The 4 Best Teas For Sleep
To sleep better naturally, you need one of the best teas for sleep. Below, I’ve selected teas with relaxing qualities that promise to help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
To help guide your search, I’ve detailed some of the most popular herbs used in tea for sleep. The best part — they're all backed by research.
- Valerian Root: This herb has been used to alleviate ailments like insomnia, stress, and headaches for centuries, although some complain of its unpleasant odor. That said, it's currently one of the most widely used herbs for sleep, and while more research needs to be done to determine exactly how valerian root impacts sleep, one theory is that it increases levels of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is also how many anti-anxiety medications (like Xanax) work. In fact, in one study, researchers found little difference in the ability of valerian root and oxazepam (a medication commonly prescribed to treat insomnia) to improve sleep quality.
- Passionflower: People have uses passionflower to help treat everything from insomnia to anxiety to fibromyalgia, and there's some research to support its use to aid sleep. One study even found that combining passionflower with valerian root and hops was an acceptable alternative for improving sleep quality as taking Ambien (zolpidem).
- Chamomile: This calming tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which binds to receptors in the brain that might work to alleviate anxiety and promote sleep. In one study looking at 80 postnatal women who were suffering from reduced sleep quality, it was determined that the participants who drank chamomile tea daily for two weeks experienced noticeable improvements in their sleep efficiency.
- Lavender: Although some studies indicate that aromatherapy using lavender may help treat insomnia, it’s unclear how significantly lavender tea affects sleep directly. However, lavender’s aroma is well-known and widely studied for its soothing, anti-anxiety qualities, making it a great choice if you suffer from nighttime anxiety that’s keeping you awake.
Armed with this knowledge, it’s time to check out the best teas for sleep. Some of them are blends so you can reap the benefits of several of the ingredients listed above, and all of them are highly rated on Amazon. What's more, nearly all of the teas below are from Certified B Corporations — meaning companies that meet high standards for social, environmental, transparency, and accountability standards. For the sake of convenience, all of my picks are all six-packs as well.
1. The Best Overall: The Tea With The Most All-Star Ingredients
This bedtime tea combines passionflower with chamomile and valerian root for maximum sleepiness and improved sleep quality — plus licorice, cardamom, and cinnamon for added flavor. It’s certified USDA organic and non-GMO, and it’s also vegan, gluten-free, and Kosher. A product of East West Tea Company, Yogi is a Certified B Corporation as well, and each individually wrapped bag is recyclable and compostable.
A helpful review: “Best bedtime tea blend I've ever tried. Comforting, good tasting, and relaxing, perfect.”
2. The Best Chamomile Tea
This American-made tea uses whole chamomile flowers for a sweeter taste. Each tea bag is individually wrapped for peak freshness, and Bigelow is a family-owned and Certified B Corporation. This tea is also non-GMO, gluten-free, calorie-free, and Kosher certified. Personally, I keep this tea in stock and drink it every night for improved sleep quality.
A helpful review: “I drink this tea almost every night. It is a great way to unwind at the end of the day, helps me relax, and doesn't put me in a coma but helps me to just get a nice night of sleep. I am a very light sleeper and wake up often in the night so this helps to sleep a little deeper but still be able to wake up if my kids need me!”
3. The Best Lavender Blend
This tea blend from Traditional Medicinals combines the anti-anxiety properties of lavender with the sleep-inducing effects of chamomile. It’s also certified USDA organic and non-GMO; as well as being Kosher certified. Traditional Medicinals is a Certified B Corporation as well, and each tea bag is individually wrapped for maximum freshness.
A helpful review: “I absolutely love this tea, first time I've had this combination, tasty [and] helps me with sleep.”
4. The Best Valerian Root Blend
Celestial Seasonings' Sleepytime Extra tea lives up to its name by taking the original Sleepytime blend of chamomile, spearmint, and other soothing herbs, and adding valerian root for an even more calming blend. The original Sleepytime tea has been aiding sleep cycles since 1972, and it sells over four million boxes each year, but it might worth trying the "Extra" formula if you're really struggling to catch some zzz's. The only caveat with this pick is that it's the only tea on the list without Certified B Corporation status.
A helpful review: “This particular kind of Celestial Seasonings SLEEPYTIME Extra tea helps me relax and sleep. [...] The spearmint, lemongrass, hawthorn and orange blossoms naturally sweetens the tea and makes it refreshing and flavorful. The chamomile, tillia estrella and valerian root soothes and relaxes me to sleep. I highly recommend this tea."
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Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mousavi, S. N. (2017, December). The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29154054
Bent, S., Padula, A., Moore, D., Patterson, M., & Mehling, W. (2006, December). Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4394901/
Chang, S.-M., & Chen, C.-H. (2016, February). Effects of an intervention with drinking chamomile tea on sleep quality and depression in sleep disturbed postnatal women: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26483209
Chien, L.-W., Cheng, S. L., & Liu, C. F. (2012). The effect of lavender aromatherapy on autonomic nervous system in midlife women with insomnia. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21869900
Dorn, M. (2000, April). Efficacy and tolerability of Baldrian versus oxazepam in non-organic and non-psychiatric insomniacs: a randomised, double-blind, clinical, comparative study. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10899744
Malcolm, B. J., & Tallian, K. (2018, March 26). Essential oil of lavender in anxiety disorders: Ready for prime time? Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6007527/
Maroo, N., Hazra, A., & Das, T. (2013). Efficacy and safety of a polyherbal sedative-hypnotic formulation NSF-3 in primary insomnia in comparison to zolpidem: a randomized controlled trial. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3608291/
Office of Dietary Supplements - Valerian. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Valerian-HealthProfessional/