I sit in my living room, after my dinner has settled well in my belly and remember fond memories. Every night as a child, whether we were home or camping, in Summer or in Winter, full to the bursting with food or barely just finished chewing, in fact even to this day, my parents would always finish the night off with a cup of tea. Lipton, gold label, Black with a bit of milk. Strong. Hot.
My parents are both tea drinkers and would start the morning off with this, pumping through a further half a dozen throughout the day as well.
Me? I drink coffee. I’m a typical Perth Generation Y child. I like my coffee so much that it is one of my favourite hobbies to hunt down cafes just to get a taste of a ‘good drip’ and a ‘new brew’. I like long macchiato, rarely topped up, unless it is before 7 then pass me two doppio’s. As a university student, though, I won’t say no to decaffeinated, Moccona, Gold Label, Espresso. Anything for a hit, regardless of the price.
But none of these treats are okay for me after 1pm.
You see Coffee has caffeine. It keeps you awake. In large doses it can lead to heart problems, blood and vascular issues, migraines, and more general health issues. What I only realised recently is my Ma won’t drink coffee after early afternoon “because it keeps her awake at night.”
But what about the tea at bedtime?? That has just as much caffeine!
In the Summer just past I made bottles of ‘home brew’ iced tea and got carried away one night, drinking it until 8pm. Is it any wonder I didn’t get to sleep until 4am?
I like a warm drink after dinner. It is just as good, if not better, than dessert some times. The trouble is, what if you can’t have milk? What if you don’t have sugary drinks? What do you drink? What won’t affect your sleep?
I’ve been looking into some herbal teas, as I saw them as the most obvious first choice for evening calmatives. I found out some pretty interesting facts. Now l realise you may think this is just for getting to step but I have food the same teas good for soothing you are also good for easing chronic fatigue tiredness. Strange times indeed.
Well, this is the obvious go-to. I don’t always like the taste to be honest. I will say that because I don’t like the slight bitterness it has to it. It is subtle though, so that’s okay. It works for insomnia because it has a mild sedative in the natural existing chemicals bisabolol, bisabolol oxides A and B, and matricin, as well as apigenin. You drink mostly the flower, the most common of which come from Germany. It is very fragrant, so smells good as it brews, but is a delicate tea and shouldn’t be brewed too long or too hot. It is also an anti-inflammatory.
Lavender is native to the mountainous zones of the Mediterranean oil in lavender’s small, blue violet flowers gives the herb its fragrant scent. University of Miami studies have shown that it is known to slow down heart rate, slow blood pressure and put you in a parasympathetic state, which is a relaxed state. I cannot find exact chemicals are related to this relaxing phenomena, and in fact the studies that have confirmed the results aren’t conclusive and it may be the routine and process prior to going to sleep may be the effective part of the inclusion of lavender for sleep assistance and insomnia. What I can tell you is that the answer most likely lays in the magic word Lamiaceae.
The mint family of flowering shrubs, many of these are edible and fragrant, very beneficial in cooking, healing and insomnia. Here we have mint, of course, as well as rosemary, lavender, marjoram, savory, basil, thyme, hyssop, oregano, catnip and sage. Like the other teas I have recommended so far, these are caffeine-free. They relieve heart burn and calm muscles, according to university studies, which means they have a relaxing effect on the body and reasons that prevent sleep.
St. John’s Wort
This is identified as a natural anti-depressant for its soothing effect on neurostimulators. It reduces anxiety and calms nerves, which is why it is also considered to be an appropriate treatment for insomnia.
Cinnamon and Nutmeg
These two spices are wonderful. They taste great, smell fantastic and seem to go so well with so many after-dinner treats. Yet they have been known to cause hallucinogenic reactions in some people. It may be a homeopathic theory, it may not have university studies to back this up. But it does have the benefit of a lot of general consensus and common agreeance in the matter. Many people have commented on having vivid and interrupted sleeping patterns, as well as general sleep inabilities following drinking or eating cinnamon and nutmeg. This can be from even 8 hours prior to going to bed, so be aware of this fact. The chai teas and lattes that are now so popular are made of both of these spices, so think of this if you have been replacing your nightly tea with chai’s.
Chili, Vasodilators and Metabolisers
I know it seems like common sense, but think about the impact on your circulatory and metabolic systems when you dilate cells, vessels and increase your metabolic rate. Your body will be working harder and faster, your mind will be processing more. Anything that ‘gets your body going’ is also going to be interrupting the calmness needed for sleep.
N.B. Remember these are the ones I have tried. I have undoubtedly missed some, and there are some great blends of a few available. When you are looking try to avoid some of the big mass-producing companies. They may make great flavoured teas, but they may also be using sugars to enhance the flavours, which could work against what you want. If you are unsure about the ingredients then do some research to see if they are metabolisers, vasodilators, include sugar or contain caffeine.
For more information go to: No sleepless nights