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A hot drink can warm you up on a cold day, and tea, in particular, can help soothe a number of ailments.

You might drink tea with honey and lemon when you have a sore throat, green tea for its antioxidant benefits, or black tea for a burst of energy. Herbs, such as chamomile and peppermint, might even help relieve menstrual cramps, muscle cramps, and indigestion.

While caffeinated teas can have stimulating benefits, many herbal teas have the opposite effect.

Chamomile tea is widely used in alternative medicine to promote relaxation, drowsiness, and restful sleep. If you had a hard time sleeping in childhood (or beyond), perhaps your parent or grandparent recommended a chamomile blend to help you drift off.

Trouble falling asleep isn’t uncommon, especially during times of increased stress. Bedtime teas blend specific herbs to help you defeat insomnia naturally, so they make a great option if you prefer to avoid medicinal sleep aids.

If you’ve graduated from chamomile tea and need something with a little more relaxation potential, try the six teas listed below to fall asleep faster and sleep soundly.

We considered plenty of relaxing bedtime blends to create our final list of recommendations. Here’s how we decided which teas to include:

  • Ingredients. You can’t make a good bedtime tea without the right components. We only selected teas without caffeine, of course, but we also looked for blends featuring ingredients sure to evoke sleepiness.
  • Variety. You can pick up a box of chamomile tea at any grocery store, so we looked for teas with a little more to offer beyond this tried-and-true, but perhaps a little tired, herb. Some teas on our list contain chamomile, but they’re paired with additional herbs used to help promote better sleep.
  • Customer reviews and testing. We sampled a few of the blends to give you the most accurate insight on taste and impact. For the others, we read through customer reviews to get a good idea of taste, effect, and tea quality.
  • Quality. Speaking of quality, we stuck to well-known brands with established websites and plenty of positive customer feedback. We also checked whether brands were upfront about their ingredients and provided information about tea sourcing and processing.
  • Ease of purchase. You’ll find a few of these brands on Amazon or in local brick-and-mortar stores, but you can also buy them directly from the brand’s website.

Pricing guide

Tea prices can vary widely, especially when it comes to loose tea. Buying in bulk is generally cheaper, but you may want to taste test with a smaller sample pack first.

We included teas at a variety of price points to help every shopper find the right blend.

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = over $10

Product namePriceKey ingredientsBest for
Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Extra Tea$valerian, lemon balm, passionflower, peppermintfalling asleep
Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax Herbal Tea$passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, licoricea valerian root alternative
Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra$valerian, chamomile, tilia estrellapeople looking for a valerian root tea
Yogi Bedtime Tea$valerian root, spearmint leaf, cardamom, passionflower extract, chamomile flower, skullcap leaf, rosehip, lavender flowersupporting overall wellness and sleep
The Republic of Tea Get Some Zzz’s$$rooibos, orange peel, spearmint, chamomile, valerian root, steviapeople looking for a red tea for sleep
Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea Bedtime Brew$$decaffeinated black tea, vanilla, nutmega relaxing, sweet treat
Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile Herbal Tea$$chamomile and honeya cough that’s keeping you awake
Clipper Organic Snore and Peace Herbal Tea$chamomile, lavender, lemon balmlavender-scented relaxation

Best overall tea to help you sleep

Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Extra Tea

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: valerian, lemon balm, passionflower, peppermint
  • Type: bagged

Aside from melatonin, valerian root may be the second most common sleep-promoting ingredient. Traditional Medicinals Organic Nighty Night Extra combines valerian root with additional herbs and natural ingredients, including passionflower herb.

A 2017 animal study found that 500 milligrams of passionflower increased total sleep time and reduced wakefulness. More research is needed, though, to measure this effect in humans.

However, a 2011 study found that passionflower helped participants improve their sleep after 7 days.

This tea also contains lemon balm and peppermint leaf. Lemon balm has been used as an alternative treatment for insomnia — though more research is needed — and peppermint has been shown to act as a muscle relaxant in animal studies.

Both ingredients are linked to better sleep, but they could benefit from more rigorous scientific research.

Some reviewers mention that they didn’t love the smell the valerian adds, but many comment that it helped them reduce anxiety and sleep better.

Pros

  • may help with insomnia and anxiety
  • peppermint may help encourage relaxation
  • may improve overall sleep quality
  • positive customer reviews

Cons

  • scent may not please everyone
  • limited evidence for some of the ingredients’ effectiveness

Best tea to help you sleep if you’re avoiding valerian root

Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax Herbal Tea

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, licorice
  • Type: bagged

Valerian is considered generally safe, but it’s not recommended if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding or chestfeeding because of lacking research on the effects. You should also avoid it if you have any serious health diagnoses until you talk with your doctor. It’s also not recommended for children.

If you fall in any of these camps, or already know you don’t enjoy valerian, Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax may be more your cup of tea.

It contains organic passionflower leaf as well as its freeze-dried extract, lemon balm leaf, chamomile flower (plus additional freeze-dried extract), and licorice root.

Licorice root is primarily there for flavor, but it may have added benefits of helping digestion and combatting menopause symptoms that can get in the way of quality sleep. However, high quality scientific evidence is lacking.

Pros

  • a good alternative to valerian root
  • suitable for pregnant people and those who are chestfeeding
  • pleasant anise-like flavoring
  • may help promote sleepiness

Cons

  • limited evidence on licorice root benefits

Best valerian tea to help you sleep

Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: valerian, chamomile, tilia estrella
  • Type: bagged

While most teas on our list include valerian root, Sleepytime Extra lets it shine. If valerian is what you want, valerian is what you get with this bedtime tea.

The only other two ingredients are chamomile and tilia estrella, which is also used in linden tea.

While more human-based studies are needed to confirm the full effects, research done in vitro (meaning it was conducted outside living bodies) found tilia could help relieve anxiety and act as a sedative.

This tea is a simple blend, but the majority of reviewers find it effective. Some comment about how surprised they were that it helped with insomnia, and others say they were impressed with its ability to “knock you out in the best way.”

Be aware that valerian root has some potential side effects, so it’s not for everyone.

Pros

  • may be effective for promoting sleep
  • well-known brand
  • affordable pricing

Cons

  • may interact with medications

Best tea for supporting sleep and overall wellness

Yogi Bedtime Tea

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: valerian root, spearmint leaf, cardamom, passionflower extract, chamomile flower, skullcap leaf, rosehip, lavender flower
  • Type: bagged

In addition to sleep-promoting ingredients like valerian and lavender flower, Yogi throws in skullcap leaf for good measure. Skullcap has been used in alternative medicine as a sedative and anxiety treatment, though more research is needed to determine exactly how it affects sleep.

Yogi’s Bedtime tea also contains a number of other herbs and ingredients that are thought to help your body’s other key functions.

Cardamom has been used medicinally to help treat digestive issues, while animal studies show cinnamon may be anti-inflammatory and support immune health. Rosehip is also in the mix, containing flavonoids which are antioxidant compounds.

Pros

  • contains sleep-promoting ingredients
  • may help with anxiety
  • may help with upset stomach

Cons

  • flavor may not be for everyone

Best red tea to help you sleep

The Republic of Tea Get Some Zzz’s

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: rooibos, orange peel, spearmint, chamomile, passionflower, valerian root, stevia
  • Type: bagged

This bedtime tea combines chamomile with rooibos — a red tea known for its antioxidants — and passionflower — an herb believed to promote relaxation and better sleep.

Orange peel adds citrus notes, while stevia sweetens the blend. Reviewers suggest you don’t need any sugar or honey for this tea. Some people even find it a little too sweet.

For the most part, people love this tea. Reviewers call the taste smooth and mellow, with notes of refreshing mint. Bedtime teas are about more than taste, of course, and reviewers also say this tea really does help them, well, catch some Zzz’s.

People say this tea helps them relax and unwind, even in the face of pandemic anxiety and stress. Some people experiencing chronic pain say this tea helps them sleep more soundly. A few reviewers even say this tea helps them skip other sleep aids or pain medication.

Passionflower may also help you go to sleep more easily. A 2019 study on mice who were given passionflower extract found that it was an effective sleep inducer that didn’t cause any noticeable side effects. While there aren’t any conclusive studies on how passionflower affects humans, the results of the study showed promising results.

This tea is kosher and gluten-free. You’ll find this brand in many stores, but you can also purchase Get Some Zzz’s from Amazon or directly from The Republic of Tea’s website.

Pros

  • may help with anxiety
  • may help with chronic pain
  • gluten-free and kosher

Cons

  • might be too sweet for some

Best dessert-like tea to help you sleep

Taylors of Harrogate Yorkshire Tea Bedtime Brew

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: decaffeinated black tea, vanilla, nutmeg
  • Type: bagged

Not a fan of herbal teas? You still have options for a bedtime beverage. Decaffeinated black tea won’t help promote relaxation in the same way as herbs, like valerian root, chamomile, or lavender.

Yet black tea offers other health benefits, and a warm cup of tea can still help soothe and calm you as a part of your nightly ritual.

This decaf blend makes a great alternative to herbal blends. Along with having an overall 4.6-star rating on Amazon, it’s a tried-and-true favorite nighttime tea, especially during the colder months.

The light, smooth flavor is balanced with a hint of nutmeg, while vanilla enhances the tea without overpowering it. Even when drinking it plain, it almost tastes as if you’ve added a dash of milk.

This tea also contains lemon balm, an herb that’s been historically used to help relieve insomnia and stress.

The best part? It doesn’t even taste like decaf. Several Amazon reviewers agree this mild tea tastes much like the real thing and makes a relaxing evening drink. People call this tea calming and fragrant, and they praise its “comforting” flavor.

Bonus: Yorkshire Teas have earned the Rainforest Alliance certification. And Taylors of Harrogate, the parent company of Yorkshire Tea, founded the Ethical Tea Partnership.

Pros

  • option for people who don’t like herbal tea
  • decaffeinated
  • brand is part of the Rainforest Alliance

Cons

  • flavor overpowering to some
  • others say it’s flavorless

Best for a cough that’s keeping you awake

Celestial Seasonings Honey Vanilla Chamomile Herbal Tea

  • Price: $$
  • Key ingredients: chamomile and honey
  • Type: bagged

Nasty cough keeping you up at night? Chamomile will help you doze off, but a bad cough can wrestle you right out of a relaxing dream state.

This tea’s blend of chamomile and honey promotes relaxation and keeps coughing to a minimum. Honey isn’t just a great soother for a sore throat, there’s evidence it’s a better cough suppressant than some over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

Aside from honey and chamomile, the caffeine-free tea also has a touch of vanilla for a warm, pleasant flavor that feels more like a treat than a remedy. Celestial Seasonings also uses recycled boxes to package up their teas, preventing unnecessary waste.

It’s clear this natural tea is a customer favorite, with over 12,000 positive Amazon reviews. Customers call it delicious and even honey haters like the taste of this tea.

Pros

  • highly reviewed flavor
  • eco-friendly packaging
  • caffeine-free
  • can help soothe a sore throat

Cons

  • takes a while to steep
  • some don’t love the sweet flavor

Best lavender tea for sleep

Clipper Organic Snore and Peace Herbal Tea

  • Price: $
  • Key ingredients: chamomile, lavender, lemon balm
  • Type: bagged

Chamomile and lavender are well-known for their ability to promote relaxation. But you’re probably more familiar with lavender-scented sleep products, like face masks and bath soaks, than you are with lavender teas.

Evidence suggests that inhaling the scent of lavender can lead to better sleep. One small Taiwanese study from 2015 involving 80 women who’d recently given birth found that those who consumed lavender tea for 2 weeks not only experienced lower levels of fatigue but reduced depression, too.

Another study from the same year involving 79 college students found that inhaling the scent of lavender and improving sleep hygiene helped improve sleep quality more than just improving sleep hygiene alone.

Each Clipper Organic tea bag is individually wrapped in unbleached bags for maximum freshness. The brand is also the largest organic fair trade tea brand on the market.

Customers love the flavor and say it really helps promote relaxation and encourages sleepiness. And while lavender can sometimes be overpowering as a flavoring agent, it has a mild character in this tea, say some reviewers.

Pros

  • contains sleep-promoting ingredients
  • tea comes in unbleached bags
  • budget-friendly

Cons

  • flavor is not for everyone
  • some say they need to use two tea bags for a strong enough flavor

Still searching for the right sleep products?

Let us help. We provide evidence-driven reviews and brand comparisons on top sleep products, like pillows and mattresses, so you can get the sound sleep you deserve.

With so many flavors, blends, and tea types to choose from, finding the best bedtime tea can be an exhausting undertaking.

Wondering how to find the right tea for better sleep? The tips below can help.

What ingredients should you look for?

You’ll definitely want to stick with decaffeinated or naturally caffeine-free teas, but certain herbs may have additional benefits for promoting restful sleep.

Herbs often used in teas for sleep include:

  • chamomile
  • valerian root
  • passionflower
  • lavender
  • lemon balm (different from lemon, which can have an energizing effect)
  • catnip

While many bedtime teas include peppermint or spearmint, some people find that mint feels more invigorating than relaxing.

Note that experts recommend avoiding valerian root while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you want to try a valerian tea, it’s best to talk with a healthcare professional first.

Should you go for loose tea or bags?

If you’ve heard that some tea bags contain microplastics, you might feel a little alarmed by the thought of drinking bagged tea.

Many tea brands have shifted to newer, biodegradable tea bags, or they’re in the process of doing so. For the time being, experts still consider tea bags safe to use, so you don’t need to completely avoid bagged tea.

That said, many people prefer the taste of loose tea steeped in a teapot rather than directly in the mug. Tea bags can be convenient, but loose tea also helps reduce packaging waste.

If you prefer loose tea, you’ll need a teapot or tea ball, along with a kettle to boil water.

Do you have to pay a lot for good tea?

Fancy teas can get a little expensive, but in some cases, higher price can suggest a better grade of tea.

Higher quality teas and herbs tend to cost more to produce and harvest. Organic, responsibly sourced, and fair trade teas all tend to cost more than your average grocery store tea bags. But their higher price tag helps ensure sustainable production and fair wages for farmers.

You absolutely can find quality teas at reasonable prices, however, especially if you buy your tea in bulk.

While a relaxing tea can certainly help you drift off a little faster, too much tea before bed can keep you up for an entirely different reason. If you don’t want to hop out of bed to answer the call of nature, it’s generally best to finish your bedtime tea at least an hour before you go to bed.

Aim to brew and drink your tea 60 to 90 minutes before bed.

If you work out or do anything that provokes physical or emotional stress in the evening, drinking a relaxing tea after (or during) can help you calm down and prepare for sleep.

The most potent bedtime tea in the world won’t necessarily counter every insomnia trigger.

If you regularly experience trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, these strategies might make it easier to get the beauty rest you need and deserve:

Which type of tea is best for sleep?

Herbal teas are a great choice for promoting sleep because they don’t contain caffeine and many contain proven sleep-inducing ingredients like chamomile and valerian.

You might find you need to try a few different teas to find what works best for you.

How do you know you’re buying quality tea?

You can recognize good quality tea by the shape of the tea leaves, flower buds, or herbs. Lower quality tea is often crumbled or powdered.

Good quality herbal tea, on the other hand, will more closely resemble a dried bouquet. This means you’ll probably see pieces of fruit, plants, or flowers in your tea.

Dried herbs and flowers should have some weight and color to them, along with a fragrance not unlike the fresh plant. Old, low quality herbs feel lightweight, and they probably won’t have as much fragrance or taste.

Your tea doesn’t have to be top-tier to get the job done, of course, so don’t feel bad about sticking to your favorite stash or Celestial Seasonings blend — we drink them, too!

Does all tea make you sleepy?

No. Not all herbal teas contain sleep-promoting ingredients. And teas that contain caffeine can actually disrupt your sleep.

Which type of tea is best for insomnia?

Herbal teas without caffeine that contain sleep-promoting ingredients are the best option for insomnia. But it’s also a good idea to talk with a doctor if you’re experiencing severe sleep issues that are impacting your daily activities.

What types of tea are not good for sleep?

Teas that contain caffeine are more likely to mess with your sleep than help it.

When persistent worries seem to multiply and keep you lying awake, the warmth and fragrance of a cup of tea can help you achieve a sense of calm — even before you take the first sip.

Tea can help you relax, and it works wonders for your mood. But it’s not a cure-all.

If insomnia begins to affect your mood, performance at work, or overall quality of life, a healthcare professional can offer guidance on potential treatments. Always check with your doctor about how certain herbs may interfere with other medications.


Crystal Raypole has previously worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. In particular, she’s committed to helping decrease stigma around mental health issues.

Steph Coelho is a health journalist based in Montreal, Canada, who has intimate knowledge of living with a mental health condition and chronic illness. She has bylines with Healthline, Everyday Health, and Medical News Today. You can find her on Twitter.