When you think green tea, you probably don’t think about sleep. After all, there’s caffeine in it, right? If you need a sleep aid, you’re not turning to this popular beverage, but should you?
According to Michael Breus, PhD, sleep specialist and clinical psychologist, drinking green tea during the day could help you be more restful at night.
Breus, known as “The Sleep Doctor,” spoke with Well+Good about green tea’s potential sleep benefits. He explained that drinking the beverage throughout the day (not at night) could help your sleep quality due to a compound called L-theanine.
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Essentially, L-theanine helps your brain wind down because it reduces stress-related hormones which can cause relaxation and a potential release of anxiety. The compound also triggers the production of GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. All three are neurotransmitters that essentially tell your brain to calm down.
The key, however, is to be sure you’re consuming green tea with lower levels of caffeine. If you were thinking about having matcha lattes all day (yes, matcha is a form of green tea), you’ll want to rethink this strategy. If, however, you’re not much of a sipper during the daytime but are curious about L-theanine’s benefits, you can opt for a supplement.
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A supplement might be a better option for some.
A cup of green tea contains about 25mg of L-theanine, so you’ll need to drink it pretty consistently throughout the day to reap its benefits. For those who are caffeine sensitive or just don’t like green tea, L-theanine supplements offer up to 200mg of the compound with zero caffeine content.
Note: It’s best to consult with your doctor before adding a supplement to your diet.
If you’ve been feeling a bit restless lately, it might seem counterintuitive, but some green tea (or an L-theanine supplement) throughout your day could help.