Pills, apps and wristbands, new mattresses – if you’ve tried a variety of methods to fall asleep faster, you may be running out of patience for new ideas.
However, the solution may be hiding in your brain chemistry. Triggering the release of serotonin, melatonin, and other sleep-related compounds aren’t always as simple as turning off the lights and switching on a white noise app.
If you constantly struggle to fall asleep, you may need to resort to natural ingredients to start counting sheep faster. Herbal teas have been relied upon as sleep aids for millennia, and the internet age has made it even easier to track down these valuable products.
Since many of these drinks contain herbal ingredients, make sure to consult with a doctor before taking them if you are pregnant or on any medications. Also, these drinks may not work as well if environmental factors like noise and light are causing your insomnia. Make sure to handle any snoring or excessive light problems, then let the following drinks work their magic.
1. Cherry Juice
Tart cherries are an excellent natural source of melatonin, so cherry juice shortly before bed can be your key to sweet dreams with little tossing and turning. It’s also surprisingly easy to get; most supermarkets carry it next to other fruit juices. Just make sure to get juice that’s made up of tart cherries instead of black or Bing cherries.
Since cherry juice can stain teeth, be careful to brush your teeth properly before bed. You also will want to read the bottle label carefully to make sure the added sugars are kept to a minimum.
For a slightly more complex take on cherry juice, try this Cherry Turmeric Bedtime Tea for a triple threat against insomnia.
2. Warm Milk with Tumeric
You technically don’t have to drink milk warm to benefit from its sleep-inducing properties, but it can make the experience more cozy. Milk contains L-tryptophan, an amino acid that promotes sleep. Tumeric contains compounds that help your body release more dopamine and serotonin. It also reduces inflammation and eases digestion, which indirectly can help you fall asleep sooner.
For best results, drink this 90 minutes before bedtime. If you don’t like milk, adding tumeric to tea or another beverage can also help your body wind down.
3. Lavender Tea
You’ve heard of lavender lotions and bath products, but did you know that you could make a tea out of lavender? Like other lavender products, lavender tea promotes relaxation and can help get your mind ready to sleep. It’s also good for your digestive system, so pouring a cup before bed is great even for people who don’t struggle with insomnia.
You can make lavender tea with fresh buds or buy dried lavender tea bags at many health food stores. If possible, avoid teas cut with decaffeinated black tea, as this keeps you from getting the full power of the lavender. You can also add a drop of pharmaceutical-grade lavender essential oil to other teas to relax before bed.
4. Passionfruit Tea
Passionfruit may not be as well-known for sleep as chamomile, but it’s great for people who don’t like the taste of chamomile. Drink an hour before bed to relax your nervous system and get ready for some serious shut-eye. You can add a small amount of honey to increase the sweetness if needed.
Be careful to avoid passionfruit tea products that use standard black tea, as the caffeine content will keep you awake. Even if the label indicates the black tea content has been decaffeinated, it won’t be as effective as 100% herbal passionfruit tea.
5. Hemp Peppermint Hot Chocolate
Hemp hearts, cocoa powder, peppermint oil and a few other ingredients come together wonderfully in this thick and delicious hot chocolate. Hemp contains tryptophan, which is great for sleep and needs to be ingested daily since our bodies can’t store it. Cocoa powder contains small amounts of caffeine, so this drink isn’t recommended for people who are very sensitive to caffeine. Consume 1-2 hours before bed for best results.
6. Banana Smoothies and Tea
As long as you don’t add much sugar, a banana smoothie with yogurt can help you unwind in the evening. The magnesium in bananas is an oft-forgotten sleep aid. If you want something lighter before bed, you can make a tea with a fresh banana peel that pulls the magnesium from the banana and tastes delicious.
You may have noticed that alcoholic drinks are absent from this list. While alcohol can help you fall asleep initially, it can reduce the quality of your sleep dramatically. You’re more likely to have to get up to use the bathroom during the night, and you may wake up feeling groggy even if you only had one alcoholic beverage before bed. Avoid alcoholic drinks and try natural remedies to get to sleep – you’ll likely see the effects within a few nights.
Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!