The Best Bedtime Teas for the Insomniac
Do you find yourself staying up until the late hours of the night, not able to sleep? Are the everyday stresses of life getting to you when you’re just trying to get some shut-eye?
When you’re trying to get some sleep, we all know that caffeine is a big no-no. However, there’s some caffeine-free teas that are specifically made to help you get some much-needed rest. Most bedtime teas are made with herbal ingredients that help promote sleep, like chamomile, lavender or valerian.
All of the teas below can easily be prepared using a Primula whistling tea kettle, and then steeped and served in a cast iron teapot or glass teapot with infuser.
Here’s our breakdown of the best kinds of bedtime teas. Have a favorite that we missed? Let us know in the comments!
1. Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea
If you’ve ever had a bedtime tea, this is probably the one you’ve had. It’s a great tea to drink to unwind and the delicious taste definitely helps. Tea drinkers who enjoy this tea before bed have been drinking it for years. Some tea drinkers are even trying the Sleepytime Extra version and are reporting heavy eyelids sooner.
From Celestial Seasonings’ website, “This most beloved of herbal teas gets its comforting aroma and perfectly balanced flavor from a blend of soothing herbs, including delicate chamomile, cool spearmint and fresh lemongrass. Wind down your day with Sleepytime® tea!”
- Tilia flowers
- Blackberry leaves
- Orange blossoms
2. Adagio Foxtrot Tea
Available in loose leaf or tea bags, the Foxtrot tea from Adagio Teas is a great combination of flavor and herbs to relax you. This tea has flavoring, so for those of you who aren’t big on the herbal tea flavor without any added flavoring, this one could be for you. Regardless, it’s a great decaf tea that a lot of tea lovers seem to enjoy.
From Adagio Tea’s website, “The Foxtrot tea is an herbal cocktail of Egyptian chamomile, South African rooibos (with a touch of vanilla) and fresh peppermint. A soothing blend of familiar tastes that produces a pleasantly original combination.
- Chamomile flowers
- Rooibos tea
- Peppermint leaves
- Natural vanilla flavor
3. The Tao of Tea Cape Town Rooibos
This tea is definitely a great relaxer right before bedtime. Mixing natural relaxers like chamomile and spearmint, tea drinkers describe this tea as sweet, never bitter, with floral, fruity and minty tastes. This tea comes out as a beautiful, rich red color after steeping and produces a soothing aroma. It’s much more pleasant than plain rooibos tea, while still offering the same healthy, low tannin drink. It’s good hot or cold, so you don’t need to drink piping hot tea in the warm summer months.
From Tao of Tea’s website, “Rooibos is a member of the legume family of plants, and is commonly used to make a tisane (herbal tea). It belongs to the Aspalathus genus of plants, which consists of more than 200 species originating in the Cederberg mountains of South Africa. Rooibos grows exclusively in the Cederberg Mountain region and around Clanwilliam and Citrusdal. During summer and early autumn, the branches are hand-harvested and cut into smaller pieces. The raw Rooibos is then moistened with water, thoroughly bruised, then placed in heaps and allowed to oxidize for 8 to 24 hours. After oxidation, the herb is spread out in a special yard to dry naturally in the sun. Cape Town Rooibos, our handcrafted blend of Superfine grade organic Rooibos with fragrant herbs, makes a sweet and refreshing golden-red brew.”
- South African Rooibos
- Red rose petals
- Lemon verbena
- Orange peel
4. Yogi Bedtime Tea
Easily found in grocery stores, Yogi Bedtime Tea is perfect for stress relief and winding down after a long day. This tea contains chamomile and valerian, both wonderful for putting people to sleep. The tea is incredibly delicious, with a mildly spicy flavor from the ginger used in the mix. Besides being great for winding down, tea drinkers also claim this is a good detox tea, yielding flat tummies and pain relief from stomach aches and cramps.
From Yogi Tea’s website, “This comforting and delicious blend combines soothing Passionflower and relaxing Chamomile Flower. Licorice, Cardamom and Cinnamon add delicious warming flavor that’s just right for drinking before bedtime. Relax and unwind with a cup of Bedtime tea.”
- Spearmint leaf
- Chamomile flower
- Skullcap leaf
- Cinnamon bark
- John’s Wort leaf and flower
- Rose hip
- Natural and organic flavors
- Raspberry leaf
- Lavender flower
- Stevia leaf
- Passion flower extract
- Valerian root extract
- Licorice root
5. Twinings Nightly Calm Herbal Tea
This tea is perfect for the tea drinker who doesn’t love the taste of chamomile by itself. Offering a tasty blend, the Nightly Calm herbal tea from Twinings is celebrated by tea drinkers for its ability to make you sleepy. The chamomile and mint are well balanced, with a touch of lemon in the background. This tea is a great option for the novice tea drinker, offering a flavor that even the biggest “coffee-over-tea” drinker can appreciate.
From Twinings’ website, Nightly Calm is “A comforting herbal tea expertly blended with chamomile, spearmint and the subtle flavor of lemongrass to deliver a soothing tea with a warm, inviting aroma and smooth, mellow taste.”
- Natural spearmint flavor
- Lemon myrtle
- Orange leaves
- Orange blossom
- Hawthorn berries
6. Stash Tea Mellow Moments Herbal Tea
The Mellow Moments blend from Stash Tea is another blend that includes chamomile. No enhancements or sweeteners are required to make this tea taste great. The mint taste is very mild and smooth, which helps you relax. The flavors come together to create a deliciously unique flavor without being too overwhelming. This tea blend also includes tulsi leaves, so it is said to help with respiratory issues, sinus issues and frequent headaches as well.
From Stash Tea’s website, “Relax and unwind with this herbal tea that brings together mints and herbs to create an especially soothing tea. Fragrant tulsi leaves, an ancient plant used extensively in India and in Ayurvedic practice, adds yet another component of comfort to our Mellow Moments herbal tea. Invite calming intentions into your life as you sip this tea. Naturally caffeine-free.”
- Chamomile pellets
- Organic tulsi
- Natural guava flavor
- Natural grapefruit flavor
7. Tea Tonix BE SLEEPY
This tea is a great tasting tea that promotes a relaxed feeling and helps relieve anxiety and promote sleep. This tea is known to have pronounced chamomile and lavender flavors, as well as a unique addition with the kava kava. All of the ingredients are organic and many tea drinkers have said that this tea helps them get to sleep about 30 minutes after drinking it, with some drinkers even reporting a deeper level of sleep after drinking it. A big problem for many who have trouble sleeping is the ability to stay asleep, and the BE SLEEPY blend from Tea Tonix is supposed to be great for that.
From Tea Tonix’s description of this tea, “Having trouble unwinding after a busy day? Is falling asleep or staying asleep nearly impossible? We have a tonic for that! Our BE SLEEPY is formulated with effective, potent herbs to help calm the nervous system and encourage a good night's sleep. We use wonderful smelling and tasting herbs such as chamomile and lavender and blend them with super effective herbs such as valerian, passionflower, hops, kava, and vervain. Together, these herbs will help quiet and soothe the brain and nervous system for a better night's sleep.”
- Kava kava
- Lemon balm
- Violet leaves
The most popular herbal ingredients for sleep
Chamomile is found in most bedtime teas, and has been used for centuries to cure ailments and aid with relaxation.
According to a published journal by Srivastava, Shakar and Gupta in the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institute of Health, “Traditionally, chamomile preparations such as tea and essential oil aromatherapy have been used to treat insomnia and to induce sedation (calming effects). Chamomile is widely regarded as a mild tranquillizer and sleep-inducer. Sedative effects may be due to the flavonoid, apigenin that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Studies in preclinical models have shown anticonvulsant and CNS depressant effects respectively. Clinical trials are notable for their absence, although ten cardiac patients are reported to have immediately fallen into a deep sleep lasting for 90 minutes after drinking chamomile tea. ”
We’re still waiting on more studies to come forward that helps to prove chamomile as a sleep aid, but the feedback and results seen so far are looking pretty promising.
Lavender is highly regarded as having anti-stress properties, which helps with sleep.
Based on a Medical Reference Guide published by the University of Maryland Medical Center, “In folklore, pillows were filled with lavender flowers to help restless people fall asleep. Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Studies also suggest that massage with essential oils, particularly lavender, may result in improved sleep quality, more stable mood, better concentration, and reduced anxiety. In one study, people who received massage with lavender felt less anxious and more positive than those who received massage alone. Several small studies suggest that lavender aromatherapy may help reduce agitation in people with dementia. Lavender flowers have also been approved in Germany as a tea for insomnia, restlessness, and nervous stomach irritations.”
So there you have it. Lavender, in many forms, is great for relaxation and sleep. When drinking lavender tea before bed, make sure to inhale some of the aromas to get the maximum benefit from it.
Valerian is different than the other herbs and plants because it may take a bit- up to a few weeks- to feel the full effect.
Lifted from the University of Maryland Medical Center, “Valerian is a popular alternative to prescription medications for sleep problems because it is considered to be both safe and gentle. Some studies show that it helps people fall asleep faster and feel that they have a better quality of sleep. One of the best designed studies found that valerian was no more effective than placebo for 14 days, but by 28 days valerian greatly improved sleep for those who were taking it. Some researchers now think you may need to take valerian for a few weeks before it begins to work. However, in another study, valerian was more effective than placebo almost immediately. Other studies show that valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves the quality of sleep. Unlike many prescription sleeping pills, valerian may have fewer side effects, such as morning drowsiness.”
The use of valerian for insomnia is still highly debated, but many tea drinkers say that valerian is very effective for helping sleep.
Final Point of Brew
Though there are many herbs and plants that help you sleep, we hope this guide is a good reference to help relieve your inability to sleep or relax after a long day. Try pairing your bedtime tea with some light yoga or some meditation to really calm your body down for a good night’s rest. Make sure to clear your mind of anything that is bothering you so your wheels aren’t spinning deep into the night. Some of the best relief comes from the ability to just let some things go.