More often than not, people reach for drinks to help them make it through the day. From black tea to coffee to energy drinks, there are many energy-boosting options.
The thing is, though, that these are only temporary solutions. If you are not getting enough sleep, these drinks can only help you so much. And if you keep up with the sleep deprivation, it is only a matter of time before things take a turn for the worse.
Instead of focusing on what can keep you awake, your emphasis should be on what can get you to sleep. This article will focus on what you can do to sleep better, including taking some teas known for their sleep-inducing effects.
Tips to sleep better at night
Some of the most sleep-inducing practices are those that people take for granted. For example, being out in the sun is an easy way to engage your natural clock. The moment that you get some of those rays on your skin, the body feels more energetic.
You feel awake and work on reaching your potential. By the time the day starts to end, and the darkness starts, your natural clock will have had enough. It becomes easier for you to sleep as the body can tell there has been a shift in time. So try as much as you can to get some daylight.
Exercising is another way to sleep better. Not only does it aid you in losing weight and staying in shape, but it also acts as a stress reliever.
Some people can hardly sleep as they have many concerns running through their minds. Did you know that exercise can alleviate anxiety? Instead of taking the elevator, walk up and down the stairs and see how much better you sleep.
Alcohol is not your friend. While it can help you sleep faster, it affects the quality of your sleep. You end up with so many disruptions in the night, and these affect how fresh you feel in the morning. You see, your body follows a sleep cycle.
It involves three stages: sleep, deep sleep, and awakening. Each time you disrupt any of these stages, you end up feeling tired. You can wake up during the awakening stage then go back to sleep, only to get up during the sleep state.
The more disruptions you get, the more tired you feel. That is why hitting the snooze button is not a good idea. Get up at once or quit using the alarm and drift off to deep sleep.
And of course, taking caffeine does not mix well with a good sleep routine. The effects of caffeine can last for up to eight hours after consumption.
That means that try as you might, it can be hard for you to fall asleep after having tea or coffee in the evening or at night.
Best teas to drink at night
Any tea you take at night should help you sleep better and not affect your sleep quality and quantity. As such, anything with caffeine is a NO. Caffeine is a legal stimulant present in real teas and coffee, as well as other sources.
It works by blocking adenosine from reaching adenosine receptors. Adenosine is the hormone responsible for making you tired and sleepy. In its absence, stimulating hormones such as dopamine and adrenaline take over the body.
These can remain in play for hours on end until the stimulant metabolizes and leaves the body. That means that if you have caffeine late in the night, you will likely have a hard time falling asleep.
And its effects will depend on how sensitive you are to it as some people can suffer its consequences even the next day. Here are some caffeine-free teas you can enjoy at night:
1. Chamomile tea
People who drink this tea rave about its calming effect on the system, making it one of the best options for night time tea sipping. It comes from a perennial herb which has had many a use in the past centuries.
Not only does it ease upset stomachs, but it also alleviates insomnia, stress, and anxiety symptoms. Many people with anxiety find that this tea helps in calming their thoughts before they sleep. As a result, they wake up feeling brighter and ready to face the day.
This tea has also been shown to have anti-depressant benefits. People who stay up at night owing to the effects of depression could benefit from drinking this tea. It also relaxes the nerves and muscles, thus acting as a tranquilizer.
One study took place in 2011, involving individuals with insomnia divided into two groups. One group took placebo substances while the other consumed chamomile extracts twice a day. The consumption lasted four weeks.
The results showed that those taking chamomile functioned better in the day, pointing to likely better quality of sleep.
Chamomile calms the individual. And when you are calm, you have an easier time falling asleep than when you have hundreds of things in your mind.
Note that while it has numerous advantages, it has also been shown to induce allergies. Thus, pregnant women and people on meds should work on avoiding it.
If you can drink this tea, you should steep it for long to get the most benefits.
2. Valerian root tea
Chamomile is known to calm the nerves and help people sleep through anxiety, depression, and other conditions. However, it may not work for everyone, as some people require more help falling asleep.
If chamomile does not cut it for you, how about going for valerian root tea? This tea is much stronger and can put you to sleep in minutes. Studies indicate the same as it has had a moderate impact on people with insomnia.
This natural sedative can also reduce anxiety, enabling consumers to enjoy better sleep quality. Over the years, it has shown incredible benefits in users, so much so that some people choose it over melatonin supplements.
It also helps that it is a natural product and thus does not have the side effects you expect of meds.
Are there any downsides? Unfortunately, this root also has some adverse effects on regular consumers. For one, it can interfere with meds, as is the case with chamomile. Thus, before taking it often, you should check with your doctor.
Secondly, it can become addictive such that you find it hard to sleep without drinking it. That is a side effect you need to look out for, lest you dig yourself into a bigger hole. With these effects in mind, you can take this drink, ensuring that it steeps for about five minutes before consumption.
3. Green tea
Many people state that you should have green tea before you go to bed. And why not? – after all, it is rich in antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins.
Everyone wants these in their body, serving multiple purposes such as aiding digestion and fighting some cancers. But what they do not tell you is that you should only take decaf before bed.
Regular green tea is high in caffeine and can keep you awake at night. You may end up wondering why someone told you to take this tea, yet it interferes with your sleep. Well, the secret lies in doing away with the caffeine.
If you do not like the taste of herbal teas, you can keep up with this regular tea, as long as you get rid of the caffeine. This tea will still have the essential nutrients such as l-theanine, an amino acid with a calming effect.
One study took place involving young men in their twenties. They consumed l-theanine supplements before going to bed. As a result, they slept better and woke up with added mental alertness.
Note that one cup of green tea will not have enough of this amino acid to knock you out. If you need help sleeping, taking supplements of the same might help. However, you should only do this under the careful watch of a doctor.
Other than helping you sleep, green tea also works in improving metabolism and digestion. There are so many reasons to take this tea before bed, as long as it is decaf.
4. Lavender tea
The smell of this tea is enough to lower your stress and anxiety levels. Those who enjoy its scent will likely enjoy consuming it as well. Also, you can work on adding more lavender scents in your home if you find it calming.
From essential oils to candles to baths, there are many ways to bathe in this aroma. On the upside, it will keep away those recurring thoughts that are probably keeping you up at night. Whether you drink or sniff it, this tea is sure to have you feeling better.
Studies show that smell is the biggest contributor to better sleep. One such study involved participants who smelled lavender oil before going to bed. They spent more time in a deep sleep state and woke up feeling more energetic and ready for the day.
This tea has been shown to have more effects on women. A study showed that new mothers who drank a cup of this for two weeks had lower chances of fatigue and depression.
Once they stopped taking the tea, their chances of these conditions increased. That might be something to think about and could be worth the try.
5. Lemon balm tea
Another tea whose scent can be of great help to people with insomnia is lemon balm. It has been in use for centuries and works in easing indigestion, anxiety, and stress. It belongs to the mint family and thus has a mix of mint and lemon tastes.
If you want the most effects, you should work on combining this tea with other options such as valerian root. Studies confirm as much. In one case, participants consumed a placebo while others took lemon balm mixed with valerian root. 81% of those in the latter group experienced better sleep quality and quantity.
6. Passionflower tea
What keeps you up at night? Are you always thinking about things that make you anxious? Do you have obsessive thoughts? If yes, then this tea can be of help as it relaxes the nervous system.
It thus enables you to sleep better and for longer in the short term. Plus, it alleviates indigestion.
7. Catnip tea
You should not have this near your cat, but you can benefit from drinking it before going to bed. It has been shown to reduce insomnia by inducing sleepiness in consumers.
Tea and your sleep
While calming teas may enable you to sleep better at night, they are not THE solution. Instead, you should focus on why you cannot sleep and seek help for the same.
Otherwise, you can fall into an addictive pattern of requiring tea for you to sleep. And that would only mask the problem, rather than fix it.
Making small changes to your sleep schedule can work great in helping you sleep better. For example, sticking to a routine can program your body to fall asleep at a given time.
The more you keep up with this routine, the easier it will be for you to maintain good sleep quality and quantity. You can add tea to your sleep ritual, as this informs the body that you are about to sleep.
Other activities include taking a bath, making a to-do list for the next day, and more.
If all else fails, seek help instead of getting meds to treat insomnia. Figure out the problem, and you will have an easier time finding a solution.