Fall Asleep Faster and Stay Asleep Longer With These Herbal Teas

I can remember the last time that I had a solid seven hours of uninterrupted sleep.  It was two and a half years ago. It was such a rare occurrence for me that I can tell you where I was (not at home) and what I did that day to make me so exhausted. More typically, I have to “encourage” my body to fall asleep with a night time ritual that promotes relaxation and sleepiness, such as turning off the computer a good hour or two before bedtime or taking a hot shower or bath. But staying asleep is another story.

Lately, though, I’ve been adding herbal tea to my nighttime routine, with mostly good results.  That’s because there’s a new generation of teas- or herbal infusions – with nighttime formulations that have more firepower than you’ll get with a basic Chamomile blend. So, if you need help falling asleep faster, or staying asleep longer, consider trying some of these herbal teas at bedtime as I have during the past several weeks.

menopause, insomnia, anxiety, restlessnessIf you’re new to tea drinking, I recommend starting with a basic chamomile blend. It just might be all you need to get some quality sleep.  I’ve been sipping Celestial Seasonings “Sleepytime Tea” for years, and at times, I’ve used as many as three tea bags at once to get a big dose of Chamomile, its predominant ingredient, as a natural sedative.  It often does the trick, especially when combined with a good book or calm music. Twinings brand “Bedtime Blend” is another pleasant-tasting tea containing the same blend of Chamomile, Spearmint and Lemongrass.

If you’re ready to take it to the next level, I suggest trying The Republic of Tea’s “Get Some ZZZ’s Tea. Itmenopause, insomnia, anxiety contains Rooibos (pronounced roy-boss), from the South African Redbush shrub, and Passionflower.  Both plants are common ingredients in supplements used to alleviate anxiety and occasional insomnia. But what really sets this tea apart from others is the 20 mg of Valerian Root that’s contained in just one cup.  As described by Dr. Laurie Steelsmith in her book, Natural Choices for Women’s Health; ”Valerian root calms and restores your nervous system. It is especially helpful if you can’t get to sleep because your mind is racing.” According to the government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM),  researchers have concluded that Valerian appears to be safe at recommended doses for short-term use (4-6 months).

menopause, insomnia, anxietyWhen I was examining the ingredient list of Traditional Medicinals’ “Organic Nighty Night” Tea in Whole Foods, a woman walking by encouraged me to buy it. “It really works,” she said, and I have to agree with her.  Its base is a lemony-flavored blend of Spearmint, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Peel and Lemongrass.  But it’s the Passionflower, Chamomile, Linden Flower, Catnip and Hops that, when combined, seems to promotes relaxation.  Hops, which is the main ingredient in beer, is known as a relaxing natural sedative.

menopause, insomnia

Finally, I tried Yogi “Bedtime” tea with “soothing caramel”  and vanilla flavors added. It’s mostly a blend of eleven botanical plants including Chamomile, Rooibos, Cinnamon Bark and Ginger Root. But I suspect it’s the California Poppy Plant and  L-Theanine, an amino acid found in green tea, that makes the difference.  Theanine has been shown, at least in larger doses, to help with relaxation and stress.

Now, before you try any of these herbal infusions, I have a few suggestions:

  • If you have a medical condition, or you’re on daily medication, it’s important that you review the Tea’s ingredient list (usually found online) with your physician to make sure that there isn’t anything that will interfere with your treatments or prescriptions.
  • If you’re interested in learning more about botanical supplements, I recommend visiting these two government websites; The National Institute of Health’s Center for CAM  and Office of Dietary Supplements. They are excellent resources for unbiased information. There’s an informative document on Sleep Disorders and CAM that you’ll find helpful as well.
  • With these nighttime teas, consider one cup a normal “dose.” Don’t overdo it even if you love the flavor. Besides, if you drink too much, you’ll have to use the bathroom during the night and, well, that defeats the purpose of them, doesn’t it?

If any of these teas improve or even solve your sleeping problems, would you let me and others know in the comment box below?  Perhaps you can suggest another brand that has worked for you.