Bedtime Drinks that Promote Good Sleep
Good sleep hygiene means developing a pattern of behaviors that help you fall asleep faster, sleep more deeply, and stay asleep all night. When you go to bed, bedtime activities, and what you eat and drink in the evening all matter when it comes to better sleep. Avoid drinks that could keep you up and replace them with these pre-bed beverages that will leave you relaxed and sleepy.
Chamomile tea is a soothing, mild drink made from small, daisy-like flowers. People have long used chamomile tea to reduce anxiety, for relaxation, and better sleep. A study of 80 women drinking chamomile tea daily found that the tea reduced their symptoms of insomnia.
This classic blend is also an herbal tea designed to soothe the mind, relax the body, and prepare you for sleep. Often sleep teas contain chamomile, spearmint, and lemongrass. Another common ingredient found in sleep and calming teas is valerian, an herb long used as a sleep aid.
Valerian is a medicinal herb used for hundreds of years to treat insomnia. Some people also use it to manage depression, anxiety, and PMS. Studies of valerian and sleep are inconsistent, but many do show a connection between using valerian and getting better sleep.
Hot Lemon Water Before Bed
If you are not a fan of the flavor of herbal teas, a cup of hot water with a bit of lemon has a surprisingly similar effect. The warmth of the drink is what soothes. A cup of hot lemon water before bed also aids digestion, which can help you sleep better if you have a sensitive stomach.
This is another classic pre-bed drink that people have long used to relax and unwind. Milk has tryptophan, the amino acid that increases serotonin in the brain. Serotonin, in turn, is a precursor for melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.
All of this together makes a soothing, warm cup of milk an excellent pre-bed beverage. Studies back up what moms have long known, that warm milk does support sound sleep.
If a hot beverage isn’t your cup of tea, try cherry juice before bed. Tart cherry juice, in particular, contains significant amounts of melatonin. In a study of 30 people who drank tart cherry juice twice a day, researchers found they had improved sleep and woke up less during the night.
Drinks to Avoid Before Bed
Certain drinks are best left for earlier in the day. Anything with caffeine, for instance, is best avoided from mid-afternoon on. Caffeine can hide where you don’t expect it. A cup of green tea before bed might seem relaxing, but it does have some caffeine.
Also, avoid alcohol, which many people find soothing and relaxing. A glass or two of wine can help you fall asleep, but ultimately it reduces sleep quality. You’re likely to wake up more frequently.
Better sleep is possible with a variety of strategies like soothing, sleep-promoting beverages before bed. Combine this with other healthy sleep habits: meditation, exercise, soothing music, a comfortable bed. Put all the elements together for your best night of sleep yet.
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