Is A Hot Drink the Secret to A Good Night’s Sleep?

If you often struggle to get a good night’s sleep, you might have tried everything from sleep trackers to sophisticated alarm clocks. But, the secret to a restful night could be far simpler — a humble hot drink might well be the ultimate sleep-aid.

So, pop the kettle on while we go through the ways a warm drink can help you sleep, as well as which drinks you should try for a more restful night.

Why do hot drinks help you sleep?

Neil Stanley, a representative from Horlicks, recently told the Guardian that hot drinks can be the perfect way to wind down after a long day. The suggestion comes after the drinks company saw a rise in sales as stressed out millennials look for a way to relax in the midst of their busy lives (Mirror). And the claim seems to have some truth. A study conducted in 2016, published in the Advances in Nutrition journal, found that participants reported a more restful sleep and fewer night-time movements after consuming a soothing cup of Horlicks before bed.

The sleep-inducing benefits of a warm milky drink seem to be less to do with the drink itself, and more to do with the routine of making it. The process of preparing the drink and waiting for it to cool down can help you to relax. And you’re not going to be doing anything too stressful or strenuous while you’re making it, either.

What drinks can help you sleep?

Although some hot drinks might help you drift off, make sure you stay away from caffeine-based beverages like coffee and black tea, as these can keep you awake. Luckily, there’s a wide variety of milky drinks and herbal teas you can try instead. Some even contain extra sleep-inducing ingredients, so why not give one of these five drinks a go?

Green tea

Green tea has become popular in recent years, and it’s the ideal night-time drink. That’s because it contains theanine, an amino acid that’s said to reduce stress and aid with sleep, according to a study published in Nutrients.
Green tea comes in a wide variety of flavours, so you’re bound to find one you like. Just make sure you look for the decaffeinated variety, or you could end up being kept awake instead!

Chamomile tea

Chamomile has been used as a sleep remedy for centuries because of its soothing floral scent and lack of caffeine. Lovers of chamomile tea tend to report a more restful night’s sleep after sipping a cup of it before bed.

A study conducted on 60 elderly people also found that participants who were given a chamomile extract capsule twice a day for 28 days reported a significant improvement in sleep. So, it might be worth brewing a pot of chamomile tea before you head to bed.

Lemon balm tea

Lemon balm can be used to reduce stress and help treat anxiety disorders, according to a study published in Nutrients. Another paper published in Phytomedicine suggests that a combined dose of lemon balm and valerian was an effective treatment for sleep disorders in children. This tea also has a refreshing citrus taste with a slight touch of mint, so it’s delicious as well as relaxing.

Warm milk

If these drinks aren’t quite your cup of tea, a nice mug of warm milk can work just as well. This is because milk contains an amino acid called tryptophan, which is thought to increase levels of the sleep hormone melatonin (ScienceDirect). So, a soothing cup of warm milk can help you to wind down and relax after a long day, and you might find it easier to fall asleep.

Almond milk

If you’d rather stay away from dairy products, a nice glass of warm almond milk can have the same effect. Just like cow’s milk, almond milk contains tryptophan. We sometimes recommend eating almonds as a light and healthy night-time snack because they’re a natural source of melatonin, too (NCBI). So, a cup of hot almond milk before bed could be the answer to your sleep problems.

Whether it’s the ingredients or the method of making it, a hot drink before bed could be the answer to a good night’s sleep. With so many soothing beverages out there, from milky drinks to herbal teas, you’re bound to find one you like. For more expert sleep tips like these, make sure you check out the rest of our blog, as well as our advice centre.

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