also make your tea and cool it in the fridge and then add ice cubes for a refreshing ice tea! Either way it is delicious with a drizzle of raw honey and a slice of lemon! If you have a lot of lemon balm in your garden You can also dry your leaves too and make dried tea by hanging them out in the sun and crumbling the leaves. #lemonbalmtea #lemonbalmleaves #lemonbalm #herbaltea #healingherbs #sleeptips #sleepingbeauty #sleepbetter #calming #calmingvibes #relaxing #anti anxiety #gaba #brainhealth #neevoussystemhealth #nutrition

A post shared by JoJo Elizabeth ? (@jojo_elizabeth_nutrition) on

Lemon balm is not a citrus herb, it’s actually a part of the mint family, so when taken as a tea it is not as sour or tart as its name might suggest. In fact, it has a light, just slightly citrus taste that is more like a light lemonade.

Research has indicated that the reason lemon balm may be helpful for inducing sleep is that it seems to stimulate the GABA receptors in the brain in the same way that valerian root does.

What’s It Taste Like: As you would expect it tastes lemony, less like a herb but more like a dried flower, along the lines of chamomile.

Shop for lemon balm tea.

7. Linden Flower Tea

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Your Healthwell Boutique (@boutaniq) on

Another great sleep aid tea beneficial for treating insomnia is linden flower tea. Linden has been used for hundreds of years for its medicinal properties and for promoting sleep. It has gentle relaxing properties that help relieve stress and anxiety. To brew it, pour hot water over the flowers and brew for 15 mins or till you get the desired pale orange tinge.

What’s It Taste Like:  This tea tastes aromatic like honey.

Shop for linden flower tea.

8. Magnolia Bark Tea

If you shop for Magnolia bark tea, you’ll find that it’s usually more expensive than other herbal teas and it can be quite hard to find. Those who do find it however praise it for its sleep inducing and anxiety relief properties, relieving blood pressure and it has been a staple of Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

Its effectiveness as a sleep aid is believed to be related to the honokiol and magnolol it contains, both of which have been shown to have powerful sedative properties – based on research  on mice. What’s more, magnolol likewise appears to have
anticancer properties.

They also are effective natural anti-inflammatory compounds, so if chronic pain tends to keep you awake this is a bedtime tea that may well be worth a try.

What’s It Taste Like: Tastes gently of menthol and camphor, lightly invigorating without caffeine.

Shop for magnolia bark tea.

9. Skullcap Tea

 

View this post on Instagram

 

? ??? ?? ???? ?⁣ Stressed? This calming combo is a perfect pairing for a cup of tea after a long day. ⁣ ⁣ Stress is a powerful beast. Rushing through your body, depleting valuable resources and draining your body & mind of your much needed peace. ⁣ ⁣ Herbal allies like these can help to restore the nervous system and relax the mind & body. ⁣ ⁣ Chamomile is a household name. Prized for its sweet, soothing effects. Relaxing and warming, it’s like a hug from Mother Nature. ⁣ ⁣ Skullcap is one I wasn’t familiar with until recently. Let me tell you, this stuff is ??????? ✨ This herb works to calm your mind. Ease your response to stress and replenishes your tired body. Skullcap can also help with anxiety, bringing you back to a balanced state. The list goes on with this one. If you haven’t tried, I highly encourage you! ⁣ ⁣ I blended this tea at a 2:1 ratio: skullcap to chamomile + I always add honey ? ⁣ ⁣ Sip & let the stress melt away ✨⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣ #plantmagic #pantrypotions #greenwitch #buddingherbalist #kitchenwitch #herbalapothecary #herbaldiy #myherbalstudies #herbalteablends #nervines #stressrelief #skullcap #chamomile #teamagic

A post shared by Pantry Potions ✨ (@pantrypotions) on

Skullcap is Native American plant, the dried leaves and stems of which are used as an herbal medication and in teas to treat tension, stress and insomnia and aid in restoring the central nervous system. However, it is not recommended to mix it with other botanicals but to serve it on it’s own.

What’s It Taste Like: Skullcap has a bitter, earthy taste. Would recommend to use honey or maple syrup to make it more palatable.

Shop for skullcap tea.

10. Valerian Root Tea

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Sleep All Night Valerian Root Tea Recipe Directions Fill your teapot with hot tap water Fill the infusion device with Valerian root Heat about 8 oz of filtered water in the kettle to boiling Empty the teapot and add Valerian root to that container. Pour the water in the kettle over the root and cover well. Allow to sit (steep) for about 15 minutes. Uncover and remove whatever type of infusion device you used. If you used loose-leaf Valerian tea, pour into a mug by passing through a strainer. Voila! That is how to make Valerian tea. Enjoy the benefits. Follow us @natural_remedies4u #valerianroottea #superfoodnutrition #organicmedicine #healthsupport #alternativewellness #valerianroot #valerialynch #valeracity

A post shared by Natural Remedies (@natural_remedies4u) on

Valerian root is a common ingredient in herbal over the counter sleeping pills and it has been used for centuries as such as well. It’s also been used as a ‘nerve tonic’ when taken as a tea and does help calm anxiety and stress. It became hugely popular in Britain in the 1940’s – at the height of the deadly Blitz bombings – as such.

Much research has been done into just why Valerian root is so calming. Studies have indicated that the valerian acts on the brains GABA receptors to induce sleep and in some cases as effectively as a prescription sleep medication. This is why many people prefer to rely on valerian instead, and taking it in tea is arguably a lot nicer than taking it in capsule form.

Other benefits of valerian root includes: menopause, menstrual problems, restless legs syndrome and Parkinson’s disease.

Again, valerian tea should be well steeped and taken without milk. For the best results its advised that you drink it about 20 minutes before you’d ideally like to go to sleep.  Soak 2 to 3 grams of dried herbal valerian root in 1 cup of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes.

What’s It Taste Like: A woodsy taste, the longer you brew it, the more intense the taste will be. Some folk like, some don’t!

Shop for valerian tea.

The Right Way to Brew Your Bedtime Tea

There is a right and a wrong way to brew any tea, whether it is a sleepytime tea or not. One of the most important things is that you bring the water for your tea to a full boil, which means using a kettle and not a microwave, and then steeping it for several minutes before drinking.

In fact a recent furor was caused in England when an American ex pat posted a Tik Tok video claiming to show people how to brew ‘English tea’ using a microwave.

Such was the horror – including from a lot of UK celebrities – that an official retort was issued by one of the largest tea companies in the world, Ahmad, in the form of the video below, filmed several years ago by their tea experts.

So, if you want to brew the perfect cup of bedtime tea this is a great ‘tea tutorial’ to follow!

Leave a Reply