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Tea is among the most versatile beverages that come in different types and several health benefits, including helping us fall asleep. Hibiscus tea, also called karkade, roselle, Aqua de Jamaica, red sorrel, and sour tea, is one of the many varieties that has been used in the past to help manage insomnia. Today, some people claim that hibiscus tea had helped them have a good night’s sleep.
But does hibiscus tea make you fall asleep? Some caffeine-free tea, which includes hibiscus, has components linked to triggering chemical reactions in the nervous system and the lowering of blood pressure. Those effects prepare your body to go to sleep, so, yes, hibiscus tea can make you fall asleep.
Since the way how caffeine-free tea, like hibiscus, can make you fall asleep is systemic in nature, let’s look into it in detail to identify whether or not it will be good for you. In line with that, let’s also learn together the possible side effects of consuming hibiscus tea and its other benefits. This way, you’re assured that you’re consuming the tea safely.
Why Does Tea Make Me Sleepy?
Tea can both be an alternative to coffee to perk you up and a natural remedy to manage sleeping difficulties and insomnia. The latter is because tea has an amino acid component called L-theanine, which is known to help you relax without the feeling of drowsiness, especially if you are taking a caffeine-free variety. Thus, helping you achieve a meditative state, making it easier for you to fall asleep.
When it comes to hibiscus tea, the following are the reasons it can help you go to sleep:
1. Release of Nerve Cell Receptors
A study published in PubMed supports the claims that hibiscus has sedative and anxiolytic (or anti-anxiety) effects. Specifically, it states that the onset of sleep has been reduced while there is an increase in sleeping time, especially when given repeatedly.
Another study further verifies the anxiolytic effects of hibiscus plus its capability of helping prevent depression. It was found that hibiscus contains cyanidin and quercetin, which both stimulate serotonergic and dopaminergic processes in the body.
Serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter that affects the sleep-wake pattern and emotional stability. Increased serotonin is said to help individuals sleep longer and peacefully, while a low level of serotonin will wake you up a few times while you’re asleep. You would also have difficulty going back to sleep. Low serotonin level has also been connected to insomnia.
Dopamine, on the other hand, is believed to help manage restless leg syndrome, which sometimes causes difficulty in sleeping and causing you to wake up multiple times while sleeping. That is because of the involuntary movement of the legs and, at times, even other parts of the body.
2. Lowering of Blood Pressure
Hibiscus is rich with different types of anthocyanins, which are responsible for helping lower a person’s blood pressure. According to a study conducted in 2013, hibiscus at a lower dose can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It must be noted, though, that certain anti-hypertensive medicines can interact with hibiscus.
Hibiscus Tea Benefits
Apart from helping you sleep at night and lowering your blood pressure, hibiscus tea also has the following benefits:
1. Supports Cardiovascular Health
The hibiscus flower has lots of antioxidants, specifically anthocyanins and polyphenols, which help prevent cholesterol from being damaged by free radicals. Normally, when cholesterol is broken down, the remnants stick to the heart, veins, and/or arteries. It can also help lower triglyceride and bad cholesterol levels while maintaining good levels of good cholesterol.
2. Better Digestion and Urination
When taken at the right amount, hibiscus tea can help improve your bowel movement. It is also a natural diuretic, helping you urinate and cleanse your body better. That is by removing water and sodium in the body.
3. Assists in Weight Loss
Tea, in general, has long been known for helping individuals achieve their weight loss goals, and hibiscus tea is no different. This is also owed to its antioxidant components. However, a study supporting this benefit used concentrated extracts of hibiscus, rather than the tea itself.
4. Helps Boost the Immune System
Hibiscus is abundant in vitamin C, so it can support your immune system, helping prevent colds, flu, and/or cough. The polyphenols present in hibiscus also has anti-cancer properties.
5. Promotes Better Skin
Loaded with antioxidants, hibiscus can also help improve your aging skin. It aids in firming, tightening, and lifting the skin because it can inhibit elastase activity. Hibiscus can also help even out skin tone or lighten age spots and blemishes with the help of its organic acid components. Lastly, hibiscus is also rich in mucilage, which can help keep your skin hydrated.
What Are the Side Effects of Drinking Hibiscus Tea?
Although it’s an herbal tea, the complex chemical makeup of the hibiscus comes with certain side effects. Thus, precaution still needs to be taken when consuming the drink. Also, adults should only consume a maximum of two quarts of hibiscus tea per day, while children should take at most one quart per day.
Here are the recognized side effects of hibiscus tea:
1. Lowers Drug Efficacy or Effect
Hibiscus tea can also decrease chloroquine, quinine, and other anti-malarial drug efficacy. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as acetaminophen, are also affected since hibiscus can clear out the drug from the body faster than usual. As such, if you have taken any anti-inflammatory meds, you must wait for at least two hours before consuming hibiscus tea.
2. Lowers Blood Sugar and Pressure
The role of hibiscus in helping lower blood pressure is both a benefit and a risk. A benefit for those maintaining their BP levels at a normal range, but risky for those who already have low BP levels.
Since hibiscus has hypotensive properties, taking this together with anti-hypertensive drugs might lower a person’s BP to a level, which is no longer normal. That said, people who have normal BP levels and are not taking any medications can consume the tea not just to help them fall asleep but also to aid in maintaining their normal BP levels. The same is the case with medications used for lowering and maintaining blood sugar levels.
3. Estrogen Regulation
This is a pro and a con. For women who have irregular menstrual cycles, hibiscus tea can help induce menstruation, while for those with regular cycles, the tea can be taken to help relieve or prevent cramps. Pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as women planning to conceive, must never take hibiscus tea.
4. Upsets Gastrointestinal and Gastrourinary Systems
Some people may experience temporary stomach pain and upset, which is due to its acidic components such as malic and citric acid. Others may also experience gas, headache, shakiness, and ringing of ears. There are also reports of nausea. These effects, though, are sometimes experienced when taking hibiscus tea without food or when consumed too much.
How to Make Hibiscus Tea
You can prepare hibiscus tea cold or hot, but a hot cup of hibiscus tea is more effective in helping you doze off in your comfortable bed (view on Amazon). Not only will the compounds in the tea prepare your body to sleep, but the warmth will make you feel more relaxed.
Using Dried Hibiscus Flowers
Although you can buy hibiscus tea bags, it would be best to get dried hibiscus, and prepare your own tea as follows:
- Boil a pot or kettle of water.
- Put two teaspoons of dried hibiscus flower in a separate kettle. You can reduce or increase the amount, depending on whether you want light or dark tea.
- Pour the boiled water in the kettle up to its brim, or just enough for you to drink. Leave it for at least five minutes. You can leave it longer if you want stronger tea.
- Using a strainer or coffee filter, pour the tea to a teapot. If your teapot has a strainer or filter, then just pour the tea.
- Get your cup and pour your hot and fresh hibiscus tea! You may add honey or other natural sweeteners.
That’s it! After drinking your hibiscus tea, and once you’re done with your nightly regimen, you can now cover yourself with your all-season comforter (view on Amazon). In a few minutes, you’ll surely be sleeping like a baby.
Using Fresh Hibiscus Flowers
Hibiscus is a plant that grows all-year-round, and you can easily determine if the flower is already ripe, and that is when the flower starts to wrinkle. To prepare your hibiscus tea from fresh flowers, here are the steps to follow:
- Pick the flowers carefully.
- Remove the petals to expose the flower’s calyx. It is red, round, bulb-like, and firm.
- Inside the calyx are the hibiscus seeds. Remove them.
- Wash the calyces thoroughly.
- You may now prepare your tea using the same procedure as the store-bought, dried hibiscus.
- Dry the remaining calyces on a paper towel and then keep them in an airtight container with a silica desiccant.
- If you don’t want to use the freshly washed hibiscus calyces, you can place them on a tray or rack. You may put the rack under the sun to dry the calyces completely or place it inside an oven at a temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
Sleepy with Hibiscus
There is no doubt that the answer to the question “Does hibiscus tea make you fall asleep?” is a yes. Just keep in mind, though, that it also comes with side effects, so make sure you drink the allowable amount only. Likewise, you shouldn’t be taking any medications, you’re not pregnant, and have certain health conditions.
With all those in mind, go ahead and prepare your fresh hibiscus tea before snuggling your hypoallergenic snuggle pillow (view on Amazon)!