When it comes to a good night’s rest, a sleepy nighttime beverage can make a world of difference, helping you to relax and drift into a peaceful slumber faster and better.
Most nighttime beverages are served warm. But a few chilled options can also lull you to sleep. Some pack a nutritional punch, offering a host of vitamins and minerals, while others are simply tasty and comforting.
The best nighttime beverages for sleep are caffeine-free, which is key for a good night’s rest. If you’ve had trouble falling asleep lately or want to get a head start on your nighttime routine, try one of these yummy nighttime beverages for sleep and doze off to dreamland in no time.
10 of the Best Nighttime Beverages for Sleep
1) Chamomile Tea
This bedtime beverage is made from chamomile flowers that have been dried and steeped in hot water. The active ingredient in chamomile tea is apigenin, a flavonoid packed with antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. In other words, consuming this fragrant nighttime beverage for sleep may reduce the risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory cancers.
When the apigenin in chamomile tea binds to GABA receptors in your brain, it releases benzodiazepine (sometimes called “benzos”) into your bloodstream. This chemical’s tranquilizing properties have been distilled in drugs like Xanax and Valium. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, this nighttime drink may be just the thing to help you drift into a peaceful slumber.
2) Warm Milk
I know, I know – you’re not ten years old anymore. But hear me out!
If you’re lactose tolerant and not yet a vegan, then perhaps you should consider warm milk as a calming bedtime drink to sleep better. That’s because milk contains sleep-enhancing properties like the amino acid tryptophan and the peptide casein tryptic hydrolysate (CH). These tongue-twisting substances help your body produce serotonin – a neurotransmitter that makes you feel more relaxed – and melatonin, which signals your brain that it’s time to wind down.
And let’s not forget calcium, of which milk is a good source. In grade school, you probably learned that calcium is an essential mineral your body needs to grow and maintain healthy bones. Well, guess what? It also helps your body absorb tryptophan and produce more of that dreamy serotonin so you could get enough shut-eye.
3) Golden Milk (aka Turmeric Latte)
Turmeric is loaded with curcuminoids. These compounds are related to phenols like those found in blueberries. They offer many health benefits, such as anti-inflammatory properties that temporarily relieve body pain and antioxidants that scavenge harmful toxins and protect cells from damage.
However, it’s the activity of curcuminoids in the brain that makes golden milk such a great nightcap for better sleep. They work to increase the production of melatonin and serotonin, which we’ve already talked about as being key neurotransmitters for better sleep.
One recipe for golden milk is made with turmeric, almond milk (rich in magnesium), honey, cinnamon, and black pepper. The pepper helps the body absorb the curcuminoids in turmeric. Overall, it’s a delicious nighttime beverage for sleep that you’ll love drinking before bed.
4) Valerian Tea
The valerian herb made a splash in the 16th Century when an anabaptist (aka a member of the Christian faith who postpones baptism until adulthood) prescribed valerian tea to a sick woman. But this fragrant herb with its pink flowerhead had been used to treat insomnia back in ancient Greece and Rome.
That’s because valerian tea contains sleep-enhancing compounds that may reduce stress and help with menopausal symptoms. That said, it’s important to know the side effects of valerian tea before breaking out this nighttime beverage for better sleep. These side effects include mild headaches, dizziness, and nausea in some people, so it’s best to start with a low dose and work your way up if needed.
5) Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is high in antioxidants and melatonin. The antioxidants help to reduce inflammation and melatonin helps to regulate your body’s internal sleep-wake cycle, helping you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Avoid tart cherry juice with added sugars. This will prevent you from getting an unwanted energy boost before bed. Additional health benefits associated with tart cherry juice include improved muscle recovery, reduced blood pressure, and improved memory functions (so you won’t forget to drink your favorite nighttime beverage for sleep!)
6) Lavender Tea
Lavender is a fragrant plant that has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries. The most well-known benefit of lavender tea is its ability to promote relaxation and sleep.
Lavender tea is made from the dried flowers of the lavender plant. It contains linalool, a compound that not only deters blood-thirsty mosquitoes but is also known to improve sleep quality. Linalool is responsible for lavender’s characteristic floral aroma that soothes the mind and body.
7) Kava Tea
Kava tea is made from the roots of a green plant with heart-shaped leaves. It’s native to the South Pacific Islands and has been used for hundreds of years as an herbal remedy for anxiety and insomnia.
Kava contains compounds that relax your muscles, which might explain why kava tea drinkers often feel heavy and drowsy after drinking a cup. The taste of kava tea is often described as earthy or grassy. It’s a good nighttime beverage choice if you don’t like the idea of downing a hot drink right before bedtime. Kava can be enjoyed warm or cold.
8) Banana Smoothie
One word, four syllables: po-tas-si-yum.
Like calcium, potassium is an essential mineral that your body needs to function properly. It helps regulate blood pressure, maintain muscle contractions, and keep your heart beating regularly.
A medium-sized banana contains 422 milligrams of potassium, which is more than 10% of the 4,700 milligrams the average adult needs per day. Bananas are also a good source of vitamin B6, which can help you produce serotonin and melatonin. They also contain magnesium, a mineral that’s associated with better nighttime sleep quality.
If you prefer nighttime beverages that are cold instead of warm, this one is for you. It has the added advantage of being caffeine-free.
9) Pure Coconut Water
Coconut water is a natural drink that’s been gaining popularity over recent years. It’s made from the clear liquid inside young coconuts and is packed with electrolytes, vitamins, and minerals.
One of the main benefits of pure coconut water is its ability to rehydrate the body. This anytime-of-day beverage can also help you recover from a poor night’s sleep.
Coconut water contains magnesium, potassium, and zinc, all of which are essential minerals for good health. It’s a great choice for those who want a nighttime beverage that’s hydrating and healthy.
10) Lemon-Ginger Tea
Lemon-ginger tea has been used for centuries to treat a variety of ailments. The ginger in this tea helps to soothe the stomach and calm the mind, while the lemon adds a touch of tang and vitamin C.
This nighttime beverage for sleep is caffeine-free and can be enjoyed hot or cold. If you’re looking for a nighttime beverage that will help you relax and calm your mind, lemon-ginger tea is a sound choice.
These are just a few of the many nighttime beverages that can help you get a better night’s sleep. So if you’re having trouble sleeping, consider giving one of these drinks a try. Not only will you get a good night’s sleep. You’ll also be doing your body a world of good.