Supermarket shelves are filled with herbal and fruity teas promising a good night’s sleep and a natural miracle cure for insomnia. But how effective are teas in remedying the effects of a lack of a sleep and in actually helping you drift off? We investigate…
There is little scientific evidence to back up bedtime tea’s claims of easy sleep after a cup or two. There are enough combinations of ingredients that it’s not usually the tea itself that gets you to sleep, but rather one of the individual herbs within it. Some of these herbs have been proven to have sleep-inducing qualities, but in many cases these claims are more popular opinion rather than science.
Of course, not everything needs to have been investigated and examined by an intellectual with a scientific journal paper written on to prove that something works. Ingredients either work or they don’t, regardless of what’s been written about them and what’s been investigated. The study of sleep and polysomnography tends to address physical symptoms and underlying issues as opposed to the investigation of individual (and particularly natural) remedies. That’s not to say, of course, that certain herbs haven’t been examined and proven to help aid fast, good quality sleep, including valerian root extract. Lots of herbs and ingredients used in bedtime tea ease stress and anxiety which in turn, can help you drift off.
Regardless of scientific studies, millions of people worldwide swear by chamomile, lemon balm, peppermint and nettle teas. Everyone’s different, after all, so what works for some may not for others. There’s also other ways to ingest herbs that can aid your good night’s sleep that isn’t just steeping and sipping – so if you find something works but you don’t like the taste, you can find an alternative method with which to take it.
There is a relaxing element to just taking a few minutes of your day for yourself and sitting down to enjoy a cup of tea that many don’t factor in. This headspace and the time to chill out, even if just for a few minutes, can really help stabilise your mood and mental health, which is a beneficial balance before. This means that even if the ingredients or flavours within the tea aren’t individually responsible for getting you off to the land of nod, incorporating a cup of (caffeine-free) tea into your night-time routine can be extremely beneficial. Taking time for yourself to breath and loosen up, both physically and mentally, is extremely important.
Remedies and routines need not always be backed up by scientific evidence. If something works for you and isn’t harmful, stick to it: and enjoy better, faster and deeper sleep!