In the 21st century, a good sleep can feel hard to come by. We live in a society of stimulation! Up until the final moments that we go to sleep, we are in front of blue-light screens messing with our circadian rhythms and when we finally do close the screen and our eyes, our minds are still flying at a mile a minute. Yikes.
Enter, herbal allies. For years, we didn’t have the luxury of a sleeping pill you could choke down to find an easy way to slumber city. But we did have plants; and while they may not be as hard hitting or “convenient” as modern solutions, they have stood the test of time in helping us humans relax and find our way to snooze-ville.
Get a good night's sleep with the help of herbal tea!
We’ve already covered what tea is in Tea 101 … so we know that the tea plant itself, Camelia Sinensis, naturally produces caffeine - definitely not a sleep aid! In this blog, we take a look at the herbal allies that are best suited to calming us down and knocking us out.
In all of our sleepy teas, you will find one consistent and potent herb, valerian root. Medicinal valerian dates all the way back to Ancient Greek and Roman times, used to help with anxiety and insomnia. Originating in Asia and Europe, valerian has gained popularity to help with irregular sleeping schedules. It doesn’t have the best smell in the world (ok, it kind of smells like dirty feet), but it’s got lots of natural chemical compounds that apparently impact the human physiology.
The primary compounds being:
- metabolites that have been shown to have neuroprotective (protecting neurons from degeneration) hepatoprotective (preventing damage to the liver), anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, hypoglycemic (preventing too low blood sugar), and hypolipidemic (reducing lipids in the blood = lower cholesterol) activities.
- health benefits attributed to lignans have included a lowered risk of heart disease, menopausal symptoms, osteoporosis and breast cancer.
- have beneficial anti-inflammatory effects and they protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to disease.
GABA (at low levels)
- known to help produce a calming effect when taken. Naturally occurs in the body to help control nerve cell hyperactivity that is associated with anxiety, stress and fear.
Modern science has yet to conclude if valerian root is all that it’s talked up to be by herbal enthusiasts, as there is still so many more tests to do in order to come to a final conclusion. We all have different levels of chemicals within the body, so naturally, it works better for some than others. But, speaking from our own personal experiences, we would say, it works pretty darn well!
Other herbs used in our sleepy teas quite consistently are:
This flower contains a unique antioxidant that binds to certain receptors in your brain helping to promote sleepiness. It's also used as a muscle relaxant, helping ease tension from your body and most importantly, your gut.
A wonderful herb that is well-known to help relax. Drinking it can help reduce cortisol levels and the aromatics from it can also aid in more restful sleep cycles
Not just for beer! But, in a study done where folks drank a non-alcoholic beer before bed, they reported better sleep quality. Hops is a natural sedative- so if you want to stay awake on your date - forgo the beer!
Studies show Passion Flower has an anxiety soothing effect and its naturally occurring chemicals are considered a gentle sedative.
Other amazing herbs to help relax and sleep:
- Lemon Balm
- St. John's Wort
- Holy Basil
Our sleep tea’s have something for everyone, from super strong with every plant combination you can think of to “it works but it still tastes soooo good” - so you can give it a try and find the one that works for you.
As always, we recommend speaking with your doctor if you're on any other medications as these herbs can be quite powerful and have the potential to react with other medications. Also, please speak with your doctor if you are pregnant and are considering taking these herbs.