If you find it hard to nod off at the end of a stressful day then you’re not alone! Did you know that rooibos tea is good for sleep? Naturally caffeine free with gently soothing properties, it is also helpful for digestion. Rooibos tea has a delicious full taste whilst being low in tannins and tastes great without milk - the perfect wind down cuppa.
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 is Rooibos Tea good for Sleep?
For generations, South Africans have drunk rooibos (‘roy-boss’) for its gentle and relaxing properties. Rooibos (redbush) is naturally caffeine free because it is made from the aspalathus linearis plant, a plant that contains no caffeine in its genetic make-up (similar to herbal teas) and is also low in tannins. Conversely, black and green teas are made from the camellia sinensis which contains both caffeine and tannins (responsible for those stains in your favourite mug). Rooibos also has gently relaxing and soothing properties which make it the perfect tea for sleep. Plus, it is high in antioxidants and can help with digestion, often a contributor to sleeplessness. There are ongoing scientific studies into rooibos for sleep and other health benefits of rooibos tea being undertaken around the world.
Here are a few of our Tick Tock rooibos favourites that make a perfect night time tea
1. Tick Tock Original Rooibos Tea
Our first love. This is 100% rooibos goodness without anything extra added. It is a great choice if you usually drink black tea but are trying to avoid caffeine in the evening. Full-bodied, malty and yet caffeine free, it can even 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 rich flavour. Our pure rooibos has all the relaxing properties of this special plant, as well as a natural sweetness thanks to the fact that it is low in tannins. Gentle Tick Tock Original is the perfect tea for sleep for all the family; in fact, rooibos is often given to children with colic to help soothe them to sleep.
2. Tick Tock Green Rooibos Tea
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.
3. Tick Tock Wellbeing Bedtime Tea
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!
4. Tick Tock Rooibos Vanilla Tea
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!
5. Tick Tock Wellbeing Chai Relax Tea
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.
Our top 5 sleep tips
1. Avoid caffeine
How does caffeine impact sleep? Even a small amount of caffeine can affect 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.
2. Establish good bedtime routines
Allowing our bodies to run to their own natural rhythms is key. This means that anything you can do to remind your system that daytime is for waking, and night time for sleeping is helpful! Experts say that bedtime routines can do wonders, whether it’s having a hot bath, reading a book or whatever helps you wind down and let your body know it’s time for sleep. Try switching off phones and screens an hour before bed and getting some exercise outdoors during the day. So make a routine you enjoy and try to stick to it.
3. Have a hot drink
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 mindful winding down from the stresses of the day, the perfect way to start preparing for sleep and start your bed time routine.
4. End the day on a positive note
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, and of course, mental health.
Having something delicious and sweet that you look forward to is a great way of ending the day with good feelings of contentment and satisfaction. 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.
5. Counting sheep
There are sleep apps around that can help monitor how much you wake during the night, but if you do find yourself awake you could try counting sleep, or counting your breaths, or if your thoughts are racing try writing down everything that is on your mind. If you’re still awake after 30 minutes or so, 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.
[Reviewed and updated December 2022]