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The 3 Best Drinks To Help You Sleep Better at Night

April 11, 2024

Having a hard time falling asleep? If you’re tossing and turning at night, you’re not alone: About 30% of U.S. adults have symptoms of insomnia, according to the National Academy of Sleep Medicine. But knowing there are others out there is cold comfort when you just want to get some rest. One thing that may help: Sipping a drink designed to help you sleep, recommended by a sleep doctor.

“Certain foods have sleep-inducing components, so it is true that eating or drinking something specific can help people sleep better,” says Dr. Po-Chang Hsu, MD. “For example, some ingredients have a soothing effect on the nervous system, triggering relaxation. Others may aid hormonal balance, including the sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. Examples of foods that are beneficial for sleep include tart cherries, kiwi, nuts, fatty fish, turkey, rice, and bananas.”

But how about drinks? Is it bad to drink a beverage before bed? According to Dr. Hsu, a drink can actually be majorly beneficial as a part of your sleep routine.

“It’s okay to drink soothing beverages right before bed, or within an hour of one’s supposed bedtime,” he says. “Most of them have an accumulative effect, which means it will take several days for them to start working.”

We asked Dr. Hsu to share a few drinks that may be able to help you finally get a good night’s sleep.

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1. Herbal teas

There’s a reason your cup of herbal tea feels soothing at the end of the day. According to Dr. Hsu, your cup likely has herbal elements that can soothe you.

“Chamomile, valerian root, and ashwagandha teas are some of the most sleep-inducing beverages,” he says. “These natural teas have a calming effect and aid relaxation. They can help people alleviate stress and anxiety. As a result, those who drink these herbal teas before bed tend to fall asleep more easily.”

Related: Best Teas for Sleep So You Can Finally Get Some Rest.

2. Tart cherry juice

If you’ve seen the viral “sleepy girl mocktail” on TikTok, you may already know about tart cherry juice’s connection to sleep.

“Cherry juice is also a good option since it contains tryptophan,” Dr. Hsu says. “This amino acid is believed to help promote melatonin production, a sleep-inducing hormone.”

One 2018 randomized-control study published in The American Journal of Therapeutics found that participants (older than 50 with known cases of insomnia) who drank tart cherry juice for two weeks had increased sleep time and efficiency, increased tryptophan availability, reduced inflammation, and some improvement in their insomnia, compared to a group that drank a placebo beverage.

If drinking juice isn’t your thing, you could also reap the benefits of tart cherries by freezing them and blending them into a smoothie, or sprinkling them into your meals throughout the day. Toss dried Montmorency tart cherries into a salad, or chop up canned or jarred unsweetened tart cherries, mix into soft goat cheese, and spread on a piece of whole-grain or sourdough toast.

3. Banana-almond smoothie

If you’re looking for a sweet, creamy treat at the end of the day, Dr. Hsu suggests blending up a banana-almond smoothie.

“Bananas are rich in muscle-relaxing magnesium and potassium,” he says. “And almonds contain sleep-promoting tryptophan and melatonin.”

To make one yourself, blend a chopped frozen banana with almond milk, almond butter, flaxseed meal or chia seeds for extra fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, and other add-ins for flavor, like cinnamon and honey.

Read next: The 7 Best Foods for a Better Night’s Sleep, Say Dietitians

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