On average, it can take between 10 to 20 minutes to fall asleep. However, if it’s taking much longer to drift off, the frustration that arises can push sleep off for even longer.
Turning your mind off at night can keep you counting sheep, but did you know there are natural drink choices that can help you to fall asleep?
For a delicious addition to your nighttime routine, here are seven drinks that can help you fall asleep to keep the tossing and turning at bay.
1. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea is one of the most well-known drinks that make you sleepy. For many, it can be calming and comforting to drink a hot beverage before bed.
Chamomile tea is a popular choice because it doesn’t have caffeine. Not only that, but it also has terpenoids and flavonoids in it, which has many medicinal properties. One of these properties is chamomile tea has a mild sedative effect, which can help you calm down and relax before bed. As a result, it’s easier to drift off to sleep.
To use chamomile tea, simply steep the flowers in boiled water for five minutes. Strain the flowers and drink while hot (add honey if you’d like some sweetness). Drink it 45 minutes before bed to give it time to metabolize and have its effect on your sleep.
2. Cherry Juice
Drinking tart cherry juice for sleep might sound strange at first. You might think the tartness would wake you up, but surprisingly, it’s great for sleep.
This is because cherry juice has tryptophan. You might already know of this chemical, as it’s in turkey and is the culprit behind the well-known Thanksgiving coma.
Tryptophan can make you tired due to the fact that it’s a precursor to melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body begin its sleep cycle. More specifically, melatonin helps regulate your circadian rhythm, so you sleep and wake more naturally and easily.
To get its sleep-aid effects, you should drink tart cherry juice daily, and you should drink over two cups each day. Drink one cup between 8:00 am to 10:00 am and the other one to two hours before bed. You should also choose Montmorency cherries if possible since it has six times more melatonin than in Balaton cherries.
3. Lavender Tea
You might have noticed that many spa products contain lavender. This is because it has anti-anxiety and calming effects on the nervous system. These anti-anxiety and calming effects should help you sleep better, especially if you find that you have racing thoughts that prevent you from falling asleep.
To make lavender tea, follow the same process as with chamomile tea. Steep lavender buds in boiled water, but instead of five minutes, steep it for ten. Add honey if you want a sweet tea, and drink it while it’s hot.
A Taiwanese study shows that it’s effective to first take in the smell of lavender, and then make it into a tea. Drink at least one cup per day. The time you drink it shouldn’t matter too much, as it’s the consistent practice of drinking lavender tea daily that’ll have overall anti-anxiety and calming effects.
4. Peppermint Tea
Peppermint has a bright and sharp taste, so this herb might not sound like the ideal sleep aid at first. However, it’s fantastic to boil and make a tea with, as it has a sedative effect.
The only thing you have to be aware of is peppermint can have interactions with certain medications (like ones for diabetes, blood pressure, and indigestion), so double-check with your doctor first to make sure peppermint tea is acceptable to drink while you’re on any medications.
To make peppermint tea, boil some water and put some leaves in. How many you put in is up to you—adjust based on your personal taste. Let the leaves steep for five minutes and strain them out.
Add some honey if you want a sweet tea, and drink it while it’s hot. For the best effects, drink peppermint tea about an hour before you go to bed.
5. Warm Milk
For those who aren’t lactose intolerant, warm milk can be a good drink to help get you to sleep, considering you might already have it in your refrigerator.
Drinking any type of hot beverage can make you feel more relaxed. The reasoning behind this is because you can’t drink it quicly—you have to slow down and sip it carefully.
But milk also has tryptophan, which can make you feel sleepy.
The next time you have trouble sleeping, just warm up a glass of milk and drink it before getting back into bed. It may be just what you need to get a good night’s rest. For the best results, drink it an hour before sleeping.
6. Almond Milk
If you’re lactose intolerant and can’t drink warm cow’s milk, then not all hope is lost. Studies show that almond milk can have the same sleep aid properties as cow’s milk.
This is because almond milk contains not just tryptophan, but also melatonin and magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that has plenty of proven benefits for sleep, as well as helping with restless leg syndrome.
Consider that tryptophan is a precursor to melatonin, which means it’ll help regulate your sleep/wake cycle. Add in actual melatonin, which maximizes sleep regulation. Then, consider that magnesium promotes deep, restorative sleep, and all three components work toward not only helping you fall asleep but also getting you the quality sleep you deserve.
To get the maximum benefits from almond milk, you should drink it daily, preferably an hour or two before you go to sleep. You can even heat it up to get that cozy, relaxing feeling.
7. Golden Milk
Golden milk is essentially warm milk but dressed up with the addition of honey, ginger, and turmeric.
Turmeric is an herb that’s used for a wide variety of health benefits. For example, it has anti-inflammatory properties—plus it can reduce symptoms of anxiety. The other ingredients used are just to bring the milk flavor.
To make golden milk, mix a cup of milk with a teaspoon each of turmeric and honey, and then add a tiny bit of ginger. Simmer for about five minutes and strain the ginger out. Drink golden milk right before going to bed.
Ginger and turmeric may interact with certain medications, so consult with your doctor before you start adding golden milk to your night.
Try These Drinks to Help You Fall Asleep
The next time you can’t drift off to dreamland, try incorporating these drinks to help you fall asleep.
Remember that this list is only here to help with mild sleep issues. If you find yourself unable to fall asleep frequently, you’re having sleep apnea symptoms, or your insomnia is quite serious, the best thing to do is to see your doctor. Together, you can get to the root cause of your sleep problems and find a solution that’s personalized for you.