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Chamomile Tea for Sleep: Does It Work?

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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.

People who have trouble sleeping but prefer to avoid potentially addictive substances may prefer natural sleep aids as opposed to medications. Nighttime tea has long had a reputation as a natural way to help people fall asleep, one of those being chamomile tea.

So, does 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.

How Does Chamomile Tea Work?

The chamomile flower extract that’s used to make the brew contains a chemical compound called apigenin, and it’s believed that its sleep-promoting effects may be linked to apigenin binding to different receptors in the brain1 like benzodiazepine and GABA, which are known to decrease anxiety and initiate sleep.

Benefits of Chamomile Tea for Sleep

Relaxing Bedtime Ritual

Our mind and body need time to wind down before sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic2, 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 because the blue light from these devices can make you feel more alert3.

Drinking tea is a better alternative that could 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.

May Help Sleep Quality

In a 2011 study4, 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.”

A 2019 systematic review5 looking at five studies on chamomile in people without insomnia concluded that it may help with with sleep quality over the course of four weeks. 

Some more research from 2017 examined sleep quality in elderly patients who took chamomile capsules6. They found significant improvements in sleep quality for those who took the capsules.6

Could Aid Digestion

If indigestion is keeping you up at night, a cup of warm chamomile tea might do the trick. According to research, this tea has been used to not only treat indigestion, but also symptoms like flatulence, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting.1

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

Chamomile Tea Side Effects

While there are potential benefits to drinking this beverage, you should also be aware of any possible side effects. Though uncommon, potential side effects associated with chamomile include nausea, dizziness, and allergic reactions.5

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, people are more likely to be allergic to chamomile if they’re already allergic to similar plants like ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, or daisies.5

Research on whether chamomile is safe to take long-term or while pregnant or breastfeeding is not fully known.5

As with any sleep aid, we advise checking with your healthcare provider first, especially if you are taking other medications, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have other health complications.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does chamomile make you tired?

There is little research on chamomile’s impact on insomnia, with nothing significant showing that chamomile is helpful for this sleep disorder.5 Rather, there is some research that suggests chamomile could improve sleep quality in certain populations, including those without insomnia and elderly people.5, 6

Is chamomile tea safe to drink every night?

Chamomile tea is generally considered a safe product, as long as you don’t experience any adverse side effects. However, it’s a good rule of thumb to check with your healthcare provider before adding any sleep aids to your routine, particularly if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, taking other medications, or have other health conditions.

How long should chamomile tea 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.

Jill Zwarensteyn

Jill Zwarensteyn


About Author

Jill Zwarensteyn is the Editor for Sleep Advisor and a Certified Sleep Science Coach. She is enthusiastic about providing helpful and engaging information on all things sleep and wellness.

Combination Sleeper

Education & Credentials

  • Certified Sleep Science Coach


  1. Srivastava, Janmejai K ., Shankar, Eswar., Gupta, Sanjay. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future”. National Library of Medicine. 2010.
  2. “Insomnia”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified January 26, 2024.
  3. “Blue light has a dark side”. Harvard Health Publishing. 2020.
  4. Zick, Suzanna M., et al. “Preliminary examination of the efficacy and safety of a standardized chamomile extract for chronic primary insomnia: A randomized placebo-controlled pilot study”. BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. 2011.
  5. “Chamomile”. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Last modified May 2020.
  6. Adib-Hajbaghery, Mohsen., Nesa Mousavi, Seyedeh. “The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial”. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 2017.