Sip your stress away with these relaxing herbal teas.
Guest Post By: Skyler Huspen, Dominican University Nutrition Student
It’s 10 p.m. The baby has finally stopped crying. The dishes are finally done. Your head finally hits the pillow, and … you immediately begin thinking about everything you need to do the next day. Instead of tossing and turning and stressing about every errand you need to run tomorrow, brew yourself a cup of calming tea. Studies show that drinking 1-2 cups of certain herbal teas before bed can improve your sleep quality, relieve your stress, and calm your anxiety. So what teas should you sip? Here are the top three teas I recommend to soothe your mind and help you relax before bed.
#1: Lovely Lavender
Lavender is a popular choice for bedtime teas. That’s because it contains flavonoids and antioxidants, naturally occurring compounds found in the leaves, roots and flowers of plants, that help reduce levels of cortisol, adrenaline and other stress hormones. Keep in mind that sipping lavender tea isn’t the only way to reap the relaxing benefits. One study found that women who participated in lavender aromatherapy twice a week for 12 weeks self-reported significant improvements in their sleep quality.
#2: All About Ashwagandha
Our next tea choice is ashwagandha. While it may be less popular than lavender, it appears to play a role in helping the body resist stress and fight anxiety. Ashwagandha is a key component of Ayurvedic medicine, which is one of the world’s oldest holistic practices. One small study involving highly-stressed men and women (ages 18 – 54) found that ashwagandha root, given in a highly concentrated capsule form, helped decrease their serum cortisol levels, improved their resistance to stress and self-perceived quality of life. While more research is needed to see if ashwagandha tea is equally as effective, it’s certainly a tasty choice to help you relax before bed.
#3: Passionflower Power
Our final tea choice, passionflower, isn’t just a flavor at Starbucks. Passionflower (A.K.A. passiflora incarnata) is a natural herbal sedative and has been a delicious home remedy for enhancing sleep quality for years. Although the jury is still out, it appears passionflower has the potential to reduce anxiety with fewer side effects than traditional prescription pharmaceuticals. One study found that adult men and women who drank one cup of passionflower tea before bed reported they felt more rested and refreshed after a high quality night’s sleep compared to those who did not drink tea.
Just Remember . . . Feeling stressed is inevitable. It’s a part of our lives, no matter what. But that doesn’t mean we can’t manage. Try drinking some calming tea before bed because sleeping soundly is the first step towards fighting tension in our lives. A good night’s rest doesn’t end with a cup of tea. If you struggle with falling asleep, trying enjoying one of these four foods to help you sleep