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Sarah Regan / July 17, 2021
When bedtime approaches and you’re looking for a calming beverage to sip on, what do you go for? Not all nighttime drinks are created equal, so we asked experts for their favorites—plus, how much you should (or shouldn’t) drink before bed to avoid waking up. Here’s what they had to say:
1. Golden Milk
Our first pick is a favorite of both sleep specialist and author of The Sleep Solution W. Chris Winter, M.D., and doctor of chiropractic and functional medicine expert Stacie Stephenson, D.C., CNS. Golden milk is essentially a turmeric latte, and Stephenson notes the anti-inflammatory properties of this botanical could help support a great night’s sleep.
“Once you’ve tried golden milk, you’ll be hooked on the way it settles your mind and body at the end of the day and invites your entire being to relax and let go of any worries as you drift off to sleep,” neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D., previously told mbg.
2. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has long been a bedtime standby, and for good reason. Williams and Stephenson both recommend it, as it contains “apigenin,” a crystalline plant phytonutrient compound that binds to receptors in your brain that help you relax. This floral tea has been found in research to help new moms sleep better—”and it also has some pain-relieving qualities,” Stephenson adds.
3. Jujube Tea
A popular Chinese date, jujube has long been prized for its ability to ease stress, enhance sleep quality, and promote healthy daytime functioning.* “One thing I particularly like about [it] is that it is also a food that is very gentle and doesn’t knock people out or cause hangovers the morning after taking it,”* integrative medicine physician Robert Rountree, M.D., previously told mbg.
Simmering a pound of sweet jujube dates, a little ginger, and a gallon of water will leave you with a sippable tea. Jujube is also a star player in some sleep supplements, including mindbodygreen’s bestselling sleep support+.*
4. Ashwagandha Tea
If stress is keeping you from your best night’s sleep, ashwagandha might be worth considering. A popular adaptogenic herb, it contains sitoindosides and acyl steryl glucosides that have a relaxing effect on the body, Stephenson explains, adding, “It’s a traditional remedy in Ayurvedic medicine that I really like for relieving stress.”
5. Valerian Tea
Valerian tea is another popular bedtime tea that you’ve probably seen before. As Stephenson notes, its valepotriates and sesquiterpenes are “natural sedatives that can help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly.”
6. Tart Cherry Juice
Lastly, Winter recommends tart cherry juice before bed since it has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. As holistic psychiatrist Ellen Vora, M.D., previously explained to mbg, “Drinking tart cherry juice before bed has been shown to improve sleep duration and quality in both men and women.”
Things To Keep In Mind
It wouldn’t be a story about what to drink before bed if we didn’t mention what not to drink before bed: alcohol and caffeine. Both can interfere with your sleep, with alcohol inhibiting REM sleep, and of course, caffeine making it harder for you to fall asleep in the first place.
And when it comes to what you do want to drink, you might be wondering, what about waking up to use the bathroom? According to Winter, you can hydrate as much as you want if you don’t mind getting up to go to the bathroom. “If it happens, it’s no big deal really,” he says.
But of course, if you would rather sleep through the night, Stephenson says to simply enjoy your bedtime beverages about an hour before bed, and use the bathroom right before you go to sleep.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day (literally), there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself unwind and prepare for sleep, including drinking these soothing beverages. So fire up your kettle—or grab that tart cherry juice—and prepare to get sleepy.