Lauren is a board-certified adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner. Lauren has done NP clinical practicums focusing on the adolescent, adult, and geriatric populations in internal medicine, long-term care, and in outpatient oncology/bone marrow transplant. Lauren received a BA from Assumption University, a BSN from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and her MS in Nursing from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. She is certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

We all know the power of coffee and how it’s a crucial part of millions of people’s morning routine as a trusted source of energy. But what about the night owls who struggle to fall asleep when bedtime rolls around, are there any existing concoctions that induce sleepiness? Aside from unnatural sleep remedies, it would be best if you avoid sleeping pills, which sedate you rather than aid you. Several pre-bedtime drinks promote a better night’s sleep. Some are well-known, but others might actually surprise you!

1.) Chamomile Tea

Combining dried daisy-like chamomile flowers with hot water gives you a relaxing, sleep-inducing tea that has been used for thousands of years, dating back to the time of ancient Romans and Egyptians. Aside from its sleep aid benefits, it also helps ease cold symptoms, improves the look and feel of your skin, and reduces inflammation.

2.) Peppermint Tea

This is a great tea for all seasons, but if you’re like me (Slumber Yard member McKenzie), I especially love drinking this tea around the holidays to compliment the candy cane garments on my Christmas tree.

peppermint tea help sleep
Peppermint tea can help relax you before bed

Other than the fact it ties the Christmas vibe together in your home, the taste and smell promotes relaxation before bed and help ease stress. It also aids your immune system and can help relieve an upset stomach or indigestion if you’re trying to go to bed after eating a big dinner.

3.) Valerian Tea

The valerian plant is a part of the honeysuckle family, and the root is often used to relieve insomnia and help people receive a better night’s sleep. It’s been shown to especially benefit menopausal women who struggle with insomnia, as 30% of postmenopausal women claimed to sleep better after taking a 530 mg dose of valerian (in capsule form) twice a day for 4 weeks. However, the National Institutes of Health suggests that pregnant or nursing people should steer clear of valerian. This herb can also interact with medications, so check with your doctor before you start taking it.

4.) Decaf Green Tea

Non-herbal tea, like black tea and regular green tea, isn’t the best before bed because they contain significant amounts of caffeine, one of the main things you should stay away from if you’re looking to get some shut-eye. On the other hand, decaffeinated green tea is perfectly suitable and allows you to take in the benefits of theanine, an amino acid found in green tea that helps promote better sleep and relieve stress.

5.) Warm Milk

This is certainly one sleep remedy you’ve heard of before, whether you’ve given warm milk to the toddler you were babysitting before their bedtime or you saw it in a movie once. Why is warm milk such a common sleep remedy? You can give credit to a few of milk’s main ingredients, calcium and tryptophan, which your body then converts into melatonin — the hormone in your body responsible for making you feel sleepy.

6.) Almond Milk

This drink is an ideal pre-bed option for those who are lactose intolerant or trying to stay away from dairy. Almonds contain fiber and other beneficial nutrients like vitamins and minerals like tryptophan, melatonin, and magnesium. We went over the sleepy benefits of tryptophan and melatonin, but magnesium is also known as a sleep-inducing mineral and helps treat insomnia.

7.) Hot Chocolate

Who knew that everyone’s favorite wintertime drink could actually help you fall asleep at night. The key is to mix the hot chocolate powder with milk rather than water, so it’s a creamier, more velvety mixture, with all the added benefits of heated milk.

hot chocolate help sleep
A mild hot chocolate with milk is one of our favorite sleep inducers

Hot chocolate also makes you feel all warm inside, which doesn’t hurt when you’re trying to get cozy and sleepy.

8.) Cherry Juice

Cherry juice is another not so common but very beneficial sleep aid because it contains healthy amounts of tryptophan, an amino acid that our body naturally turns into melatonin. Tart cherries, in particular, are rich in tryptophan, and in a 7-day study involving 20 participants, those who drank tart cherry juice had higher melatonin levels than those who drank a placebo. This makes cherry juice a top contender for pre-bedtime drinks that make you feel sleepy.

9.) Coconut Water

You might be questioning this addition to the list since coconut water is more widely known for its energizing qualities, not its sleep-inducing ones. With that being said, pure coconut water contains magnesium and potassium, which helps your muscles feel relaxed, and vitamin B, which can relieve stress. This is helpful for the folks out there who have trouble falling asleep because they can’t shake late-night stressful thoughts from their heads.

10.) Banana Almond Smoothie

A banana and almond smoothie is like coconut water in that it helps relax the muscles, thanks to its healthy amounts of potassium and magnesium. With the added benefits of almond or almond milk, this drink is a refreshing yet soothing beverage to unwind with before bedtime.