The benefits of a restful night’s sleep are well-documented. A good night’s sleep can improve your mood, help you maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your stress levels. But if you’re having trouble sleeping, what you drink before bed may be partly to blame. Some beverages can help you fall asleep, while others could keep you awake. And even if a drink doesn’t contain caffeine, it may still have other ingredients that can interfere with a restful night of sleep. Here’s a look at some of the best and worst drinks to have before bedtime.
Best Drinks For Sleep
Having a mug of one of these drinks before bed can help to improve your sleep:
The science behind why drinking warm milk before bed can improve sleep quality is actually quite simple.
Milk contains tryptophan, which is a natural amino acid that the body uses to produce serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating mood, sleep, and appetite (5).
When tryptophan enters the brain, it might increase the production of serotonin, which can have a calming effect on the body and mind, making it easier to fall asleep (5).
In addition to tryptophan, milk collected from cows at night also contains melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle (5).
So, if you’re looking for a simple way to improve the quality of your sleep, try drinking a glass of warm milk before bed. You may just find that you will sleep better and wake up feeling well rested.
People with lactose intolerance or a milk allergy can still enjoy the benefits of drinking milk before bed by opting for almond milk. Almond milk also contains tryptophan and melatonin, making it an ideal bedtime drink for those looking to improve their sleep quality (4).
Both of these nutrients are thought to have a positive effect on melatonin levels in the body, which might help you sleep better.
As an added bonus, almond milk is also a good source of magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral that plays a role in many different processes in the body, including muscle relaxation and sleep regulation. A lack of magnesium has been linked to insomnia and other sleep disorders (4).
In addition to being a good source of sleep-inducing nutrients, almond milk is also lower in calories and fat than whole cow’s milk. This makes it a healthy option for those who are trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
Read More: Why Does Milk Make You Sleepy? Learn All The Facts!
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherry juice is a natural source of melatonin, which makes it an ideal drink to have before bed. Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle, and studies have shown that increasing levels of melatonin may help improve sleep quality (6).
In addition to being a good source of melatonin, tart cherry juice is also a good source of potassium and magnesium. Both of these minerals are important for muscle relaxation and sleep regulation (6).
Be sure to avoid sweetened or flavored varieties with high amounts of added sugar or other ingredients that can interfere with sleep.
Staying hydrated is important for overall health, and it can also help you sleep better.
When you’re dehydrated, your body’s fluid and electrolyte levels become imbalanced, which can lead to increased heart rate and blood pressure. This can make it more difficult to fall asleep and remain sleeping (6).
In addition, dehydration can cause headaches and muscle cramps, which can also disrupt sleep (11).
Finally, water helps to regulate your body’s temperature, which is important for maintaining a comfortable body temperature at night (6).
It’s advisable to hydrate continuously throughout the day rather than guzzling a lot of water right before bed. This will help to prevent frequent trips to the bathroom during the night.
Chamomile tea is a popular herbal tea that has long been used as a natural remedy for insomnia and anxiety. Chamomile tea contains an antioxidant called apigenin, which is believed to bind to certain receptors in the brain that cause a calming effect (13).
Unlike other teas, chamomile tea is naturally caffeine-free, so it won’t keep you awake at night.
In addition to helping you fall asleep, chamomile tea can also help you sleep more soundly through the night. One study found that older people who drank chamomile tea for 28 days reported improved sleep quality (13).
If you’re looking for a soothing beverage to help you sleep, chamomile tea is a good option. Just be sure to avoid adding a lot of sugar or honey, as these might actually promote wakefulness.
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Lavender is a popular herb that’s often used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and sleep. But did you know that you can also drink lavender tea before bed?
This tea contains linalool, a natural compound that has been shown to reduce anxiety and promote sleep (8).
In addition, lavender might decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. When cortisol levels are too high, it can be difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep (8).
So, if you’re dealing with stress or anxiety that’s interfering with your sleep, drinking a cup of lavender tea regularly before bed may help you get the restful night’s sleep you need.
Decaffeinated Green Tea
Green tea has been gaining popularity for its health benefits in recent years. Many people drink it for its antioxidants and its possible effects on weight loss, heart health, and cancer prevention. Some also tout green tea as a way to improve sleep quality (3).
The caffeine in green tea can make it difficult to fall asleep and may cause insomnia. However, decaffeinated green tea may help you get a better night’s sleep.
In addition to being low in calories, green tea is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine. This compound may promote relaxation and improve sleep quality (3).
Read More: Which Milk Is Best For Weight Loss: Should We Demonize This Calcium-Packed Drink?
Valerian root is a popular herbal remedy that’s often used to treat insomnia and anxiety. This herb may work by increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that has calming and sedative effects (16).
Valerian tea is made by steeping valerian root in hot water. This tea can be enjoyed before bed to promote sleep (16).
Just be aware that it has a strong taste that some people find unpleasant. If the taste is too strong for you, try adding some honey or lemon to make it more palatable.
Lemon Balm Tea
Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb that’s part of the mint family. This herb has long been used as a natural remedy for anxiety and insomnia (10).
Lemon balm tea contains compounds that might help to relax the mind and body. The first compound is called rosmarinic acid, which might block the breakdown of GABA (10).
The second is a compound called eugenol, which is said to help ease muscle aches and pains.
Lemon balm tea can be brewed with fresh or dried lemon balm leaves. If you can’t find lemon balm leaves, you can also use lemon balm extract.
Pure Coconut Water
Coconut water is a natural electrolyte drink that’s low in calories and sugar. It’s often touted as a healthy alternative to sports drinks.
Coconut water contains magnesium, which is a mineral that plays a role in relaxation and sleep. Research has shown that magnesium deficiency can lead to insomnia (9).
In addition, coconut water can help to replenish electrolytes and fluids that are lost during exercise. This can help to improve sleep quality and quantity (15).
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Avocado Banana Smoothie
This smoothie contains two ingredients that can help you sleep better: avocado and banana.
Avocado is a good source of magnesium, which as we just discussed, can promote relaxation and sleep (2).
Bananas are a good source of potassium and magnesium. These two minerals are important for muscle function and nerve transmission. They can also help to regulate blood pressure (14).
Fruit smoothies in general can be a perfect bedtime snack. They’re light, easily digestible, and full of nutrients that can promote sleep. Just be sure to avoid adding too much sugar, as this can have the opposite effect.
Some of the best sleep-inducing ingredients for smoothies include:
- Pumpkin – rich in magnesium
- Oats and other whole-grain carbs – rich in magnesium
- Bananas – rich in potassium and magnesium
- Dark leafy greens – rich in calcium
- Milk and yogurt – rich in calcium
- Turmeric -rich in curcumin
- Chamomile – contains apigenin
- Lavender – contains linalool and linalyl acetate
- Saffron – rich in safranal
- Peppermint – rich in menthol
- Pineapple – rich in bromelain
- Blueberries – rich in anthocyanins
- Almond – rich in magnesium
Worst Drinks For A Restful Night
These are some of the worst drinks to have before bed if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep.
Coffee is often used as a tool to wake up in the morning, which is not the effect you want at night.
This is because coffee contains caffeine, which is a stimulant that can make it difficult to fall asleep. In addition, coffee can also disrupt sleep later in the night (12). So if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, it’s best to avoid coffee in the afternoon or evening.
While some teas can promote sleep, others can actually keep you awake at night.
This is because many teas contain caffeine, which as we just discussed, is a stimulant. In addition, some teas also contain other stimulants like guarana and yerba mate.
So if you’re looking for a bedtime drink that will help you sleep, it’s best to choose a tea that is caffeine-free.
It’s no secret that alcohol can help you fall asleep. After all, that’s why so many people love nightcaps. However, while this drink may help you doze off, it’s not doing you any favors when it comes to sleep quality.
In fact, drinking alcohol before bed can lead to a number of sleep problems. Alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle, causing you to wake up during the night (1).
Even if you don’t fully wake up during the night, this beverage can still lead to poor sleep quality. This means you’ll likely feel tired and groggy the next day.
Alcohol is also a diuretic, which means it can cause you to wake up feeling thirsty and dehydrated or needing to use the bathroom. This can make it difficult to fall back asleep (1).
So if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, it’s best to avoid alcohol before bed.
Sugary drinks like soda and energy drinks can give you a temporary boost of energy. However, this boost is quickly followed by a crash that can leave you feeling tired and irritable.
In addition, sugary drinks like soda often contain caffeine, which as we just discussed, can disrupt sleep.
So if you’re looking for a bedtime drink that will help you sleep, it’s best to avoid sugary drinks before bed.
What Else Can You Do To Improve The Quality Of Your Sleep?
There are a number of things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. Here are some tips:
Understand Sleep Cycles
The average person sleeps for 7-8 hours each night (7). However, sleep is not continuous. It actually occurs in cycles of light and deep sleep.
Each sleep cycle lasts for 70-120 minutes and consists of four stages:
- Stage 1: This stage is the lightest stage of sleep. You may feel drowsy but you can be easily awakened.
- Stage 2: This stage is a bit deeper than stage 1. You may begin to experience brief periods of muscle relaxation and your heart rate will start to slow down.
- Stage 3: This is the deepest and most restorative stage of sleep. It’s during this stage that your body repairs itself and your brain consolidates memories.
- Stage 4: This stage is also known as Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is when you dream and your brain is active.
If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, it’s important to understand these sleep cycles and what you can do to promote deep, restful sleep.
Get On A Schedule
One of the best things you can do for your sleep is to get on a regular schedule. This means going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends.
Creating a sleep routine will help train your body to sleep at certain times and make it easier to fall asleep at night.
Create A Sleep Sanctuary
Your bedroom should be a relaxing haven that promotes sleep. To create a sleep sanctuary, start by making sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool. Then, add some calming elements like soft sheets and relaxing scents.
In addition, avoid using your bedroom for activities like work or watching TV. This will help train your brain to associate your bedroom with sleep.
Regular exercise can improve the quality of your sleep. Just make sure you don’t exercise too close to bedtime as this can actually disrupt sleep. Aim to exercise at least 3-4 hours before bedtime to give your body time to wind down.
As we mentioned earlier, caffeine can disrupt sleep. So if you’re struggling to sleep at night, limit your intake of caffeine during the day. Avoid caffeine after 2pm to give your body time to metabolize it before bed.
Watch What You Eat For Dinner
Eating spicy, greasy, or sugary foods for dinner can disrupt your sleep. So if you’re looking for a good night’s sleep, stick to a light, healthy dinner.
In general, it’s best to avoid eating large meals before bedtime as this can lead to indigestion and make it difficult to fall asleep. Some of the best meals for sleep are light, healthy options like a small salad, a cup of soup, or yogurt.
What’s The Bottom Line?
When it comes to bedtime drinks, there are good choices and bad choices. Alcohol and sugary drinks can disrupt sleep while herbal tea and milk can promote deep, restful sleep.
Bedtime drinks are just one part of the equation. If you’re struggling to sleep at night, consider making some changes to your diet and lifestyle. Exercise, a healthy diet, and a regular sleep schedule can all improve the quality of your sleep.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Alcohol and sleep (2022, sleepfoundation.org)
- Avocado consumption is associated with better diet quality and nutrient intake, and lower metabolic syndrome risk in US adults: results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2001-2008 (2013, biomedcentral.com)
- Beneficial effects of green tea: A literature review (2010, nih.gov)
- Bioactive phytochemicals of tree nuts. Determination of the melatonin and sphingolipid content in almonds and pistachios (2019, sciencedirect.com)
- Does Warm Milk Help You Sleep? (2022, sleepfoundation.org)
- Effects of Diet on Sleep Quality (2016, nih.gov)
- How Much Sleep Do We Really Need? (2022, sleepfoundation.org)
- Lavender and the Nervous System (2013, nih.gov)
- Magnesium Intake and Sleep Disorder Symptoms: Findings from the Jiangsu Nutrition Study of Chinese Adults at Five-Year Follow-Up (2018, nih.gov)
- Pilot trial of Melissa officinalis L.leaf extract in the treatment of volunteers suffering from mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances (2011, nih.gov)
- Public knowledge of dehydration and fluid intake practices: variation by participant’s characteristics (2018, nih.gov)
- Sleep and Caffeine (2018, sleepeducation.org)
- The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial (2017, nih.gov)
- The Health Benefits of Bananas (2020, webmd.com)
- The Health Benefits of Coconut Water (2021, clevelandclinic.org)
- Valerian for Sleep: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis (2015, nih.gov)