How Tea Can Support Sleep And Relaxation
Stress, anxiety and sleep (or a lack of it) can play havoc with our hormones and mental health.
And whilst there’s no miracle cure to sleep perfectly, a cup of tea can help. Both from a micro-self care perspective – taking a moment in your day to stop, make a cup of tea, and savour it, can really calm you. But if you choose the right tea, it can also support you physically. With certain herbs and flowers having anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory effects – chamomile flowers and lavender are good for this due to the linalool in them. Valerian root is shown to be more effective than a sedative in one study! And limeflowers have been used to support sleep for millennia to support sleep. These are all found in our Night Owl tea, which can hopefully help you feel calm and get a good rest.
TEA FOR RELAXATION & SLEEP
When I was creating the HotTea Mama blends, I wanted to make sure we had a tea that could harness natural botanicals to try to support women with these issues. From the stress and anxiety we often feel around fertility, and trying to get pregnant, to pregnancy insomnia, and then the exhaustion of the fourth trimester, motherhood is full of tired, challenging times - and tea can help.
This is why our Night Owl Tea was designed. With the aim to use specific, caffeine free, calming herbs and flowers to bring calm and sleep to those who drink it.
When beginning to design the blend, I read a huge amount of scientific research around flowers and herbs that have been traditionally used as sleep aids. And whilst the research done is small scale, it all suggests that these natural plants can help with anxiety and sleep, without any adverse effect on fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding. Three areas that all HotTea Mama blends have to be safe for! I thought it would be useful to share the key ingredients and the scientific research behind their use in this soothing tea blend.
Whole chamomile flowers are used as the base of the blend. The main reason for this being that this powerful bloom has a hugely long history of use to aid sleep, and studies show it is also much more effective than a placebo at reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. Studies from the University of Pennsylvania, Nottingham Medical School and Eulji University Hospital in South Korea, all show the benefits of chamomile on treating anxiety both long term and short term.
You can read the full study here.
Like chamomile, lavender has a really long history of being used to bring calm and aid sleep. This long history of anecdotal evidence is backed up by small scale scientific studies. The aromatic compounds in lavender is really high in linalool, which has been tested and shown to reduce feelings of anxiety. But interestingly, the studies show that breathing in lavender, is less effective than consuming it. So having a drink of tea with lavender in it, will be more effective than simply breathing in a pillow spray.
Read about lavender and how it can help anxiety here.
Valerian has a strong sedative effect when taken in large amounts, so it is added to the blend only in a small quantity. This is to ensure it is safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding, based on studies in Sweden showing no adverse effect on women through pregnancy (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17992658/).
This tiny flower has very little research done on it, but has been used for millennia to create tea or fragrant baths, to ease anxiety and aid sleep. It has considerably less scientific research done on it, but given it’s subtle, citrus flavour, I wanted to include it.Together, these ingredients make a balanced, gently floral cuppa.And if you’re breastfeeding – consider having it an hour before the final feed of the day. This way your baby can get some of it’s calming properties through your breast milk.
It’s become an integral part of my night time routine, and I find the process of making and enjoying it, is a great way to start winding down and turning my brain off.
Taking 10 minutes at the end of your day to enjoy it, can become a moment of micro-self care. A way to help you calm down and relax. Especially if you’ve had a tough bedtime routine with your kids, or bad news in your day, the simple act of making a soothing cup of tea can really help.
Everyone will react differently to herbs, so it’s important to say that no tea can guarantee to magic away anxiety and insomnia, but this blend is well placed to try to do so.