Can Chamomile Tea Help You Fall Asleep? Benefits & Side Effects

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Even for the most self-sufficient person, persistent insomnia is a solid reason to seek help in the sleep department. Your quest for the best sleep remedy may have you scouring the edges of the internet – or at least your local pharmacy.

Folks who have trouble sleeping but prefer to avoid addictive substances may prefer natural sleep aids as opposed to medications. Night-time tea has long had a reputation as a natural way to help people fall asleep.

So, does this chamomile tea make you sleepy? In this guide, we’ll solve the riddle to determine if this tea will really help you sleep or if it’s just another old wives tale.

Tea is Cross-Culturally a Good Idea

Tea has been around for well over a thousand years. It originated in China, where legend has it, was discovered by a farmer named Shennong. The brew was initially used in religious traditions or as herbal medicine but became a social beverage during the Tang Dynasty (618-907 CE).

Throughout the centuries it made its way to other parts of Asia and around the world, where it became a staple in many different countries and cultures, who developed their own traditions. In the UK, they have afternoon tea, while Noon Chai is popular in Pakistan. In Kenya, black tea reigns supreme, and matcha is the drink of choice in Japan.

How Does Chamomile Tea Work?

The chamomile flower extract that’s used to make the brew contains a chemical compound called Apigenin. It’s believed that its sedative effects may be linked to Apigenin binding to different receptors in the brain like benzodiazepine and GABA, which are known to decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.

Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

Just as a party needs to wind down before it comes to a complete stop, so does our mind and body when it’s time to sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, stress due to life concerns like work or family is one common cause of insomnia. While it is tempting to go on your computer, watch television, or scroll through Instagram, staring at screens may keep you up at night.

Drinking tea is a healthier alternative that would be a great addition to your nightly routine. This is because the process of making tea is relaxing and the aromas the tea gives off could help calm you from a busy day and better prepare you for sleep.

Illustration of a Man Enjoying Tea Before Bed

The Heat Makes You Sleepy

Drinking a hot beverage should also be part of a relaxing bedtime routine because heat is known to make people feel sleepy. Heat can make us feel tired for several reasons.

When you feel nice and warm, this can create a drop in blood pressure, which may make you feel tired. This is because our blood pressure is also low when we’re asleep.

The body has a natural blood pressure cycle in which it rises in the morning, reaches its peak mid-afternoon, and begins to fall back down during the evening. A warm tea could help that process if you still feel more energetic during the evenings.

Benefits of Chamomile Tea Before Bed

As previously discussed, this flower extract has a compound that is known to bind to brain receptors that calm people down. Anxiety and stress can lead to insomnia, so there’s a possibility that this herb can aid with both.

Consuming this beverage before bed may also provide other health benefits as well that include improved digestion, ease menstrual cramps, help you when you’re feeling under the weather, boost immunity, or help those with diabetes.

Additionally, the process of making the tea itself – boiling water, steeping, and smelling the aroma – could be calming and better prepare you for sleep.

Want to know more? Check out our best sleep tea guide here.

Illustration of a Man Sleeping Tight after a Cup of Tea

Chamomile Tea Side Effects

While there are potential benefits to drinking this beverage, you should also be aware of any possible side effects. Potential side effects associated with this herb include nausea, vomiting, and interference with blood thinners. Additionally, if you have a pollen allergy, you should avoid this product because it may cause an allergic reaction.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does chamomile make you tired?

In a 2011 study, researchers tried to determine whether this herb helped participants with insomnia. They found that the extract helped slightly with daytime functioning but had mixed results on sleep quality, adding “further studies in select insomnia patients would be needed to investigate these conclusions.”

Illustration of a Man Yawning and Going to Sleep

Is it safe to drink it every night?

This brew is generally considered a safe, natural product, and as long as you don’t experience any adverse side effects, then you would be fine to sip it nightly before you go to bed. The beverage doesn’t contain any caffeine or cholesterol either, so if you find that it does help you, it’s healthy enough to consume regularly.

How long should it steep?

You should steep your drink for at least three minutes before removing the bag. This allows enough time for the flavors and compounds to be extracted.

For loose leaf tea, place 1 teaspoon into an infuser, then put the infuser into your mug. After that, pour in boiling water. Steep for three minutes and then remove the infuser.

Conclusion

Chamomile tea has been a popular natural sleep remedy for years. More than likely this connection is because a compound in the flower extract is known to connect to brain receptors that have a calming effect, which may help induce sleep.

Whether or not this herb can directly make you sleepy is still up for debate and more studies need to be done. However, the placebo effect – or the belief that the treatment will work – may be able to help with insomnia, especially if consuming a cup of hot tea becomes a part of your relaxing nighttime routine before bed.

Content Writer | + posts

Jill Zwarensteyn is a content writer for Sleep Advisor and is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Based in Los Angeles, she is an experienced writer and journalist who enjoys spending her free time at the beach, hiking, reading, or exploring new places around town.

She’s also an avid traveler who has a personal goal of being able to successfully sleep on an airplane someday.

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