6 Expert-Approved Drinks Perfect For Unwinding Before You Go To Bed
When bedtime approaches and you're looking for a calming beverage to sip on, what do you go for? Not all nighttime drinks are created equal, so we asked experts for their favorites—plus, how much you should (or shouldn't) drink before bed to avoid waking up. Here's what they had to say:
Our first pick is a favorite of both sleep specialist and author of The Sleep Solution W. Chris Winter, M.D., and doctor of chiropractic and functional medicine expert Stacie Stephenson, D.C., CNS. Golden milk is essentially a turmeric latte, and Stephenson notes the anti-inflammatory properties of this botanical could help support a great night's sleep.
"Once you've tried golden milk, you'll be hooked on the way it settles your mind and body at the end of the day and invites your entire being to relax and let go of any worries as you drift off to sleep," neurologist Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D., previously told mbg.
Chamomile tea has long been a bedtime standby, and for good reason. Williams and Stephenson both recommend it, as it contains "apigenin," a crystalline plant phytonutrient compound that binds to receptors in your brain that help you relax. This floral tea has been found in research to help new moms sleep better—"and it also has some pain-relieving qualities," Stephenson adds.
A popular Chinese date, jujube has long been prized for its ability to ease stress, enhance sleep quality1, and promote healthy daytime functioning.* "One thing I particularly like about [it] is that it is also a food that is very gentle and doesn't knock people out or cause hangovers the morning after taking it,"* integrative medicine physician Robert Rountree, M.D., previously told mbg.
If stress is keeping you from your best night's sleep, ashwagandha might be worth considering. A popular adaptogenic herb, it contains sitoindosides and acyl steryl glucosides that have a relaxing effect on the body, Stephenson explains, adding, "It's a traditional remedy in Ayurvedic medicine that I really like for relieving stress."
Tart cherry juice
Things to keep in mind.
It wouldn't be a story about what to drink before bed if we didn't mention what not to drink before bed: alcohol and caffeine. Both can interfere with your sleep, with alcohol inhibiting REM sleep, and of course, caffeine making it harder for you to fall asleep in the first place.
And when it comes to what you do want to drink, you might be wondering, what about waking up to use the bathroom? According to Winter, you can hydrate as much as you want if you don't mind getting up to go to the bathroom. "If it happens, it's no big deal really," he says.
But of course, if you would rather sleep through the night, Stephenson says to simply enjoy your bedtime beverages about an hour before bed, and use the bathroom right before you go to sleep.
The bottom line.
At the end of the day (literally), there are plenty of things you can do to help yourself unwind and prepare for sleep, including drinking these soothing beverages. So fire up your kettle—or grab that tart cherry juice—and prepare to get sleepy.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.