Great sleep is one of the hallmarks of vibrant health, but it’s something that many people often overlook. Sleep experts suggest that adults aged 18-60 get between seven to nine hours of sleep every night. A full seven hours, though, is not always easy to come by.
It’s quite common for people to get cozy in bed and immediately feel wide awake. This is an unfortunate reality and it can seem like there’s no antidote or magical potion that immediately puts you in a state of deep sleep. That being said, health experts have identified certain beverages that contribute to a deeper state of relaxation. When the body is in a more relaxed state, it’s much easier to fall asleep. If you want to drive off to dreamland with ease, consider drinking the following beverages before bed.
Researchers in Mexico conducted an animal study to determine the effects of passionflower on sleep. The results indicated that rats injected with passionflower extract experienced a significant increase in total sleep time. No other human studies have confirmed these findings yet, but many anecdotal reports claim that passionflower tea helps people fall asleep.
Golden milk, or a turmeric latte, before bed may help to promote a sense of calm. Warm milk, however, may not be appetizing because it can cause digestive discomfort. If you are sensitive to dairy products, consider dairy-free golden milk. Turmeric is rich in curcumin, a compound that may reduce inflammation, relieve anxiety, and alleviate effects of sleep deprivation. You can sweeten the beverage with Manuka honey to further reduce inflammation and promote gut health, which may aid your sleep.
Tart Cherry Juice
Cherries are stone fruits that can be tart or sweet, depending on the variety. Cherries contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that’s a precursor to melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate when you fall asleep and wake up. Tart cherries tend to contain more melatonin, which is why their juice is better than the sweet varieties. In fact, tart cherries have up to six times more melatonin than sweeter cherries. One study observed 30 participants who consumed cherry-based juice twice daily. The results indicated that the juice improved nightly sleep and reduced the number of nighttime awakenings. Another study found that people who drank eight ounces of tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks slept an additional 84 minutes, compared to the group who consumed a placebo drink.
It’s common to find valerian in health food stores, but you can also purchase it online. The most widely used part is the root, which is popular in herbal remedies for insomnia. Valerian shows promise for its ability to relieve insomnia and improve overall sleep quality. One study found that 30% of postmenopausal women who took 530 milligrams (mg) of valerian twice daily for four weeks reported better sleep quality. Valerian root may help enhance sedation and you shouldn’t mix it with drugs or alcohol because of that reason. Additionally, pregnant or nursing women and children under the age of three should avoid valerian.
Ashwagandha is a medicinal herb popular in Ayurveda treatments. Extracts and teas often include the root, berries, and leaves of the plant, all of which may help relieve stress, anxiety, and even arthritis. In human studies, ashwagandha exhibited the potential to help the body wind down and prepare for sleep. A study on mice identified triethylene glycol, an active compound in ashwagandha, to induce sleep when consumed in large doses. You can typically find ashwagandha in powder form, but it also comes in the form of tea and supplements.
Chamomile is a common go-to tea when you have a sore throat or runny nose. It’s comforting and helps reduce inflammation and cold symptoms. Other research noted that chamomile tea may be a helpful sleep tonic. One study, in particular, found that adults aged 60 and up who consumed 400 mg of chamomile extract for 28 consecutive days improved sleep quality. Another study monitored 80 women who experienced poor sleep. After drinking chamomile tea daily for two weeks, the subjects experienced a significant improvement in sleep.