Tea comes in a variety of different flavors and includes some wonderful benefits. Depending on the ingredients of a tea, some find that they either feel extra energized after a cup of green tea or even sleepy after an evening cup of sleepy time tea.
Some teas can give you a good jolt of caffeine while others are packed full of ingredients with sedative properties to help you sleep well. Some people drink 5 cups of tea a day out of habit and many people choose to save their cup of tea for just after work to help them relax.
While there are many physical benefits of drinking tea, we’ll be focusing on sleepy time tea, what it does for the body, and exactly what is in it to cause those effects.
So what is in sleepytime tea that makes it popular? Read on to find out!
What Is Sleepy Time Tea?
We’ve all been there. Lying awake, tossing and turning, thinking about the day just gone or the next one. It can be terribly inconvenient to have hours of restlessness before you finally fall asleep. Why not let your favorite warming brew step in and help?
Sleepytime herbal teas are a popular type of tea that you can consume at night time to help the drinker relax and or fall asleep. “The original Sleepytime Tea (you know the one, with the comatose bear in front of a precarious roaring fire), hit shelves in 1972. That thing sells over 4 million boxes a year!”(Bon Appétit)
When it comes to learning how to make sleepytime tea, it isn’t all that different from other hot teas. In fact, the warm water used to make the popular Bedtime teas aid in the relaxing effect. So, do sleepy time teas work? Some say yes, others find it can energize them.
The marketing of most sleepytime tea would suggest to you that tea before bed is the perfect antidote to a restless mind. It has been designed to help you slowly relax in the evening and get a proper night’s sleep. But how can a simple cup of tea be so potent? And do they always help you sleep?
What it all comes down to is the ingredients and how they affect each person. Different tea brands use different ingredients to create a sleepy effect. Take a relaxing read through our exploration of sleepytime tea and find your favorite. Sweet tea dreams!
Sleepytime Tea Ingredient List: Common Items and Their Effect on the Body
It’s common sense that no two individuals are exactly alike, and that means no two people react to the same ingredients in the same ways. One person may be bouncing around the room after one cup of tea and another will be laying flat out in bed.
For that reason, you’ll often see that sleepytime tea has a few different ingredients. Some are common to all and some bring an added twist. You’re sure to find a combination and tea that’s right for you.
It may take some time to choose the right tea for you. There are two main things to consider: the taste and the sleepiness it brings. You may find a tea that tastes great but doesn’t help you sleep and vice versa.
Sleepytime tea ingredients come in a variety of different forms, from certain tea leaves to specific herbs and spices. Some prefer the warm spices, such as clove and cinnamon, in their evening cup of tea to relax. These kinds of teas become especially popular during fall and winter.
Others specific ingredients used in sleepy time teas have similar effects on the body as melatonin supplements. But what is melatonin? A hormone produced by the body, melatonin is responsible for regulating sleep and wakefulness. People having trouble sleeping may then find a remedy by taking melatonin supplements available in the market.
Of course, you have to be careful when judging different sleepytime teas. You must consider the other variables in your life that may be disturbing your sleep. A cup of tea can only do so much!
Let’s have a look at some popular flavors and how they utilize different ingredients to deliver a soothing and sleepy experience.
The effects of sleepy time tea and melatonin share many similarities when described by users. Chamomile is one ingredient in these brands of teas that help to create a relaxing effect on the mind and body, similar to the effects of melatonin supplements.
Chamomile is a popular ingredient for bedtime teas because it contains chamazulene, which is proven to help relax the nervous system. It also contains apigenin, a mild sedative. You will often find a variety of chamomile teas in your local store because it is a mild flavor that has a few convenient health-boosting qualities.
While these are promising effects, there isn’t enough scientific research that chamomile has a direct impact on sleeping patterns. However, it has been used for centuries to calm the mind and relax the body. So it is a safe bet if you are looking for a relaxing tea to drink before bed.
Many popular sleepytime brands like Celestial Seasonings choose to pair chamomile with spearmint and fresh lemongrass to create a delicate and soothing blend that will make your eyelids heavy and your body relaxed.
Lavender is another popular ingredient in bedtime teas for some reasons. While lavender has a very pleasant scent to it, studies have shown that the actual scent of the plant promotes a more relaxed state than actually ingesting it. You may be aware of this if you keep any lavender plants in your garden.
While some find that it relaxes them enough to fall asleep, people more commonly use lavender to help calm anxiety and stress. For some, this may help to accomplish the same purpose. Often stress and anxiety are what prevent us from falling asleep. So, lavender could, in fact, help you get in the right mental space to relax and get some shut-eye.
Ever come home from a long day and put some lavender in the tub? Us too! It’s commonly used as a calming oil because of its perceived ability to block activity in the nervous system. Lavender is added to tea to harness these soothing effects. It could be a vital ingredient in your next cup of tea!
Passionflower is a lesser recognized ingredient that is found in sleepy time tea, but it is one that has shown to be more potent than lavender and even chamomile. It has become increasingly popular in recent years because it is able to quickly relax you before bedtime.
This plant is a vine often found in the southeastern parts of the United States, and in both Central and South America. Some common effects show that this ingredient can be helpful for those that suffer from sleep problems such as insomnia.
The purple passionflower is a striking plant and you will often find that same purple color used by brands to market the tea. It can sometimes be difficult to pick out the right tea among the store lineup. At least you know now that if it is purple it is probably the passionflower (or lavender!) tea.
What’s more, it can be an aid for those that are plagued with anxiety, ADHD and those suffering from severe pain.
A study done in 2011 showed that consuming a low dose of passionflower in tea form actually yields subjective sleep benefits observed among healthy adults where their sleep quality has mild fluctuations over a short term period. This seems to indicate that passionflower can be an effective ingredient in bedtime and sleepytime teas.
Passionflower’s possible sedative qualities are thought to come from its ability to raise gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It’s a chemical made in the brain to regulate mood. It GABA does this by blocking the neurotransmitters that bring on excitement and stimulation. Indeed, more research still needs to be done concerning passionflower tea but the signs seem positive.
Valerian root gets a bad rap because some find that it has a strong odor, one that many describe as similar to cat urine. While that is a slightly off-putting though, Valerian, much like Passionflower, has shown more promise as a sleep aid than other tea ingredients. If you can get past the smell it can prove to be a very effective sleepytime tea. Valerian root has even been referred to as ‘nature’s valium’.
Valerian root is a plant that is often found throughout North America, Europe, and even Asia. Like some of the other mentioned ingredients, valerian is often used for not only sleep but anxiety as well. This is due to its calming effect on the mind and body.
Studies do show that this ingredient can be helpful for those that need a little help falling and staying asleep. However, we always recommended that you consult with their physician before trying anything new. When it comes to sleep you have to be careful!
In most bedtime teas, valerian root is only one of many ingredients, so it isn’t very potent. It’s actually worth noting for all teas – doses will never be too high. But as we’ve said, check it out with a professional if you’re concerned! A cup or two before bed is probably enough to give you a relaxing sleep without knocking you out cold.
However, studies have shown that taking a valerian root supplement showed a greater chance of reporting improved sleep when compared to those taking a placebo. This seems to suggest that valerian root would be a good ingredient to include in a sleepytime tea.
While studies such as these show promise, it is important to note that many cite “methodologic problems,” which “limit the ability to draw firm conclusions” on whether valerian root is a viable sleep aid. If it is a taste that you enjoy and the stench isn’t too strong then we recommend giving it a go for a few nights to see whether it is effective for you.
Tilia flowers actually come from a variety of about 30 trees and bushes. They’re common in many Northern Hemisphere countries and can also be called linden or basswood.
The trees are usually large, but tilia flowers have many different appearances, and sometimes no petals. They are sweet in taste and slightly sticky.
These flowers are often used in medicines and herbal teas. This is because they contain flavonoids, which are related to antioxidants – substances that can prevent cell aging and decay.
Tilia flowers have been applied for colds, fevers, coughs, inflammation, high blood pressure, anxiety, and headaches.
As such, tilia flowers have made their way into sleepytime tea. It’s commonly called linden tea and is sometimes known as a sedative. Linden tea has been valued for its potent sedative properties for many years which is why it is often in the conversation surrounding good bedtime teas.
While there shouldn’t be an issue with taking tilia flowers or linden tea in small doses, always check with your doctor or medical professional if you’re concerned.
It is definitely slightly more mood-altering than your standard cup of tea. For some people, this may mean you slowly fall into a dreamless slumber but for others, the change may be a bit more sudden. Always seek advice before ingesting any product that is supposed to have sedative properties!
Top Sleepy Time and Bedtime Teas
While there are many brands of tea out there, there are two that seem to be most useful for those that are looking for either relaxation or aid in sleeping. These tea brands are tried and tested and are almost guaranteed to help you sleep.
This blend is by far one of the most popular blends on the market for bedtime teas. It includes all four of the top “sleep promoting” ingredients that were mentioned earlier. This is a potent blend of several vital ingredients all working in tandem to lower you into a soothing sleep.
- Passionflower Extract
- Valerian Root Extract
- Licorice Root
- Chamomile Flower
- Spearmint Leaf
- Skullcap Leaf
- Cinnamon Bark
- Rose Hip
- Lavender Flower
- Stevia Leaf
- Natural and Organic Flavors
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
This sleepy time blend is a classic amongst tea drinkers and has been around for over 40 years. It comes in not only the classic tea but also sleepytime extra, sleepytime lavender, sleepytime mint, and sleepytime honey. The base ingredients listed below are in all five blends. Though, each differs depending on flavors, such as honey or lavender.
While this blend is a favorite amongst tea enthusiasts, its lack of “sleepy time” ingredients, make it a lesser potent option for those seeking sleep aid. Look how relaxed and comfortable that sleepytime bear is! Celestial Seasonings has been around for a long time for a reason. That could be you tucked up all sleepy by the fire!
- Tilia Flowers
- Blackberry Leaves
- Orange Blossoms
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
This popular tea is a twist on the classic and adds a sweet vanilla twist to your bedtime cup. It’s of course naturally caffeine-free and contains no artificial flavors or preservatives.
Sleepytime Vanilla tea has become a favorite for fans because of its added taste elements.
It is a refreshing flavor that has a pleasant aftertaste to help you fall asleep. The vanilla offers a slight departure from the earthy and herbal flavors commonly found in bedtime teas. While vanilla is at the forefront, the tea still includes the all-important chamomile and tilia flowers to help promote good sleep.
- Natural French vanilla flavor
- Tilia flowers
- Blackberry leaves
- Orange blossoms
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
This blend is everything that’s classic about Sleepytime but with the added ingredient of valerian. It’s long been known as a natural sleep aid, so you can give your nighttime drink that extra calming kick. The bear on the front of this box looks even more relaxed than usual!
Sleepytime Extra is ideal for those who like a soothing tea and are ready to add to their tea cupboard. If your standard bedtime teas are not working Sleepytime Extra is probably the tea for you. It can also be a last resort if you are becoming fidgety and restless before bed.
- Tilia flowers
Rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
Here are some more options to help you relax before bedtime. Not all of these teas are tailored made for sleep but they are all made to help the drinker relax.
At Tazo, they have always wondered “what it’s like to float away on a sun-drenched bed of clouds, so they crafted a tea that they think creates the same feeling. Chamomile, rose petals, lemon balm, and peppermint blend together creating a perfect cloud-top calm moment.”
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
This relaxing herbal tea is blended specifically to soothe you and allow you to drift off to sleep. It is “made with chamomile rose blossoms & mint herbs are known for their calming properties as well as their delicious flavor. This tea is a classic bedtime tea for a reason.”
Rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
This organic Nighty Night Tea is a relaxing herbal blend that is supposed to relieve occasional sleeplessness. It utilizes that special passionflower which as we mentioned above is famed for both its beauty and its ability to induce calmness and relieve stress.
Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
The Tension Tamer tea ingredients from Celestial Seasonings aim to give that sweet and relaxing feeling without sending you straight to sleep. The ingredients included are well-known relaxers such as peppermint, cinnamon, ginger, chamomile, West Indian lemongrass, licorice, and tilia flowers.
Rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars (Read Reviews)
Is Sleepy Time Tea an Effective Sleep Aid?
Many tea enthusiasts believe that bedtime and sleepy time teas can aid in helping people fall asleep and stay asleep. However, there simply isn’t enough research to truly back it up. The question on all our minds: does sleepytime tea work?
Sure, many studies have shown that ingredients such as chamomile, lavender and valerian root can promote the feeling of being tired. But, it seems as if the effects are more closely linked to calming an individual enough to sleep, not making them fall asleep.
There are certainly positives to teas that are able to reduce anxiety and stress. But these benefits can be helpful at any time of the day. The way these teas are marketed suggests that they are most potent during the evening and just before bed.
This may not always be the case. And as we have discussed there is plenty of research that still needs to be done to determine the precise impact of ingredients such as chamomile, lavender and valerian root.
Either way, you will feel more relaxed as you get into the mode for slumber! Sometimes it’s about the ritual and soothing feeling of drinking a warm cup. Not to mention the calming routine which will signal your brain and get you into a bedtime habit. It is a great habit to get into and your sleep schedule should improve.
Chamomile sleep time teas and other variations look promising, but it is worth noting that some Sleepytime tea side effects can be troublesome to some, such as having an energizing effect instead of relaxing effect. This can be frustrating when all you want is a good eight hours of sleep.
Are these teas affect sleep-aids? That is unclear. They can and do promote relaxation, so you can enjoy a cup of warm, calming, caffeine-free tea prior to sleeping. If you want to pick up a reliable bedtime tea we have listed a few of our favorites.
What is your favorite sleepy time tea?
Share in the comments below!