With something as basic and necessary as sleep, it’s puzzling and troubling that so many people have problems with it.
Insomnia and other sleep disorders are prevalent. While many choose over-the-counter or pharmaceutical sleep aids, these come with a variety of side effects and other serious implications. Working with your body’s own chemistry may offer a more long-lasting and healthy alternative.
Drinking green tea before bed, on the other hand, is a natural solution to your sleep problems. L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in many plant species but in only two that we consume: medicinal mushrooms and tea. We mean true tea from the Camellia sinensis plant, not herbal teas made from herbs, spices, and other types of plants (e.g., rooibos).
The Chemistry of Tea
Black, green, white, yellow, and oolong tea all contain L-theanine. These all come from the same plant but are processed differently to develop their flavor and caffeine content. The interaction between L-theanine and caffeine in tea is a synergistic marvel.
Caffeine alone, as found in coffee, can boost alertness and mental acuity but once it wears off, there’s often an energy crash. In tea, L-theanine and caffeine work together to enhance the performance of both while the neurostimulation of caffeine is balanced by calming hormones stimulated by L-theanine.
Research into acute cognitive and mood effects of L-theanine and caffeine combined found better improved mental performance and decreased mental fatigue than with caffeine alone. Essentially, you experience alertness without the caffeine crash.
“Tea has been shown to raise skin temperature to a higher level, to increase critical flicker fusion threshold, and to reduce physiological stress responses and increase relaxation ratings when compared with coffee or other control beverages matched for caffeine level,” writes the Journal of Nutrition.
Drinking Green Tea Before Bed
Here are a few reasons to drink green tea before bed:
- It is readily bioavailable, retaining its molecular integrity at close to 100% by the time it reaches the small intestine. (13)
- Heals stomach ulcers by supporting antioxidant function. (14)
- Protective of the liver and promotes healing caused by alcohol damage. (15)
- Kills cancer cells and inhibits tumor growth; adds to the efficacy of chemotherapy agents. (16, 17)
- Reduces symptoms in people with schizophrenia. (18)
- Prevents stroke and cerebral hemorrhage. (19)
- Protects the central nervous system from oxidative damage, with implications for the prevention or reduction of neurodegenerative disease such as Huntington’s. (20)