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· By Avery Hastings
You can’t sleep. You’ve spent all night tossing and turning. You wake up exhausted instead of refreshed. Somehow you manage to get through the day, but you always feel like you’re running on empty. You’ve tried many ways to improve your sleep, from white noise to a pillow that promised to give you a better night’s sleep. But what if coffee, or maybe the energy drinks you consume on a daily basis were the culprit to a poor night’s sleep?
If you're looking for a natural way to improve your sleep and boost your energy, maybe it’s time to give matcha a try.
Matcha is a type of green tea that's made from shade-grown tea leaves, typically shaded for about 2-3 weeks which are then ground into a fine powder. Matcha is packed with antioxidants, nutrients, and other healthy compounds that may help improve the quality of your sleep, boost your energy, and support your overall health and well-being.
So what makes matcha such a powerful sleep-promoting superfood? Matcha contains an amino acid called L-theanine, which may help promotes relaxation and reduce overall stress levels. The L-theanine found in matcha has been shown to increase Alpha wave activity in the brain, which can help you feel more calm and relaxed. This can be especially helpful if you're someone who is prone to anxiety or has trouble falling asleep at night.
Matcha also contains less caffeine than coffee (about 2/3 less), which can help you feel more awake and alert during the day without the caffeine rush and jitters you experience with coffee. Unlike other sources of caffeine (like coffee or energy drinks), the L-theanine found in matcha helps to balance out the effects of caffeine by slowly releasing caffeine into the bloodstream and reducing negative effects like jitters. With matcha, you can enjoy the benefits of caffeine without the feeling of being wired, restless or just plain burnt out.
Matcha is also a source of antioxidants, including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). Antioxidants found in matcha help protect your cells from damage and reduce inflammation, which may contribute to improving your overall health and well-being. Some studies have shown that antioxidants like EGCG found in matcha can help regulate circadian rhythms, which can promote better sleep (1).
Matcha can help improve sleep, but matcha has other benefits that can help improve your health and overall well-being. For example, matcha has been shown to improve physical performance and reduce fatigue. One study found that athletes who drank matcha before exercising had improved endurance, speed, and power compared to those who didn't (2). So if you find yourself feeling tired and sluggish throughout the day, matcha may be the pick-me-up you are looking for.
Matcha has also been shown to improve mental clarity and focus. One study about matcha found that people who drank matcha performed better on cognitive tasks, including memory and attention, compared to those who didn't drink matcha (3). Matcha can be especially helpful if you find yourself feeling groggy and forgetful throughout the day.
L-theanine, an amino acid found in matcha, has been shown in several studies to have a positive effect on sleep quality. A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology found that taking L-theanine supplements improved sleep quality in individuals with mild sleep disturbances (4). Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology found that L-theanine supplementation reduced symptoms of stress, therefore improving sleep quality in medical students during examination periods (5).
In addition to improving sleep quality, L-theanine has also been shown to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, which is associated with relaxation and reduced anxiety (6). This may explain why L-theanine found in matcha is effective in improving sleep quality and reducing stress.
It is important to note that while these studies provide evidence of the potential benefits of L-theanine for sleep, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which L-theanine improves sleep and to determine the optimal dose and duration of L-theanine supplementation for improving sleep quality.
However, some studies have suggested that L-theanine in matcha may help to reduce stress and anxiety, which in turn can lead to better sleep. Additionally, the caffeine in matcha can also improve alertness and energy levels, but it is important to note that excessive caffeine consumption can interfere with sleep.
So, how can you start incorporating matcha into your diet to promote better sleep and better health? There are many ways! Need some ideas? We have a few here to share with you:
Make matcha tea: Simply mix a teaspoon of matcha powder and add water to your Bonsai Cha matcha maker to create a delicious and healthy tea. You can enjoy matcha tea on its own, or add a splash of almond milk and honey for a creamy and sweet treat.
Add matcha to your smoothies: Simply blend a scoop of matcha powder into your favorite smoothie recipe for an extra boost of nutrients and energy. You can also add a scoop of matcha to your morning oatmeal for a healthy and delicious breakfast.
Make matcha desserts: Matcha can be used in a variety of sweet and savory recipes, including cakes, cookies, and even ice cream. You can find plenty of matcha recipes online, or get creative and make your own!
No matter how you choose to enjoy matcha, you'll be doing your body a favor by incorporating this superfood into your diet. Whether you're looking to improve your sleep, boost your energy, or simply support your overall health, matcha is the way.
This article is intended for informational purposes only. Please consult with a qualified health care professional for any medical concerns, including difficulty sleeping. Below are the links to the scholarly articles mentioned in this article:
L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328
The effects of L-theanine on alpha-wave activity and mood. Journal of Functional Foods, 2012. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1756464612000263
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