Anyone who has ever struggled to drop off at night will know a relaxing hot drink can be a godsend.
It goes without saying that even the best sleepers tend to shun caffeine after a certain time, so decaf options are the name of the game.
But you needn’t stick to the standard black stuff: these days there are many permutations of teas and other drinks all designed to send you to the land of nod, whether through traditional herbs, flowery blends or the new supercharged CBD varieties so you’re sure to find a night time beverage to your taste.
We tried more than 20 types of teas and other herbal drinks to whittle down this list of sleep-inducing infusions to the best of the bedtime bunch.
We’ve tried to include a range of flavours, price points, ingredients and styles to suit everyone and were looking for the winning teas to taste good, smell dreamy and help us to properly wind down at the end of a busy day before working their magic. Here’s the tea…
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Pukka organic peace tea: £3 for 20, Sainsbury’s
There are so many brilliant blends by Pukka – all of which are organic and formulated by master herbalist Sebastian Pole who knows his way around a herb garden – that we struggled to pick just one to include in this list. We’ve chosen the new peace tea which contains ethically sourced nhemp (CBD), ashwagandha – a root commonly used in Ayurveda to treat insomnia both for falling asleep and sleep quality and when blended with other supercharged healing herbs, this adds up to a deep, restorative sleep – chamomile and spearmint to help mental and physical relaxation, calm feelings of anxiety and soothe digestive discomfort making it the ideal cuppa to create a bit of inner peace before bedtime.
The brand’s new chamomile, vanilla and manuka honey is also fantastic with an unusually high content of oils which smell and taste delicious even if you’re not normally keen on chamomile.
Mariage Freres dream tea: £17 for 30, Mariage Freres
Mariage Freres is the last word in tea luxury. Founded in Paris in 1854, Mariage Freres boasts dozens of high end tea salons across Paris and the rest of France serving fine teas under strict controls, and its flagship tea emporium in London’s Covent Garden offers up a slice of the same Parisian tradition with hundreds of black, white, red and green teas – and more – available. We’ve picked the velvety dream tea, which is a blend of delicate chamomile, verbena, lemongrass and balm mint lifted by a touch of liquorice and red tea (rooibos, which is naturally uncaffeinated). Chamomile of course is well renowned for its calming qualities, while verbena and mint are known to soothe. Each tea bag is wrapped in muslin and once steeped makes a gentle, mellow cup of aromatic tea that aids relaxation and puts you in good stead for a well-rested night – perfect for anyone a little too wired come bedtime.
Chuckling goat sing me to sleep loose leaf tea: £9.95, Chuckling Goat
This is a thoroughly floral tea with a healthy dose of lavender flowers, hop flowers and chamomile flowers picked from Chuckling Goat’s farm then hand mixed with valerian root (a huge 35 per cent). The brand says: “The persuasive power of natural herbs will relax and lull you off to sleep without harming your microbiome” – ie. your gut bacteria which regulates things like anxiety, sleep and immunity. And we certainly did feel all the better for drinking it after a few nights. Valerian is commonly sold as a sleeping aid thanks to its mild sedative properties, so this is a gentle, soothing way to enjoy its sleepy benefits without waking up feeling groggy – we felt refreshed. This is a loose leaf tea so needs to be steeped in boiled water for 15 minutes before straining and drinking three cups at hourly intervals before bedtime. The lavender perfumed flavour might not be to everyone’s taste but we couldn’t fault its efficacy. We like the fact that Chuckling Goat teas are made without plastic or nanoplastics (often found in teabags) too.
Natur Boutique passion flower sleep: £2.99 for 20, Vitamin Bay
If you’ve tried all the valerian, chamomile and milky drinks you can stomach, it might be time for something different. Passion flower is a vine that has been used traditionally as a tea all over the Americas to help people unwind before bedtime and initial scientific studies agree it might do the job too. This then, is a 100 per cent pure passion flower formulation prepared in tea bags ready to brew for a few minutes and drink before bedtime. The flavour is subtly sweet and pleasant to drink without any overt floral notes. A double blind placebo controlled trial in healthy adults with mild sleep quality fluctuations found that quality of sleep was improved in those drinking passion flower tea compared to a placebo tea so put the kettle on.
Bird & Blend deckchair dreaming loose leaf tea: £5.90 for 50g, Bird & Blend
This tea smells heavenly: like a warm apple pie crossed with tropical blossom, and it tastes just as good as you’d hope. Whole calming chamomile flowers are mixed with large, sweet dried apple pieces, tangy rosehip, fragrant orange peel and a handful of valerian root for its must-have sedative qualities. This is a loose leaf tea that needs to be steeped for four minutes and drunk when you’re dialling down for bed. Expect sweet dreams; the flavour of this tea is naturally sweeter than all the other teas we’ve tried thanks to the fruity flower combination. It’s a real pleasure to add this tea to any bedtime routine whether you’re an insomniac or not, but we felt warm, relaxed and thoroughly chilled after drinking.
Teapigs snooze sleepy tea: £3.99 for 15, Teapigs
Teapigs has a range of good organic teas for all occasions and this is their sleepy version. It’s a whole leaf, 100 per cent natural herbal infusion of big, chunky apple pieces with whole chamomile flowers and lavender heads for a lovely snoozy brew within a plastic-free tea pyramid. The overriding notes of this tea are of lavender, so floral fans with enjoy how calm, peaceful and soothed you’ll feel with this light, subtly sweet tea though we’d advise against brewing for too long or the lavender begins to overpower. A good bedtime tea to add to your night time repertoire.
Pukka organic night time latte: £4.99 for 75g, Body Kind
If you’re not into tea or herbal infusions and struggle to be parted from your afternoon latte, let us introduce you to the night time variety of Pukka’s several “latte” powders. This version is an organic herbal drink made up of malty oats, nutty carob which is infused with the best of nature’s sleep enhancing herbs: chamomile, that ashwagandha again and nutmeg, which various ancient medicines use for sleep and de-stressing. Warm a large mugful of milk of your choice (we liked it with almond) and mix in a few spoons of the latte blend to produce a velvety night time drink that should send you soundly to sleep. We’re big fans of this whole range (try the cacao maca magic which is also boosted with ashwagandha as another dreamy alternative) but found we needed to sweeten this with a touch of honey. Lovely stuff.
Bird & Blend lazy boy loose leaf tea: £5.70 for 50g, Bird & Blend
If you think you don’t like rooibos tea then think again with this Lazy Boy blend from Bird & Blend. There is none of that herbal astringence that sometimes comes with rooibos as here it is rounded out with coconut and cocoa shells which make it feel like some kind of healthy tropical pudding of a tea – plus the shells are naturally high in antioxidants and thought to boost feel-good hormones. Then, it’s enhanced with lavender – famed for its ability to aid physical relaxation. Another loose leaf tea, lazy boy can be steeped for a few minutes then drunk as is, or with milk. We enjoyed it with oat milk and the chocolatey notes made it feel like a real treat rather than a sleep necessity.
Offblak sleep breezy: £4.49 for 12, Offblak
If fruit teas are your thing, this peachy number from cool new tea brand Offblak will be right up your street. Often fruity herbal teas smell better than they taste, but this infusion is a delicious blend of soul-soothing lemongrass, rosehip, dried apple and blackberry leaves – all helpful sleep aids – along with that all-important chamomile to round out the juicy peach overtones. Naturally caffeine free, this dreamy blend is perfect for whenever you need to wind down and we’ve taken drinking it all afternoon it’s so tasty. Offblak also offer letterbox-friendly subscriptions and have an array of other lovely flavours to try (we love Blueberry & Mint).
The verdict: Sleep teas
As any poor sleeper knows, routine is the name of the game when it comes to healthy sleeping. Adding any of these teas or drinks in to your bedtime will create some kind of order and signal for your body and mind to start winding down and then it’s just up to you to choose the tea that you most enjoy.
We thought Pukka’s peace tea ticked all the boxes as it tasted great and had enough going for it in terms of efficacy at a great price so have picked this as our best buy, but we also loved the deliciousness of Bird and Blend's deckchair dreaming and the unusually peachy taste of the Offblak sleep breezy tea. Our advice? Choose a few teas you like the sound of and pop the kettle on.