On an ordinary afternoon, I met Aunt Li, a retired teacher with a 30-year habit of making tea, at the clinic. Her distress is common, but it is also thought-provoking: although she goes to bed on time every day, she often wakes up in the middle of the night and has difficulty falling back asleep. Aunt Li loves to drink tea, three cups a day, even in the evening. She asked me, "Doctor, does my lifestyle cause my insomnia? Does the tea I drink during the day really affect my night's sleep?"
Demystifying Tea: Learn more about its ingredients and effects on the human body
Tea, as a common drink in daily life, is more than just a simple drink. It contains a variety of ingredients that have a profound impact on human health. When exploring the link between tea and sleep, the first thing to understand is the key components in tea and their role.
Caffeine is one of the most well-known components of tea. It is a central nervous system stimulant that increases alertness and reduces feelings of fatigue. Caffeine works by inhibiting a substance in the brain called adenosine, which normally promotes sleep. As a result, people feel more awake and mentally focused after consuming caffeine. However, excessive caffeine intake may lead to a rapid heartbeat, anxiety, and even insomnia.
In addition to caffeine, tea also contains tea polyphenols. Tea polyphenols have an antioxidant effect and can help defend against free radical damage to the body, thereby protecting cells and tissues. They can also help lower blood lipids and blood sugar, which has a positive effect on the prevention of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. But tea polyphenols also have the potential to irritate the digestive system in people, especially when consumed on an empty stomach.
Another important component in tea is amino acids, specifically an amino acid called theanine. L-theanine has a calming effect in the brain and helps to relax the body and mind. This unique amino acid is unique to tea, and it works in conjunction with caffeine to lessen the euphoric effects of caffeine, thus balancing the overall effect of tea to a certain extent.
Types of Tea & Night's Sleep: Choose the one that's right for you
For people who often face insomnia, it is essential to understand the effects of different tea leaves on sleep.
Green tea, popular for its refreshing taste and refreshing effect. However, the higher caffeine content in green tea may have a negative effect on sleep. One study showed that caffeine prolongs the time it takes to fall asleep and reduces the duration of deep sleep. Therefore, for insomniacs, drinking green tea at night may not be the best option.
Black tea, also known as black tea, has a lower caffeine content than green tea, but it is still something to be aware of. Studies have shown that although there is less caffeine in black tea than green tea, it may still have an effect on people with sensitive constitutions. Therefore, it is more suitable to drink black tea in the afternoon than in the evening.
Oolong tea, which is somewhere between green tea and black tea, has a moderate caffeine content. Its relaxing effect stems from the unique combination of tea polyphenols and amino acids. Oolong tea helps to relax the nerves, and drinking it in moderation can help improve sleep.
Herbal teas, such as chrysanthemum tea and lavender tea, are usually caffeine-free and are especially beneficial for improving sleep quality. The natural aromas and ingredients in these teas help to relax the body and mind and promote a restful night's sleep. A study of lavender tea has shown that it can significantly improve sleep quality and reduce the number of night awakenings.
Sleep medicine: tips for everyday life
Tea is an integral part of many people's daily lives, but for those who suffer from frequent insomnia, choosing when and what type of tea to drink is crucial. Drinking caffeinated tea at night may cause insomnia, especially after 6 p.m. In fact, the half-life of caffeine is about 5 to 6 hours, which means that if you drink tea with caffeine at 6 p.m., by 11 or 12 p.m., half of the caffeine is still present in your body. Therefore, choosing to drink tea in the early afternoon, preferably before 3 p.m., can reduce the impact on night's sleep.
In addition to paying attention to tea drinking habits, there are other ways to improve sleep in daily life. For example, maintain a regular sleep schedule and try to maintain the same wake-up and bedtime schedules even on weekends. Studies have found that regular sleep schedules help adjust the body's biological clock, which can improve sleep quality. In addition, avoiding strenuous physical activity before bedtime and reducing screen time at night can all help improve sleep quality. Screen use at night, especially blue light exposure, has been shown to interfere with sleep.