These 5 Before-Bed Drinks Can Help You Fall Asleep Faster
If counting sheep just isn’t cutting it, these drinks may help you sleep. A big bedtime snack won't digest well, so a small glass of one of these light drinks will strike the right balance for better sleep. Each recipe has ingredients that can make falling asleep (and staying asleep) easier—try all five and see which one works best for you!
We’ve all experienced restless nights, where the tossing and turning feels endless. But if you often have trouble falling asleep, we’ve got a few bedtime drinks you can try that contain ingredients meant to make getting a good night’s sleep easier. Eating (or drinking) anything immediately before bed makes it more difficult to get to sleep—these drinks work best if you give them a little time to work. We recommend stirring them up at least half an hour before you plan to crawl under the covers to give your digestive system a head start. Try all five drink recommendations to see which one helps you nod off quickest.
1. Cherry-Almond Smoothie
Cherries and cherry juice are both popular suggestions for bedtime snacks and drinks because cherries are one of the few foods naturally high in melatonin. “Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle,” says Rizwana Sultana, MD and assistant professor in the University of Texas Medical Branch’s pulmonary critical care and sleep medicine division. “It is a hormone released by the Pineal gland when there is darkness around us or there is no light stimulation, and helps with initiating the sleep process and regulates our internal clock.”
But fresh cherries aren’t the only ingredient working hard to help you sleep better—this smoothie’s got almond milk too, which can help make your nights more restful. Almonds (and almond milk) are loaded with magnesium and tryptophan. “Foods and beverages that contain tryptophan, an amino acid that converts into sleep-promoting brain chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin (a hormone that regulates our sleep/wake cycle), may promote better sleep,” says Charles Abate, MD, FCCP and sleep medicine specialist.
2. Turmeric Tonic
You might’ve heard some of the buzz about turmeric, and it’s true—simmering this spice into a tea-like drink could help you sleep better. Turmeric can help reduce inflammation, along with a few other health benefits like lowering blood sugar levels and improving digestion (all of which can help you sleep better).
Or, if you want to try something with turmeric that might be even more effective than this simple tonic, try simmering the spice with milk instead to make a popular bedtime drink called golden milk. “Milk contains tryptophan, which promotes sleep,” Sultana says. “Tryptophan is converted in melatonin which regulates our sleep, and adding turmeric helps muscle relaxation.”
3. Avocado Smoothie
Avocados are loaded with magnesium and potassium, both of which can help you sleep. “Magnesium helps calm the nervous system down and activates sleep neurotransmitters,” Sultana says. “It also regulates melatonin production.” This green smoothie recipe has tons of other great ingredients to help you fall asleep, like Greek yogurt, honey, a banana, and orange juice. Greek yogurt is full of melatonin-promoting calcium, and orange juice can be, too, as long as you stick to a fortified brand with added nutrients. And bananas are also great for sleep! “Bananas contain plenty of magnesium and potassium, which may help muscle relaxation and improve sleep,” Sultana says. Your eyes will be drooping shut in no time.
4. A Cup of Non-Caffeinated Tea
You’ve probably heard this one before, but a warm cup of chamomile tea can help you fall asleep quicker. “It’s non-caffeinated, very soothing and helps promote sleep,” Sultana says. Or, if you’re not a fan of drinking chamomile, you can turn to decaf green tea. “It contains theanine which reduces stress and promotes sleep,” Sultana says. Just make sure your green tea doesn’t have any caffeine, or you’ll end up having a harder time sleeping instead of nodding off quicker. According to the National Sleep Foundation, ginger and peppermint tea are also calming and can be worth trying before bedtime.
5. Blueberry-Pineapple Smoothie
This smoothie has three melatonin-rich foods that can help you nod off quicker: Tart cherries, bananas, and pineapple. While we’ve already mentioned that bananas are full of potassium and magnesium, both of which can help with sleep, they’ve got melatonin, too, just like tart cherries. Don’t be afraid to add a tropical twist to your smoothies, because according to Abate, pineapple can be a good source of melatonin too. If you want to add a little extra boost to your smoothie, you can snack on a few extra pineapple slices on the side.
You’ll probably have to do some experimenting to find which foods and drinks work best for you before bed, but remember—sleep is about more than just what you eat and drink. While some of these drinks can certainly help with sleep, other factors, like too much screen time right before bed or eating a heavy meal just before you crawl under the covers can make it more difficult to get to sleep. So while a sleep-promoting drink might help, don’t expect it to instantly cure your tossing and turning.