We all have our favourite bed-time tipple, but do some of them keep you up all night with worry? Here is my top list of sleep inducing night time drinks, and the ones to avoid.
The perfect bed-time drink
I often spend hours in bed, alert and awake wishing I could just drift off to sleep. Usually I get up after an hour to make a drink, a nice cup of tea most of the time, but still I struggle to fall asleep on my return. This led me to research into the best possible night time drinks, and find out why some are better than others.
My Default – Tea
A good british cuppa, Yorkshire tea, with milk and one sugar – perfect. At least thats what I thought, I am traditionally a heavy tea drinker and can get through anywhere from 10-20 cups in a day. In reality tea contains almost as much caffeine as coffee, and I wouldnt even think of having a coffee to help me drift to sleep. With a regular cup containing up to 60 miligrams of caffeine it can actually make you jittery and really increase the effects of night time anxiety.
Its a shame, because it tastes so good, but it looks like the search is on to find a caffeine free night cap which doesnt keep me up all night.
Another common tipple is a glass of alcoholic drink, for me it was often scotch which I would drink in the late evening before bed. Whilst alcohol can help some people to fall asleep a study at the London Sleep Centre determined that alcoholic drinks interfere with REM sleep (the most important part in my opinion). It also makes you dehydrated leaving you feeling groggy and hung over in the morning.
Its worth avoiding alcohol completely if you are struggling to sleep, not only because of the immediate effects it has on your nights rest, but also because it can drive anxiety wild. At the end of the day alcohol, even in small doses, effects your mental reasoning – and having a sober outlook is essential when battling with anxious thoughts.
Ah a yummy favourite for many, but is it ideal? I like a cup of warm choc before bed, but in order to attract more custom some manufacturers add large amounts of additives (mainly sweeteners) to their brews. This sugar rush just before bed isn’t ideal – if you do want to keep your cup of chocolately goodness then try to keep it natural. Of The Earth Superfoods [available at amazon] stock a range of deliciouis hot chocolate mixes which are perfect at keeping the contents organic and good for you.
For the same reasons as above keeping the ‘extras’ to a minimum is essential, adding cream, chocolate flakes, whipped cream or marshmallows all adds to the sugar content and keeps you up into the early hours.
Speciality / Herbal Teas
Whilst not strictly a ‘tea’ these herbal infusions are great. They come in a variety of flavours, often have super anti-oxidant properties, are usually organic and very rarely contain caffeine.
My New Favourite
After trying many, my new favourite is camomile tea. The list of purported benefits to this wonder-drink is long and varied, but it is widely accepted that it has a mild sedative effect and can really help with insomnia. Getting a good nights rest is important when fighting depression and anxiety and I will take every little boost this drink can give me. Try it unsweetened for maximum effect.
Sometimes a good brew isnt enough, and if my anxiety really kicks off I use Rescue Remedy Nights Liquid Melt, two of these disolving on your tongue is a welcome relief from worry and with an effect unrivaled by even some of the stronger sleeping pills I have tried over the years these little balls of magic have a great way of sending me off to a calm and relaxed place where I can rest. Worth a try next time you are passing a pharmacy and often cheaper than a prescription!
Whats your favourite?
Im asking what your favourite bed time drink is over in our forum – http://www.strongfortoolong.com/topic/calming-drinks/