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Wind down for bed with a cup of herbal tea

These comforting pre-sleep sips won’t keep you up all night.

A woman sitting on a bed holding a mug with a teabag string hanging out of it. Credit: Reviewed / Sara Tabin

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A warm cup of tea can be a soothing final beverage before bedtime—and science even backs that up. If you’re interested in including tea in your nightly routine, we researched and taste-tested some basic flavors for you to start with.

Why should you drink tea before bed?

Four mugs of various teas shot from above.
Credit: Reviewed / Sara Tabin

A nice cup of tea can be a soothing part of an evening routine. I taste-tested a variety of flavors for you.

When I offer a friend tea in the evening, they often decline because they’re worried about caffeine. Rest assured, herbal bedtime tea doesn’t contain caffeine, so drinking it before bedtime won’t leave you tossing and turning all night. However, you’ll want to avoid black tea, green tea, chai tea, white tea, and oolong tea at night unless they are specifically labeled as decaffeinated.

As far as benefits go, some evidence indicates that drinking some herbal teas, like ones containing chamomile and passionflower, before bed may help you feel sleepy. There’s much stronger evidence that doing relaxing activities as part of your wind-down routine will help you sleep better, so adding the ritual of brewing and sipping could contribute positively to that. Not to mention drinking tea any time of day is a great way to hydrate. So, if you like the taste and feeling of a warm mug of herbal tea, indulging at night is a great way to boost your bedtime ritual.

If you aren’t yet a tea devotee like I am, allow me to introduce you to some of my favorites.

For fruity flavors, go for something hibiscus-based

A box of Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger tea on the left against a lavender background. A box of Traditional Medicinals Organic Hibiscus tea on the right against a mint green background.
Credit: Celestial Seasonings / Traditional Medicinals / Reviewed

Hibiscus adds some nice fruity flavor.

Floral teas can be made from roses and jasmine, but I prefer hibiscus for its refreshing, fruity flavor that’s delicious either hot or iced. It reminds me of drinking tart juice made from lemon or berries. For those who prefer more sweetness, it blends nicely with some honey or sugar.

Traditional Medicinals sells organic hibiscus tea if you want to try it straight. For a more complex flavor, Celestial Seasonings sells a hibiscus-based tea called Lemon Zinger with rosehip and lemon. It was my favorite tea growing up.

Get Traditional Medicinals Organic Hibiscus Herbal Tea from Amazon for $29

Get Celestial Seasonings Lemon Zinger from Amazon for $20

For clean, fresh flavor, try for peppermint

A box of Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Tea against a light green background.
Credit: Celestial Seasonings / Reviewed

Mint can help soothe your stomach.

Mint is another great option for an evening cup of tea. It can help soothe your stomach as an after-dinner beverage, and it has a pleasant, clean taste.

Celestial Seasonings sells a great peppermint tea if you want to give it a shot. I normally drink peppermint tea straight because I find it refreshing and hydrating, but you can also add milk and sugar for a Christmas-reminiscent treat any night.

Get Celestial Seasonings Peppermint Tea from Amazon for $16

For something light and ultra-relaxing, try lavender

A box of Clipper Snore Tea against a lavender background.
Credit: Clipper / Reviewed

Lavender has a nice scent that relaxes you.

Lavender has long been touted for its soothing fragrance, and when blended with chamomile, it offers a tasty, calming beverage.

Clipper Fair Trade Organic’s Snore and Peace tea is one of my favorite nighttime blends of the two. I find the combination to be a perfect balm to a stressful day. One warm cup and I’m off to bed.

Get Clipper Fair Trade Organic’s Snore and Peace Tea from Amazon for $31

For a science-backed herbal blend, try passion flower or valerian root

A box of Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax tea on the left against a lavender background. A box of Yogi Bedtime tea against a mint green background on the right.
Credit: Gaia Herbs / Yogi / Reviewed

These blends are backed by scientific research.

Passion flower, valerian root, and chamomile are three herbs that are research-backed for inducing relaxation.

In my quest for the ultimate pre-bed beverage, I recently tried Yogi’s Bedtime Tea, which blends those ingredients. I’ll be honest: I wasn’t a huge fan, as the flavor profile also contains cinnamon and licorice, which I found to be overwhelming in the early summer when I gave it a go. I think I’ll enjoy it more in the winter or fall when I’m seeking warmer flavors rather than light, fresh ones. That said, I felt sleepy after trying Yogi’s blend, but it’s hard to say whether it was a placebo effect.

Gaia Herbs sells a lighter-tasting option that includes organic passion flower and chamomile. I found Gaia’s flavor to be more palatable, with stronger hints of chamomile, compared to the Yogi tea. And I felt sleepy after drinking the Gaia tea, too.

Get Yogi Bedtime Tea from Amazon for $17

Get Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax Herbal Tea from Walmart for $9

For a zesty yet calming flavor, try ginger

A box of Traditional Medicinals ginger tea against a lavender background on the left. A box of Bigelow Lemon Ginger tea against a light green background on the right.
Credit: Traditional Medicinals / Bigelow / Reviewed

Ginger provides relief from nausea.

Ginger tea is another good one for a queasy stomach—a plethora of evidence suggests that ginger can alleviate nausea. I also drink it when I have a sore throat. Plus, ginger tea tastes good, especially on cooler nights of the fall and winter—warm and a little spicy.

You can get pure ginger tea from Traditional Medicinals or lemon-ginger tea from Bigelow for extra flavor. Add a spoonful of honey for flavor and to further soothe a sore throat.

Get Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Tea from Amazon for $28

Get Bigelow Lemon Ginger plus Probiotics Herbal Tea from Amazon for $16

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