Sleep’s a big deal. Losing a mere hour of shut-eye over the course of three days is enough to negatively impact the body’s hunger and appetite-regulating hormone, ghrelin. Quality sleep, on the other hand, fuels the production of fat-burning hormones, making it a top priority if you’re trying to drop a few pounds. Valerian is an herb that’s long been valued as a mild sedative, and now research is showing what tea enthusiasts have known for centuries. In a study of women, researchers gave half the test subjects a valerian extract, and half a placebo. Thirty percent of those who received valerian reported an improvement in the quality of their sleep, versus just 4 percent of the control group.
Born from leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant, this South American weight-loss tea is rife with stimulating chemicals like caffeine, theophylline, and theobromine. In a study in animals that ate a high-fat diet, those that consumed yerba mate had lower blood sugar levels and didn’t gain as much weight as those that didn’t consume the drink. Plus, obese people taking an yerba mate supplement for 12 weeks lost more fat compared to a placebo group, in a 2015 study in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Yerba mate is considered a substitute for coffee—without the bitterness—so try it in place of your morning Joe tomorrow. (Consider these fat-releasing habits to help you slim down.)