Finding it hard to nod off at the end of a stressful day? You’re not alone!
Sleep issues are becoming increasingly common in our hyper-connected and stressful world. So what can we do? There is so much advice out there including putting away all our screens an hour or more before bedtime, avoiding caffeine after 2 pm, mindfulness, meditating, exercising, making sure you get enough daylight and the list goes on. All of these things can help you fall asleep and stay asleep, however perhaps one of the easiest sleep aids is to simply have a cup of rooibos tea before bed!
Why Rooibos Tea for Sleep?
For generations, South Africans have drunk rooibos (‘roy-boss’) for its gentle and relaxing properties. Rooibos is naturally caffeine free because, like herbal tea, it comes from a different plant to the normal tea plant which contains caffeine in its genetic make-up – the aspalathus linearis, rather than camellia sinensis.
Here are a few of our Tick Tock favourites to put you in the mood for a snooze
Tick Tock Rooibos
If you are looking for a classic cuppa, full-bodied and malty, which is also caffeine free then this is the tea for you. Delicious rooibos tea without anything added. This is a great option if you usually like to drink black tea but are avoiding the caffeine as it can be drunk with milk or honey. If you are not a black tea fan, then it has all the smoothness and gentleness of herbal teas whilst having a lovely deep flavour.
In South Africa rooibos is said to have a soothing effect on the system without being a sedative, and is known for being very gentle; it is often given to children with colic to help soothe them to sleep. It is low in tannins so has no bitterness and in fact, has a natural sweetness. There are ongoing scientific studies into the health benefits of rooibos tea which can be enjoyed by all the family.
A hot drink before bed has been a tradition for as long as we can remember. Research is divided on why this might be, but one theory is that the effect is the same as having a hot bath; the heat raises your body temperature, and it is the cooling down process which incites sleep, a time when you are naturally cooler. The time you take to make and drink the tea can also be a winding down process which can also prepare body and mind for sleep.
Tick Tock Green Rooibos
Green rooibos is a great choice for those who like green tea, or who are looking for something a little lighter before bed but with no caffeine. It is also made from the aspalathus linearis, making green rooibos naturally caffeine free, unlike normal green tea which is made from camellia sinensis and so is caffeinated.
So what is the difference between green and red rooibos? The secret is in what happens to the tea leaf after picking. Green rooibos (like green tea) is not allowed to oxidise, whereas red rooibos (like black tea) is allowed to oxidise therefore giving the darker colour; the same process is at work when you take a bite out of an apple. Deliciously light and refreshing, green rooibos is brimming with goodness and makes a gentle and refreshing cup.
Even a small amount of caffeine can have an effect on how easy it is to sleep and stay asleep, as well as the quality of sleep. Experts often suggest avoiding caffeine after lunchtime as it can take a few hours to leave the system. Sometimes the sources of caffeine can be surprising. For example chocolate, cola and even cough medicine can contain levels of caffeine. Try avoiding them in the afternoon onwards if you want to improve sleep.
Tick Tock Wellbeing Bedtime
We have blended a special tea harnessing all the goodness of rooibos as well as other ingredients traditionally used in bedtime teas to help encourage natural sleep. We took some of our inspiration from camomile tea and lavender tea. Both camomile and lavender are known for their soothing and calming properties, whilst lemon balm is also used as a natural sleep aid in herbal traditions.
We’ve blended these with rooibos and honeybush, another South African naturally caffeine free tea that has a wonderful natural honeyed sweetness. The result is a comforting night time cup, with gentle floral aromas and a softly sweet finish that is perfect for relaxing and unwinding as you get ready to tuck yourself into bed. One of our new bestsellers!
There is so much research happening all over the world into the importance of sleep and its effect on our wellbeing. Allowing our bodies to run to their own natural rhythms is key, which is why winding down with a cuppa before bedtime can help let your body know its time for sleep. Try also switching off phones and screens an hour before bed and getting some exercise outdoors during the day – anything you can do to remind your system that daytime is for waking, and night time for sleeping!
This is a great choice for anyone who craves something a little sweet and comforting before you go to sleep. And who wouldn’t want a treat last thing? We use Madagascan vanilla and blend it with smooth rooibos for the ultimate velvety smooth cup. It is one of our most popular teas and even just smelling the aroma is enough to know why!
The experts say that a key part of ‘sleep hygiene’ is routine and what better way to perfect your bedtime routine than making a cup of tea. Just the act of heating and pouring boiled water, whether over tea bags or loose leaf teas, is a powerful and calming ritual – just think of the Japanese tea ceremony where it has been turned into a mindful art like a meditation. It is the perfect way to start preparing for sleep time. Even better if you can make it at a similar time each evening.
Additionally having something sweet and delicious that you look forward to is a great way of ending the day on a positive note. This might be the first thing that your brain processes during the night so if this is something positive it might help improve your sense of wellbeing the following day.
The ultimate warming combination of smooth rooibos, ginger, cinnamon and cardamom with a touch of velvety vanilla to soothe and nourish. Try steeping it for longer if you want a stronger spiced ginger kick – or use two teabags! Traditionally used to treat colds and flu symptoms, ginger is also said to be great for settling the stomach, and cinnamon is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. This is particularly useful as a happy digestive system is likely to lead to better sleep quality.
With life becoming increasingly hectic, having more and better sleep can help to reduce stress and improve mental wellbeing as well as many other benefits such as strengthening the immune system. Sleep, or the lack of it, is also said to be a contributing factor for diabetes, heart health as well as of course, mental health.
There are sleep apps around that can help monitor how much you wake during the night, and if you do find yourself awake you could try counting sleep, or counting your breaths, or maybe just get up and read or stretch in another room before going back to bed - there's no need to lie there and watch the clock!
You can find out more about how to get a good night's kip from esteemed nutritional consultant Fiona Hunter here. However, if you change one thing in your evening routine, try making a cuppa for you and your loved ones – it can only help.