Food for Thought: Can chamomile tea improve sleep?

Health

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Seventy percent of Americans report at least one bad night’s worth of sleep per month. Some people claim that chamomile tea can help improve sleep but is there any science behind these claims?

Chamomile tea is made from the dried chamomile flowers. It has been used in folk medicine for thousands of years and there is scientific evidence that chamomile may help you sleep better.

One study published in the Journal of Advanced Nursing had 80 women who recently had a baby drink chamomile tea or get regular postpartum care for two weeks. Those who drank the tea slept better and had fewer symptoms of depression.

In a small study with cardiovascular patients, 83 percent reported falling asleep after drinking chamomile tea. Researchers think chamomile works like the prescription medication benzodiazepine that reduces anxiety and induces sleep.

Be aware you need to avoid chamomile if you are allergic to ragweed or have severe allergies to pollens. Pollen may contaminate the chamomile. In addition, chamomile can interact with the blood thinner coumadin. So if you take it, be consistent about how much chamomile tea you drink.

If you have one cup a day before bed to sleep better, always have one cup a day.

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