Green tea. Almost anyone who comes across these two seemingly innocuous words almost always associate it with health and wellness. From better immunity and enhanced cardiovascular system to reducing cholesterol and aiding in weight loss, drinking green tea can basically be considered as an activity that directly aids in maintaining your body’s overall health.
Surely, there’s nothing wrong with drinking it regardless of the time of day, right? Well, we’ll make it clear from the outset that there’s really not much of an issue with regards to time. However, there are certainly a few scenarios wherein drinking this kind of tea might not bring about any significant benefits if you drink it at certain times of the day.
The Green Tea and Sleep Connection
Green tea and sleep are actually connected in more ways than most people are probably aware of. This connection hinges mainly on the many individual compounds and substances that are naturally found in it. These, in turn, have equally varied effects that could, more or less, extend to how a person sleeps after consuming green tea. We’ll dive into each one in greater detail.
1. Can the caffeine in green tea interfere with sleep?
Perhaps, the sole and most compelling worry that people have about drinking green tea before bed is that it could potentially interfere with their sleep. This is a reasonable thought because many are well-aware that this tea contains caffeine, a natural stimulant (1). Regardless of its source, it’s bound to bring about its effects depending on your sensitivity to it.
And there’s the keyword: caffeine sensitivity. It’s important to assert that caffeine sensitivity varies largely in every person, and it’s affected by equally myriad factors like age, gender, and even your current weight (2). There are different types of caffeine sensitivity as well, and they’re as follows:
- Hyposensitivity – These are people who can tolerate higher than normal amounts of caffeine (3). They can drink caffeinated drinks like green tea without experiencing the usual added boost to wakefulness it brings about.
- Hypersensitivity – Of course, this is the exact opposite of the one mentioned above. Most people who are hypersensitive to caffeine might experience a host of side effects including being unable to sleep after a drink. These are perhaps the ones who need to closely watch their green tea intake before going to bed (4).
Take note that the normal sensitivity of most people to caffeine is usually 400 mg per day. The average amount of caffeine in 5 ounces of green tea is a measly 30 mg. Even so, it’s been found that how young or old the green tea leaves are can also dictate how much caffeine it contains. The younger the leaves are, the more caffeine they’re bound to have.
If you’re hypersensitive, you may still be able to tolerate this amount. However, as said above, it’s not the same for everyone. What’s good is that there are decaffeinated variants of green tea anyway so you certainly opt for that if you’ve found that you’re hypersensitive.
Related Article: Can You Decaffeinate tea? How to Make a Decaf Tea at Home?
2. L-Theanine significantly enhances sleep
Almost all kinds of tea contain L-Theanine, and green tea is no exemption. It’s one of the key components of green tea that makes it ideal for those seeking to get better quality sleep. This is because this powerful amino acid can actually bring about a deeply relaxing state, reduce stress, and could even have positive effects on those suffering from anxiety (5).
Keep in mind that its effects aren’t sedative in nature, though. Instead, the positive benefits mentioned could make you more likely to achieve higher quality sleep every time you hit the sack. This is basically the reason why those who take it don’t report experiencing the downsides that one usually gets if one takes sedative medication for sleep.
Another Convincing Reason Why You Should Drink Green Tea before Sleeping
There is also one other green tea benefit that is indirectly connected to sleep. And for those who are trying to lose weight, this should certainly be one top reason for them to begin adapting a habit of drinking green tea prior to sleeping.
Incidentally, L-theanine also factors into this. After all, stress and lack of high-quality sleep can also play a role in weight gain. There’s even a couple of research that backs the claim that L-theanine can also limit the build-up of fat in the body. However, there’s another more compelling fact that shouldn’t also be overlooked.
Related Article: Is Green Tea Good For Kids?
3. Green tea boosts metabolism
Burning calories while sleeping? Surely, that’s just the stuff for fantasy, right? Not if you take green tea before bed. This is because anytime you consume it, the rate of your metabolism will increase as well. What will happen then if you drink it at night? That’s right, you guessed it. You’ll get to burn those extra calories even while you’re dozing (6).
And take note that it’s not the caffeine content that’s actually responsible for the metabolism boost as well. Rather, it arises more from the natural thermogenic property of the dink itself. Just how much of a boost can it bring about? Well, one study shows that increases can reach up to as much as 4%. Another has proven that four cups of green tea every day can promote a significant drop in body weight and even blood pressure.
Is There An “Optimal” Time to Drink Green Tea?
While it’s alright to drink green tea any time of the day (assuming you’re not hypersensitive to caffeine), it’s been recommended that you at least give an allowance of 1-2 hours for drinking green tea before going to bed. The tea might make you pee more often as well, which is why it’s best to always make these time adjustments for drinking.
Interestingly, some doctors have recommended that you consume it at an exact time (like 10 in the morning or early in the evening). The reasoning behind this hinges largely on boosting and prolonging your metabolism. There’s no harm in trying this out for yourself to prove the said claims.
Who would have thought that there’s such an intricate link between green tea and sleep? And what’s equally astounding is the fact that it’s actually largely positive in nature. This only serves to underscore the value of green tea as an all-around healthy beverage that everyone should be enjoying.