The Story of Sleepytime Tea: How Tea Can Help You Sleep Better at Night

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Since ancient times cultures all over the world have engaged in drinking tea or tisane before bed to help them relax and fall asleep more easily. These days, a wide variety of “Sleepytime” teas are available, specifically crafted with natural herbs and spices, meant to induce relaxation and a good night’s rest. With today’s increased emphasis on functional teas, they are gaining in popularity too. So how does tea affect your quality of sleep? Let’s explore.

In today’s fast-paced world more than a third of us are not getting the recommended 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night. The importance of a good night’s rest, however, cannot be overstated; sleep helps with recovery (both physically and mentally), helps stave off diseases and injury, improves one’s memory and ability to learn, it aids motor skills, and helps to deal with stress, just to name a few. With more focus on natural aids rather than pharmaceutical products, people have increasingly looked at tea for support. However, while tea can offer some assistance, not every tea is created equal and not every variety of tea will give you the results you are looking for.

To start off, most varieties of tea made from the Camellia Sinensis plant contain at least some levels of caffeine, with black tea containing the highest amounts and green teas more moderate amounts. As we all know, caffeine is a natural stimulant and is very detrimental to our ability to fall asleep. Even so, this does not mean black or green tea can’t help. There are compounds in black or green tea, like polyphenols, theanine, and even the aromas, that have been linked to relaxation and sleep regulation. Not everybody’s physiology functions exactly the same either, so for some drinking decaffeinated green tea or even black tea during the early parts of the day does have the potential to have a positive effect on mental relaxation and therefore sleep.

However, a more suitable option would be herbal teas (or tisane) as they generally do not contain any levels of caffeine, making them much more suitable for nighttime consumption. Moreover, research has shown that herbs like chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, rooibos, valerian root and many more can have a positive effect on one’s sleep. Unsurprisingly then, many “sleepytime” teas combine a number of these ingredients to market a particular blend specifically at helping you sleep.

Unfortunately, when it comes to sleep there aren’t any magic solutions or guarantees, but there is evidence that a good night’s sleep can benefit greatly from establishing a healthy nighttime routine that includes the consumption of tea. It is best to drink your preferred blend a few hours before hitting the pillows, to limit the caffeine content as much as possible, and to find out which sleep-regulating herbs and spices suits your tastes best.

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