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What is The Best Sleep Tea?

In a world bustling with constant activity, it’s important to be able to unwind and quiet the mind before bed. Yet, the demands of a hectic schedule can make it a challenge to do so effectively. To help with this, many people are turning to natural sleep remedies, including teas, to help them fall asleep. 

Luckily for us, scientific research supports the efficacy of tea as a natural sleep aid. In this article, we’ll share our take on the best teas for sleep to help you decide if adding this soothing beverage to your nighttime routine is right for you.

Benefits of Drinking Tea Before Bed

The act of drinking a warm beverage before bed, such as an herbal tea (non-caffeinated), can be a relaxing way to help you wind down after a long day. This is why we often recommend it as part of a nightly routine. However, it’s the specific ingredients1 in certain teas that may help facilitate sleep even further. 

The Best Teas for Sleep


Chamomile tea has long been hailed as an herbal tea favorite for calmness and relaxation. However, it’s not just the tea’s pleasant smell or smooth taste that makes it a top choice as a sleep-promoting beverage.

For thousands of years, chamomile has been used medicinally as a tea or essential oil to treat insomnia and induce sedation2, or generate a sense of calm. These effects are due to specific compounds in chamomile, such as apigenin, a natural flavonoid thought to be responsible for creating the sedative effect.Ongoing studies3 have also found that chamomile is a promising treatment for generalized anxiety disorder, which can contribute to insomnia or poor sleep. 

Additional research4 has also found that chamomile tea may be effective for postpartum women experiencing depression or sleep quality problems. A 2012-2013 study of 80 Taiwanese women who had recently given birth and experienced poor sleep quality demonstrated fewer physical symptoms of poor sleep after drinking chamomile tea for two weeks.4

Explore our favorite Chamomile tea, the Taylors of Harrogate Organic Chamomile Herbal Tea


Circumin5, the bright yellow substance found in turmeric and turmeric tea, is thought to have a sleep-enhancing effect by targeting the histamine H1 receptor, which helps regulate sleep (a similar effect to taking a Benadryl).

Studies have also found6 that turmeric can actually increase time spent in non-rapid eye movement sleep, or NREM sleep. The third stage in NREM sleep, specifically, is the deepest state of sleep, which is responsible for helping us wake up feeling refreshed7 the next day.

Our favorite turmeric tea: FGO Organic Turmeric Ginger Tea

Valerian Root

Valerian root8 is another ancient herb that’s been used for millennia to treat insomnia and nervousness. As a well-tolerated and low-side effect sleep aid9, valerian root —  which comes in tinctures, capsules, and teas — is thought to improve sleep quality.

Furthermore, research has discovered10 that valerian root can also improve symptoms of anxiety and depression, both of which can make it harder to fall or stay asleep.

Check out our favorite Valerian Root tea: HANDPICK Valerian Root Tea Bags

Lemon Balm

While it may not be as well-known as chamomile or valerian root tea, lemon balm tea — which is derived from lemon balm, a mint family herb (and not, ironically, from lemons itself) — can have tremendous benefits on sleep.

According to research11, an eight-week supplementation of lemon balm helped reduce scores of depression, anxiety, stress, and sleep disturbances. Additionally, a combination of valerian root and lemon balm, which you can find mixed into one tea, could help reduce sleep disorders12 for women experiencing menopause.

Grab the best Lemon Balm tea: Traditional Medicinals Organic Lemon Balm Herbal Tea


Passionfruit may be associated with tropical flavors and sunshine, but passion flowers, the part of the plant on which the fruit actually grows,  have a powerful sleep-promoting property.

Passionflower13 is largely believed to contain natural sedative properties that help lull people to sleep. In fact, it’s often used to treat anxiety and insomnia and is widely available in tea form. 

Studies show14 that using passionflower for two weeks significantly increases total sleep time, as well as sleep efficiency (how easily you fall asleep) and wakefulness after sleep onset (how easy it is for you to wake back up).

Check out this Lavender tea: Celestial Seasonings, Tea Herbal Sleepytime Lavender Pack

Magnolia Bark

Out of all the sleep teas, magnolia bark is probably one of the least talked about, but that doesn’t mean it should be off your radar. Research has found that magnolia bark tea is effective in both promoting sleep and alleviating depression15, the latter of which can contribute to new or existing sleep issues.

If you have a tough time locating magnolia bark tea in retail stores, you’ll likely find it more available online, as it tends to be less common than other teas. 

Low-Caffeine Green Tea

You’ve probably heard it’s counterintuitive to consume caffeine before bed, but the opposite can be said for low-caffeine green tea.

Unlike its more caffeinated counterparts, low-caffeine green tea16 has been associated with reduced stress and improved sleep quality. In fact, it’s thought that reducing the caffeine content is what promotes the sleep benefits. This is because the decaffeination process does not remove L-theanine, which has significant anti-stress effects, from the green tea.16

Still, if you’re very sensitive to caffeine or don’t want to risk your sleep by trying low-caffeine green tea at night, you may want to opt for one of the herbal tea choices on our list like chamomile tea.


There’s a reason you can find lavender in almost every scented sleep-promoting product. Lavender is another herb with a long history of being used as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and sleep.

Studies back up that notion17 by proving that consuming lavender tea can improve anxiety and depression, both of which can impact sleep quality. Additional research18 has also found that lavender tea helps alleviate fatigue.

Pros and Cons of Drinking Tea for Sleep 


Traditional or prescription sleeping pills19 can come with a host of unwanted side effects, including cognitive impairment, sedation, and dizziness. Not only can these side effects be unpleasant, but they can also be dangerous, especially when operating machinery or driving a car.

These potential drawbacks make natural sleep aids like sleep teas a more attractive choice for people concerned about side effects or even becoming dependent on sleeping pills. Plus, sleep teas are more accessible and can be found in just about every pharmacy, grocery store, or online retailer.

Some people also enjoy drinking sleep teas for the calming effects of simply consuming hot tea before bed, which can be a relaxing activity on its own.


While sleep teas may have fewer serious side effects than sleeping pills, there is still a side effect risk. Even teas like lavender or passionflower could cause potential side effects, which could range from upset stomach to headaches.

Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA like medications, it’s also hard to know if you’re getting the promised dosage and ingredients. Often, this hangs on the consumer to do research beforehand and purchase sleep teas from reputable brands or retailers.

Plus, consuming a cup of tea before bed can increase nighttime urination, which may have the opposite effect by disrupting your sleep even further. If that’s a concern for you, some teas (like valerian root) are available in capsule form and won’t require drinking a ton of liquid.

Who Should Drink Tea for Sleep?

Sleep teas may be beneficial for individuals who have mild sleep concerns and are looking for natural ways to promote relaxation and improve overall sleep quality. Many consumers also enjoy the fact that these herbal sleep remedies are free from the many risks and side effects that prescription sleeping pills may carry.

Certain sleep teas can also help alleviate anxiety, stress, and depression, all of which can contribute to poor sleep or trouble falling asleep.

However, those with chronic sleep conditions or severe insomnia should always speak to a healthcare provider before turning to a sleep tea, as some serious sleep problems may be due to an underlying condition that requires further treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does chamomile tea actually make you sleepy?

Since chamomile tea is rich in apigenin, a flavonoid that can create a sedative effect, it’s widely used as a sleep tea due to its sleep-promoting properties.2

What tea wakes you up the most?

Research has found that passionflower tea, in particular, is effective for promoting wakefulness the next day; it can help you not only fall asleep more quickly but easily wake up in the morning.14

What herbal blends are good for sleep?

There are two main types of tea: caffeinated and herbal. Some of the most effective herbal teas for sleep on our list include chamomile, valerian root, and lemon balm tea.

Our Final Thoughts

Drinking tea in the evening can help you wind down after a long day, and as the research shows, specific ingredients in certain teas lend themselves to better sleep. If you need help with mild sleep issues, you can easily incorporate drinking tea into your nightly routine. That said, if you have any concerns about possible side effects or continue to have problems sleeping, we advise consulting with your doctor to see whether you have an underlying health issue that’s impacting your sleep.

Ashley Zlatopolsky

Ashley Zlatopolsky

Content Writer

About Author

Ashley Zlatopolsky is a Detroit-based writer and editor who specializes in sleep content. She writes about sleep health, hygiene and products for Sleep Advisor, Mattress Clarity, Real Simple, and more.

Side Sleeper


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