3 Pre-Bedtime Teas That Are Good for Your Gut

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For most people, dinner is the biggest meal of the day. Breakfast and lunch are often rushed, squeezed in between pressing demands. But evening is when many of us can exhale and unwind over a nourishing meal. But it's precisely because dinner is our biggest meal that you may experience digestive distress in the hours after eating supper—and the next morning.

This can come in the form of your stomach churning and working to digest your meal while you try to sleep. It can also result in a few not-so pleasant side effects like diarrhea or constipation the morning after. So, what can help ease your digestive woes in the evening? Registered dietitians say a soothing up of tea might help. Ahead we're sharing healthy gut tea options so you sleep soundly (and undisturbed by a gurgling gut).

Experts In This Article

What is the best tea for gut health?

Registered dietitians Amy Schwarz, RD, Lauren Manaker, RD, Amy Shapiro, RD, and Kirsten Jackson, RD, (a gastroenterology dietitian) all agree that sipping on gut-healthy teas steeped with herbs meant to soothe the stomach can help aid digestion post-dinner. However, it's important to note that not all teas are equally gut-promoting. In other words, some are better for easing digestion, while others are better for providing a much-needed jolt of energy (hi, best herbal tea for energy). That's to say, in order to ensure your bedtime drink doesn't interfere with your sacred sleep, it's best to opt for options sans caffeine.

The top healthy gut tea choices all four RD's agree on: ginger, chamomile, and peppermint. Ahead we're delving into each one, and why they're great to include in a gut-healthy diet.

3 caffeine-free, gut-healthy teas to drink after dinner, according to registered dietitians

1. Ginger tea

Ginger tea tops every one of our dietitians' list of gut-healthy teas to sip in the evening. "Some small studies have shown that ginger can hasten gastric emptying, which helps [prevent] indigestion," Schwarz says. This means enjoying a hot cup of ginger tea can help get the digestive process going a little quicker so your stomach isn't keeping you up while you're trying to sleep.

But there's more: Gas and constipation are two other symptoms ginger can alleviate. And you can also think of it as the all-natural alternative to the antacids at your local drugstore if indigestion is an issue for you. "Teas, like ginger tea, can soothe the digestive tract, reduce inflammation, and aid in the breakdown of food, making them an excellent choice for a pre-bedtime ritual, as they can also have calming effects and they are caffeine-free," Manaker adds.

Best part? Making a batch of this drink is easier than you think. According to this simple ginger tea recipe, all you need are three ingredients: fresh grated ginger, honey (optional, or the sweetener for gut health of your choice), and water. Brew it all together, and you'll have a healthy gut tea in under five minutes.

Buy it now: Vandam Organic Turmeric and Ginger Tea ($22); Yogi Ginger Tea ($23 for a pack of 6); Traditional Medicinals Organic Ginger Organic Herbal Leaf Tea ($35 for a pack of 6)

More into shots than cups of tea? Watch the video below to see how to use ginger to make an anti-inflammatory shooter:

2. Peppermint tea

"Peppermint has been used for centuries to treat GI issues," Schwarz says. She explains that peppermint soothes the stomach by preventing stomach muscle contraction, which then keeps the stomach from cramping. It's especially been shown to be helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome. "Peppermint has been shown to help with digestion, regularity, and decreasing stomach pain and discomfort, which is ideal when trying to sleep. This, in turn, helps your body to prepare for elimination the next morning while offering a painless, fuss-free sleep," Shapiro says.

For these reasons, peppermint tea can be beneficial to sip in the evening to help calm the stomach, whether it's acting up because of something you ate or because of nerves. Either way, it'll work its magic to calm the digestive tract down so you can sleep easier.

Buy it now: Pukka Three Mint Organic Herbal Tea with Peppermint ($17); Twinnings of London Pure Peppermint Herbal Tea ($4); Taylor's of Harrogate Organic Herbal Tea ($7)

Watch the video below to see how to make a chocolate peppermint tea:

3. Chamomile tea

This is a classic pre-bedtime tea because the herb is so strongly linked to relaxation, but Jackson says it has gut-healthy benefits, too. "It contains prebiotics, which are food for the gut bacteria and can also help to ease constipation," she says. Any food or herb that can help increase the amount of good bacteria in the gut is definitely worth sipping on the reg.

Buy it now: Traditional Medicinals Organic Chamomile and Lavender Tea ($5); Taylor's Organic Chamomile Herbal Tea ($7); Vahdam Classic Chamomile Organic Herbal Tea ($23)

Watch the video below to see how to integrate chamomile into homemade vegan ice cream:

What tea should you not drink before bed?

If restful sleep is the goal, sipping on caffeine right before hitting the hay isn't the best choice; considering it can send you spiraling into a jittery state, lying awake in bed for hours. "Caffeinated beverages aren't the best teas to drink before going to bed, especially if you are sensitive to caffeine. Additionally, caffeine is a diuretic which may cause you to have to get up during the night to use the bathroom which could also disrupt sleep," Shapiro says.

Meanwhile, Manaker agrees that true teas, like oolong, white, black, and green teas, all contain natural levels of caffeine, making them not as adequate for promoting restful sleep (and digestion) as peppermint tea may be. That said, it's worth noting that not everyone processes caffeine in the same way. "If a person is not affected by caffeine, these teas may still be acceptable before bed," Manaker says. With a little trial and error, you can easily discover the best option for you.

But, when in doubt, Shapiro says you simply can't go wrong with a big ol' glass of water. "Being adequately hydrated is key for optimal digestion and elimination along with liver detoxification," she says.

What should I drink first in the morning for gut health?

Shapiro says H2O is also the way to go first thing in the day. "Before anything else in the morning, I recommend drinking at least 12 ounces of water," she says.

Meanwhile, Manaker typically opts for a gut-friendly tea that'll set you up for success all day long: green tea. "Green tea is one of the most beneficial teas for gut health that you can drink first thing in the morning. Packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, green tea may have a positive effect on gut health," she says.

It's also worth noting that sleep experts have crowned green tea as one of the best drinks for promoting restful sleep, which may sound counterintuitive at first. However, research suggests that green tea (with reduced levels of caffeine) is particularly beneficial when it comes to reducing stress and improving sleep quality. The key? Drinking it at the appropriate time of day (aka, a few hours before bedtime will do) to reap the rewards come sundown. Of course, a gut-healthy smoothie designed by a gastroenterologist for breakfast won't hurt, either.

Pro BM tip: Eating earlier in the evening, foods for reducing gut inflammation, and foods that are easy to digest (like soup, fish, lentils, and rice) can also help ease digestive woes. Pair that with a steamy cup of healthy gut tea and you've got a match made in heaven.

Well+Good articles reference scientific, reliable, recent, robust studies to back up the information we share. You can trust us along your wellness journey.
  1. Hu, Ming-Luen et al. “Effect of ginger on gastric motility and symptoms of functional dyspepsia.” World journal of gastroenterology vol. 17,1 (2011): 105-10. doi:10.3748/wjg.v17.i1.105
  2. Haniadka, Raghavendra et al. “A review of the gastroprotective effects of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe).” Food & function vol. 4,6 (2013): 845-55. doi:10.1039/c3fo30337c
  3. Chumpitazi, B P et al. “Review article: the physiological effects and safety of peppermint oil and its efficacy in irritable bowel syndrome and other functional disorders.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics vol. 47,6 (2018): 738-752. doi:10.1111/apt.14519
  4. McKay, Diane L, and Jeffrey B Blumberg. “A review of the bioactivity and potential health benefits of peppermint tea (Mentha piperita L.).” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 20,8 (2006): 619-33. doi:10.1002/ptr.1936
  5. Chaves, Pedro Felipe P et al. “Chemical characterization of fructooligosaccharides, inulin and structurally diverse polysaccharides from chamomile tea.” Carbohydrate polymers vol. 214 (2019): 269-275. doi:10.1016/j.carbpol.2019.03.050
  6. Unno, Keiko et al. “Reduced Stress and Improved Sleep Quality Caused by Green Tea Are Associated with a Reduced Caffeine Content.” Nutrients vol. 9,7 777. 19 Jul. 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9070777

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