The reason you should drink chamomile tea before bed

We've all had nights when we've stayed up tossing and turning for whatever reason. And if you're not inclined to take melatonin or a sleeping tablet, have we got an herbal tea for you.

Chamomile tea has been used as a sleep inducer for years. Healthline says it may be because chamomile contains a plant product known as apigenin, a powerful antioxidant that works with receptors in your brain that could decrease anxiety and help bring on sleep. To get the maximum benefits offered up by chamomile tea, The Sleep Judge says you'll need to seep chamomile tea leaves for no longer than 10 minutes, and then drink the tea about half an hour before you go to bed.

Chamomile tea doesn't work for everyone

But if the drink doesn't do much to help you catch your zzzz's, don't be surprised. While researchers say they've seen anecdotal evidence that chamomile tea works, there isn't enough actual research out there to support this finding. "We've seen writings and recordings of people using chamomile as a treatment of sleep for hundreds if not thousands of years," Eric Zhou, a faculty member at Harvard Medical School's Division of Sleep Medicine tells LiveScience. "Very few studies have analyzed the effect of chamomile tea [on sleep]. For insomnia, there are modest benefits."

One study had participants take capsules that contained either a chamomile extract or a placebo for 28 days, but the research didn't find solid evidence that those who took chamomile slept better than those who took the placebo. As the University of Michigan's Suzanna Zick, who took part in the research, tells LiveScience, "Even if people took chamomile capsules, they did not sleep significantly better than those who took placebo capsules."

Still, other studies, involving new mothers and elderly patients, found that chamomile tea and chamomile extracts not only helped subjects sleep better, but they exhibited fewer symptoms of depression. And while these contradictions don't help science definitively prove that chamomile works, it does show one thing — that if you believe something will help you fall asleep, it just might.