Using myself as a guinea pig, I decided to use our three most commonly sold types of tea for relaxation and sleep and document the results.
What I've tested here is Chamomile Tea, Passionflower Tea, and Valerian Tea.
My methods were simple. Drinking only one tea type for one week an hour before bed time and steeping each tea for 5 mins prior to drinking. I would read a book and unwind thereafter (no tv! ) and then judge how quickly I fell asleep, the quality of sleep, and how I felt throughout the rest of the day.
Admittedly, this is not really the most scientific of studies and should only be used as anecdotal evidence but still, I feel much was learned over the course of my small experiment and feel like I now understand these different types of teas a lot better!
Let us start with perhaps the most well known of relaxation teas...
Chamomile Tea - Week 1
This tea is known throughout the world as the go to relaxation tea, which also naturally has the added benefit of promoting a good nights sleep. There are quite a lot of teas that are good for relaxation, but the taste does not reflect this.
For example with Valerian Tea, the relaxation effects may be stronger than Chamomile, but both the smell and taste are really not what I would call 'calming', as opposed to the taste and smell Chamomile emits.
This particular blend of Chamomile is a little lighter and sweeter in taste than usual due to the organic nature, but I have found that compared with other Chamomile, the effects are a bit stronger.
- Upon brewing and drinking, I noticed an immediate calming of my mental state. I mostly put this down to the taste and smell as mentioned above - as the human mind is particularly susceptible to being influenced by such things.
- Around the 10 minute mark I really did feel the true effects begin to take place on my body and after half an hour of reading I felt like I could just go to sleep right then and there, so I didn't quite make it through to the full hour of reading I was supposed to do.
- It took me around ten minutes to fall asleep afterwards, and found the quality of sleep to be slightly better than average.
- The following day was fairly average and feel that the effects of chamomile are more short term than anything and last perhaps only a few hours.
You'll find I'm quite harsh in my judging, I have pretty high standards!
Passionflower Tea - Week 2
Passionflower is a lesser known tea that is good for both relaxation and sleep. The name sounds incredibly appealing and one imagines the taste to be both fruity and relaxing. To be honest, this actually isn't the case - with this tea tasting particularly herbal in nature and slightly earthy. Some herbal teas should only be taken for their benefits and not taste, but the taste of Passionflower is quite acceptable and after awhile most will start to enjoy it more.
After drinking, the effects are not as immediate as Chamomile. The change is slower and more subtle. That being said, the sense of relaxation feels deeper in the long run from this tea and promotes a slightly different sense of calm - quite difficult to explain!
I feel that this tea would also be quite beneficial for anxiety sufferers due to the type of relaxation it provides.
- I steeped this tea for 6 minutes, an hour before bedtime.
- The effects did take about 15 minutes to start to kick in.
- I felt more relaxed, but more than this - I felt like I wanted to sleep.
- The quality of sleep was quite good and I would say better than with chamomile.
Valerian Tea - Week 3
- I steeped this tea for 10 minutes as it's a root based tea. It's probably recommended to steep this for 5 minutes at first though as you get used to the taste.
- The effects were fairly immediate actually. I noticed a change within 5 minutes. This type of relaxation, again, is quite different to Chamomile. I quickly realized that this tea works more on the mind than the body and started to drink it once in the day time also. The effects are not drowsy at all, I just felt more focused and mentally quiet than usual.
- The effects this tea has on sleep are a direct result of the relaxing effects it has on the mind. If you do not suffer from over thinking, anxiety, and don't have trouble clearing your mind prior to bed time - then you may not find this tea beneficial for sleep.