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Can't Sleep? These Warm Drinks Will Give You Much Needed Z-Z-Z's
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Can't Sleep? These Warm Drinks Will Give You Much Needed Z-Z-Z's

Back when I read TIME’s article, “You Asked: Why Do I Always Wake Up at 3 A.M.?”, I found it to be fascinating that sleep apnea, acid reflux, and even aging can play a direct role in why some of us are able to fall asleep easily — only to wake up, almost right on the dot, at 3 a.m. As far as aging, specifically, goes, even though things like exercise and even keeping your thermostat down to a cooler setting can help to make getting some uninterrupted rest easier, so can consuming certain beverages.


And since this is the time of year when it’s cooler in the day and even frostier at night, I figured that this would be as good a time as any to share 12 warm drinks to sleep that can help you to get the quality of sleep that you’re after. So, if you’re looking for something to complement your new set of PJs and flannel sheets, how about getting yourself a new coffee mug to pour one (or more) of these drinks into it?

12 Warm Drinks To Sleep

1. Milk (or a Milk Alternative) and Honey

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Personally, I don’t know anyone who had a hard time falling asleep while growing up who wasn’t offered a warm cup of milk at some point. And as much as you might think that it’s more of a sleeping agent myth than anything, actually, there’s science to back why it’s a good idea. Something that milk contains is the amino acid tryptophan (the same thing that’s in turkey, for example), and that is known to make a person drowsy (for starters). That’s because it helps to trigger the production of serotonin and melatonin — two things that help you sleep better at night. The reason why you should add a teaspoon of honey to it is because not only can it calm middle-of-the-night cravings, but it literally provides your brain with the fuel that it needs to stay asleep as well.

And what if milk isn’t your thing (due to it being dairy)? I get that. Milk alternatives work, too. Most of them contain quite a bit of calcium, which also gets tryptophan going — so, whether it’s almond, oat, coconut, or something else, still give this option a shot. As an adult.

2. Passionflower Tea

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Whether you’ve had a rough day at work or there’s so much on your mind that you already know that falling asleep is going to be a challenge, passionflower tea is definitely something that you should have in your personal tea collection. The properties of this tea make it the kind that is great for making you feel calmer and more relaxed. In fact, many health professionals find its antioxidants to be so powerful that, to them, it’s an immediate go-to if you have anxiety or struggle with insomnia.

As a bonus, passionflower is also a tea that can help lower your blood pressure and decrease symptoms that are associated with menopause, like hot flashes, night sweats, and headaches.

3. Spiced Apple Juice (Warmed Up)

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Speaking of antioxidants, something else that is full of them is apple juice. And since (pure) apple juice is nothing but, well, juiced apples — if you’re looking to stabilize your blood sugar levels, reduce your cholesterol, ease inflammation, or get you to not overeat (especially at night), a cup of apple juice won’t do you a lick of harm. Hmph. Come to think of it, if you really want to get the most out of drinking apples, go with apple cider. The difference between it and juice is that it’s unfiltered and unpasteurized.

Anyway, if you add some cloves to the juice or cider, the cloves will not only spice up the drink, but they will also decrease inflammation, fight off free radicals, and treat stomach ulcers — if that is the cause of you not being able to rest very well. Fresh cloves or clove powder will do. A teaspoon in a cup of warm apple juice or cider that has been zapped in the microwave for about a minute or warmed up on the stove (my personal favorite) is all that you need.

4. Gotu Kola Tea

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A tea that has been hailed for its medicinal benefits in Southeast Asia is gotu kola tea. Believe it or not, a lot of women like it because it’s been known to reduce bloating and even soften the appearance of stretch marks (wild, right?). Sleep-wise, it’s another tea that can help to decrease anxiety and stress and treat insomnia, and if you’re someone who has a difficult time sleeping due to any joint discomfort, gotu kola can help in that department, too.

Another thing worth mentioning is the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in this tea have even helped to heal varicose veins in some people. Yeah, you might not hear about this tea every day, but clearly, it’s a best-kept secret for a myriad of reasons.

5. Golden Milk

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Not familiar with the term “golden milk”? It’s basically milk that contains the spice turmeric along with two other spices — cinnamon and ginger. The combination makes for a powerhouse drink, thanks to all of the antioxidants that work to reduce bodily inflammation, lower blood sugar levels, get your mood all the way together, improve digestion, and thanks to its antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties, it can help to keep you from catching a cold too.

Since some studies cite that turmeric can actually keep you from experiencing sleep deprivation, cinnamon contains the compound cinnamaldehyde that fights insomnia, and ginger is a natural remedy for headaches as well as muscle and joint pain — next time you’re at the store, pick some of these spices up. On the sleep tip, their benefits just might surprise you.

6. Mulled Blackberry Vanilla Mocktail

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Have you ever wondered what mulled wine actually is? It’s basically wine that has fruit and spices in it that’s been warmed up. Okay, but what if you like the concept of a warmed-up fruity drink, but alcohol isn’t what you have in mind? Why not make a mulled cocktail instead? If it consists of blackberries, you’ll be taking in plant compounds that will help to keep your gut healthy, support heart and oral health, fight against pre-cancer cells, increase your cognitive health, and even keep cold sores at bay.

As far as this particular topic goes, blackberries are good for you because the antioxidants in them can help to bring your stress levels down. And vanilla? Word on the street is that vanilla extract can help to reduce snoring (thanks to its compound vanillin, which can help to keep your respiratory system in good shape).

Plus, if you can’t seem to fall asleep due to a toothache, next to cloves (clove oil is BOMB), vanilla extract can help you out in that department, too. If you want to give it a shot, I’ve got a recipe for you right here.

7. Magnolia Bark Tea

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Something that’s very popular in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine is magnolia bark — and yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like: bark from a magnolia tree. Since its got anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antidepressant properties, I’m sure you get why so many rely on it for their overall health and well-being. Sleep-wise, it can help to reduce oxidative stress and bodily inflammation. It’s also another one of those teas that can make getting through menopause easier; that’s because it helps to reduce hot flashes and irritability.

Magnolia bark tea also contains the compounds magnolol and honokiol; the first keeps the chemicals in your brain balanced, and the second has studies that say it can help you fall asleep faster.

8. Warm Turmeric Latte

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Because turmeric is so good at putting so many to sleep, I wanted to offer up another option than just golden milk. A turmeric latte is one that has turmeric and milk (of course) while also adding in some cinnamon, ginger, vanilla extract, and a bit of black pepper. The black pepper is nothing to — pardon the pun — sleep on since the piperine that’s in it can actually help to produce more serotonin — the neurotransmitter that helps you to maintain the sleep cycle that your body needs.

Listen, chai lattes (lattes with black tea as the “base”) are my jam, so I am totally down to give this latte take a shot. If you are, try this recipe here.

9. Pomegranate Juice with Cinnamon

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If you’d like to try another juice blend, how about pomegranate? Off top, pomegranates are good for you because they are a good source of vitamin C, fiber, and folate. The properties in them help to reduce inflammation, protect your heart, make digestion easier, increase your workout performance, and even help to keep kidney stones from becoming an issue. The reason why I decided to add it to the “sleep agent” list is because it’s yet one more drink that can help with sleeplessness that’s directly associated with menopause.

We’ve already talked about cinnamon; add it if you want to put some “kick” into your juice. Just make sure that you go with 100 percent pure pomegranate juice. That cocktail stuff has so much sugar in it that drinking it will literally be counterproductive as far as getting a good night’s rest is concerned.

10. Hot (Dark) Chocolate

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Got a weakness for dark chocolate? That’s something that you can definitely feel good about (check out “12 Ways Dark Chocolate Can Benefit Your Body From Head To Toe”). Aside from its health benefits like being off-the-charts when it comes to its copper, magnesium, and iron content, it’s been proven that dark chocolate can increase blood circulation, improve brain function, and boost your libido too. It’s also a sweet way to catch some z-z-z’s thanks to its flavanols that can prevent your circadian rhythms from being distracted by the effects of sleep deprivation or psychological stress. Yeah, ain’t nothin’ like some piping cup of dark chocolate with a few marshmallows. Treat yo’ self.

11. Lavender Tea

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Out of all of the drinks on this list, you’re probably not surprised that lavender tea is on it. Lavender has a long-standing reputation for being a natural relaxant. That’s because it does everything from reducing stress levels and heart rates to soothing symptoms associated with menstrual pain and headaches. My two cents, sip on some lavender tea and rub a bit of pure lavender oil on the soles of your feet (read about why here) about 90 minutes before bedtime. I’ve been doing this with either lavender or CBD oil for some time now — and the quality of rest is unmatched, y’all. UN-FREAKIN’-MATCHED.

12. Cranberry Hot Toddies (Possibly…)

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When it comes to drinking alcohol before going to bed, it’s a bit of a layered topic. From what I’ve read and researched, the general consensus is that while it can make you initially drowsy and get you into a state of sleep, it tends to disrupt your rest in the middle of the night — and that could send you to tossing and turning. Since this has never been an issue for me (alcohol will put me out like a light), if you don’t mind having a sip of somethin’ sometimes at bedtime, I’ll end with a cranberry hot toddy suggestion.

As far as cranberries go, they’re another fruit that is full of antioxidants and fiber. They’re also good at fighting and preventing UTIs, stomach ulcers, and kidney stones. And since cranberries are also a good source of vitamin C, they can help you to both fall and stay asleep.

As far as what a hot toddy actually consists of, a few years back, I penned “10 Ways Alcohol Can Be Good For You Past A Great Buzz” for the platform. Whiskey or bourbon (which is a whiskey that’s made with 51 percent corn) and lemon help to qualify it. Since bourbon can boost your immunity and relieve congestion as lemon does the same — why not at least try this recipe here?

It could quickly be your favorite weekend (better to do the alcohol thing on the days when you don’t have to work) sleep solution. And with that said, and to all — with the help of these drinks, of course — a good night.

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Featured image by Vladimir Vladimirov/Getty Images

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