The stresses of the past year literally drove many of us to drink. And really, who could blame anyone for seeking a liquid escape from the anxiety? But after more than a year of Zoom happy hours and boozy pandemic “quarantinis,” many of us could use a different kind of nightcap—something healthy, calming and relaxing. So we rounded up some of the best slumber-inducing ingredients to help you nod off—along with recipes to create the best drinks for sleep. Sweet dreams!
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Noshing Montmorency or tart cherries boosts melatonin, the molecule that regulates our sleep/wake cycle. The fruit also contains sleep-inducing tryptophan. Just don’t mistake these pucker-producing fruits for the one you snack on: they have a strong cherry taste but much less sugar.
For a light, wind-down cocktail, try Nourish Nutrition‘s Cherry Citrus Spritzer: Mix cherry juice concentrate with citrus sparkling water and a squeeze of lime or lemon. That makes this an ideal sub for caffeine-laden soda.
After a strenuous day, Love and Zest‘s recipe for Cherry-Turmeric Bedtime Tea boosts tart cherry’s sleep-inducing power with the calming energy of chamomile. This is one of the best drinks for sleep because it also includes anti-inflammatory turmeric and warming ginger.
Moon milk has been a timeless Ayurvedic remedy for insomnia. Traditionally prepared with spices steeped in dairy milk, today moon milk recipes have been updated using non-dairy substitutes like nut milks (almond, cashew) or grain milk (oat, rice). Variations may include a dash cinnamon or cardamom; rose, lavender or chamomile flowers; adaptogens like ashwagandha and maca; natural sweeteners (honey, agave, coconut sugar); and even ghee. Dietitian Marisa Moore recommends a warm mug of Cherry Almond Moon Milk made with unsweetened almond milk, tart cherry juice, honey and vanilla extract.
Another Ayurvedic best drink for sleep, Golden milk is a creamy beverage that gets its sunny color from anti-inflammatory turmeric. Try this recipe from Well Plated that thickens the milk with a dollop of magnesium-rich almond butter to promote relaxation. It also adds honey, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and ginger for flavor. A pinch of pepper helps turmeric’s absorption.
For an even more interesting mix on this drink for sleep, Clean Eating‘s Reishi Golden Milk Nightcap replaces dairy milk with a blend of coconut milk and almond milk. It also includes reishi mushroom powder, ginger, turmeric, pepper and honey. Buzz it in the blender for a rich, thick version of Golden Milk with added anti-inflammatory benefits.
Hello Glow offers this recipe for Midnight Milk Powder. It relies on ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb used to combat stress, and pink schisandra berries, a Chinese medicine staple used to fight fatigue and encourage sleep. The complex flavors of the herbs are balanced out with powdered rose petals, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir a teaspoon of the mix into warm milk and watch it bloom a beautiful pink. Save the rest of the powder in an airtight container.
Chamomile has a well-earned reputation as one of the best drinks for sleep. It’s a source of glycine, which acts as a mild sedative to lull you intro dreamland. Kick its effectiveness up a notch by blending it with other calming herbs. Lemon balm, valerian root and passionflower, for example, are known to ease anxiety and insomnia. They increase levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that helps regulate mood and promote sleep. Fragrant lavender is famous for its calming effects as well. Mix and match these herbs according to your tastes for a relaxing sip.
Every ingredient in the Rosehip, Chamomile and Ginger Tea from Vegetarian Times supports your wellbeing. Brewing lemon balm with the chamomile gives you a double-dose of sleep support.
Lavender-Chamomile Herbal Tea from EatingWell includes a bit of refreshing mint. Make this one special by serving it over ice.
Emily Kyle’s Blueberry Lavender Smoothie is made with non-dairy milk, blueberries, banana, protein powder, and maple syrup for sweetness. Lavender, spinach, avocado, and a few drops of CBD oil are the surprise ingredients in this soothing blue nightcap.
From Yoga Journal