Sleep can prove very difficult during cold weather as people struggle to keep warm in bed. But it’s important to get your recommend seven or eight hours sleep a night in order for your body to function properly the next day. If trying to get to sleep during the winter months proves stressful, then a cup of passionflower tea could help.
In a seven-day study [A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality], 41 adults drank a cup of passionflower tea before bed.
They then rated their sleep quality significantly better when they drank the tea, compared to when they did not drink the tea.
Passionflower tea has also been studied for its potential to reduce anxiety, which could also help if you feel anxious not being able to get to sleep.
This is attributed to its content of apigenin, an antioxidant that produced a calming effect by binding to certain receptors in your brain.
Evidence also exists that drinking passionflower tea increases the production of GABA – a brain chemical that works to inhibit other brain chemical that induce stress.
But passionflower tea isn’t the only drink which has been found to help promote sleep.
Researchers of one study found drinking Montmorency tart cherry juice twice a day for two weeks helped increase sleep time by nearly 90 minutes among older adults with insomnia.
As part of the trial, seven older adults with insomnia (average age 68) drank eight ounces of Montmorency tart cherry juice twice daily for two weeks.
This was then followed by a two-week washout period, then a two-week period when another beverage was consumed.
Co-author Frank L. Greenway, MD, director of the outpatient research clinic at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center at Louisiana State University, and his colleagues then studied their slumber in a controlled setting, using overnight polysomnography to evaluate sleep efficiency, such as sleep onset and duration.
Participants of the study also completed questionnaires related to sleep, fatigue, depression and anxiety and blood work was carried out.
The researchers found those who drank the Montmorency tart cherry juice in the morning and at night were able to sleep more than an hour longer each night compared to the placebo and their sleep tended to be more efficient.
Previous studies have suggested the juice has sleep-enhancing benefits, one reason being Montmorency tart cherries are a natural source of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle.
Greenway and his colleagues believe the ruby red pigments in Montmorency tart cherry juice, known as proanthocyanidins, also play a role.
In the study, Montmorency tart cherry juice helped to increase the availability of tryptophan, an essential amino acid and a precursor to serotonin that helps with sleep.
But if neither of these drinks take your fancy, a warming milky drink before bed might be the sleep-inducing answer for you.