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7 Healthy Drinks that Help You Sleep

Sleep issues such as sleep deprivation affect about 7 to 19 percent of adults in the United States alone. (1)

Sleep deprivation can include insomnia, not getting enough hours of sleep, not getting the two different types of sleep necessary like REM and non-REM sleep, or simply poor quality sleep. Adequate and restful sleep is a basic human need that everyone needs to thrive and live a healthy life. The basic hours are between 7 to 10 hours of sleep. Everyone is different in how many hours help them feel rested (26, 29).

It’s necessary to get Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, as well as non-REM sleep each night. Sleep deficiency is common, but there are many easy ways to induce sleep and get more rest overall (2). One way is to change your diet. The foods you eat have a direct connection to how much sleep and what quality of sleep you can get (3).

There are many ways to get better sleep each night. Make sure to follow sleep hygiene tips like going to bed at the same time each night, quit electronics at least an hour before sleep, set your bedroom to a comfortable temperature, avoid large meals before bedtime, and more (26, 11, 2).

Summary: Sleep deprivation affects 7-19% of adults in the United States. Adequate sleep, about 7-10 hours per night, is essential for human health. It’s especially important to sleep long enough and go through both REM and non-REM sleep stages. A healthy diet can have a big impact on adequate sleep.

Drinks that Help You Sleep

If the above-mentioned tips don’t work, there are a plethora of drinks you can include in your nightly routine. Try to incorporate some of these drinks to get a sense of calm and induce more restful sleep, naturally.

1. Tart Cherry Juice

Cherry juice is full of muscle-relaxing nutrients that can not only help sleep quality but also muscle soreness brought on by exercise and other inflammatory diseases like gout (4, 12, 13, 28).

Tart cherry juice can be especially effective at helping older adults recover from insomnia. (4) Try to get tart cherry juice with the least amount of sugar possible. Unfortunately, a lot of cherry juices are full of artificial flavors and unnecessary added sugar. But there are some tart cherry juices with little sugar to give you all the health benefits.

Summary: Tart cherry juice is packed with nutrition helpful for muscle recovery and relaxation, fighting inflammation, and improving sleep quality. It is naturally full of melatonin, the hormone that helps the body feel sleepy. Drink tart cherry juice without added sugar for optimal health.

2. Peppermint Tea

Peppermint tea is extremely popular, and for good reasons. It has many health benefits, including helping with sleep promotion (5, 14).

 

Peppermint has strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties, too. Even just the smell of peppermint can make you sleepy. In one study, there was an improvement in the sleep quality of participants as well as their moods. (5) Grab some peppermint tea to see how this potent oil and plant can help improve the quality of your sleep.

Summary: Peppermint tea is helpful for relaxation, promoting sleep, and improving mood. Peppermint is also beneficial for the gut, and has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Sip on hot peppermint tea after dinner for relaxation.

3. Water

Although this may seem like an obvious choice, there is a huge link between dehydration and sleep deprivation (27). In one study, with those from the United States and China, show that short sleep duration and dehydration can go hand in hand. (6)

Adequate water intake is crucial for your daily overall health for many reasons. You are made up of 60 percent water, and that not only affects your sleep but the functioning of your major organs, energy production, and more (15, 16). If you are having trouble drinking more water due to the flavor, try adding in some lemon or fruit for some more flavor. You can also include an electrolyte mix with magnesium to promote better sleep, too (17). Stay away from electrolyte drinks with added sugar and caffeine.

Summary: Adequate water intake is highly beneficial for improving sleep habits. The body is made up of 60% water, which is used in every major organ system and body process. Without water, the body struggles to find balance. If you don’t like plain water, sip on herbal tea, or add a spritz of citrus into your water bottle for added flavor.

4. Valerian Tea

Valerian root is an herb that shows to be effective at not only inducing sleep but improving overall sleep quality, too. (7)

Valerian root shows to be quite effective at insomnia as well. Many people in the world suffer specifically from insomnia, yet they often resort to medicine that can be extremely addictive and habit-forming. This herb can be a helpful natural alternative to help with your insomnia troubles (18, 7). Valerian tea is an easy way to get more valerian root into your diet before bed. Try some of this tea to see if it makes a difference in your nightly routine.

Summary: Valerian root is an herb that helps curb insomnia and improve overall sleep quality. Valerian root tea is perfect to add to your bedtime routine to promote sleepiness and help you wind down at night.

5. Kava Kava

Kava Kava is an herbal medicine that usually comes in a tincture, but is available as a drink, too. This powerful herb can also go in your water or your favorite drink for better sleep. (8)

You will likely only need a small amount of this strong herb to get to sleep. This herb should not be a regular part of your routine as regular use of too much kava can lead to a higher risk of liver disease. It is better to incorporate this into your routine occasionally, as it is a non-habit-forming herb (19).

Summary: Kava Kava is an herbal medicine available as a drink that helps promote sleepiness. A small amount of this herb will do the trick. High intake of this herb may increase liver disease risk, so be sure to use it occasionally and not consistently.

6. Milk

Milk, especially warm milk, is a naturally calming drink that can help to induce sleep faster. You can choose whatever type of milk you want, whether that is cow’s milk, goat milk, or a non-dairy alternative (9, 30).

What is in milk that helps you sleep? The high calcium in dairy milk, as well as a non-dairy alternative, can promote relaxation in the brain. Also, dairy milk has high amounts of not only calcium but also melatonin (9, 21).

Melatonin is typically released in the brain when it is time for bed, but if there is too much stress, cortisol can compete and keep you up instead. The high amount of melatonin and calcium in milk can get you off to dreamland faster (9, 20, 30).

Summary: Warm milk is naturally calming and can help induce sleepiness. Any milk is beneficial, from cow’s milk to non-dairy alternatives. The high calcium in milk promotes relaxation in the brain. Dairy milk is high in both calcium and melatonin, a powerful combination to induce sleepiness.

7. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is a potent herb that can significantly help to induce the onset of sleep (22, 23).

This is a naturally calming herb used for centuries among many. The reason chamomile may be an effective sleep-inducing herb maybe because of its flavonoid compounds, specifically apigenin (24). This compound binds to receptors in the brain that can affect relaxation. (10)

Known as a mild and natural tranquilizer, this herb can be a powerful addition to your nightly routine (23). Grab some relaxing chamomile tea for an easy solution to sleep issues. Throw some warm milk with cinnamon into it for an extra relaxing effect.

Summary: Chamomile tea naturally helps the body relax and induce sleepiness. It contains flavonoid compounds, specifically apigenin, which helps bind to receptors in the brain that promote relaxation. Sip on chamomile tea before bed with a splash of warm milk and cinnamon.

Conclusion

It is crucial to get quality sleep every night to maintain a general sense of health and wellbeing (25, 1). Try out some of these easy-to-include drinks and see if they can help you get more rest, better sleep quality, and reduce insomnia. Relaxation techniques, as well as a sleep hygiene routine, can be helpful to include before bed as well (26).

Revamp your sleeping routine by taking a careful look at your nightly sleep routine. Are you going to bed at a different time every night? Are you sleeping in too much on the weekend, throwing off your schedule for the week? (26)

Try to get the required hours of sleep each night to avoid chronic disease, anxiety, and more than all start from too much inflammation in the body. If none of these drinks help, investigate a diet and lifestyle change to see if that helps (1, 25, 26). If you suffer from chronic insomnia, make sure to reach out to your doctor or healthcare professional to see if they can help.

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Evidence Based

This article is based on scientific evidence, and written, fact-checked & medically reviewed by health experts.

Throughout this article, you'll find scientific references (clickable links to highly trusted peer-reviewed scientific papers, links denoted by the numbers in the parentheses (1, 2, 3)).