Last updated: January 4th, 2017. It’s been a hard, long day and you’re looking forward to two things: your bed and a warm cup of tea.
The question is: should you really be drinking that cup of tea before heading off to the magical land of Sleep? Are there any negative side-effects to drinking tea at night? The answer is “yes and no”, it really depends on a few variables…
Black, green or white tea leaves contain traces of caffeine – a stimulant you probably want to avoid before bedtime. But drinking tea before bed can also be a great way to sooth your soul, relax your mind, and help you drift off to sleep – it’s just a matter of drinking the right kind.
Between all of the main types of tea (green, oolong, black, white, puerh, yellow), they can all contain different amounts of caffeine, but it can vary. Some green teas may have more caffeine than some black teas, and so on. As a general rule of thumb, matcha will have the most caffeine because it’s more concentrated and you’re actually consuming all of the plant matter.
Herbal teas generally don’t have any caffeine, or may have just very tiny trace amounts if any at all, making them a great choice.
The different, of course, is that they aren’t steeped using actual tea leaves, but rather (often) a blend of various herbs, spices, and plants. You can make tea out of just about anything.
Which teas are best to drink before bedtime?
You may want to try herbal teas, such as chamomile or peppermint varieties which are more likely caffeine-free. If they have regular tea leaves in the blend, there will still be trace amounts of caffiene, however it wont be as strong as pure leaf tea, for obvious reasons.
But if you absolutely want to stick to your caffeinated tea blend at night, there might just be a light at the end of the tunnel for you: dunk your teabag quickly in a cup of hot water, then dump that cup out and make another hot cup of water and use the same teabag once again.
A good portion of the caffeine is released early in the steeping process – so the quick dunk will help eliminate a portion of the stimulant leaving you with a slightly less caffeinated cup of tea.
Of course, this method isn’t perfect or ideal, and if you’re sensitive enough to caffeine that tea keeps you up at night, you’ll want to steep something that has been specifically created for nighttime.
Here are some highly-recommended teas for enjoying right before your bedtime, which have little to no caffeine, so they won’t keep you up. In fact, most of them have natural ingredients that can help relax, de-stress, and lull you into a peaceful slumber.
BE SLEEPY (with Kava Kava, Valerian Root) – This tea has no caffeine, and is blended to help you get a restful sleep.
Yogi Bedtime Tea – Yogi is an organic tea brand, and this particular blend comes in packages of 16 bags. The ingredients include: organic licorice root, organic spearmint leaf, organic chamomile flower, organic skullcap leaf, organic cardamom seed, organic cinnamon bark, organic St. John’s Wort leaf & flower, organic rose hips, natural orange flavor, valerian root extract, organic raspberry leaf, organic English lavender flower, stevia leaf, and passion flower extract. The flavor is nice, mild, and deep. If you want something a bit different, check out their Soothing Caramel Bedtime Tea!
Green tea before bed to the Rescue
If an herbal tea isn’t to your liking, green tea might just be the solution after all. Although, as noted above, there are traces of caffeine in green tea, it is substantially less then coffee, of course.
Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which plays an important role in relaxation and sleep. Another fact about green tea before bedtime is the potential weight lost effects, however it’s important to be realistic in your expectations when it comes to tea and weight loss, or any other health benefits.
Fresh Breath and Happy Tummy
Peppermint tea is a great option as a warm pre-bedtime drink. It is a naturally caffeine-free herbal tea that has great stomach settling benefits – which can always be practical after a heavy dinner or for an upset stomach. Nobody likes to go to bed with a rumbling tummy.
Tea and Pyjamas
A study carried out in 2012 by British bedlinen company Bedeck revealed that those who have the best night sleep finished dinner an hour and a half before going to bed, having their last cup of tea around 9:10 p.m.
The study looked at the habits of 2,000 people during the crucial, sometimes hectic time slot in between arriving at home and going to bed. Does tea really play an important part in the whole relaxing process? For these Brits, it sure seems so.
There isn’t a one size fits all recipe when it comes to tea or no tea before bed. We’re all made differently: our metabolisms, sleep habits and so much more goes into account when considering dropping or adopting the habit of a warm cup of tea before snoozing off.
Give it a try or maybe if you’re having trouble, think about switching types of tea – and enjoy a good, long night of sleep.