If you’re looking for ways to encourage your body to slow down and prep for bed, give some naturally sleep-inducing teas a try. Herbs and flowers have been used for centuries to encourage feelings of relaxation and calm. It’s no surprise that people today have a difficult time sleeping, given the rise of technology and stress. Let’s discuss 5 herbs that may give you the restful night’s sleep you’ve been looking for.
When looking for a good sleepy tea, be sure that the ingredients have been grown using organic farming practices. Like most foods, teas not grown organically can have herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, or could have been grown with chemical fertilizers that stick around in the plant. When you steep your tea in hot water, those chemicals and unwanted additives can find their way into your system. Going organic ensures you are absorbing the beneficial aspects of the plant without the harmful residues.
Organic Valerian Root
Valerian root has a long and rich history that goes back centuries and was reportedly mentioned in ancient Greek texts from Hippocrates that it was a great sleep aid (3). Without diving deep into the science, some studies of valerianic acid have shown that it may hinder the breakdown of GABA (an important amino acid in the brain that makes you calm) (2). Essentially, valerian root may encourage a sensation of sleepiness and could reduce feelings of anxiousness – a promising remedy if you’re looking to rest.
If you’re looking for the jack of all healing herbs, it’s lavender. This wonderfully aromatic flower has been used for centuries to aid in restful sleep, to help reduce pain, to interfere with feelings of anxiety and depression and much more (7). It has a floral flavor comparable to the mix between rosemary and rose plus a hint of mint, and a squeeze of citrus. Sip it in a tea or use lavender oil for a quick aromatherapy session when feeling tense.
Chamomile has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of ailments. Some studies detail an impressive list of potential benefits, like hay fever, inflammation, poor sleep, and much more (4). Its versatility makes it a good option for sleep and general wellness. This flower has an earthy floral flavor with notes of sweet apple and has a warming aroma.
Peppermint, a minty herbal leaf with a cool menthol flavor, has many known uses but is most popularly used to aid in soothing digestive discomfort, aches, and pains, and create a sense of calm (5). Added bonus, peppermint contains great antibacterial and antioxidant properties, which has the potential to boost those “repairing” sleep hours you’re about to put in (6).
Although there have been anecdotal accounts that rooibos tea can aid in sleep, there aren’t any formal studies that can confirm those accounts. What animal studies have determined is that rooibos tea may reduce levels of stress hormones produced after a stressful event (1). Rooibos’ high level of antioxidants interact with stress hormones, lessening their impact of it. So, if it’s stress that’s keeping you up at night, drink a tea that contains rooibos to assist you in feeling a greater sense of calm.
Individually, these herbs could be great to support your immune system and create a sense of relaxation, but in combination, they are that much more beneficial. It should be noted that although herbal remedies and homeopathic options may be useful in your health journey, seeking the opinion of a doctor or naturopath about any health concerns you may have is the most important step to take.
1: Anti-Oxidative Effects of Rooibos Tea (Aspalathus linearis) on Immobilization-Induced Oxidative Stress in Rat Brain
2: The scientific basis for the reputed activity of Valerian
3: Valerian Fact Sheet for Health Professionals
4: Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future
5: Effects of Aromatherapy with Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oils on the Sleep Quality of Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial
6: Herbal beverages: Bioactive compounds and their role in disease risk reduction – A review
7: Lavender and the Nervous System