It may sound gimmicky, but Nutritional Therapist, Clarissa Lenherr is here to tell us why they could help and the five that are worth trying. Given they’re from just £1.99, we think it’s a damn good place to start.
“There are many factors that affect us when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, change in seasons is a big one as it can have a huge impact on our bodies, including the way we drift off. With longer, colder and darker days, our circadian rhythm can be knocked out of balance. Additionally, blue lights emitted from our electronics late at night can trick our bodies into thinking it is still day time, interrupting our feelings of tiredness. So, if you’re struggling to unwind despite trying every gadget going, I’ve rounded up the five teas that are known to help. Not only can sipping on a warm drink before bed make you feel drowsier, the naturally caffeine-free tea has a calming effect on the body, which could be the main contributor to promoted sleepiness…”
It’s important to remember that if you really want to feel the value from your herbal tea, you should avoid pouring boiling water directly onto the leaves or teabags. Let the heat sit for a minute beforehand, this way you’ll avoid burning the leaves and buds which are the parts that give you the biggest benefits.
Tulsi Tea (also known as Holy Basil)
“Tulsi tea has brilliant anti-inflammatory, digestive, sedative properties, which makes it very effect for general health and aids in helping you to unwind. The key ingredient in this one is Eugenol (also known as clove oil), and it works to manage our cortisol levels, preventing the sides effects of chronic stress. Stress can impact our circadian rhythms, making sleep a challenge. This delicious tea can help stabilise your metabolic pathways and eliminate that angst, allowing you to have a restful, uninterrupted night.”
Valerian Root Tea
“Dubbed as a magic sleep potion, Valerian Root has long been used to help reduce symptoms of insomnia, anxiety and increase overall sleep quality. One theory as to how it works is that it interacts and inhibits the breakdown of neurotransmitter GABA, which can help regulate brain and nervous system nerve impulses, thus promoting sleepiness. It’s also reported to be the number one non-prescriptive sedative in Europe, and some have even said this has help soothed period cramps, while others said it’s helped to ease their menopausal symptoms.”
“This traditional herbal remedy has been used to fight insomnia, stress and other health issues since the dawn of time, and it’s probably the most popular of the sleep-inducing teas. It’s reported to have anti-anxiety effects, while others suggest that it is the apigenin (a flavonoid compound found in Chamomile) which contributes to its relaxing powers. Additionally, some phytochemicals found in the Chamomile buds can help with neurotransmitter vivacity, impacting our serotonin and dopamine release, both of which are linked to mood, depression and of course…sleep.”
“Lavender is scientifically proven to reduce stress and anxiety, which are common contributors to the inability to have a full night’s restorative sleep. It may be the smell of Lavender that promotes drowsiness, rather than ingesting it through tea. A 2005 study found that smelling Lavender oil before bed increased the participants deep sleep, as well as increasing feelings of restoration which resulted in higher energy levels the following morning. Try making your own with fresh/dried Lavender buds (available at Waitrose) and a touch of raw honey for natural sweetness.”
Try: Lavender buds, £1.99
“Passionflower tea is made from the flowers, leaves and stems of the Passiflora plant and is subtle in taste and flavour. There have been a number of reports on the use of Passionflower extracts on sleep and anxiety. One compared the effectiveness of using a combination of Passionfruit, Valerian and Hops to Ambien - a common sleep aid. Well worth a shot.”