Does Drinking Tea Before Bed Affect How You Sleep?

Most people know that they aren’t supposed to drink coffee late in the day since its high caffeine content interferes with sleep. What about tea, however? How does drinking tea before bed affect your sleep?

The answer to this question really depends on the type of tea that you are talking about. Caffeinated tea like black tea has a similar effect to coffee. The caffeine from the tea creates a feeling of alertness that makes it more difficult to sleep. Most experts recommend avoiding drinking caffeinated tea directly before bed. In fact, you should usually stop drinking it about six hours before you plan on heading to bed to avoid any lingering side effects from the caffeine.

Some types of tea, however, are excellent at promoting sleep. Herbal teas, in particular, tend to have sleep-inducing properties.

For instance, chamomile tea has a sedative effect that makes people who drink it feel a little bit drowsy. When you drink this type of tea shortly before bed, it can help you feel more tired so that it is easier to fall asleep. Valerian tea has a similar effect, although the taste is a bit more pungent.

Other types of tea help relieve stress and anxiety. Lavender tea, for example, reduces cortisol levels while at the same time boosting the amount of dopamine in the brain. This creates a calm, relaxed sensation that makes falling asleep much easier. There are numerous scientific studies that back up the sleep-inducing power of lavender tea.

Lemon balm tea also helps promote better sleep by minimizing feelings of anxiety. It also may be beneficial at combating depression. One of the side effects of depression is difficulty sleeping. By using lemon balm to help ease the symptoms of depression, it may become easier to fall asleep at night.

Heartburn and indigestion can also interfere with sleep. Some types of tea are extremely effective at controlling these problems. Instead of reaching for an antacid, you can try enjoying a cup of spearmint or peppermint tea before bed. These teas help counteract digestive problems, reducing the symptoms of indigestion and heartburn. When your stomach feels good, getting good sleep is much easier.

As you can see, drinking tea before bed can have a dramatic effect on your sleep. If you do want to enjoy a cup of tea before you go to sleep, there are some guidelines that you should follow. Along with choosing the right type of tea, you should also try to drink the tea at least 30 minutes to an hour before bed. If you drink it right at bedtime, you may wind up having to get up to use the bathroom during the night, which can counteract the sleep-inducing properties of the tea.

Drinking the tea well in advance of going to bed also gives it a chance to work. The relaxing properties of the tea should start kicking in about the time that you go to bed, meaning that you don’t have to lay awake waiting for it to take effect.

Keep in mind, as well, that herbal teas can interfere with some medications and may not be safe if you have certain health conditions. Before you start drinking a specific type of herbal tea, check with your doctor to make sure that it is safe. It usually isn’t a problem, but it always is best to play it safe.

You may also want to experiment with different types of tea to see which ones help you sleep the best. Many tea manufacturers create blends that are specifically designed to promote sleep. These are usually a good option since they incorporate multiple ingredients that relieve stress and promote relaxation.