Rooibos: The Unknown Natural Sleep Tea
I think there's nothing more comforting than drinking a cup of tea before bed. I used to turn to chamomile and valerian to help me relax and get sleepy, but I have recently started using rooibos tea for sleep and it's quickly become my favorite.
Seriously, I may never go back to chamomile or valerian tea again!
Rooibos isn't as popular as chamomile and valerian when it comes to helping sleep, but it may be just as effective.
With its sweet flavor and flowery scent, it's definitely tastier. And when it's paired with raw honey, it becomes a very effective and enjoyable herbal tea that has definite sleep benefits. Rooibos tea might just become your favorite, too!
Rooibos tea is gaining popularity, but can still be hard to find. I buy mine from Amazon for a lot less than I've found in any specialty store.
What is Rooibos Tea, and Why Should I Drink it for Sleep?
You've heard of black tea, you've heard of green tea. You've probably even heard of white tea, but have you ever heard of RED tea?
Rooibos is a native South African bush that has needles similar to a pine tree. When the needles fall off and dry out (or are harvested and fermented) the green needles turn a bright red crimson color. The tea is made from these dried needles, which is why it has such a brilliant red color.
Its sleep properties are well-known and have been used by the native population in South Africa for generations. Even today, South Africans use Rooibos tea as a home remedy to give to children to settle them down and sleep.
In fact, it's very helpful for those who have insomnia because rooibos contains several compounds that are needed by the body in order to sleep. And when it's paired with the sleep superfood raw honey, using rooibos tea for sleep is a yummy and effective insomnia remedy.
So How Does Honey and Rooibos Tea Help Sleep?
You may be thinking, okay, what's so great about drinking honey and rooibos tea for insomnia?
What's in it that makes it such an effective natural sleep aid?
Here's five amazing benefits of drinking honey and rooibos tea for sleep.
#1 Rooibos Tea and Honey Contains Magnesium
Rooibos tea is a good source of magnesium, a mineral your body needs to start the sleep process naturally. Insomnia is actually a symptom of chronic magnesium deficiency. If you're having trouble sleeping on an ongoing basis, your body might be low in magnesium.
Magnesium improves sleep quality by decreasing the stress hormone cortisol and calms the central nervous system. It's also a natural muscle relaxer and can even help restless leg syndrome.
Remember when I said that raw honey was a sleep superfood? Raw honey contains magnesium, too. So when you drink honey and rooibos tea for sleep, you'll be getting a double dose of magnesium.
#2 Rooibos Tea Is a Good Source of Calcium
Rooibos tea also contains calcium, a mineral that works in conjunction with magnesium to help you sleep better. In fact, it's important to have a balanced ratio of magnesium and calcium for overall body function, especially sleep.
Calcium levels rise naturally during R.E.M (deep) sleep. When your body doesn't have enough, your sleep gets uninterrupted. So if you wake up after a few hours' sleep, your body might be low in calcium.
Calcium also helps the brain process tryptophan, an amino acid, into the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin controls your body's sleep/wake cycles. And if your body doesn't or can't produce enough melatonin, your sleep will suffer.
Magnesium and calcium are more easily absorbed when taken together, which is why rooibos tea and honey is such a good bedtime drink.
#3 Rooibos Lowers Cortisol Levels
Cortisol is an important hormone, but too much of it causes insomnia and a bigger butt. Rooibos reduces the production of cortisol which can improve your sleep.
The "wake up hormone," cortisol is naturally higher in the mornings when you wake up. Ideally, cortisol levels should decline steadily throughout the day and end up in very low levels in the evening. But extended periods of stress increases cortisol levels, which in turn causes insomnia and weight gain.
Rooibos tea helps reduce cortisol because of two compounds it contains, aspalathin and nothofagin, which interfere with the production of cortisol and helps to alleviate stress. By adding honey to your tea, you can increase the stress reduction because raw honey also stabilizes cortisol levels.
#4 Rooibos Tea is High in Potassium
Potassium is a must-have mineral your body needs to relax muscles and nerves. Your body also needs it to enter deep (R.E.M.) sleep.
Like calcium and magnesium, a lack of potassium may cause insomnia, too. Because it's needed for R.E.M. sleep, a deficiency will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night or sleep very lightly. Low potassium also causes muscle contractions and keeps them from being able to relax, which makes sleep pretty much impossible.
Rooibos tea is high in potassium, but raw honey contains even more. Adding just 1 tbsp of honey to your tea will boost the potassium by 11 milligrams. Also, the magnesium that's in rooibos and raw honey works with potassium to help your mind and body relax. You can see why it's important to add honey to rooibos tea for sleep.
#5 Rooibos Tea is Caffiene Free!
It goes without saying that caffeine will ruin a good night's sleep. Ideally you shouldn't drink or eat anything caffeinated after noon. Caffeine has a half life of a little under six hours. That means if you had it at noon, it's still in your system at 6 p.m. Imagine what the levels would be if you drank caffeine right before bed!
Rooibos is caffeine free, so you can drink it right up until bedtime. And, sorry, you shouldn't be eating anything sweet in the evenings either. (it causes blood sugar spikes and dips that disrupts sleep) But fear not! Rooibos is naturally sweet on its own, just add a tablespoon of honey and your sweet tooth is satisfied. 🙂
What Rooibos Tea for Sleep Should I Use?
There are two types of rooibos tea, red and green. Red rooibos is produced when the needles go through a fermentation process. Green rooibos is steamed or heated, then dried right after it's harvested to prevent oxidation.
In terms of benefits, green rooibos wins out slightly. The fermentation process does destroy some of the antioxidants in red rooibos, but not in any significant amounts.
Green rooibos has a lighter flavor than red, so your choice will probably come down to taste. Personally, I prefer red rooibos because of its sweet taste. If you're really struggling with insomnia and want to try this as a natural remedy, I would opt for the green rooibos tea for sleep to be sure you get all its properties.
You can buy rooibos tea in bulk or in tea bags. I use both. If I'm wanting to drink rooibos throughout the day, I'll use the bulk to make a large pitcher. If I am just wanting a cup before bed, I use a tea bag. The tea bags often have other herbs and spices added to it that makes it even more delicious. I recently bought this brand and it has an amazing flavor.
How to Make Loose Rooibos Tea
Brewing loose leaf tea can be intimidating. My husband looked at me like I was nuts when I happened to ask him to put me some tea on one morning and saw there was no bag. But it's easy once you know how and have the right tools.
To brew one cup of rooibos to for sleep, add 1 tbsp to a tea ball and place it in a mug. Pour boiling water over it and let steep for five minutes. If you'd rather have a teabag, you can use a reuseable muslin tea bag. Sweeten with a tablespoon of raw honey.
Rooibos tea makes a great iced tea. So if hot tea isn't your thing, you can still enjoy rooibos tea for sleep. To make iced rooibos tea, make it as you would hot tea, sweeten with raw honey, then pour over ice.
Try Rooibos Tea as a Sleep Aid
There's many teas that are good for sleep, but there's few that have such high nutritional value, too. Another thing rooibos tea has going for it is its taste. It doesn't taste like the typical herbal tea. (I hate drinking things that taste like grass!)
To use rooibos tea as a natural sleep aid, you can drink it an hour or so before bed. Its sleep benefits, though, are cumulative: meaning, you'll notice a difference the longer you use it. So feel free to drink it throughout the day on a daily basis.
Rooibos: Sleep Tea Natural Remedy
I tried harmful OTC sleep aids when I first started having trouble sleeping. I didn't like the way they made me feel, so I went looking for natural ways to get to sleep.
Teas were one of the first things I tried, and they're one of my favorite natural sleep aids. Now that I've started using rooibos tea for sleep, it's definitely my favorite insomnia tea.