Why does tea make me sleepy?

In this guide, we will address and answer the question, “Why does tea make me sleepy?”, we will explore the components of tea that make you sleepy, the drawbacks of drinking tea to induce sleep and to know more about 5 types of tea that will help you for a good night of sleep.

Why does tea make me sleepy?

Tea makes you sleepy for several reasons. The most likely reason is the presence of theanine, tea polyphenols, caffeine and other chemical substances that have calming effects (1).

In addition, tea can also help regulate your energy levels when you are feeling sick or stressed. It does this by targeting specific pathways that control how our body uses energy.

What is in tea that makes me sleepy? 

Several chemicals in tea can make you sleepy. However, sometimes you are merely tired, and drinking a warm, soothing cup of tea can lead to a moment of relaxation, ultimately causing you to drift off to sleep (1). 

Various tea substances help you to fall asleep, reduce stress and relax your body. Tea components such as polyphenols, aromatic substances, GABA, theanine and caffeine are the most critical ones that make you sleepy. 

These components act on the brain through different pathways, modulating the communication between brain cells. In addition, some can help reduce blood pressure, aiding in relaxation. These components can be found in various types of tea (1).

For instance, studies suggest that black tea with GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) can improve sleep quality and duration. Likewise, green tea extracts, rich in caffeine, can promote better sleep and a more positive mood. (2,3).

Several herbal teas contain polyphenols that can improve sleep duration and help with sleep problems. Additionally, theanine, an amino acid found in green tea leaves, has been shown to enhance sleep quality (1). 

Some herbal teas contain aromatic substances that can aid sleep, such as linalool and linalyl acetate, which can promote longer sleep, and jasmine lactone, which can calm the brain (6,7).

However, overconsumption of these teas can have the opposite effect, causing sleep difficulties, shorter sleep duration, and fatigue (4,5). 

What are the Best Teas for a Good Night’s Sleep? 5 teas that will improve your sleep quality:

  • Chamomile tea: Chamomile is a natural sedative that can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety, making it a great choice for bedtime.
  • Valerian root tea: Valerian root is another natural sedative used for centuries to improve sleep quality and promote relaxation.
  • Lavender tea: Lavender is known for its calming properties and can help reduce stress and anxiety, making it a good choice for bedtime.
  • Passionflower tea: Passionflower is a natural sedative that can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
  • Lemon balm tea: Lemon balm is a natural relaxant that can help reduce stress and anxiety (9-11).

Remember, everyone’s body reacts differently to various substances, and our understanding of the effects of tea is still evolving. Therefore, if you experience prolonged difficulty sleeping, it is essential to seek the advice of a specialist doctor as soon as possible.

What are the drawbacks of drinking tea to induce sleep?

One of the main drawbacks of drinking tea to induce sleep is the presence of caffeine, which can interfere with sleep quality and make it harder to fall asleep (4,5). 

Even decaffeinated tea can contain trace amounts of caffeine, so it is essential to check the label or research to find a caffeine-free option.

Another potential issue is the diuretic effect of tea, which can increase the need to urinate during the night and disrupt sleep. This is especially true for green tea, which has been shown to have a more substantial diuretic effect than other types of tea (12). 

Consuming tea no later than 6 hours before bedtime is recommended to avoid this problem.

Finally, some people may experience allergic reactions or other adverse side effects from certain types of tea, such as chamomile or lavender tea. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of any potential allergies or sensitivities and consult a healthcare professional if you have any concerns (13, 14).

Overall, while drinking tea can be a helpful way to promote relaxation and sleep, it is essential to be mindful of the potential drawbacks and choose a tea appropriate for your individual needs and preferences.


In this brief guide, we have addressed and answered the question, “Why does tea make me sleepy?”, we discussed the components of tea that make you sleepy, the drawbacks of drinking tea to induce sleep and to know more about 5 types of tea that will help you for a good night of sleep.


1. Ouyang J, Peng Y, Gong Y. New Perspectives on Sleep Regulation by Tea: Harmonizing Pathological Sleep and Energy Balance under Stress. Foods. 2022.

2. Zhao W, Li Y, Ma W, Ge Y, Huang Y. A study on quality components and sleep-promoting effects of GABA black tea. Food Funct. 2015.

3. Morning/Evening Menopausal Formula Relieves Menopausal Symptoms: A Pilot Study | The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

4. Kleiser C, Wawro N, Stelmach-Mardas M, Boeing H, Gedrich K, Himmerich H, et al. Are sleep duration, midpoint of sleep and sleep quality associated with dietary intake among Bavarian adults? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2017 

5. Green tea (Camellia sinensis) for the prevention of cancer – Filippini, T – 2020 | Cochrane Library.

6. Nutrients | Free Full-Text | Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.


8. Guadagna S, Barattini DF, Rosu S, Ferini-Strambi L. Plant Extracts for Sleep Disturbances: A Systematic Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2020.

9. Efficacy and safety of herbal stimulants and sedatives in sleep disorders. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2000.

10. Dai YL, Li Y, Wang Q, Niu FJ, Li KW, Wang YY, et al. Chamomile: A Review of Its Traditional Uses, Chemical Constituents, Pharmacological Activities and Quality Control Studies. Molecules. 2023.

11.Borrás S, Martínez-Solís I, Ríos JL. Medicinal Plants for Insomnia Related to Anxiety: An Updated Review. Planta Med. 2021.

12. Zhang, Y., Coca, A., Casa, D. J., Antonio, J., Green, J. M., & Bishop, P. A. Caffeine and diuresis during rest and exercise: A meta-analysis. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport / Sports Medicine Australia. 2015. 

13. Drake, C., Roehrs, T., Shambroom, J., & Roth, T. Caffeine Effects on Sleep Taken 0, 3, or 6 Hours before Going to Bed. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine : JCSM : Official Publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 2013. 

14. Chamomile. (n.d.). NCCIH. Retrieved May 1, 2023. 

15. Lavender. (n.d.). NCCIH. Retrieved May 1, 2023.