Lavender Tea's Potential For Promoting Sleep

Get health & wellness advice into your inbox

Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to us via this website may be placed by us on servers. If you do not agree to these placements, please do not provide the information.

Best Milk Alternative

Overview

Some of us have experienced the beauty and calming effect of a lavender field over the summer. Have you ever wondered why your summer-time lavender field visit made you feel so relaxed and gave you the desire to fall asleep then and there? 

It is no secret that lavender has relaxing properties that can help calm your nerves. The beautiful plants produced in those fields are used in different ways, and lavender tea is one such use of these flowers. Lavender tea is made by brewing either dried or fresh lavender buds in hot water. This tea is a part of people’s bedtime routines to beat insomnia. According to the Sleep Foundation, around 50-70 million people are affected by sleep disorders globally, with conditions ranging from insomnia, sleep apnoea and narcolepsy.1 

The historical use of lavender for relaxation is familiar to everyone. Lavender is one of the most popular herbal medicines that is used in soothing symptoms of mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.2 

Components of lavender tea

Lavender tea consists of either fresh or dried lavender buds steeped in hot water. The lavender essential oils that steep into the water in this process aid in a relaxed sleep. Although there are around 20 active chemical compounds in lavender essential oils, linalool and linalyl acetate are the two of the most commonly researched active ingredients of lavender.3 

The several benefits of lavender tea to maintain a healthy sleep habit include  

  • Reduction in insomnia symptoms
  • Improved sleep duration and quality
  • Reduced side effects compared to other sleep aids such as sleeping pills. 

Linalool and its calming effects

Linalool and linalyl acetate are known to be anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-depressant and neuroprotective in nature.3,4 In research focusing on mice behavioural tests after linalool inhalation, a significantly important characteristic found was the compound’s anxiolytic-type activity in mice, which provided a calming and relaxing effect and hence aided in improving the animals’ social interaction while reducing its aggressive behaviour.5 It needs to be noted that animal studies do not necessarily reflect the effects of these substances in humans. 

Insomnia or poor sleep is scientifically associated with a higher level of inflammatory biomarkers present in your body.6 Linalool and linalyl acetate have shown proven anti-inflammatory properties and analgesic effects in experimental mice.3 These major active compounds of lavender essential oils also showed cardioprotective properties due to their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and free-radical scavenging characteristics.3 There was also a reduction in inflammation noticed with an increase in dose in this experiment.3 Reduced inflammation directly correlates to calming effects and ultimately facilitates a healthy sleep cycle. 

After learning the properties of the active compounds linalool and linalyl acetate in lavender, you must be wondering what exactly it does to help us relax. All the mentioned research findings prove the lavender plant and its active compound’s ability to promote calmness and sedative effects. Additionally, linalool inhalation also has promising antidepressant action as it is capable of having interactions with several pathophysiological factors associated with depression disorder.5 

Other compounds contributing to relaxation

Other major active compounds in lavender essential oil include substances called lavandulol, lavandulyl acetate, β-ocimene and α-terpineol.7 Lavandulyl acetate is proven to aid in sleep initiation, while β-ocimene plays a crucial role in maintaining a prolonged sleep duration and reduction of unexpected awakenings.7 All in all, it is safe to say that lavender is indeed a magical potion for winding down and a soothing sleep. 

How to prepare lavender tea?

There are several selection and brewing techniques in lavender tea preparation to reap its maximum effectiveness.

Proper selection and preparation of lavender flowers/budsFresh lavender:
- Paying attention to the picking time to make sure the essential oil is the most fragrant and potent - this is usually when more than half of the buds just start to bloom
- It should be washed properly under cold water to remove dirt, bugs, and dust.
Dried lavender: 
- Lavenders can be dried by hanging the harvested and cleaned stems upside down in a cool and dark place to retain their vibrant colour
- The dried buds can be steeped and enjoyed in your cup of tea.
Brewing techniques for maximum potency- Brew fresh or dried lavender buds/flowers in boiling water
- Turn heat to a low and simmer until the tea reaches your desired strength.
- Steep for around 15-20 minutes and enjoy
- Lavender tea can also be enjoyed over ice as a refreshing summertime drink.
Recommended dosage and frequency- For lavender tea, 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mg) of lavender flowers/buds into 1 cup of boiling water
- It is recommended to be taken once a day, before bed to induce a relaxed sleep.
- Scientifically, an oral lavender dose of 80 mg/day is deemed safe and is proven to improve mental health and quality of life after six weeks 8

Potential risks and considerations

Adverse reactions- Allergic reactions such as contact dermatitis, facial dermatitis reaction and worsening of acute eczema are common in people with known allergies to essential oils 8,9
- Gastrointestinal discomforts such as nausea and dyspepsia or indigestion8
- Nervous system disorders.8
Interaction with other medicationsAlthough active compounds in lavender essential oils do not have any known direct adverse interactions with other medications, their anxiolytic activity could potentially lead to enhanced effects on the central nervous system depressants like:
- Painkillers such as morphine or oxycodone
- Sedatives and anti-anxiety medications such as lorazepam and diazepam10 
It is important to consult with your GP or healthcare provider to ensure there will not be any adverse drug reactions before you integrate lavender tea as a staple in your bedtime routine.
Precautions for specific populationsIngestion of lavender tea or lavender essential oil-infused products must be avoided in
- Pregnant women due to emmenagogue effects , which means that the active compounds in lavender have the potential to induce menstrual flow.8
- Breastfeeding women.
It is advised to consult with your GP to see if lavender tea is safe for consumption in your specific circumstances or health history. 

It is also of utmost importance to consult with your healthcare provider to make sure that your sleep disorder is not associated with a more serious condition which would require urgent medical attention. 

Incorporating lavender tea into sleep routine

For a healthy and relaxed sleeping habit that is consistent, it is crucial to establish a bedtime ritual. This could include trying to wind down an hour before you go to bed and avoiding the usage of gadgets or screens 30 minutes before bedtime. Journaling and meditation are also believed to relax nerves and ease anxiety-related symptoms to promote better sleep. 

As with any other herbal self-help mechanism, combining lavender tea with other relaxation techniques, such as practising mindfulness and using it as a part of combination therapy, might work best. Another way to maximise the effectiveness of lavender tea would be to make a blend of lavender and another relaxing tea, which could help target other reasons for your sleep disorder. 

Alternative methods to incorporate the rejuvenating goodness of lavender into your routine include aromatherapy, which is essentially inhaling lavender essential oil infusion, aromatherapy massage, using lavender-scented bathing products, and so on. 

FAQs

How does lavender tea promote sleep?

Lavender tea contains essential oils, such as linalool, which have a calming effect on the nervous system. These compounds can help reduce anxiety and stress, leading to improved sleep quality. Additionally, inhaling the aroma of lavender tea may also stimulate the brain's limbic system, which is involved in regulating emotions and promoting relaxation.

Are there any side effects of drinking lavender tea for sleep?

Generally, lavender tea is considered safe when consumed in moderate amounts. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as gastrointestinal discomfort or allergic reactions. It's essential to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if you have any existing medical conditions or are taking medications.

How should I prepare lavender tea for maximum effectiveness?

To prepare lavender tea, steep 1-2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers in hot water for about 5-10 minutes. You can sweeten the tea with honey or lemon if desired. It's crucial to use high-quality, organic lavender flowers for the best results.

Can lavender tea be used as a substitute for prescription sleep medication?

While lavender tea can be a natural aid for promoting sleep, it may not be a suitable replacement for prescription sleep medication for everyone. Individuals with severe sleep disorders or underlying medical conditions should consult their healthcare provider before making any changes to their treatment regimen. Lavender tea can complement other relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes for better sleep.

Are there any specific populations who should avoid lavender tea?

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should exercise caution when consuming lavender products, including lavender tea. While lavender is generally considered safe for most adults, its effects on these populations have not been extensively studied. It's advisable to consult with a healthcare professional before using lavender tea in these cases.

Summary

Lavender essential oil has proven properties that help reduce insomnia symptoms and improve sleep duration and quality with minimal adverse effects compared to other sleep aids such as sleeping pills. Lavender has no potential for drug abuse so one should not worry about getting addicted to having your cup of lavender tea. 

Active compounds in lavender have also shown an anticonflict property in experimental mice, showing its direct mechanism of action on the central nervous system. Apart from the reduction of anxiety and depression, lavender essential oil could also lead to better performance in plus-maze and forced swimming tests in mice in this experiment which shines light onto the endless potential there is yet to be researched and explored on the subject matter. 

More research has to be done to explore possible side effects in long-term usage of lavender tea to induce relaxation and sleep. 

References

  1. 100+ Sleep Statistics - Facts and Data About Sleep 2024. Sleep Foundation [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Feb 8]. Available from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/sleep-facts-statistics.
  2. Bazrafshan M-R, Jokar M, Shokrpour N, Delam H. The effect of lavender herbal tea on the anxiety and depression of the elderly: A randomized clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2024 Feb 1]; 50:102393. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229919316292.
  3. Wells R, Truong F, Adal AM, Sarker LS, Mahmoud SS. Lavandula Essential Oils: A Current Review of Applications in Medicinal, Food, and Cosmetic Industries of Lavender. Natural Product Communications [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2024 Feb 8]; 13(10):1934578X1801301. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1934578X1801301038.
  4. An Q, Ren J-N, Li X, Fan G, Qu S-S, Song Y, et al. Recent updates on bioactive properties of linalool. Food Funct [Internet]. 2021 [cited 2024 Feb 8]; 12(21):10370–89. Available from: https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2021/fo/d1fo02120f.
  5. Santos ÉRQ dos, Maia JGS, Fontes-Júnior EA, Maia C do SF. Linalool as a Therapeutic and Medicinal Tool in Depression Treatment: A Review. Curr Neuropharmacol [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 Feb 8]; 20(6):1073–92. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9886818/.
  6. Dzierzewski JM, Donovan EK, Kay DB, Sannes TS, Bradbrook KE. Sleep Inconsistency and Markers of Inflammation. Frontiers in Neurology [Internet]. 2020 [cited 2024 Feb 8]; 11. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/neurology/articles/10.3389/fneur.2020.01042.
  7. Xu Y, Ma L, Liu F, Yao L, Wang W, Yang S, et al. Lavender essential oil fractions alleviate sleep disorders induced by the combination of anxiety and caffeine in mice. Journal of Ethnopharmacology [Internet]. 2023 [cited 2024 Feb 8]; 302:115868. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874122009072.
  8. Koulivand PH, Khaleghi Ghadiri M, Gorji A. Lavender and the Nervous System. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med [Internet]. 2013 [cited 2024 Feb 9]; 2013:681304. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3612440/
  9. Kajjari S, Joshi RS, Hugar SM, Gokhale N, Meharwade P, Uppin C. The Effects of Lavender Essential Oil and its Clinical Implications in Dentistry: A Review. Int J Clin Pediatr Dent [Internet]. 2022 [cited 2024 Feb 9]; 15(3):385–8. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9357533/
  10. Abebe W. Herbal medication: potential for adverse interactions with analgesic drugs. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2002; 27(6):391–401.

Get health & wellness advice into your inbox

Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to us via this website may be placed by us on servers. If you do not agree to these placements, please do not provide the information.

Best Milk Alternative
[optin-monster-inline slug="yw0fgpzdy6fjeb0bbekx"]
This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

Get our health newsletter

Get daily health and wellness advice from our medical team.
Your privacy is important to us. Any information you provide to this website may be placed by us on our servers. If you do not agree do not provide the information.

Karishma Manoj Kumar

Master of Science - MS, Drug Discovery and Pharma Management, UCL

I am a Drug Discovery and Pharma Management graduate from University College London (UCL) with an entrepreneurial rigour from working in a start-up setting and enthusiasm for life sciences. With previous experience working on diverse projects and internships ranging from life science consulting to public relations and business development, I find life sciences to be a dynamic and rewarding space to feed my ambition and grow holistically while contributing to the healthcare/pharmaceutical value chain.

my.klarity.health presents all health information in line with our terms and conditions. It is essential to understand that the medical information available on our platform is not intended to substitute the relationship between a patient and their physician or doctor, as well as any medical guidance they offer. Always consult with a healthcare professional before making any decisions based on the information found on our website.
Klarity is a citizen-centric health data management platform that enables citizens to securely access, control and share their own health data. Klarity Health Library aims to provide clear and evidence-based health and wellness related informative articles. 
Email:
Klarity / Managed Self Ltd
Alum House
5 Alum Chine Road
Westbourne Bournemouth BH4 8DT
VAT Number: 362 5758 74
Company Number: 10696687

Phone Number:

 +44 20 3239 9818