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. When I’m abroad, it amazes me how often people ask if 4 p.m. is tea time though.

When I politely inform them that many Brits drink tea from morning to night and at random times, this insight is sometimes met with disappointment. Faith is restored, however, when I admit that we usually have a variety of biscuits in the cupboard.

As well as making daily life seem more bearable and enjoyable, can drinking certain teas help us sleep though? Or is insomnia one problem that can’t be tackled with tea and a cheeky biscuit?

“Where there’s tea there’s hope.”

— Arthur Wing Pinero

Can tea really help you sleep?

I don’t want to sound negative, but when you trim away the urban myths, popular wisdom, and marketing hype, the scientific evidence that tea can help with sleep is a bit sparse.

The good news is that there is some evidence that ingredients like chamomile, lavender and valerian might have some sedative properties. However, researchers often use larger dosages in supplements than you’d typically get from a cup of tea.

On a more positive note, my personal opinion is that taking the time out to prepare and enjoy a nice cup of tea is in itself rewarding. It’s the perfect excuse to have some valuable ‘me time’.

Whether the ingredients are working their magic behind the scenes and the effect just hasn’t been proven by researchers or it’s the placebo effect is irrelevant to me. If I feel it helps me drop down a mental gear and wash away my stress at the end of a hectic day, I’ll keep on drinking it.

“Tea brings time to a crawl, its frantic pace resuming on noticing our empty cups.”

Terri Guillemets

Ingredients used in bedtime teas

Let’s first take a quick look at some of the most common ingredients that people and companies use when concocting teas specifically for relaxation.

I’ll then run through teas you can easily find in stores and online that I personally like. Finally, I’ll list the suggestions that previous readers have made in the comments.

1. Chamomile

photo of chamomile tea preparation

Chamomile is one of the global superstars of teas used for sleep and relaxation in general.

It’s found in many brands of herbal tea, either alone or mixed with other plants. And if you enjoy the process of making tea from scratch, it’s relatively easy to make.

Since this isn’t a recipe blog, I can recommend an article on instead as they have 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. But 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 the tea helped postpartum women sleep better. However, after four weeks there was no difference between those and a control group who didn’t drink the tea. So they suggested that “the positive effects of chamomile tea were limited to the immediate term.”

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. And I haven’t found any research studies that used valerian tea specifically – they tend to be in larger dose supplement form.

Hands up if the word ‘inconclusive’ frustrates you too!

3. Lavender

lavender flowers

Although chamomile and valerian reign supreme in how frequently manufacturers put them in teas and over the counter sleep aids, they aren’t the only ones.

Another plant sometimes put into the mix is lavender, which is thought to have relaxing and anti-stress properties.

Again though, the evidence for its usefulness for sleep is limited, and I haven’t seen any for it in tea form. One review of eight studies using aroma inhalation suggested that it may provide a small to moderate benefit, but that more research is needed.

4. Lemon balm

lemon balm plant

Lemon balm is traditionally believed to help with anxiety, stress and insomnia. And it’s often included in brands of teas created to promote better sleep.

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 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 tea, 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, trying rubbing a little peppermint oil on your skin instead.

As a lifelong mint lover, any tea containing peppermint will always grab my attention. And 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!

But researchers have discovered that it’s also used in some countries for a range of medicinal purposes, such as an anti-bacterial, antidiarrheal, anti-fungal, 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. But does is its natural beauty contagious, helping you get some beauty sleep?

This is one that does have some research using it in tea form. 41 participants were given either passionflower tea or a placebo tea. And 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.

“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?’”

– Neil Gaiman

Relaxing teas to buy

Here are 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 one I’ve listed below.

By the way, if you buy one via my links below, I might make a small commission, which will put tea on my bedside table. Of course, you can ignore my links and just go pick up a box from your local supermarket.

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. And 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.

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 at first. But there are some subtle differences – it’s a little stronger tasting, and sweeter even.

It’s a lovely flavor in fact, and I can happily 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?

woman drinking 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, some new 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 4 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. I hated it when I was a kid and always thought the name was a bit posh and the color too milky.

It turns out I was wrong though, as Earl Grey has the perfect softness to sip in bed while reading a book (yes, we Brits really do take our mugs of tea to bed).

“Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors.”

— Alice Walker

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 buy it or make it yourself? let me know in the comments below.


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  1. Really informative blog. I totally agree with you that herbs have amazing benefits and work wonders for insomnia. Like you mentioned, my favourite herb is Chamomile herb . It calms the body and helps in relaxing sleep & my favourite brand is BestSource Nutrition.

    • Hi Juili
      Thanks for your comment. Glad to hear you like the blog, and that you also have good results from herbal teas.

  2. Hello Ethan. First of all, thank you for the excellent article and website! I have learned a lot of useful information about sleep reading your articles. I love my herbal tea at night and can’t go without it. I believe chamomile is the perfect antidote to stress and a nice way to wrap up the day.

    • Hi Jazz
      You’re very welcome – it’s always great to hear the site is appreciated! It sounds like you have a firm favorite there, and it’s great it helps you unwind so well.

    • I drink Bigelow green tea. I noticed when I would drink it every now and then i would get sleepy. When I started having insomnia really bad, I decided to try my tea. I have the best sleep now.

  3. Why do you have to pay extortionate prices for tea bags when you can purchase the herbs, in any herbalist, and make your own teas?

    • Hi RM
      Well, you don’t have to if you don’t want to! I guess not everyone has the time or inclination to make their own tea. As with so many things in life, we often lean to more convenient options – even if they are more expensive.

  4. My teenage son and I, who both struggle to sleep, find that a cup of Twinings Chamomile and Honey tea before bed helps us to sleep better.

    • Hi Jake
      Thanks for sharing your tea suggestion – I also like that one. I always find honey adds a little magic to most teas!

  5. Hi I’m Ms Keenan, I’ll try some of them & see if they work the way I need because I need to get some natural sleep. thanks

    • Hi Ms Keenan
      Thanks for your comment – I hope you find one that you enjoy and gets you that natural sleep you need.

  6. Hey great article. We’d love it if you would try some of our Teepee Dreams from It has many of the ingredients you speak about it! Let us know if we can send you some!

    • Hi Joe
      Thanks for your compliment. Teas aren’t too expensive, so I’ll buy some myself when I decide to do the next batch of tests to update the article. Thanks though!

  7. A small tea boutique in Raleigh blended a wonderful tea called Morpheus. I use it for my ADHD grandchild and my 75 year old spouse who suffers from night time anxiety after a heart attack 4 years ago. I make him a cup every night before bed. It tastes really good as well as being beneficial. I order online Tin Roof Teas. Loose leaf and fresh leaves.

  8. I like celestial seasonings too, and have a little collection of different ones. I’ve tried it cold with ice in the hot weather recently and even that tastes good!

    • Hi Jenny
      Thanks for your comment, and that’s a great idea! I might have to give it a go during the heatwave coming to the UK this week.

  9. Thanks for the useful article and great list of teas at the end there. There are several I have never heard of and will start working my way through them:-)

    • Hi Ann
      You’re very welcome! I have been doing the same actually, and thanks to previous readers have discovered a couple of great new teas.


    • Hi Eugenia
      Thaks for your comment. Yes, tea can be very beneficial! It’s actually normal to take a while to fall asleep. 10 to 20 minutes is a normal amount of time, so you might not have a problem there.

  11. A cup Celestial Sleepy Time with a teaspoon of honey and a oz. of whiskey has cured my life of living with insomnia. I’m 71 years old.

    • Hi Lee
      Thanks for your suggestion. Disguising a hot toddy in a cup of herbal tea? Interesting idea! I’m trying to imagine the flavor, though can’t quite do it, so I’ll just have to give it a go myself…

  12. My favorite is Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Lemon Jasmine Decaf Green Tea. It’s basically their Sleepytime herbal tea blended with decaffeinated green tea, and that gives it greater body and depth of flavor. Additionally, you get the benefits of the green tea.

  13. I have been using Dr Stuart’s relaxation tea. I’ve found this most helpful in getting me and keeping me asleep. Was recommended by a psychiatrist as I didn’t want an addictive medication

  14. Thank you for this informative article. I learned a lot and am going to try some of the teas. I’d much rather drink a natural tea than take a drug.

  15. David’s Tea (Canadian tea company) makes two wonderful sleepy teas: Mother’s Little Helper and Valerian Nights. They are both delicious and have taken care of my (moderate, anxiety-related) sleeping troubles. You can order them online. If you sign up for emails they will periodically have 40% off 4oz or loose leaf tea sales and you can stock up like I do. I swear by them!!!

  16. Ethan – I have trouble staying asleep but recently heard that Guava Leaf tea consumed daily has a long term affect on sleep. Are you familiar with it? It’s also supposedly quite good for blood sugar and is a powerful antioxidant.

  17. I suffer from both anxiety as well as insomnia, and I have been seeking out natural remedies for several years now. There are countless health benefits to various herbs, but none ever succeeded in helping me to truly relax. This of course was until I encountered Hibiscus. Hibiscus tea has been a real game changer for me. It’s almost instantly relaxing, and it also works rather well as an anti-depressant. I highly recommend it to anyone dealing with trouble unwinding at the end of the day (as a side note it is also really effective with digestive health and promotes an increased metabolism while fighting free radicals at the same time- oh! and it also has significantly more vitamin C than oranges, so it’s great for immunity during the flu season! :) ).

    • Hi Jordyn
      Thank you for your suggestion – I’ve just gone and added it to the list. It’s great that after doing some experimenting, you’ve found one that truly works for you. I hope you continue to reap the benefits!

    • Hi where do you purchase you tea. I discovered this tea in it’s flower form at a market but when I went back for more they didn’t carry it any longer perhaps because of the time of season. I purchased some on amazon but it’s isn’t as supportive of my health as the fresh flowers did.

    • Hi Jordyn I experience the same problems as you have mentioned, I would kindly like to know where I can find the recommended sleeping tea??

    • Hi could you please tell me where I could buy this tea please I am suffering really bad at the moment with anxiety & am trying lots of herbal things as I really don’t want to go down the road of medication again, thank you

      • Hi Emma
        Try health food shops, or online with Amazon or other major retailers. And if you search online you can find recipes to make it yourself.

  18. I bought a Celestial Seasonings sampler box, to try for the winter months. First, I tried Sleepytime, and I didn’t feel sleepy at all. Then I tried Chamomile, and it put me right to sleep. I confess I added a splash of cream. I keep it in my Yeti tumbler and can sip it hot for an hour or more. Way better than melatonin, and it wears off before it’s time to awaken. — Julia

    • Hi Julia
      Thanks for your comment. Funnily enough, I quite like milk in chamomile tea, though people often tell me I’m weird for doing so! I like it just plain too, but once in a while a drop of milk and honey makes a nice change. It’s the only herbal tea I can drink with any dairy products though!

  19. I drink verveine tea at night. Found it difficult to find in uk, readily available in French supermarkets but Ahmad teas do one. Love it. Discovered it whilst on French exchange when I was 12, away from home, home sick and the french mum gave it to me every night to help me sleep. I’m in my 50s now and still drink it!

  20. Really liked this article.. Really helpful. I’m a terrible sleeper. Always have been, but as I’ve got older the lack of sleep really hits home and makes days hard to cope with.
    I’ve changed loads of things to help, some work some don’t..
    I’ve introduced ‘sleepy tea’ into my nightly routine and 3 out out 7 nights I get a solid sleep…
    Its hard to know which is good tea and which is a waste of time, I will be adding some of these to my cupboards.
    Sleep tight everyone x

    • Hi Lea
      Thank you for your comment – it’s always encouraging to know readers like an article!
      I know exactly what you mean about some things working and others now. For me it’s the same, and in some ways a constant battle to get everything lined up during the day and evening to ensure I have the best chance of sleeping well. I find the more good practices I keep up, the better.
      As for tea, well it’s a lot about personal taste. I like all of the teas in this list, but I know from giving them to family and friends that they aren’t all to everyone’s liking!
      I hope you find one that you do really like though, and that it warrants a place in your cupboard:-)

  21. Can someone tell me if adding sugar or a sweetner to a bedtime tea, such as Pukka bedtime tea, reduces the effectiveness of its sleep promoting properties?

    • Hi Andrew
      Thanks for your question. I don’t think it alters the tea’s properties. Perhaps if there’s a lot of sugar, it might keep you awake a little longer. But a little probably won’t make much difference in my experience.

  22. I recently introduced my boyfriend to Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra tea and it works like a charm for him. And he’s not even a big tea drinker so I’m glad I was able to share something I love. When I’m out of Sleepytime (Extra or otherwise), I find Bigelow’s Sweet Dreams or Cozy Chamomile does the trick. :)

    • Hi Megan
      Thanks for your comment. Maybe it’s just because the sleepytime, and variations, are awesome teas! I don’t know many people who have tried it in my house and not liked it. Bigelow is great too, and a more than worthy backup plan for when you run out of the favorite.

  23. Very good article, I enjoy drinking herbal tea often. I’ve tried Bigelow lemon tea and Yogi ginger tea are two of my favorites. Currently, I’m trying my own infusion of dried orange leafs, purple thyme, chamomile, tamarind seed and cardamom with honey to taste. Very soothing combination!!!

    • Hi Amapola
      Thanks for your comment, and I’m happy to hear you liked the article. Your infusion sounds very interesting – I’m curious as to what kind of taste it has!

  24. Hi Ethan, thanks for the great read and suggestions! I loved the list of readers favorite teas at the end there – so nice to see an article taking note of what people have to say:-) for the record, I love celstial tea too!

  25. My wife and I have recently started using a mixture of 1 part Valerian root, to 3parts fennel seed steeped for about 5 minutes; get water temperature to a rolling boil turn off heat pour into cup with steeper and let sit for 3-5 minutes. Then drink. We always add a little honey. Love it at bedtime.

  26. Just recently got the caramel yogi bedtime that I’m currently dissolving into now. I usually drink it while i stretch and roll out to help me unwind and get my focused for rest. great tea & also great post!

  27. My partner and i had major trouble getting into a sleep pattern. Did some research on fruits/veggies that have calming/soothing/relaxing abilities. I make a cup of tea, yogi bedtime and sleepytime, steep really good, add that as a liquid base for fruits/veggies, mix in a blender and its a nighty nighty hot tea smoothie!! Delicious, nutricious, healthy, and the sleep we now get, uninterupted, is perfect!!

    • somebody mentioned lemon myrtle tea it did make me sleep for a few nights was thinking l was on a good thing so looked it up on side affects and found it can give you dementia and other problems please do your homework on these herbs before you buy them l had to throw the lot in the bin money thrown away.

  28. It may be that having a bedtime ritual: hot shower or hot foot bath with epsom salts, cup of hot tea, listening to a favorite piece of music, a meditation tape, etc–or come up with your own. All put together, this 1/2 to 1 hour ritual can tell your brain its time to sleep. Currently I use sleepy time with a T vinegar and tsp of raw unfiltered honey. I have taped all of the devices that have little lights so that there is *zero* light.

    • Hi Brad
      Thanks for your comment. I completely agree – I think creating your own calming ritual before bed is a fantastic way to unwind and prepare yourself for sleep. It’s very tempting to rely on digital entertainment right up until the moment we switch the light off. But taking time away from our devices to do calming, enjoyable things is a much better alternative. It just takes some will power to resist all the fun and interesting things our televisions, computers, tablets, consoles and phones offer!

      • Hi Ethan,
        I am so impressed with Yogi bedtime tea. My question, is it safe to drink every night for a long period? It is so amazing and helps me sleep all night with zero side effects.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment. I actually do the same sometimes! I love the taste in the evening, though prefer a more everyday cup of tea during the day. Not sure why though!

  29. I happened to brew a concoction of the leaves of guava, taro and mulberry. i was asleep in an hour….dunno the science behind it. This calls for an investigation.

  30. First off – love how many comments are posted at weird times of the night/early morning. Really interesting article! I am definitely going to give some of these suggestions a try.

  31. A very interesting article! I will have to try some of the other teas. For the past 20 evenings I have been drinking the Relaxing Tea (Triple Leaf). I poo-pooed it when a friend told me about it. I’m a coffee drinker; and I roast my own. However, I have sleep apnea and have been on a CPAP for 6 or 7 years now. Every time I had to turn over I’d wake up having to pull the hose around with me. Lo and Behold… I tried the TL Relaxing Tea and once I get to sleep, I sleep! I cannot believe it, still! It doesn’t seem to bother me, but I see there is caution in your article about some things and to make sure, if taking meds, you should research. I didn’t do that, all I knew is that I slept like a log. So, I will have to check out the meds I take, along with this herbal tea.

    Nancy S.

    • Hi Nancy
      Thanks for your comment. Hopefully your research will show that it’s fine, as it sounds like you’ve had great results with that tea!