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Clever use of tea in your daily routine can help you get better sleep

by Bernadine Tay September 18, 2020

Clever use of tea in your daily routine can help you get better sleep

Why do I feel tired after having a good night’s sleep?

A CALMING AND SLEEP INDUCING EFFECT

Sleep deprivation is linked to a number of physical and mental health problems, including depression and weight gain.

Many of us like to start the day with a cup of coffee or tea and repeat this at the end of the day with a caffeinated hot drink before bed. But what you consume in the hours before bed can have a surprising impact on the quality of your sleep.

Let’s start with the obvious culprit: caffeine.

Caffeine belongs to a class of drugs known as psychoactive stimulants. Everyone knows that caffeine can make them more alert and wake them up. But there are at least two hidden aspects of caffeine that people might not be aware of.

FIRST UP, THE DURATION THAT CAFFEINE IS EFFECTIVE IN THE BODY

Caffeine, for the average adult will have a “half-life” effect of 5 to 6 hours. What this means is that after 5 to 6 hours up to 50% of the caffeine that you have consumed is still circulating in your bloodstream.

What that also means is that caffeine has a quarter life of about 10 to 12 hours!

So, in layman’s terms, if you have a cup of tea at 2 pm in the afternoon there could still be caffeine swilling in your brain by the time you go to bed.

And this can obviously affect the quality of your sleep.

THE SECOND IS CAFFEINE’S EFFECT ON THE RESTORATIVE STAGE IN SLEEP

Some might think that they are one of those individuals that are not affected by caffeine and can have a cup of tea before going to bed staying soundly asleep throughout.

Even if that is true it turns out that caffeine can decrease the amount of Deep Rapid Non Eye Movement sleep.

These are stages 3 and 4 of REM sleep, which is the key stage for restoration of the body.

Here you sleep continuously and don’t remember waking up but find yourself tired in the morning.

A simple and easy tweak to the bedtime routine can help you enjoy easing into sleep and significantly change how you feel in the morning. 

A steaming cup of herbal tea two hours before bed is the key to relaxing the body and allowing your brain to do its restorative work during sleep.

Body temperature is a big factor to inducing sleep. Consuming hot liquid can actually be cooling and warming at the same time. If you’re hot, it may warm you up a little at first, but when it reaches the thermo sensors in your oesophagus and stomach, they’ll invoka a reaction as though the entire body is as hot as the drink.

It turns up the sweat flow so much that you’ll end up cooler than before, providing your clothes are breathable of course. Conversely, if you’re chilly on an autumn night grabbing a tea to warm you can be comforting and relaxing as you wrap your hands around the cup and snuggle under the blanket.

You must ensure your choice of drink is caffeine free. Regular black, oolong, green and white tea leaves contain caffeine. Even the decaffeinated ones contain traces of the chemical. Just like a cup of coffee, black tea, green tea or white tea can stimulate you into wakefulness even though you were thinking that these are better alternatives than a cup of joe.

Aroma is also a factor to consider when selecting your blends as they can stimulate the pleasure centred in your brain and calm the body.

If fruity teas are your thing, our Jewel of Africa might be one to consider. This infusion is a delicious blend of soul-soothing Rooibos, sandalwood, peony blossoms and red currants – all helpful sleep aids. Naturally caffeine free, this dreamy blend is perfect for whenever you need to wind down. Naturally high in antioxidants it boosts feel good hormones and aids physical relaxation.

Available loose leaf or in tea bags for convenience, Jewel of Africa can be steeped for a few minutes then drunk as is, or with milk. We enjoyed it with oat milk and the nutty, berry notes made it feel like a real treat rather than a sleep necessity.

As any poor sleeper knows, routine is the name of the game when it comes to healthy sleeping. Fusing any of these teas or drinks into your bedtime routine will create some kind of order and signal for your body and mind to start winding down and then it’s just up to you to choose the tea that you most enjoy.