Your toothpaste could be the reason you can’t sleep – here’s why

Can’t get to sleep? Your toothpaste might be the problem…

A close-up of toothpaste on a blue toothbrush
(Image credit: George Becker / Pexels)

Having trouble falling asleep at night? Your toothpaste could be to blame.

We spend a third of our lives in bed, so it’s important that your sleep set-up is comfortable, supportive and tailored to your sleep needs. But even if you have the best mattress for the job, there are still a few external factors that can affect your sleep, from loud noises to your partners’ snoring.

One thing that could be disrupting your sleep is actually located in your bathroom… your toothpaste. Brushing your teeth with a manual or the best electric toothbrush is an important part of your morning and evening routine, to keep your teeth, gums and mouth fresh and hygienic… but if you’re using the wrong flavour of toothpaste, it could be keeping you awake.

The toothpaste that can disrupt your night’s rest is arguably the most popular flavour you can buy: peppermint.Peppermint can negatively impact your body’s ability to fall asleep as it acts as a stimulant that keeps you alert and works to improve your memory and responsiveness.

According to Dr Chris Winter for Sleep.com, peppermint “can have adverse effects on your sleep, as it is known to increase dopamine. When released in the brain, dopamine promotes wakefulness and alertness… the total opposite of your intention before bed and a disruptor of your wind-down routine.”

A curly haired woman brushing her teeth in the mirror

(Image credit: Cottonbro Studio / Pexels)

As the minty flavours of your toothpaste stimulates the brain, you might find it harder to get to sleep, especially if you’ve just brushed your teeth right before bed. Peppermint almost acts in a similar way to blue light, which is a high-energy visible light which is emitted by mobile phones and TVs. 

Many experts recommend avoiding your phone before bed, as blue light from your device easily passes through your eye to indicate to the brain that it’s time to be awake. The strong flavour and scent of peppermint toothpaste does a similar thing, so if you’re finding it hard to fall asleep, it could be time to switch up your toothpaste.

To avoid disrupting your sleep, experts suggest brushing your teeth an hour or more before going to bed, to allow the strong peppermint flavour to dissipate so it doesn’t keep you awake. Alternatively, you could switch to a different flavour toothpaste that’s more relaxing and calm-inducing, like ginger, cinnamon or lavender.

For more sleep tips, check out the 7 best teas to drink before bed for better sleep and less anxiety.

Bethan Girdler-Maslen
Home Editor

Beth is Home Editor for T3, looking after style, living and wellness. From the comfiest mattresses to what strange things you can cook in an air fryer, Beth covers sleep, yoga, smart home, coffee machines, grooming tools, fragrances, gardening and much more. If it's something that goes in your house, chances are Beth knows about it and has the latest reviews and recommendations! She's also in the know about the latest deals and discount codes from top brands and retailers.


Having always been passionate about writing, she’s written for websites, newspapers and magazines on a variety of topics, from jewellery and culture, to food and telecoms. You can find her work across numerous sites, including Wedding Ideas Magazine, Health & Wellbeing, The Bristol Post, Fashion & Style Directory, TechRadar, CreativeBloq and more. In her spare time, Beth enjoys running, reading, baking and attempting craft projects that will probably end in disaster!