Certain teas -- including those made from valerian root and chamomile flowers -- may be helpful when it comes to promoting good sleep. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons of these beverages before adding them to your nightly routine.
Valerian root tea -- which is made from the dried root of the Valeriana officinalis plant -- may be helpful for people with insomnia. According to the American Cancer Society, valerian root is often touted for its ability to ease anxiety, tension and muscle spasms and to promote greater sleep. Valerian root appears to be most effective when used for an extended period of time, such as two to four weeks.
Chamomile tea has been used in traditional folk medicine in the treatment of a variety of health conditions -- though today, it is most commonly used as a sedative. In addition to inducing sleep, chamomile tea may calm the mind and ease stress, thus providing relief for those with insomnia. For optimal results, seep chamomile tea for at least five minutes in hot water.
People who cannot -- or prefer not -- to drink plain chamomile tea may fare well by choosing an herbal blend. In fact, there are a number of tea manufacturers who offer combination teas designed to promote good sleep. These products often include a variety of types of herbs, flowers and plants -- including chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, blackberry leaves and orange blossoms. While some of these ingredients may be designed to calm nerves and improve sleep, others may simply be included for flavoring.
Caution With Teas
People who are looking for a sleep aid should talk to their doctors before incorporating valerian or chamomile tea into their diets. The long-term use of valerian root has been linked to increases in headaches, heart palpitations, nausea and restlessness. Similarly, chamomile tea can cause an allergic reaction or increase the risk of bleeding for those who are taking prescription blood thinners. Both valerian root and chamomile tea are contraindicated for pregnant and breast-feeding women.
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