I’m sure we’ve all heard before that chamomile can aid a better, less interrupted sleep. Hey, it can even help you fall asleep! But how? Why? What is it that makes chamomile such a sleep goddess?
We break down all the qualities chamomile has below, and how it can help towards a healthy night’s sleep.
Here at Tea Off, we swear by a cup of our chamomile loose leaf tea before bed or even in the evening to wind down after a busy day and it’s not just us that thinks it.
There have been numerous studies on the calming elements of chamomile. Studies linking the general impact between chamomile and a good night’s sleep however are far and few between, with some even finding no direct correlation. So to truly understand the benefits, we need to focus on its overall calming properties, rather than the direct correlation between chamomile and sleep.
Chamomile, Stress & Sleep
A 2011 study showed a direct link between chamomile and decreasing levels of depression, anxiety and general stress. The participants in the experimental groups inhaled three drops of 1.5% lavender and chamomile essential oils for 30 nights, whereas the participants in the control group only inhaled water. The results showed a significant improvement in depression, anxiety, and stress levels immediately and one month after intervention in the lavender and chamomile groups compared to the control group.
It’s commonly known that stress impacts sleep, due to the nervous system maintaining a heightened state of arousal for extended periods. This heightened state of alertness can delay the onset of sleep and cause rapid, anxious thoughts to occur at night, which can then make anxious and depressive symptoms worse the following day.
Chamomile, New Mums & Sleep
A 2015 study looked at the effects of chamomile on sleep quality and depression in sleep deprived new mums. A total of 80 new mums were assigned to an experimental group and a control group, with the experimental group instructed to drink chamomile tea for a period of 2 weeks. The participants in the control group were instructed to follow regular postpartum care and not consume chamomile tea.
The results showed the experimental group demonstrated significantly lower scores of physical symptoms related to sleep inefficiency and the symptoms of depression. It did however show that after a 4 week period, scores from both groups were similar, showing that chamomile while chamomile had an immediate positive impact, it didn’t necessarily have a long-term impact.
Chamomile, The Elderly & Sleep
Aside from people suffering with health conditions and post-natal women, elderly people are a group who often suffer with sleep disorders.
A 2017 study trailed 77 elderly people in nursing homes. The experimental group received 400 mg oral capsules of chamomile twice daily, after lunch and after dinner for 4 weeks. The control group did not receive the intervention.
The results showed that before the trial the average score of sleep quality in both experimental and control groups showed no significant difference. After the trial however, the average score of sleep quality showed a significant difference between experimental and control groups.
In conclusion, if you generally sleep ok anyway, then chamomile may help you feel more relaxed at bed time, but isn’t necessarily going to improve overall sleep quality. If you struggle with stress, or are having interrupted sleep throughout the night however, the evidence shows this is where chamomile helps.
Finally Eric Zhou, a faculty member in the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, talked about the placebo effect of chamomile. He stated “A cup of chamomile tea can help you sleep if you believe that it will, if someone thought they were doing something to help them sleep, they would feel less stressed about their sleep”.
So even if you’re not a new mum, elderly or struggling with stress and depression if you believe it will, chamomile may help just about anyone improve their quality of sleep. Why not give it a go? Shop our lavender bliss blend here.