7 best teas to drink for a better night’s sleep

A calming cup of chamomile is a renowned elixir for its sleep-assisting effects, but it’s not alone. Try these herbal teas to help make for a peaceful night’s rest.

If you are finding it hard to fall asleep, or to enjoy quality slumber, making yourself a cup of herbal tea before bedtime may be a simple and natural way to help you rest. Several teas are renowned for their sleep-enhancing effects and our experts have identified which ones are worth a try.

“Make your tea at least an hour before bedtime and make it in a teapot or a plunger so this becomes part of the ritual of slowing down and preparing for sleep,” Jean Hailes naturopath Sandra Villella says.

So what tea should you try tonight?

Chamomile tea

A study of women who were new mothers in 2015 found drinking chamomile tea helped them fall asleep more quickly.

Apigenin, which has a mild tranquillising effect, is one compound in chamomile tea that may help with sleep.

“Use loose-leaf chamomile tea or good quality tea bags and add some lavender or spearmint if you don’t like the flavour,” Sandra says.

Passionflower tea

“Passionflower doesn’t ignite passion – it actually targets some of the brain chemicals that support sleep,” Sandy says.

A study of people who drank a cup of passionflower tea each day for a week found most people reported improvements in sleep quality.

“Passionflower is gentle and good to help with any general sleep disturbance,” Sandra says.

Sage tea

Sage is part of the mint family and, as a tea, it can be particularly beneficial to help menopausal women sleep better by reducing hot flushes.

“Sage tea helps ease sweating and heat. It has a drying effect,” Community Pharmacy pharmacist and herbalist Gerald Quigley says.

“You can drink sage tea any time you have a hot flush to ease the effects.”

Valerian tea

“This is the No.1 herb that people think of when they think of a tea for sleep,” Sandra says.

It is believed to have a sedating effect on the brain and nervous system, but Sandra adds that it can smell like dirty socks so suggests mixing it with lemon balm.

Yerba mate tea

This tea has a slightly bitter taste and belongs to the holly family, Gerald says.

It is popular in South American countries where the leaves and twigs of the plant are dried over fire and then boiled.

“It’s a blood cleanser, good for digestive and immune issues and helps if you’re tired and stressed,” he says.

Lime flower tea

This European herb, sometimes called linden tea, contains essential oils and antioxidants, and has been used for centuries in traditional herbal medicine to help with reducing anxiety and calming restless nerves.

“It’s good for stress and for encouraging sleep,” Sandra says.

Oat tea

This tea is made from the tips of oat plants and is packed with B vitamins and calcium.

“Oat tea helps release stress and helps you feel more relaxed,” Gerald says.

If you have eczema, Sandra recommends easing itchy skin before bedtime by placing this herb in a muslin bag, hanging it over a tap of running water and bathing in the water.

Written by Sarah Marinos.