If you haven’t seen the Sandman lately, try a cup of rooibos tea before bed.
We all experience bouts of sleeplessness from time to time, whether triggered by illness, certain medications, a major life event or just the stress of the everyday grind. During these times, it’s important to keep perspective so that the mind doesn’t overrun the body with messages of guilt, anger, resentment, and so on. Sometimes moving forward in a situation requires letting go. Having said that, diet, exercise and stress management techniques like meditation, yoga or Qigong also contribute to restoring balance and help to promote a good night’s rest.
Rooibos is a naturally sweet, caffeine-free tea made from the leaves of the rooibostee plant, a member of the pea family that’s native to the mountainous region surrounding Capetown, South Africa. Here, the herb has been savored for more than 300 years and remains a vital commercial crop to the country today.
South Africans not only enjoy the sweet taste of rooibos for pleasure, but also turn to the herb when sleep becomes elusive. The sleep-inducing properties of rooibos is thought to involve the inhibition of acetylcholine metabolism, which in turn blocks the activity of certain neurons in the brain that would otherwise signal alertness. As a bonus, compounds in rooibos tea also appear to inhibit hormonal processes that trigger inflammation and pain, which may help to improve sleep quality.
What Else You Should Know
In terms of flavor, rooibos tea has been compared to combination of honey and roses. (Does it get better than that?) The tea is naturally sweet, contains no caffeine and is low in tannic acids so it’s less likely to cause stomach upset. Rooibos also contains more than 35 flavonoid antioxidants and is rich in minerals and alpha-hydroxy acids.