The Best Teas For Sleep And Relaxation

photo of a teapot with dried chamomile flowers on a table

If you spend much time with British people, you’ll soon discover that the first step in dealing with many of life’s problems is to put the kettle on.

As well as being a liquid friend that accompanies us both in the good and the bad times, can tea help us sleep better as well though? Or is the evidence mainly anecdotal, perhaps with the placebo effect working hard behind the scenes?

Let’s find out!

Ingredients commonly used in bedtime teas

I’ll first run through some of the most common ingredients that people and companies use when concocting teas specifically for relaxation or sleep.

I’ll then share some teas I personally like that are sold in many supermarkets, shops, and online. Finally, I’ll list the suggestions that previous readers have made in the comments.

Please note that some people may have bad reactions to the plant ingredients in teas. If you have any concerns, check with your doctor to make sure they are safe for you to drink. And be careful if you pick wild plants to make the teas yourself.

1. Chamomile

photo of chamomile tea preparation

Chamomile is a global superstar of sleepy tea ingredients. It’s found in many brands of herbal tea, either alone or mixed with other plants.

If you enjoy the process of making tea from scratch, it’s relatively easy to do. If you’d like to have a go, there’s a good article on that has clear instructions for making your own chamomile tea from fresh flowers.

As for evidence that it works as a sedative, I’ve seen more studies suggesting that it helps with anxiety than insomnia. However, it crops up time and time again in bedtime teas and herbal remedies.

Studies involving chamomile in tea form are very limited. One study in 2016 found that it helped postpartum women sleep better. However, after four weeks there was no difference between those and the control group who didn’t drink the tea. So they suggested that “the positive effects of chamomile tea were limited to the immediate term.”

I discuss more studies in my main chamomile article if you’d like to learn more.

2. Valerian root

valerian plant and flowers

Valerian tea is made from the root or leaves of the plant, and people have used it for centuries to help with sleep and anxiety. It’s thought that some people may need to take valerian for a couple of weeks before the full sedative effect is felt.

It’s one of the few plants which have been shown by researchers to have sedative properties. However, a detailed review in 2018 of previous clinical trials found that the overall picture was one of inconclusive results.

Other researchers suggest it may work, but the problem is one of the clinical trials not being well designed. I haven’t found any research studies that used valerian tea specifically; they tend to be in larger dose supplement form instead. If you’re interested in those and other studies, take a look at my main valerian article.

3. Lavender

lavender flowers

Although chamomile and valerian appear to be the most commonly included plant ingredients in relaxing teas, and even over-the-counter sleep aids, they aren’t the only ones.

Another plant you’ll find in some sleep teas is lavender, which is often promoted as helping with relaxation and stress relief.

The evidence that lavender helps with sleep is mainly anecdotal though. I haven’t seen any evidence that it helps with sleep when consumed in a tea. One review of eight studies using aroma inhalation suggested that it may provide a small to moderate benefit, but that more research is needed.

To learn more about it, have a look at my full lavender article.

4. Lemon balm

lemon balm plant

Like lavender, lemon balm has plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that it helps with anxiety, stress, or insomnia. It’s included in several different brands of nighttime teas.

One study had some positive results when using a concentrated extract. But again, it wasn’t in tea form so the same effect can’t be guaranteed if you drink it – especially if it’s just a small contributor to a tea mix using several ingredients.

5. Peppermint

peppermint tea

Peppermint is often associated with providing energy and helping with stomach problems, but it’s also sometimes included in sleep teas.

Despite a lack of research using mint in tea form specifically, research has shown that peppermint oil can help with indigestion and some other stomach complaints, and work as a muscle relaxant.

Perhaps it’s a good choice if you’ve eaten a little too much and indigestion is keeping you awake. And if it’s a headache that’s stopping you from sleeping, try rubbing a little peppermint oil on your skin instead.

As a lifelong mint lover, any tea containing peppermint will always grab my attention. It’s an easy one to make yourself – just grab a few fresh leaves from your nearest mint plant (they grow very easily) and steep them in freshly boiled water.

6. Lemongrass

lemongrass tea

Native to Asia, but now cultivated around the world, you might associate lemongrass more with food than tea – it’s a favorite of mine when making Thai curry!

Researchers have found that it is also used in some countries for a range of medicinal purposes, such as antibacterial, antidiarrheal, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimalarial, and as a sedative.

The only research study I could find that used tea specifically was done with mice, not humans. However, they did find that Lemongrass essential oil had a positive effect on overall sleep time.

7. Passionflower


The passionflower is stunning when in bloom, alien almost with its complex design. Is the beauty of the flower mirrored in the quality of your beauty sleep though?

This is one plant that does have some research using it in tea form. In the study, 41 participants were given either passionflower tea or a placebo tea. The researchers found that those drinking the real tea had ‘short-term subjective sleep benefits’.

Ahh, it’s nice to end this section on a positive note.

Relaxing teas to buy

Let’s take a look at some of my favorite teas that you can easily find in many stores and online. The manufacturers do sometimes change the ingredients, so double-check if you like the sound of the ones I’ve listed below.

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Tea

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime tea is one of the most popular brands of tea for sleep in the United States. It’s also growing in popularity in many other countries around the globe.

It’s been my personal favorite for some time now. I find it has a delicious taste – soft and rounded even though it’s quite earthy. With a little honey, it’s a lovely tea that helps me unwind at the end of a busy day.

It also has the added benefit of being soothing on the tummy. So if you’ve overindulged, this is the tea to calm both your body and mind.


  • Chamomile
  • Spearmint
  • Lemongrass
  • Tilia flowers
  • Blackberry leaves
  • Orange blossoms
  • Hawthorn
  • Rosebuds

Yogi Bedtime

yogi bedtime tea

Yogi produces several teas for stress relief and relaxation, but Yogi Bedtime floats my boat more than the others they make.

I find it’s a very relaxing tea, and enjoy the deep, earthy flavor it has. You can really taste the rich combination of different ingredients, especially if you let it brew a little longer. It’s made with certified non-GMO organic ingredients.


  • Passionflower extract
  • Valerian root extract
  • Licorice root
  • Chamomile flower
  • Spearmint leaf
  • Skullcap leaf
  • Cardamon pod
  • Cinnamon bark
  • Rose hip
  • Lavender flower
  • Stevia leaf

Clipper Sleep Easy Infusion

Clipper Sleep Easy Infusion

Clipper Sleep Easy is a tea that’s close to my heart, being blended in the UK, not far from where I grew up. I like how they point out that it’s made with ‘organic ingredients and a clear conscience’. Clipper says they strive to improve the welfare of the workers in the countries the ingredients come from.

The tea has quite a mellow flavor, with just a hint of cinnamon and the rooibos coming through the standard flavor of chamomile.

It’s a wonderful tea to drink before bed, with a unique taste, and one of my favorites in the colder winter months.


  • Chamomile
  • Lemon balm
  • Valerian root
  • Cinnamon
  • Rooibos
  • Natural orange flavoring & other natural flavorings

Pukka Night Time

Pukka Night Time

Pukka Night Time has a flavor that appears similar to the Celestial Seasonings tea at first. There are some subtle differences though; it’s a little stronger tasting, and sweeter even. It’s a lovely tea, and I can easily drink more than one cup in an evening.

The ingredients are 100% organic and ethically sourced. Interestingly, it’s the only commercial tea I’ve seen with green rama tulsi leaf. This is thought to have anti-stress properties and is widely used in India.


  • Oat flowering tops
  • Lavender flower
  • Lime flower
  • Chamomile flower
  • Licorice root
  • valerian root
  • Green Rama tulsi leaf

Bigelow Sweet Dreams

 Bigelow Sweet Dreams

Bigelow Sweet Dreams has some extra minty pizzazz to accompany the usual chamomile that you’ll find in most nighttime teas. It’s another of my favorites as I adore the taste and smell of mint.

Two different mint plants fuse together to create a special aroma, with a rich taste that’s great to drink on an evening when you feel like a stronger tasting bedtime tea.

Made in the US from non-GMO ingredients, the box, teabag, and string are all biodegradable. But if you live in a place with high humidity or damp, each teabag has its own foil pouch to protect it from moisture and air.


  • Chamomile
  • Hibiscus
  • Peppermint leaves
  • Rose blossom
  • Spearmint leaves
  • Spice
  • Orange blossoms

Is caffeinated black tea a good bedtime drink?

a cup of caffeinated black tea

For a long time, the standard advice has been to avoid caffeinated drinks in the lead up to bedtime. However, in August 2019, an interesting piece of research suggested that caffeine might not be such a fearsome sleep slayer after all.

Looking at the sleep patterns of 785 African Americans, the researchers found that alcohol and nicotine within four hours of going to bed both negatively affected sleep. In contrast, caffeine had no significant effect on sleep duration, sleep efficiency or time of first waking after falling asleep.

The researchers point out that they didn’t look closely at dosage, tolerance, and sensitivity to caffeine. So this research doesn’t let all black tea and coffee addicts off the hook; you’ll still need to experiment to see if black or green tea, or even coffee, is a feasible bedtime drink for you personally.

On the subject of black tea, when I’ve had enough of the herbal teas, my other favorite is decaffeinated Earl Grey. It has the perfect softness to sip in bed while reading a book (yes, we Brits really do take our mugs of tea to bed).

Readers’ recommendations

In the six years since I first wrote this article, many readers have shared their favorite nighttime teas in the comments.

With so many great suggestions, I’ve compiled the list below. How many of them have you tried already? If it’s more than half, I’ll be impressed!

  • Pukka sleepy time
  • Yogi soothing bedtime caramel
  • Lemon balm and skullcap combination
  • Chamomile Nights by Stash, with chamomile, spearmint and lotus
  • Chamomile mixed with Chinese tea
  • Lavender sun tea
  • Sleepytime tea mixed with chai white tea and Rooibos red tea
  • Chamomile steeped in hot water along with lemon verbena, with some lemon and sugar added
  • Snore and Peace tea by Clipper
  • Brewing 10 sweet mint leaves in boiling or very hot water
  • Sleepytime tea with vanilla
  • Triple Leaf Relaxing Tea (Chinese herbal tea)
  • Linden leaves tea
  • Peppermint and chamomile tea combined
  • Tension Tamer
  • Tazo tea
  • Happy Nights tea by Carmencita
  • Nettle tea and Chamomile with a teaspoon of raw honey
  • Teavana’s Winterberry
  • Decaffeinated Earl Grey
  • Nighty Night
  • A concoction of the leaves of guava, taro and mulberry
  • Triple Leaf Relaxing
  • Ahmad Verbena (Verveine)
  • Hibiscus tea
  • Dr. Stuart’s relaxation tea
  • David’s tea – Mother’s Little Helper
  • Morpheus from Tin Roof Teas
  • Teepee dreams from the Native American Tea Company

Your favorite tea?

Which tea do you drink to help you relax as the sun sets and the moon rises? Do you think it has true sedative properties, or is it just the placebo effect working its magic? Does it even matter as long as it works? let me know in the comments below.


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  1. Celestial Seasonings is my favorite tea. I drink at least 2 cups a day. The herbal teas can be drunk right before bedtime also.