The need for a good night’s sleep and hydration are two inescapable aspects of life we all have in common. With 16 million adults in the UK experiencing nightly difficulties sleeping, and the average person drinking below the 2.5 litre* recommendation of water a day, a combined fix to both problems is a welcome solution.
After reading you will be able to:
- Understand how various drinks can affect sleep
- Appreciate which drinks are best for a good night’s sleep
- Be familiar with the health benefits of hydrating before bedtime
- Know about the different beverage ingredients that can help you sleep
- Choose your preferred drink for bedtime from a range of options consisting of water, tart cherry juice, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, warm milk, banana smoothies, pure coconut water or valerian tea
*2.5 litres for men, 2 litres for women. The average daily consumption for adults is 1.7 litres
Do you ever find yourself tossing and turning at night, struggling to nod off (see our article on Insomnia)? Have you ever considered that what you drink before bedtime might be playing a part? There are a whole host of drinks that sit on opposite ends of the scale when it comes to helping with sleep. Below we reveal the 8 best drinks to consume at night in order to aid getting a great night’s sleep.
While they are an excellent help in getting to sleep, it is important to note that overconsumption of any beverage before bedtime can be counterproductive, particularly if you have a sensitive bladder, as it increases the need to visit the bathroom.
The 8 Best Drinks To Consume To Aid Better Sleep
Water consumption is vital to the body, essential for a healthy lifestyle, and even plays a part in good mental health. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is highly recommended (8 glasses a day), and some should always be available on your bedside for sipping whenever thirst takes hold.
Benefits of drinking water include:
- Healthy organs
- Lubricated joints
- Normal heartbeat
- Improved digestion
- Good blood pressure
- Regular bowel movements
- Removes bacteria from the bladder
- Efficient transportation of nutrients and oxygen to cells
Holistically speaking, all of these factors play a part in contributing to a good night’s sleep. The Sleep Foundation discuss the particular advantage of water being the warding off of dehydration, which lowers the body’s temperature and helps induce sleep. Whilst water is a fantastic aid in gaining a better night’s sleep, as previously mentioned, it is important not to overindulge too close to bedtime if you don’t want to be taking frequent night-time trips to the bathroom.
Tart Cherry Juice
According to research for a study on insomnia by the Louisiana State University, tart cherry juice benefited participants in getting a better night’s sleep.
Those involved who were drinking the tart cherry juice were found to have reduced levels of kynurenine in their blood, a substance which has been linked to sleep deprivation. Tart cherries are extremely rich in melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone that our bodies naturally create to help us become drowsy.
The production of the melatonin hormone is the result of the presence of an amino acid called tryptophan in the fruit. Tart cherry juice is also abundant in both procyanidins and anthocyanins, elements often praised by scientists for their health benefits, some of which are achieved by reducing inflammation. The only downside to drinking tart cherry juice is that the naturally occurring sugars in the juice may cause you to urinate more often at night.
Often used for a variety of medicinal purposes, peppermint tea has been proven to be a great aid in helping people reach the land of nod. Peppermint is known to have antiviral and antimicrobial benefits too, while also providing relief to digestive ailments such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and indigestion. For people who suffer from these gastric conditions, the tea is an essential tool in achieving a good night’s rest.
The almost magical-like green beverage is also a wonderful anti-inflammatory that can prove helpful in opening up your airways and relieving sleep apnoea. Peppermint can also help relieve headaches and stress, which are often major effects of such issues. Insomniacs often find that the tea can help them achieve a better quality sleep, and for longer.
A caffeine-free beverage, peppermint tea is packed with properties that help people reduce tension in their muscles, and generally reach a relaxed state.
Part of the Asteraceae family, Chamomile is a flower similar in appearance to the daisy. According to some research, Chamomile may be able to improve sleep quality. The National Library of Medicine found that the use of chamomile extracts can significantly improve sleep quality, particularly among elderly people. It is also a very safe option for the elderly and anyone who may be considered to have a vulnerable health status. As well as helping with insomnia, the ‘wonder’ tea may also assist those suffering from anxiety, which could also improve sleep.
Chamomile helps to make you feel sleepy because of its basic chemical structure, part of which is the ingredient apigenin. The chemical compound Apigenin induces drowsiness by binding to the GABA receptors in the brain.
A refreshing beverage, chamomile tea is safe to drink on a daily basis.
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) receptors are the same receptors that bind to benzodiazepines, commonly used as anti-anxiety drugs because of their calming effect. This relaxing effect can also be employed to help you get a better night’s sleep.
The age-old method of drinking hot milk to help with getting to sleep is still as popular as ever. Long thought of as an old wives tale, warm milk is actually endorsed by science as an aid to getting off to sleep. The secret behind it? Its cocktail of sleep-promoting properties, particularly the previously discussed amino acid tryptophan.
An amino acid needed for the creation of the body’s neurotransmitters, proteins, enzymes and muscles. An essential amino acid, your body cannot make it, so consumption of it via a diet is crucial.
Tryptophan plays an important part in producing both serotonin and melatonin:
- Serotonin is a neurotransmitter affecting and impacting your mood, cognitive reasoning, and memory.
- Melatonin is a hormone released by the body in response to darkness, helping you feel sleepy at night.
As well as being a delightful tasty treat before bedtime, banana smoothies provide a healthy dose of potassium and magnesium for encouraging a good night’s sleep. Easily made by mixing a banana with milk and almond butter, as well as helping you sleep, a glass of banana smoothie will stave off hunger until breakfast time. Making yourself one of these every night before bed can also be part of a routine for winding down.
Pure Coconut Water
Packed with magnesium, potassium and vitamin B, pure coconut water is an excellent tonic for reducing stress and easing muscle tension, which makes getting to sleep all that easier. Contrary to how the drink is viewed in some quarters as an energy-boosting concoction, the ingredients in pure coconut water will leave you blissfully snoozing away.
The final, and most controversial, drink on our list is valerian tea. A long-time medical aid in combating anxiety, the valerian herb has a reputation for de-stressing people with its calming effect. Already in use by many insomniacs for treating sleep disorders, it delivers an excellent dose of drowsiness. Often mixed with other herbs and hops, the controversial aspect relates to its addictiveness – those taking valerian tea can regularly find themselves taking daytime naps!
Unsure if you’re getting enough sleep? Read our guide to discover just how much downtime you should be having every night.
You might find these other articles on better sleep useful:
Need Help With Your Sleep?
Tried all these drinks and still struggling to catch forty winks? No need to worry, we can help you out.
Great sleep hygiene is essential to a healthy lifestyle. We might not be able to eliminate all those niggling work worries that are keeping you up at night, but we can certainly make you more comfortable during downtime by pairing you up with a bed that’s just right for you.
Deciding on the best bed for your needs depends on several factors.
- What type of sleeper are you?
- Do you have a temperature you sleep best in?
- What materials are you most comfortable on?
There is no need to lose sleep over trying to choose the ideal bed and bedding for your night-time needs. Our bed experts at Land of Beds pride themselves on their specialist knowledge and ability to help you find the bed and bedding that’s best for you.
Our customer-first policy means we listen and give good, independent advice based on the needs of the individual. By pairing consumers up with ethically sourced, affordable, quality products, we provide as many people as possible with a great night’s sleep.
Need to be connected with a bed that will help you unwind at the end of the day? Get in touch with us on 01928 241228