The 3 Best Drinks To Help You Sleep Better at Night
Having a hard time getting your ZZZs in at the end of the day? If you’re tossing and turning at night and your go-to melatonin supplements just aren’t doing the trick anymore, you may actually benefit from sipping on one of these drinks 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 Po-Chang Hsu MD, MS, at SleepingOcean. “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 of the drinks to help you sleep that will lull you into the night of rest you’ve always dreamed of — pun intended.
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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, sleepy-time tea likely has herbal elements that can soothe you right to sleep.
“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.”
If you’re looking to stock up on some herbal tea blends to wind down your day, try these Best Teas for Sleep So You Can Finally Get Some Rest.
2. Tart cherry juice
While tart cherry juice is well known for muscle recovery after a workout, studies also show how it’s also considered one of the best drinks to help you 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 for the participants (older than 50 with known cases of insomnia) who drank tart cherry juice for two weeks compared to a group that drank a placebo beverage had increased sleep time and efficiency, increased tryptophan availability, reduce inflammation, and some improvement in their insomnia.
If drinking juice isn’t exactly 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 — like dried Montmorency tart cherries in a salad, or warmed up and spread on a piece of whole grain toast with your favorite spreadable cheese.
3. Banana-almond smoothie
If you’re looking for a sweet, creamy treat that doesn’t disrupt your sleep at the end of the day, Dr. Hsu says blending up a banana-almond smoothie should do the trick.
“Bananas are rich in muscle-relaxing magnesium and potassium,” he says. “And almonds contain sleep-promoting tryptophan and melatonin.”
To make one yourself, blend up a frozen banana with almond milk, almond butter, flax seeds 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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