Ready for bed? Put a pot of water on the stove. Many teas that help with anxiety can also give you the nod-off nudge you need to kick the jitters, eliminate stress, and get the rest you need. Sip these snoozy brews before bedtime to get some peaceful ZZZs.
"Despite not necessarily causing drowsiness, passionflower does improve sleep quality by calming the nervous system and cortisol activity," said Dr. Amy Chadwick, ND, at Four Moons Spa. "It also supports GABA, a calming neurotransmitter."
Valerian root, referred to as nature's Valium, is a common ingredient in sleep supplements, thanks to its relaxing properties. "Valerian is also great for drinking [in tea form] before bed, as it won't interfere with REM sleep," said Kristina Richens, a director at The Republic of Tea, certified tea specialist from Front Range Herbal Institute, and speaker from the SF International Tea Festival.
Dr. Chadwick told POPSUGAR that it also "depresses central nervous system activity and can be quite sedating. It is useful for insomnia, often combined with passionflower and lavender." But not everyone feels calm when they have valerian root, so keep that in mind. "Some people will have a paradoxical reaction to valerian, and it will be stimulating."
Another natural sedative is skullcap. It's "relaxing to the nervous system, is an antispasmodic, moderate sedative, and may support GABA activity," said Dr. Chadwick. And you can use it for nights when you're feeling particularly anxious and restless. "It is useful for anxiety and nervous tension, stress, and insomnia. It may be blended with passionflower and lavender or lemon balm and lavender for an evening tea. It can be used during the daytime but may cause mild sedation."
An unsurprising addition to this list, lavender tea can be ultra calming before bed because it "reduces excess sympathetic nervous system activity and is antispasmodic for the nervous system and muscles," said Dr. Chadwick. And, to boot, it'll help you sleep because "it supports GABA activity within the brain and body."
Kava is a very sedating root from the Western Pacific region and "may directly affect GABA receptors," according to Dr. Chadwick. "But this has not been clearly shown in the research," she said. "It may have a stronger effect on the sympathetic nervous system and noradrenaline activity within the brain."