What Are The Best Drinks Before Bed?

The Best Drinks For Sleep & What To Avoid

Last updated: 18.03.2024 Reading time: 4 Min.

Are you looking for the ultimate pre-sleep beverage to guarantee a blissful rest? 😴

Sleep-enhancing drinks can significantly improve the time it takes to fall asleep and your overall sleep quality.

Our article uncovers the best drinks for a serene slumber and those best left on the shelf.

Uncover the best and worst bedtime beverages below. 👇

What Are The Best Drinks Before Bed?

What are the best drinks before bed?

Let’s unpack the best drinks for your evening ritual that promote relaxation and sleep.

Tart cherry juice

Thanks to its high melatonin content, tart cherry juice is a natural sleep enhancer. 🍒

Melatonin [1] plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle, signalling our bodies when it's time to rest.

Sleep-wake cycle
Melatonin production is essential for sleep.

A study [2] found that drinking this beverage before sleep significantly decreased insomnia severity in older adults.

Yet, you should avoid supermarket versions brimming with sugar, as this may contribute to sleep disturbances.

Instead of consuming it as a drink, you could also eat tart cherries as a bedtime snack.

Find out more about nighttime snacking in our article Is Eating Before Bed Bad For You?

Hot cocoa

Surprisingly, hot cocoa isn't just a comforting bedtime ritual but has potential sleep benefits.

While traditional hot chocolate might be sugary, cocoa powder offers a healthier alternative. 🍫

woman drinking cocoa
Hot cocoa promotes relaxation.

It's rich in tryptophan [3], an essential supplement for improving sleep quality [4].

Hot cocoa can even improve mood [5], making it a good choice for those who feel anxious at night. 😰

Chamomile tea

Chamomile tea owes its sleep-promoting abilities to apigenin [6].

This bioflavonoid is an excellent natural remedy for easing anxiety, a common barrier to sleep.

While clinical trials are sparse, there has been some research on the effects of chamomile and its sedative properties. 🔬

Herbal teas
Some herbal teas have sedative properties.

A study [7] on the consumption of chamomile extract found that it improved sleep quality in elderly patients in a nursing home.

If you’re not a fan of chamomile, opt for lavender tea, which is also known for its relaxation properties. 🪻

Almond milk

Almond milk is an excellent dairy-free sleep enhancer.

Packed with tryptophan and magnesium, it aids in muscle relaxation, which can help ease you into a calming bedtime routine.

Research [8] involving 446 students shows two weeks of sweet almond intake significantly reduced insomnia symptoms.

For vegans or those who are lactose intolerant, almond milk is a soothing choice for a nightly ritual. 🌝

Malted milk

Malted milk brings more to the night than warmth.

It's loaded with nutrients like vitamin B, iron, zinc, magnesium, and phosphorus, all of which contribute to better health and sleep.

It also contains folic acid [9] and helps with digestion, making it an excellent choice for pregnant women who struggle with sleep. 🤰

Pregnant woman
Malted milk contains essential vitamins for pregnancy.

Though devoid of direct sedative effects, its nutritional makeup is adept at helping you unwind [10] and relax before bed. 🥛

For a deeper dive into the benefits of malted milk drinks, check out our article, Does Horlicks Help You Sleep?


Though a simple choice, water plays a pivotal role in enhancing sleep quality.

Research [11] shows that dehydration can significantly shorten sleep duration, highlighting the importance of staying hydrated. 💧

Yet, it's crucial to find a balance.

Too much water before bedtime may disrupt your rest with frequent awakenings.

Man drinking water
Avoid drinking too much water before bed.

Expert nutritionist Muriel Bouquier Ouziel recommends 1.5 to 2 litres of water daily to prevent you from feeling dehydrated at night. 🚰

Coconut water also offers a nutritious alternative to plain water or hot beverages.

It is brimming with electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, which help relax muscles and keep you hydrated.

What drinks to avoid before bed?

Now you know what drinks are good for sleep, which ones should you abstain from at night?

Coffee and tea

Coffee and tea, beloved for their caffeine kick, are best left for the morning. ☕

Caffeine keeps us awake, so it's wise to avoid these beverages at night.

Studies [12] show that consuming caffeine up to 6 hours before bed can slash total sleep time by 41 minutes, with an even higher impact 3 hours before bedtime.

As night falls, consider switching to the warm, caffeine-free alternatives highlighted in our article or decaffeinated versions of your favourite brews.

Fizzy drinks

Fizzy drinks are a no-go before bed, mainly due to their high sugar and caffeine content.

Research [13] shows that indulging in beverages and foods rich in saturated fats and sugars results in lighter, less rejuvenating sleep and more frequent awakenings. 😴

Unhealthy food and drink for sleep
Avoid unhealthy foods and drinks before bed.

Moreover, diet sodas are also not recommended as your body's effort in breaking down non-sugar sweeteners can disturb your sleep at night.


Alcohol might seem like a shortcut to sleep, but the reality is starkly different.

While you may initially feel sleepy after drinking alcohol, it has been linked to more fragmented and disturbed sleep [14] in the second half of the night. 🥱

Moreover, consuming alcohol increases the need to urinate, leading to more night-time awakenings for bathroom visits.

Woman needing to use the bathroom at night
Alcohol increases the need to urinate.

Alcohol's impact also leads to exacerbating breathing-related sleep disturbances [15], such as snoring and oxygen desaturation, which is particularly troubling for individuals with existing conditions.

So, what are the best drinks before bed?

Choosing the right beverage before bedtime is about prioritising health and sleep quality. 🌟

Options rich in melatonin or tryptophan are superb aids for sleep.

Warm drinks that foster relaxation or combat anxiety can also ease the transition to sleep.

Pairing your drink with good sleep hygiene practices, like a warm bath, can enhance your night-time routine for a peaceful, restorative sleep. 💤

Frequently asked questions


Holly Matthews

Senior Content Writer

Holly has been a content writer at Sleep Hero UK since 2021. With an MA degree in literature and previous experience working at a leading UK bed retailer, she is committed to using her skills to guide others towards making better sleep choices.

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