From warm milk to chamomile tea to a plethora of wellness drinks, there’s no shortage of beverages available claim to help you sleep. But which ones might actually serve your slumber?

Below is a list of the best and worst beverages for your sleep – and the ones the sleep medicine jury is still out on. But first, it’s important to note that everyone should avoid drinking too much of any beverage just before going to bed (as the need to urinate will wake you up). And this caveat is especially significant if you are older, have a sensitive bladder, or are on a medication that may increase urination (like SGLT2 inhibitors for diabetes), explains Alon Avidan, MD, professor of neurology and director of the Sleep Disorders Center at UCLA Health in Los Angeles.

For these individuals, he suggests stopping drinking any beverages (aside from a sip or two of water to quench thirst) three to four hours before bedtime.

“It would be ideal to keep primary fluid intake to during the day and drink typical fluids during dinner,” he says.

The Best Beverages to Drink Before Bed


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), plain water is the healthiest, best beverage you can drink any time of day, including before bedtime. It has zero calories and prevents dehydration, a condition that can cause foggy thinking, make you moody, and increase the risk of constipation and kidney stones.

Research has suggested there may be a link between dehydration and poorer sleep, but more data is needed to explain exactly if one causes the other and if so, specifically which one causes which.

Chamomile Tea

The old cliché of nursing a cup of chamomile tea to bring on sleep has merit. Research has shown chamomile to be soothing and slumber-inducing.  “It has a soothing, warming effect,” says Dr. Avidan.

Tart Cherry Juice

Dana Hunnes, PhD, a clinical inpatient dietitian at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and adjunct assistant professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, says tart cherry juice has sleep-inducing properties.

“Tart cherries are rich in melatonin, the sleep-inducing hormone that we naturally create,” explains Dr. Hunnes, who adds people might consider eating the fruit rather than drinking the juice. “The naturally occurring sugar in the juice might make you have to urinate more – sugar often pulls additional water to dilute it in the body,” she explains.

Avidan says there is published data that shows that there is a positive effect on two attributes related to sleep – sleep latency (how long it takes one to fall asleep) and an improvement in the time that people are remaining awake during the night.

The Worst Beverages to Drink Before Bed


It may make you drowsy, but a cocktail doesn’t necessarily make for good sleep. “Alcohol can absolutely disrupt sleep patterns, especially the important brain waves we have when we sleep. It can make it more difficult to fall into a deep sleep,” says Hunnes.

She recommends stopping drinking alcohol of any kind four hours before bed and having no more than one drink per night for better quality sleep. “It takes one hour and 15 minutes to metabolise one drink, so giving yourself the extra time, plus the time to drink additional water to flush it out of your system, can be helpful,” she says.


No surprises here: Avidan says coffee is problematic to drink before sleep for two reasons. It has a diuretic effect, which means it promotes urination; and the caffeine in coffee keeps you up.

Hunnes adds that even decaf can keep you up. “I would avoid caffeinated coffee within eight hours of bedtime due to its longish half-life and dose of the caffeine,” she says.

Black or Green Tea

Black and green teas both contain caffeine and are diuretics, so they don’t make the best bedtime beverages for the same reasons as coffee, says Avidan. “I would avoid them within four to six hours of bedtime, since even a little bit of caffeine has been shown to be detrimental to sleep patterns and potentially make falling asleep more difficult,” says Hunnes.


The caffeine and sugar combination found in most colas can cause sleep issues, both experts say. Even if the drink has neither, bubbles from the carbonation can keep you up, says Hunnes. “I would probably limit soda to no closer than three to four hours before bed without caffeine, and eight hours if it has caffeine,” she says.



The Beverages That Claim to Help Sleep But Don’t Have a Lot of Evidence to Show for It

Magnesium-Infused Beverage Mixes

Hunnes says magnesium-infusion drinks may help with sleep by helping to regulate melatonin (a sleep-inducing hormone) and lower blood pressure. However, the amount of magnesium in these drinks may not be sufficient enough to really make a difference. “You might be better off getting your magnesium from foods,” she says.

Warm Milk

It’s an age-old recommendation, but the science behind this one is far from rock-solid. “It may work because the milk is a comfort food that helps some people fall asleep,” Hunes says, and due to the placebo effect. “It may also be the tryptophan in it or other proteins that help people fall asleep,” says Hunnes. There is no good scientific evidence however that it markedly improves sleep. Avidan adds that warm milk should be approached with caution because it can cause gastric reflux in those with gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.

CBD-Infused Drinks

Whether CBD beverages can do your sleep any favours is not yet known. Avidan says he would caution against trying CBD beverages for sleep because there’s variation in how people react to it. Also, there’s a lack of data as to whether it’s helping sleep or not, and whether it comes with any other risks. “It’s hard to make a recommendation here because there is currently no data to back it up,” says Avidan.

SOURCE: Everyday Health