3 minute read - Sleep Your Way to the Top: The Best Science Backed Bedtime Drinks for Quality Sleep
As professionals, we often sacrifice our sleep in the pursuit of success. However, quality sleep is one of the best performance enhancers out there. Research shows that adequate shut-eye improves concentration, productivity, decision making, and overall well-being. But between work stress, long hours, and insomnia, deep, restorative sleep can be elusive.
Luckily, science has revealed certain bedtime drinks that contain an array of sleep-enhancing compounds. By incorporating these beverages into your nightly routine, you can biohack your sleep quality and wake up feeling truly recharged. Here are five science-backed drinks to help you sleep better and perform at your peak.
Cherry on Top
Start your bedtime routine by pouring yourself a glass of tart cherry juice. Tart cherries contain high levels of melatonin, the sleep regulating hormone our bodies produce at night. Studies demonstrate that drinking tart cherry juice increases circulating melatonin levels significantly. Participants who consumed the juice daily for two weeks reported better sleep quality, longer sleep duration, and reduced insomnia. Tart cherries also boost the body’s production of serotonin, another sleep-promoting hormone. If you’re looking to improve your sleep efficiency, tart cherry juice is the way to go.
For centuries, chamomile tea has been used as a relaxation aid. Modern research has confirmed its sleep-enhancing properties. Apigenin, an antioxidant abundant in chamomile, binds to specific receptors in the brain that decrease excitability and initiate a sedative effect. In clinical trials, chamomile tea has been shown to reduce difficulty falling asleep and night time wakings. The herb’s anti-anxiety qualities also help you decompress after a long day. Turn to chamomile tea for an immersive, tranquil pre-bed experience.
The Valerian Effect
Like chamomile, valerian root has been used since ancient times to ease insomnia and anxiety. Studies indicate that valerian increases levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain, resulting in sedation and improved quality of sleep. The compounds in valerian have also been found to reduce sleep latency - how long it takes to drift off at night. If you have trouble falling asleep quickly, valerian tea is an effective solution. Added benefits are reduced restlessness and relaxation of muscle tension for a calm transition into slumber.
Warm Up with Golden Milk
Golden milk is a beverage made with cow’s milk or a non-dairy alternative infused with the powerful spice turmeric. The active compound curcumin in turmeric interacts with melatonin metabolism to increase circulating levels and improve sleep quality. The anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin also boosts the production of dopamine and serotonin. Just one cup of golden milk an hour before bed can relieve your mind, reduce pain and stiffness, and set the stage for sounder sleep. The traditional Ayurvedic drink is soothing, mentally clarifying, and just plain delicious.
The Kiwi Cure
Who would guess these tangy green fruits are actually potent sleep enhancers? Kiwis are a surprising source of serotonin, which converts to melatonin when darkness falls. Consuming kiwis has been scientifically shown to significantly improve sleep onset, duration, and efficiency. Kiwis are also high in antioxidants that may relieve inflammation contributing to insomnia. Blend kiwis into a pre-bed smoothie coupled with calcium-rich milk or yogurt. The proteins and tryptophan will work synergistically with the kiwi to usher you into a deep sleep.
Rather than bingeing Netflix before bed, wind down with one of these science-backed beverages tailored to your sleep needs. Optimize your sleep quality through the power of plants and clever nutritional choices. You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and restored, ready to perform at your best. Here’s to using proven natural solutions to sleep your way to the top!