In today’s fast-paced world, taking time out for oneself has become increasingly difficult. Meeting deadlines at work, coping with pandemic-related health issues and trying to juggle everything in between has led us to make unhealthy lifestyle choices, which lead to complications of irregular sleeping patterns, digestive problems, elevated stress and anxiety and much more.
However, a few tricks can help with some of these issues. Let’s begin with getting some sound sleep at night. A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your physical and mental health. Not only does it help you wake up energised and rejuvenated, but it also elevates your mood for the rest of the day.
But what do you do if you’re finding it difficult to go to sleep? A quick fix is having a comforting beverage before hitting the sack. What’s even better is that some of these can be easily made at home and are packed with health benefits.
To make things easier for you, we have curated a list of drinks that will improve sleep quality. So, ditch sugary or caffeinated beverages you might be consuming every other night and be mindful of what you have before going to bed. However, you must consult a physician or a sleep therapist if you are having trouble sleeping.
Read on to know all about these DIY drinks that’ll help you get better sleep at night:
Tisanes, or herbal teas, are known for their natural properties that help you relax after a tiring day. Rich in antioxidants, the components of the chamomile flowers have a soothing effect that induces sleep and relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Moreover, a 2009 study shows that taking daily doses of chamomile extract has lowered almost 50 percent of anxiety symptoms. Besides its medicinal properties, the tea also helps in keeping heart problems in check and lowers risks of cancer.
This DIY drink is easy to make. All you need to do is boil water in a kettle and add the tea to it. Let it brew for some time, and pour it into a cup. Inhale the earthy aroma, which will instantly calm your senses.
Feel free to add honey, ginger and apple mint leaves to create more variants of this soothing beverage. Other ingredients like lavender, cinnamon and a bit of maple syrup can also enhance the flavour and boost immunity.
Milk with turmeric
Since time immemorial, mothers and grandmothers have sworn by milk for its endless health benefits. Besides being a rich source of calcium, milk possesses generous amounts of the amino acid tryptophan, which turns into a hormone called melatonin on consumption and makes you sleepy.
On the other hand, turmeric, essentially used in Indian meals, helps in digestion and is known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Combining warm milk and turmeric makes a perfect night-time drink, giving a warm fuzzy feeling. However, if you are intolerant to lactose, choose plant-based milk like cashew, oats or almond.
The DIY drink couldn’t get any simpler. Add turmeric to warm milk and stir well. You could also add a pinch of cinnamon or some ginger to it. If you prefer it sweet, add honey as per taste and voila! The turmeric milk is ready.
Drink it as a creamy after-dinner beverage to improve metabolism and sleep quality.
Tart cherry juice
A pilot study conducted by the American Journal of Therapeutics shows drinking tart cherry juice reduces insomnia. Adults above 50 years have shown great progress in sleeping patterns after consuming 250 ml of cherry juice twice daily for two weeks.
These adults got nearly 84 minutes of extra sleep after consuming the tart cherry juice, the study shows.
Amino acid tryptophan present in tart cherries induces sleep and regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
Although both sweet and tart cherries help in releasing melatonin in the body, the latter already has a high melatonin content which induces sleep.
If you are planning to add this drink to your nighttime routine, be sure to follow the study and drink two glasses of 250 ml daily for two weeks. However, it is best to consult a physician before doing so.
An age-old medicinal herb, the roots of the Valerian plant have long been used as a remedy against insomnia and sleep disorders. Rich in antioxidants, like hesperidin and linarin, the valerian root has properties that enhance sleep. Moreover, valerenic acid — another sleep-inducing compound present in the root — helps break down gamma-aminobutyric acids (GABA) in the brain that helps to calm down and gives a feeling of tranquillity.
The plant is easy to identify for its pink and white flowers. Its sleep-enhancing properties help maintain sleep patterns, especially among menopausal women.
The DIY drink is extremely easy to make. Like the chamomile flowers, two to three of the roots must be soaked in hot water for about 10-15 minutes and then strained to get the warm drink.
Another medicinal herb known for its sleep-inducing benefits is Ashwagandha roots. A common and essential ingredient in ancient Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is used to treat insomnia.
Not only the roots but also the extracts from its leaves and berries are used to treat stress, anxiety and arthritis and have the potential to calm the body after a tiring day for healthy sleep.
If you don’t like the tea’s flavour, there’s nothing to worry about. You can easily make what’s called ‘Moon milk’. Add cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and ashwagandha to the milk to make a nice creamy night beverage. Feeling a bit more indulgent? You can add rose petals and tart cherry juice for a distinct taste.
Though available locally and in tea bags, Ashwagandha must be consumed after a doctor’s consultation, for it might adversely affect those with heart and thyroid conditions, breastfeeding women and those with autoimmune disorders.
Lemon balm tea
An effective agent of reducing stress, anxiety and inducing a calming effect, lemon balm is used to ease insomnia, relieve indigestion and much more.
Lemon balm has a unique flavour profile of tart and sweetness. Along with a fresh citrusy taste, it is also minty.
There is no one way to make this DIY drink. The basic tea can be made with both dried and fresh leaves. Soak the lemon balm leaves in hot water for 10-15 minutes and then strain it. Add honey as per taste, and enjoy the warm drink.
Main image credit: Miti/@mitifotos/Unsplash
This article first appeared on Lifestyle Asia India.