Does chamomile tea help you sleep?
Struggling to sleep can be an infuriating experience, and a continued lack of uninterrupted sleep can actually lead to a number of different mental and physical health problems that make life more difficult than ever. Overcoming sleep issues is never easy, and you'll likely need to explore a number of different options before you find something that works. One option that you will no doubt discover during your quest to sleep well is chamomile tea, as it's long been a popular natural supplement used by many people and cultures for years. But, does chamomile tea really help you to sleep better? Read on to find out more.
Chamomile Tea: What is it?
The chamomile plant is a member of the Asteraceae family, meaning it's closely related to sunflowers, marigolds, and other similar daisy-like flowers. Chamomile can be described as a kind of flowering herb, boasting a yellow-toned central circle surrounded by delicate white petals. The name chamomile stems from the Greek word 'chamaimēlon', which roughly translates to 'ground apple'. It has been used for thousands of years as a medicinal tonic and topical remedy, predating the ancient Egyptians and Romans alike.
In order to transform chamomile flowers into chamomile tea, a simple process needs to be followed - the flowers of the plant are dried to remove their moisture, then added to a natural tea bag to be steeped in hot but not boiling water for 3-5 minutes. The flowers can be air-dried, which takes 1-2 weeks, or dehydrated in a dedicated machine for around 12-18 hours. In the past, it's likely ancient herbalists picked their chamomile flowers in the early morning, then placed them in the hot sun to dry throughout the day (or for several days) before using them for medicinal purposes - this is where the process of crafting chamomile tea originates.
When consumed, the taste of chamomile tea is not bitter like your average mug of black tea or green tea. It is slightly yellow in color and has a mildly sweet flower-like flavor that many people enjoy. The scent of chamomile tea is almost exactly the same as a freshly picked bunch of chamomile flowers, making it a totally unique brew that is markedly different from most other forms of teas. Some people choose to add a spoon of raw honey or a fresh slice of ginger to their chamomile tea to both increase its health benefits and sweeten the tea to suit their individual liking.
So, does Chamomile Tea really improve sleep?
It's long been said that drinking a mug of hot chamomile tea can help to induce or increase feelings of sleepiness, subsequently encouraging you to fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. But is this really the truth? There hasn't been a wealth of research into the topic, but several studies have suggested that the sleep-inducing benefits of chamomile could be due to its chemical structure. For thousands of years chamomile has been used to induce calmness and encourage relaxation, and though the ancients may not have been able to recognize or investigate the science behind chamomile's benefits, they certainly acknowledged its powers.
Understanding chamomiles chemical structure:
Many researchers claim that chamomile tea can make you feel sleepy due to its chemical structure - chamomile plant extract contains a compound known as 'apigenin', which is a chemical that is said to induce a feeling of sleepiness because it binds to GABA receptors in your brain. These 'GABA' receptors are the exact same receptors that bind to anti-anxiety drugs such as benzodiazepines, providing the same calming effect. Much the same, when the chamomile apigenin binds to GABA receptors in your brain, they are said to provide a very relaxing, sedative effect.
So, drinking chamomile tea before bed might just be the perfect way to drift off and enjoy a deep, restful sleep. It's recommended that you steep your chamomile tea bag in hot water for at least 3 minutes to experience its benefits in its entirety, choosing to consume it around an hour before you head off to sleep to allow it sufficient time to kick in and start working. The potential side effects of chamomile tea are few and far between due to the fact that the blend is totally natural, so you can maintain peace of mind that you aren't doing your body or mind any harm when you're enjoying a relaxing brew.
Drink chamomile tea to wave goodbye to sleepless nights!
It would appear that drinking chamomile tea is one of the best natural ways to wave goodbye to sleepless nights, allowing you to reap the rewards of a full 6-8 hours rest without any of the usual side effects that can be experienced from over-the-counter sleep medications. Chamomile tea has long been a go-to solution for insomniacs and those regularly falling victim to poor, interrupted sleep, so it can certainly be of benefit to help you sleep well. As with any herbal medicine, chamomile works differently based on you, so you'll never truly know how effective a mug of hot sweet tea can be until you test it out for yourself.
The effects of drinking chamomile tea can be boosted through the implementation of good sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene focuses on a number of different areas surrounding your pre-bed routine and your sleeping environment, aiming to help you increase your chances of benefiting from the best night's sleep possible. Your pre-bed routine can include drinking your freshly brewed mug of chamomile tea, but you should also aim to follow additional steps such as avoiding your smartphone and laptop for at least one hour before bed. Creating the best sleeping environment doesn't need to be tricky, as you just need to find the right combination of supportive pillows and a good quality mattress to ensure no aches and pains keep you awake. Performing excellent sleep hygiene practices and consuming chamomile tea before you intend on sleeping will have a noticeably positive effect on the length and standard of your rest.