Best Teas for Sleep

Part of an effective routine of sleep hygiene is finding a way to relax and help ease your mind and body into a sleepier state. This can make it much easier to simply close your eyes and drift off to sleep when it’s time to actually get into bed. While there are many strategies for doing this, one of the most popular is drinking tea.

Billions of people drink tea each day, and of course, there many different types and flavors of tea. Some teas are caffeinated and are more commonly drank in the morning or early afternoon. But other teas are decaffeinated and may have other properties that make them ideal for your pre-bed rituals.

Tea can contribute to relaxation simply through its comforting warmth and through its ingredients. In this guide, we’ll introduce you to how you can incorporate tea as part of your nighttime routines and will present our picks for the best teas for sleep.

Our Top Teas for Sleep

If you want to quickly find our picks for the best teas for sleep, look no further! 

Brand Tea Ingredients Ready to Buy?
Bigelow Sweet Dreams Herbal Tea chamomile, hibiscus, peppermint leaves, rose blossoms, spearmint leaves, spice, orange blossoms Buy on Amazon
Twinings of London Nightly Calm Green Tea decaffeinated green tea, chamomile, spearmint, natural spearmint flavor, lemon myrtle, lemongrass, linden, orange leaves, orange blossom, rosebuds, hawthorn berries Buy on Amazon
Twinings of London Nightly Calm Herbal Tea chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, natural spearmint flavor, linden, orange leaves, orange blossom, lemon myrtle, rosebuds, hawthorn berries Buy on Amazon
Yogi Bedtime tea passionflower, valerian, licorice root, spearmint leaf, camomile, cardamom bark, cardamom pod, rose hip, lavender, stevia, skullcap leaf, St. John’s Wort, raspberry leaf Buy on Amazon
Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal Tea chamomile, spearmint leaves, lemongrass, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn berries, rosebuds Buy on Amazon
Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile, Lavender Tea chamomile, lavender, lemon balm Buy on Amazon

What is a Bedtime Tea?

A bedtime tea is one that has properties that make it explicitly intended for drinking at night. In this way, it is a subset of the broader market for tea.

Not everyone loves tea, but it’s among the world’s most popular beverages. According to the Tea Association of the U.S., tea can be found in more than half of American households at any given time.

Some popular types of tea are not considered to be bedtime teas. These include most black teas, green teas, and iced teas. The main reason for this is that these tend to be more caffeinated, which obviously makes them a poor fit for going to bed. However, there may be decaffeinated versions for people who enjoy the flavor but don’t want caffeine.

In general, it is believed that bedtime teas work in three potential ways. First, they can contain herbal products and compounds that either induce drowsiness or that help to boost calmness and decrease anxiety. While you may be able to ingest these herbs in other forms, such as in pills or supplements, they tend to have a more palatable taste and smell when absorbed in water. For many people, it is also easier on the stomach to drink an herbal tea than to take a pill or supplement. It is common for nighttime teas to have a combination of various herbs that are designed to work in concert to help prepare you for sleep.

Second, bedtime teas help with sleep because of their temperature. Warm drinks are often associated with comfort and tranquility, and as a result, sipping a warm cup of tea before bed can be extremely relaxing. This can be related to the body’s process of thermoregulation. Even though the tea is hot, it induces your body to activate cooling processes through the skin, which may help prime the body for bed.

Third, there is a potential effect through association. This means that you psychologically associate the act of sipping tea with the notion of going to bed. In this way, it becomes part of your sleep hygiene and a way to indirectly tell your body that it’s about to be bedtime.

These effects don’t work for everyone, and in some cases, the effect may be more of a placebo effect than one that is clearly traceable to a specific herb or supplement. In addition, the effects for one person may feel different than the effects for someone else. But the bottom line is that these non-caffeinated teas are a generally mild and easy way to try to help get yourself ready for a full night of sleep.

What Are the Best Types of Tea for Sleep?

If you’re shopping for a bedtime tea, there are a few things to look for. Of course, you want to look for a tea that does not have caffeine. In addition, you may encounter several different types of herbs and natural products. These are some of the best and most common:

Chamomile

Chamomile is an extremely popular type of nighttime tea. As with many herbs, there is limited in-depth research evaluating its exact benefits. However, it has long been used as a natural remedy for anxiety, stomach issues, and sleeplessness. Some early-stage medical research indicates that it may help with some of these issues especially in combinations with other herbs.

Some people may have allergic reactions to chamomile, and it can interfere with other medications, so if you plan to start drinking chamomile tea every night, it may be useful to check in with your doctor first.

Valerian

Valerian has been used for thousands of years and for many different conditions including sleeplessness but also anxiety and depression. There is a lack of controlled research into valerian, but research to date hints at it being useful for treating insomnia.

Valerian generally doesn’t cause side effects, but as with any supplement, it is wise to talk with a doctor first to make sure it doesn’t have an interaction with any other medication you are taking.

Lavender

You’re probably familiar with lavender because of its smell. It has been used in tea as well as in essential oils and even in food. Overall, the research into lavender is limited, but it has a long history of use in relation to mood, appetite, pain, digestive issues, anxiety, and more. Its smell and calming effect in tea may help some people relax to get to sleep.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is another herbal ingredient with a smell that many find to be pleasing and relaxing. For people who like the citrusy smell of lemon and find it to be calming or relaxing, this is a strong consideration as a bedtime tea.

Passionflower

Passionflower has been in use in South America for ages. It is found to promote drowsiness, and it is also advanced as a treatment for many other issues including anxiety and pain. Hard data about its effectiveness is sparse, but it is commonly enjoyed as a nighttime tea.

Decaffeinated Green Tea

Most people drink caffeinated green tea, but decaf options are also available. In addition to its flavor, green tea has been used a dietary supplement for things like digestive symptoms, headaches, and weight loss. It has a long history of use in China and Japan, but there is not definitive evidence from controlled studies about its exact benefits. That said, many people find it to be calming and useful before going to bed.

What Other Ingredients Are in Teas for Sleep?

You may come across many other ingredients that are included in nighttime teas. Most of these have very limited research that has been done to determine if they have effectiveness as a treatment for insomnia or other sleep problems.

  • St. John’s Wort
  • Spearmint
  • Orange blossom or leaves
  • Rose hip
  • Linden leaf
  • Hops
  • Magnolia bark
  • Catnip
  • Lemongrass
  • Cardamom
  • Other spices or flavors