In order to relax and sleep well, what you DON’T drink is probably more important than what you do.
To avoid being kept up at night, stop all caffeinated beverages by mid-afternoon and avoid alcohol before bedtime. Drinking alcohol late in the evening may make you feel sleepy or even put you into a deep sleep. However, it disrupts your natural sleep cycle so you are more likely to wake up early.
People who wake up at night for a toilet break, try to stop drinking fluids at least one hour ahead of your bedtime. If that doesn’t help you should see your Doctor for more advice.
For those of you that already follow these tips, there are lots of good options available if you’re looking for a relaxing bedtime drink.
Milk is particularly high in the amino acid Tryptophan which is converted into the hormone Melatonin. The release of Melatonin promotes sleep in the body. Studies testing the effects of Tryptophan’s on sleep have shown foods high in this amino acid increased sleepiness and reduce the time it takes to fall asleep.
Pick fruits high in Tryptophan such as cherries and bananas to make a nighttime smoothie.
Bananas and coconut water are also high in potassium and magnesium, which act as natural muscle relaxants so make a great addition to any drink.
The robust evidence behind drinking herbal teas to help you relax or sleep is lacking. There is most likely a placebo effect of having a warm drink and taking some time for yourself to wind down at the end of the day. Many people still enjoy a tea before bed and trying a caffeine free tea of your choice may help you to relax.
Chamomile tea is a popular choice to help reduce stress, anxiety and promote sleep. Other teas commonly found in natural sleep aids include Lemon Balm, Passionflower and Rose.
Peppermint tea makes a good option after dinner to aid digestion and help you relax. It’s important to note that peppermint tea should be avoided in pregnancy due the potential increased risk of miscarriage.
If you’re looking for recipes for smoothies or teas check out the honestly healthy website. For a selection of Smoothie recipes click here, and we also have an article about what foods can help with a good night’s sleep too!