Caffeine is bad before bed, that’s common knowledge. You might also know that green tea is low in caffeine. And then there’s the calm, soothing feeling you get when you drink a cup of tea. So this all leads to the big question – is green tea really a good idea before you go to bed? We look at the pros and cons of drinking healthy green tea before you go to sleep…
Should I Drink Green Tea Before Bed?
Green tea is a nutrient-rich, healthy drink. The main components in green tea that can affect your sleep and should be considered when drinking it before bed are:
Caffeine – there can be very little or quite a bit in green tea. The caffeine level depends on the variety of tea. Most standard green tea bags contain 30mg of caffeine on average.
L-theanine – this is an amino acid that makes you feel relaxed, which is great for unwinding in the evenings. It also makes your mind sharp and focused, which can be problematic. If you have thoughts that you want to quiet and problems to leave for another day, l-theanine can have your brain working through them into the night.
Water – most of your tea is water.
- Rehydrate your body with water.
- Calm your mind with l-theanine.
- Keep you awake a little longer if you aren’t ready for sleep yet.
- Soothing ingredients can be added, like honey.
- Drinking lots of water before bed will have you up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.
- Grassy, astringent green tea can cause irritation on an empty stomach if you wait too long after dinner.
- Caffeine can keep you awake for up to 6 hours if you’re particularly sensitive to it.
- Your alert yet calm mind has space to think about things rather than relax.
Considering that just one cup of green tea can push your sleep-time back for several hours, you need to carefully think before drinking green tea before bed! If you’ve just finished dinner and are planning to have a cup of tea, you’ll be fine. If it’s only 30 minutes or so until you need to be in bed ready for sleep, try a decaf green tea or one of the alternative herbal teas we’ve chosen below.
How to Make Green Tea for Sleep
To make a low caffeine green tea to drink before bed, follow these steps:
- Brew 300ml water to 80°C/176°F or boil your water and leave it to cool for 5 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon of green tea leaves, or 1 tea bag, to the water.
- Leave it to brew gently for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring once or twice.
- Strain out the tea and stir again.
- Add honey, sweetener, herbal extracts and anything else that helps you to sleep.
Make sure you leave a few hours between finishing the cup and trying to go to sleep. The caffeine in the green tea can be as little as 10mg or as much as 30mg. That is enough to make you feel awake, especially if you’re sensitive to caffeine.
The caffeine remains active in your system for 4 to 6 hours on average. So, a good time to drink your green tea is 30 minutes or so after dinner.
Read Also: Can I Drink Green Tea Before Bed (Pros and Cons)
Matcha Tea Before Bed
Matcha is usually not a good idea before bed. As matcha tea is made from the powdered tea leaves, rather than simply infusing the tea leaves, it contains a higher amount of caffeine.
On the other hand, matcha lattes made with hot milk can make a very calming and soothing bedtime drink. The key is to use matcha sparingly and a few hours before you need to sleep.
Read Also: What is Matcha Tea Side Effects
Jasmine Green Tea Before Bed
Jasmine is a very soothing and relaxing addition to your tea. The aroma of jasmine is therapeutic and can help you reduce anxiety. A jasmine green tea before bed can help you fall asleep… but as always, watch out for the caffeine! Breathe in the steam of jasmine green tea and leave at least an hour between drinking and sleeping.
Decaf Green Tea Before Bed
Decaf green tea contains only a milligram or two of caffeine – not enough to keep you awake at night. That makes decaf an excellent calming drink. The l-theanine should focus your mind but also relax it. The grassy green tea flavor and antioxidants should also replenish your body while you sleep.
Green Tea with Honey Before Bed
Honey is a sweet and soothing ingredient that can make green tea more palatable before bed. Too much honey will give you a sugar rush, but just a small amount will be enough to soothe your nerves. If you’re used to having honey-like drinks before bed, like chamomile, for example, adding honey to your green tea will get you in the mood for sleep.
Other Teas to Help You Sleep
Green tea is fine to drink before bed if you’re not going to sleep immediately. However, if you’re worried about caffeine and are looking for caffeine-free herbal teas to try, we recommend having a look at these:
- Chamomile tea. It’s known for soothing anxiety and insomnia with a honey-sweet, hay-like flavor and aroma.
- Spearmint tea. Relaxing mint cools you down on hot nights and soothes inflammation. It can ease cramps and digestive problems too.
- Valerian tea. An herby tea with woody notes that will make you feel very sleepy very fast. It’s easier to find in tea bags that fresh or dried.
Brew them for 5 minutes in freshly boiled water, adding a drop of honey to taste.
Head to Bed with Your Green Tea!
A warm cup of green tea can help you get ready for bed and relax your body for a good night’s sleep. Add a dash of honey or choose an aromatic jasmine green tea for an extra relaxing flavor. Sip slowly and enjoy!