Most of us grew up knowing that drinking coffee at night may not be the brightest idea if we want to fall asleep early, it’s already become basic knowledge that caffeinated drinks should be avoided before bed, the same goes for alcoholic beverages, and sugary drinks as these would keep you awake or lower your sleep quality.
On the other hand, something that’s lesser known is the drinks that can aid in melatonin production and would allow us to sleep either quicker, better or both. Some popular choices would be a glass of warm milk or a bag of chamomile tea. But, did you know that there are other beverages to give you the best nightcap?
In this article, let’s take a look at the best and worst drinks to take before bed, and how we can involve bedtime drinks in our sleep rituals to get a better night’s sleep.
The best drinks to take
Tart Cherry Juice
Tart cherries are fruits native to Southwest Asia and Europe and are known to have plenty of positive wellness and health benefits. Unlike the sweet cherries everyone’s used to, the tart cherry is often consumed dried, as a supplement, or as a juice drink.
One of the reasons why tart cherries are taken in before sleep is that it is naturally rich in melatonin, the hormone which puts us in a state of sleepiness. Beyond melatonin, tart cherries are also rich in tryptophan which is a compound that helps the body to increase melatonin production.
The naturally occurring compounds in tart cherries and their effects are often compared to valerian root, which is also another natural choice that’s often used to treat sleep deprivation and insomnia.
Everybody’s favourite herbal tea to end a night. Chamomile teas are made with dried chamomile flowers infused in hot water. Drinking it hot, with its mild flowery taste and aroma is already enough to soothe and relax you, making it a perfect sleep aid.
But, beyond the warmth of a pot of chamomile tea, it also contains therapeutic antioxidants called Apigenin which is identified to reduce anxiety and help with sleep disorders like insomnia.
You might think that almond milk is on the list as a lactose-intolerant option for drinking a glass of warm milk. But, it goes beyond that. Almonds are rich in sleep-inducing hormones and minerals like magnesium, tryptophan, and even melatonin.
The tryptophan found in almond milk naturally increases serotonin levels which helps in stabilizing mood and promotes better sleep patterns which can then aid in achieving good quality sleep. Almond milk is also richer in calcium compared to dairy which reinforces its capability to get you a good night’s sleep.
Decaf Green Tea
We have to emphasize that you have to pick the decaffeinated option for green tea, otherwise, you might encounter sleep issues and end up staying up all night.
Despite the risk of confusion, drinking green tea regularly is beneficial for your body’s wellness, a good supply of antioxidants for your body’s immune system, and can even help with weight loss.
Green tea also is a good source of an amino acid called theanine which helps reduce stress after a long day and helps promote healthy sleep patterns. Sipping green tea at night can also help in lowering your blood pressure which is an important aspect of properly going through your circadian rhythm.
Not everyone fancies a hot drink, especially on warm summer nights. Great news, sleep-inducing drinks can also be refreshing. A glass of banana smoothies can help promote healthy sleep patterns. Everyone knows that bananas are a good source of potassium, but it’s also rich in magnesium – both of which help promote muscle relaxation which makes it perfect to get a good night’s rest, especially after a physically taxing day.
What drinks should you avoid before bed?
Caffeine from coffee, energy drinks, teas, chocolates and chocolate-flavoured food, and sodas should definitely be avoided when heading to bed. It is well known that caffeine is a very effective stimulant, which can negatively affect your sleep cycle. Drinking caffeinated drinks at night can keep you up for hours which can cause a lack of sleep and grogginess the next morning.
Can’t resist the aroma and taste of a cup of joe? Opt for decaf options instead, and drink plenty of water afterwards.
You might think that a few bottles of beer for a nightcap can help you get a good night’s sleep. While you can fall asleep faster, you would not get good quality sleep when your body is under the influence of alcohol.
Consuming alcohol often disrupts the REM phase of your circadian rhythm which negatively affects your sleep cycle. It’s best to drink your alcoholic beverages at the earlier hours of the night to give your body enough time to metabolise the alcohol, and just like with caffeinated beverages, drink plenty of water afterwards.
Sodas and carbonated drinks
Drinking soda too close to bedtime is also a no-no, especially if your stomach is prone to experiencing hyperacidity. When we lie down in bed, stomach acids may rise up and cause heartburn or acid reflux and this can be more apparent when we consumed carbonated drinks before bedtime.
Are drinks the way to make me sleep faster?
While there are several drinks in this article that promote sleep, none of them can be considered a surefire way for you to fall asleep. Nothing happens in an instant, and for some people, it may just even act like a placebo.
For you to get the best sleep quality possible, practising good sleep hygiene will always be the way to go! Plus, sleeping on comfortable sheets and a nice mattress contributes greatly. Cheers to a restful sleep!