Herbal Teas to Help You Sleep
Sleep problems are fairly common, with an estimated one in three people in the UK affected at some point. Occasional occurrences may not cause any significant problems, but in some cases, it can last months or years and have an impact on quality of life.
Those who have problems sleeping may have difficulty falling asleep or wake up several times during the night. Lack of sleep can cause tiredness and irritability, as well as effects on concentration.
It is not possible to say exactly how much sleep a person needs as everyone is different, but for adults around seven to nine hours per night is considered normal.
There are several self-help measures that can be taken in order to improve sleep, such as setting regular bedtimes, avoiding caffeine and large meals for a few hours before bedtime, and refraining from using digital devices immediately before bed. Some people also find that herbal teas can help.
Chamomile is probably the herbal tea most associated with aiding sleep. It is thought to have soothing and sedative qualities, and many people use it as a night time drink. It has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments.
Studies in animals have shown that a small amount can relieve anxiety and larger quantities can help with sleep. Although there has only been limited research in the effect on humans, the studies carried out on animals suggest that it could safely be used as a mild aid to sleep.
The tea is made from dried chamomile flowers and is readily available from supermarkets and health food shops.
Valerian root is another popular herbal remedy for sleep problems. It is believed that phytochemicals found in the root can trigger relaxation and reduce stress. Valerian root may help to calm anxiety and reduce blood pressure. Some studies have shown that it can reduce the amount of time that it takes to fall asleep, as well as improve the quality of sleep.
It is often combined with other herbs such as lemon balm, which is also believed to aid sleep.
Rose tea is a fragrant drink which is thought to offer several health benefits mainly due to the vitamin C and antioxidant content. It is thought that it can help provide benefits to the hair and skin, as well as boost immunity.
In addition to the possible physical benefits, it is suggested that rose tea can help to calm the mind and relieve stress and anxiety. These properties can aid relaxation and help to induce sleep.
Peppermint tea is well known as a digestive aid and is sometimes recommended for issues such as irritable bowel syndrome and constipation. It has antispasmodic properties and is a muscle relaxant, so it helps to soothe the digestive system. These same properties can aid sleep as the relaxant benefits can help to relieve anxiety and promote relaxation.
The tea is easy to make using peppermint leaves, but tea bags are also widely available.
Safety and Effectiveness
Although herbal teas are safe for many people, they are not safe for everyone. Anyone who has a medical condition or who is on medication should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any herbal remedies. Some herbs are not safe to take during pregnancy or breastfeeding, so they should be avoided.
There is some dispute over whether or not herbal remedies can actually improve sleep. Some studies have found evidence to suggest that they may work, where other studies have not. For example, it has been found that valerian root may improve the sleep quality of those who are coming off sleeping pills, but other research has found that it may be no more effective than a placebo.
However, despite the mixed evidence, there are many people who find herbal tea useful for aiding sleep. Switching from caffeinated drinks to herbal tea may help to reduce sleep problems, as it is well known that caffeine can disrupt sleep. It has also been suggested that the routine of making the tea is calming, so that alone may aid sleep.
For those who are experiencing sleep problems but want to avoid medication, herbal tea is one self-help measure that can be tried.
There are certain medical conditions that can cause insomnia, so if sleep problems continue and self-help measures haven't helped, it is advisable to consult your healthcare provider.
This article is for information only and not intended as medical advice. If you have any concerns about sleep problems please speak to your doctor. Herbal remedies aren't suitable for everyone, so please consult a healthcare provider before use.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.