We Put 5 Sleepy Teas To The Test – But Did We Get A Good Night's Sleep?

They all promise to set you up for a lovely night's rest. But how much can herbs really do?

Getting enough sleep can be tricky. Shelves of gadgets and gizmos promise to deliver the holy eight hours, but herbal tea is one of the original sleep aides. With calming ingredients such as camomile, lemon and lavender, these brews promise to leave you relaxed and ready for lights out. A simple cure to your bedtime woes or too good to be true?

HuffPost UK staffers put five sleep teas to the test.

Becky Barnes, Audience Editor

I thought this tea might smell like Christmas when I saw it contained spiced apple but the fragrant aroma was not too festive, even for humid midsummer. The combination of the apple, vanilla, camomile and passionflowers (which apparently contribute to sleep) was really drinkable and made me feel ready for bed. I’ve tried other ‘sleep’ teas before and been left with a bad taste in my mouth, but I’d definitely have this one again.

Amy Packham, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

I usually struggle to fall asleep, and have tried tonnes of products to help me relax in the evenings, from sleepy lotions and sprays to a ‘sausage pillow’. I’ve also tried sleep teas, but many have a strong fennel/liquorice taste which I hate! This one was different. I had it an hour or so before bed and while the apple did remind me of Christmas (sorry, Becky), it was delicious. Did I sleep well? Yes, but I was exhausted after a four-day hen do bender. I loved the ritual of a warming cuppa before bed though.

Rachel Moss, Lifestyle Reporter

The flavour was comforting without being too sweet or floral. I sipped this tea while reading in bed and floated off to sleep feeling like I’d had a big hug. I’m sceptical any tea can really help you nod off, but, like Amy, I’d happily make this part of my nightly ritual.

Natasha Hinde, Lifestyle Reporter

Just the thought of bedtime tea is enough to make you feel sleepy. But not gonna lie, fresh out of the packaging this teabag smelled like feet. The packet said to infuse for 15 minutes – a long time when you’re tired and ready for bed, but I used the time to change my sheets. Once settled, I was hit with that punchy foot aroma but surprisingly, the taste was pleasant: subtle, and I could certainly pick out the lavender. I woke the next morning having slept right through the night – and that’s not happened in ages.

Charlie Lindlar, Blogs Editor

This tea was unexpectedly sweeter than most herbal or green teas I’ve tried, but the taste didn’t really last that long, which was disappointing. You know Joey Tribbiani’s line “half the taste is in the smell” when Chandler is smelling his sandwich? That, but closer to 75%. This tea did leave me feeling restful though and like I should be going to bed, so I guess that’s a win.

Amy Packham, Assistant News Editor

I’ve actually been drinkingn this tea for months – so I feel like I’ve become immune to whether it works. I’ve had bad sleeps after the odd cup (mainly down to stress), but I do love the oaty taste and faint smell of lavender. I brew for just three minutes, or it gets too strong for me.

Nicola Slawson, News Reporter

This tea smelled really nice but I pulled a face on my first taste. The teabag, which includes camomile, lavender and lemon balm, was way too floral for me and I had to force myself to keep drinking. I’m not sure if it was because I didn’t enjoy it or because I’d had a stressful day, but I tossed and turned for quite a while after trying this one so it wasn’t a success for me.

Jasmin Gray, News Reporter

I had visions of drifting off to the land of nod after a couple of chapters of a book and a mug of this relaxing combo. Unfortunately, the dream was ruined by the overwhelming smell of lavender. From the minute the teabag hit the water, the sickly floral fragrance overpowered everything else in the tea and around it – hardly what you need when you’re trying to doze. But if your idea of a good night’s sleep is bedding down in a field of lavender, this would be just your ticket.

Charlie Lindlar, Blogs Editor

This tea had a pretty strong herbal taste – much more developed than I was expecting – so it felt worth drinking as a cup of tea altogether, not just as a means to make me want to go to sleep. I would happily incorporate this into my rigid, industrial tea-drinking schedule. Sleepy teas aren’t just for bedtime.

Nancy Groves, Lifestyle Editor

This one says it’s an ayurvedic blend of fennel, camomile and valerian root – but looking at the ingredients, there’s also peppermint, cardamon, lemon and nutmeg. That sounds quite a lot – but the mix works. I’m averse to anything aniseedy but the fennel here was quite subtle, and the mint made the tea nice and settling on the tummy, which always helps at bedtime. I dropped off quickly – and slept right through.

Nicola Slawson, News Reporter

I don’t know if it was because I was so tired the night I tried this tea, or whether it was down to particular blend of herbs and spices, but half way through the cup I was struggling to stay awake. I think it was the combination of flavours that did it as they really warmed my stomach. It was so comforting and I liked it so much, I’m going to have to buy a box!

Louise Whitbread, Lifestyle Reporter

Typically it takes me about an hour to doze off, but that’s mostly due to scrolling through Instagram for far too long in bed. As a longtime sceptic of herbal teas as a sleep remedy, I had zero expectations. The smell was lovely, even if I did have to let it brew for 10 minutes, but the flavour wasn’t particularly inviting and I was left with the taste of fennel in my mouth. I’ll stick to the Earl Grey.

Amy Packham, Assistant Lifestyle Editor

I’m usually drawn in by fancy packaging when it comes to tea, which this Sainsbury’s tea does not have. But the smell was great, (and the price even better). The flavour however was quite... bland. I had a good sleep, but I wouldn’t put it down to the tea. I think I’ll stick to the fancier brands.

Rachel Moss, Lifestyle Reporter

This tea smelt like potpourri mixed with play-dough and the taste was far too floral for me. It didn’t help me sleep better, but admittedly that might be because I only drank around a third of a cup. I think these teabags would be better used as bathroom air fresheners.

Nancy Groves, Life Editor

As a longtime devotee of Pukka’s sleepy tea, I was interested to know if a supermarket own brand could live up to its oaty goodness. They really do smell the same in the bag – but as I set the Sainsbury’s cuppa down on my bedside table, I could tell the difference. Taste-wise, it somehow managed both to be thinner and more cloying. For me, sleep teas are more about the routine than hard science, so it was better than nothing, but Pukka or Yogi win out.

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