3 Natural Drinks to Help Get Better Sleep

In anticipation of our upcoming list of natural sleep remedies, we’re sharing 3 incredibly simple drinks that you can whip up before bedtime that will help you relax, unwind, and drift off to dreamland (and no, none of them contain alcohol, which will actually disrupt your sleep patterns.)

3 Natural Sleep Aid Drinks- for a deeper, more restful sleep.

Cherry juice (and vanilla) drink

I have made cherry juice a regular part of my morning and nighttime routines since the first time I tasted it. To make it even better, it is one the easiest sleep tonics you can concoct!

Why tart cherry juice: Tart cherries are incredibly rich in melatonin, the hormone responsible for regulating our sleep-wake cycles, so indulging in a glass of the tart but sweet ruby red liquid every morning and night will help you keep your sleep schedule on track.

Why vanilla (optional): Vanilla has a soothing scent, and adding a drop of extract to your cherry juice can provide aromatherapy benefits that will help you doze off.

You will need…

-5-8 ounces of tart cherry juice
-A drop or 2 of vanilla extract

Directions

In the morning pour yourself about 5-8 ounces of tart cherry juice and drink it in its entirety. At night 1 hour to half an hour before bed repeat, adding a drop or 2 of vanilla if you desire. I would suggest sticking to using the vanilla only at night, since you don’t want to get too relaxed first thing in the morning!

cherry juice

Fresh Chamomile-lavender tea

This tea combines two of the most relaxing herbs known to promote rest and a sense of calm-lavender and chamomile.

Why chamomile: It’s not exactly pinpointed just what in chamomile gives it its sedative effects, but some research has tentatively shown that a constituent in chamomile called apigenin can bind to GABA receptors in the brain, creating a mild response similar to anti-anxiety medication, such as Xanax, does. GABA is the second most common amino acid in the body and plays a huge role in our central nervous system, calming us down and, of course, helping us relax into sleep.

Why lavender: Lavender is a scent that has been used to relax and unwind for centuries. Recently a study showed that people exposed to its odor had a change in brainwaves patterns, suggesting that it did indeed induce drowsiness.

You will need…

-1 teaspoon of lavender buds
-1 teaspoon of chamomile buds
-8 ounces of hot water
-milk/honey to taste (optional)

Directions

Bring 8 ounces of water to a boil. In a teaball or loose-leaf tea strainer, place 1 teaspoon each of lavender and chamomile buds. Put the straining device in your cup and pour the boiling water over it. Allow the herbs to steep for 10-15 minutes-the longer it steeps the stronger the flavor will be. Add milk and/or honey to taste. If you don’t have a teaball or something similar, simply pour the hot water directly over the herbs in a bowl and then use a kitchen strainer to remove the buds.

lavender and chamomile tea

Warm milky drink

This tasty combination of warm milk, honey, and a sprinkling of nutmeg is your ticket into Snoozefest.

Why warm milk: The idea that warm milk helps you fall asleep didn’t come from nowhere, as people over the centuries could tell you it really does work, but not for the modern day reason that states it makes you sleepy because of tryptophan. Conclusive studies have been done that show milk does not raise tryptophan levels, but it can raise your internal body temperature when it’s heated, which will relax you and make you sleepy and calm. Add to this the most powerful effect of all, the placebo effect. Warm milk seems to do something psychologically that makes us calm and drowsy. Perhaps it makes us harken back to our days of infancy, and therefore makes the drinker “sleep like a baby.” Either way you look at it, there’s something about it that makes falling asleep a breeze.

Why honey: L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid vital to our rest. It is the precursor to serotonin, which can be converted into melatonin, and melatonin is what regulates our sleep-wake cycles. Honey creates a spike in insulin, which drives tryptophan across the blood-brain barrier. It is then converted into serotonin, which in darkness is converted in to melatonin in the pineal gland in our brain. The result is that as nighttime approaches, you have more melatonin to tell your body “ok, it’s time to sleep now.”

Why nutmeg: Nutmeg is a pretty powerful spice-so much so that it’s very possible to “overdose” and end up getting looped out, feeling incredibly ill, hallucinating, and experiencing a myriad of other unpleasant side effects. Ingested safely though it is a pretty darn good natural sleep-aid, thanks to numerous chemical components that act similar to tranquilizers-just stick to a quarter teaspoon or less.


You will need…

-1 glass of milk
-2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon of honey
-1/8 teaspoon to a 1/4 teaspoon of ground nutmeg

Directions

Warm up about 8 ounces of milk in your favorite mug. Heat it until it’s a little hotter than you would comfortably drink, and stir in 1 tablespoon of honey (or as little as 2 teaspoons if you prefer.) Sprinkle with a ¼ teaspoon of ground nutmeg at the most, and let it cool to a temperature that is still nice and toasty warm but drinkable. Make this about 30 minutes before bed when you start winding down, sip slowly, and enjoy!

warm milk and honey

Any remedy dealing with sleeping troubles strikes a chord with me, as I myself have struggled with insomnia for over 4 years. The world we live in now just does not cater itself to a good night’s rest, with our daily lives full of caffeine, various dramas, work, and stress. If anything though, I’ve found that the fact that sleep is harder and harder to achieve for a lot of people means that it’s that much more important we actually do find a way to get as much as we need.


Tip: Make your drink at least a half an hour before bedtime so you’re not waking up in the night to run to the bathroom!

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By Claire Goodall

Claire is a lover of life, the natural world, and wild blueberries. On the weekend you can find her fiddling in the garden, playing with her dogs, and enjoying the great outdoors with her horse. Claire is very open-minded, ask her anything :) Meet Claire→

         

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31 Comments

  1. Linda says:

    Where does one purchase tart cherry juice?

    • Claire (Everyday Roots) says:

      Hi Linda,

      Most local supermarkets or grocery stores carry it-in ours its by the produce aisle, but it bops around depending on the store.

      • susan phelps says:

        I find it in the healthfood isle. They also have quality vanilla in that isle.

      • Donna says:

        This is good news. I was wondering how I would juice tart cherries in my juicer, having to pit them first. Do you know if Trader Joe’s carries tart cherry juice?

    • Sauda Shalom says:

      I found Tart Cherry Juice at Whole Foods

  2. Ellyn says:

    Linda and Claire

    I know that both Trader Joes and Whole Foods, as well as another store called Sprouts all carry the tart juice – goes out as fast as they stock it though.

  3. Karen says:

    Chamomile should be avoided by those with seasonal allergies.

  4. carolyn Benn. says:

    Where in Guyana u get TartCherry? Our own natural cherry. Can’t work?

  5. Jeanne Kolberg says:

    I would encourage people to heat their milk in a saucepan over the stove rather than microwaving it in a mug. Some mugs can impart a taste to the milk, and studies have shown that microwaving food actually changes its molecular structure. Better to take a few extra minutes and heat the milk the old fashioned way. :)

  6. Carole Edminson says:

    Would you get the same effect using almond milk?

  7. Denise says:

    Are goat milk or almond milk ok ?

  8. Jacqueline says:

    Would coconut milk work?

  9. Donna says:

    Almond Milk works great also! I use this almost every night and I sleep great but I only put 1/4 to 1/2 cup of milk in the cup or I have to go to the bathroom all night long. Also my microwave has a Milk button and it heats up on only half the normal power as usual. I hope this helps!

  10. jeff galazia says:

    I use magnesium chloride spray on legs and belly every morning.. Sleep fit and solid every night!!

  11. Sherri says:

    where can you find quality Lavender buds??

    • Kristen says:

      Hi Sherri,
      I usually grow my own lavender and then cut them and dry the buds before they bloom..once dried, you can store them in a ziplock bag in your spice cabinet.:)

  12. Kristin says:

    Where do you buy tart cherry juice at? What is the cost?

  13. Susan says:

    You can also add a pinch of Celtic sea salt to help with adrenal support

  14. Rayna says:

    Thank you for sharing these recipes can’t wait to try them !

  15. Gillian says:

    if you only do the cherry juice at night will you still sleep well or does it have to be done morning and night to get the proper sleep effect?

  16. Gillian says:

    I am really hoping you can help let me know…if I only drink the cherry juice at night will it still aid sleep or does it need to be taken both morning and night to have the sleepy effect?

  17. marilyn Patterson says:

    Hi,would you tell me why I can’t make a copy of your site. and I can’t seem to make my way back to that melon,apple drink those skinny girls drink. thanks

  18. Bridgette says:

    Growing up my mother usually gives us warm milk with vanilla.

  19. Lou says:

    I’d avoid drinking animal milk before bed as it stimulates unwanted mucus production. Also animal milk, contrary to common belief, is really not good for you.
    I can’t wait to try the tart cherry juice!

  20. Sara says:

    Greetings!
    I like your site! I like that you explain why a thing does or doesn’t work. It’s simple, attractive and informative…thanks :)

    Sara

  21. Cara says:

    Would the milk/honey/nutmeg drink be safe for children? I don’t want to give my daughter the nutmeg if it’s going to be too much for her. Thanks!

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