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I've not had an easy relationship with sleep for the last 10 years or so. How I'd love to be one of those people who can get into bed, fall asleep instantly and wake refreshed after 8 hours' uninterrupted sleep! It just doesn't happen for me - I go through phases when I have major difficulties getting to sleep and anyone who's experienced the same problems will know just how frustrating and upsetting this can be if it continues for any length of time. Hence my quest for anything that will improve my sleep!
All the usual advice given to help induce sleep such as keeping the bedroom only for sleeping, making sure your room is the right temperature, having a comfortable bed, not having a heavy meal or performing strenuous exercise too close to bed-time, keeping regular going-to-bed and getting-up times - these things are all part of my routine and are important, but sometimes sleep just doesn't oblige, even combined with relaxing baths and warm, milky drinks. So, when I saw this tea in the supermarket tea aisle, claiming to be 'your ticket to Bedfordshire', I thought it wouldn't hurt to try it.
Dr Stuart's is a brand of herbal teas made with active botanicals. They explain this as meaning 'Herbs of the highest quality, picked from the most prized parts of the plants, with the most essential oils. That means the most aromatic, flavourful and beneficial tea possible'. They make a range of 'Benefit Blend' herbal teas, including Tranquillity, Detox, Echinacea Plus, Triple Ginseng Plus, Ginkgo Plus, Skin Purify and Liver Detox and claim to use the highest quality ingredients. This particular one, Valerian Plus, is 'a herbal infusion with valerian root and hops'.
The teabags (15 of them, individually packaged) come in a white cardboard box and contain limeflowers, valerian root, hops, passion flower and fennel. The box gives some information about the brand and the eponymous Dr Stuart, along with instructions on how to make the tea. (Nothing revolutionary or complicated here! Add boiled water and allow to brew for 4-5 minutes.) They suggest one tea bag is used one hour before bedtime, and warn that it can cause drowsiness (that's the idea!) and therefore not to drive or operate machinery. Incidentally, they do not recommend the tea for children.
So - how is it? Well, I'm not much of a tea drinker at all; I never drink black tea and only rarely take herbal teas. In other words, I'm not someone who can pour water on any teabag and gulp it down. I just make this point because for other people who are more into herbal teas, this might be an absolute delight, so do take my thoughts with a pinch of salt! Firstly, the smell - it reminds me a bit of a garden centre. By that I don't mean pretty florals, but rather hay and fertiliser. Tempting, eh?! But I have got past the smell now and don't really notice it once I've brewed the tea. As for the taste, I found it hard to drink by itself so now add a little honey just to sweeten the pill and it is really much more palatable for me like that.
But the 64 million dollar question is... does it help with getting to sleep? I really have found that I'm sleeping better on nights when I have a cup of this tea. It may be the placebo effect but it really does seem to help. More likely is the effect of the valerian root, which is said to have sedative and calming properties.
Whether or not it's a good idea to drink it every night is something I don't know, but I do think that having a few good nights' sleep with the aid of this tea may help reduce anxiety about sleeping, thus helping re-establish a 'normal' sleep cycle. It's certainly benefitted me!
The tea seems to be available in most supermarkets, as well as in health food shops. I bought mine in Asda, where it's currently on sale for £1.88 for a box of 15 bags.
Sweet dreams and thanks for reading!
For years I've had problems related to sleep. It's not so much getting to sleep although sometimes that's an issue too but it's more about how I feel when I wake up. When I wake up after 8 hours sleep I always feel terrible, groggy and woozy and like I've only had about 2 hours sleep rather than the recommended 8. I thought I would always have to feel this way and accepted it as just "being me". Then a few months ago I started having trouble dropping off and decided to try a few things, one of those things was this Dr Stuart's Valerian Plus tea bags.
I buy boxes of 20 from the local health food store for £1.99 and the box is not the same as the picture above, it's white with "Dr Stuart's" printed vertically on the left and a cartoon picture of a cup of steaming tea with a spoon above it and someone supposedly asleep in the spoon although they look like they are about to be thrown into the tea if I'm honest! Some of the steam has taken on the appearance of Zs. It tells us it is caffeine free on the front, well it would have to be to help with sleep wouldn't it?!
The ingredients are limeflowers which I've established treat nervous tension, valerian root which is like a very mild valium, hops which I didn't research as they are well known to help you sleep, passion flowers which sedate and calm the nerves and fennel which inhibits spasm in smooth muscles and relaxes them. So they've pretty much gone at the problem of sleeplessness from all angles!
Directions for use are one or two teabags brewed for about 5 minutes in boiling water and drank an hour before bed. The warnings are not to drive or operate machinery due to potential drowsiness, avoid alcohol and not to give valerian to children. When I looked online I found it is considered harmless in this kind of dose but there are warnings not to use it if pregnant because they don't know if it's safe and that it may interact with certain medications if used in higher doses.
Inside each teabag is individually wrapped in a paper sachet and has a string with a piece of paper on the end to dangle into your cup. All the packaging can be recycled.
My particular sleep issues stem in part from being in pain, often I'm too uncomfortable to sleep easily and as I have so much joint damage I think perhaps the amount of repair my body has to do while I sleep leaves me feeling exhausted because my body can't just relax and enjoy it. I honestly can't remember the last time I didn't feel tired or I woke feeling refreshed because it has been so long. Until now.
I had these teabags for a while before I used them. They were a last ditch attempt before having to go the chemical route and I didn't try them immediately because I knew I'd be disappointed if they didn't help. A couple of weeks ago however I decided I wanted a warm drink before bed and these were staring me in the face when I checked the cupboard.
The bags are almost triangular in shape and when dry smell a bit pungent. Don't let that put you off though because once you add water all the fresh herby scents of the ingredients waft out of the cup and the pungent smell is gone. I don't dislike alot of herbal teas, there are a few I can't stand the smell of and I hate fruit teas with a passion but these teabags smell light and fresh and natural.
I don't use any sweeteners but you could add sugar or honey, no milk though, it isn't that kind of tea! The tea is of course very, very hot because of the absence of milk so make it with plenty of time for it to cool down. I make mine about an hour and a half before I go to bed so I drink it about an hour before I hit the pillow.
It tastes herby, just a clean planty taste. I inhale the steam a bit as I wait for it to cool as I like the smell and really enjoy my cup of valerian tea every night. In fact I'd go as far as to say I look forward to it! How rock and roll am I these days?!
So the big question is does it work? I can honestly say, and I'm astounded, it works brilliantly. I feel really drowsy about half an hour after drinking this and start to have to hurry myself along a bit so I don't start nodding off on the sofa. It's a pleasant, relaxed drowsiness. Once I get into bed I drop off very quickly, no trying to relax needed or trying to silence my chattering mind. I sleep through the night and don't wake up several times like I sometimes used to and best of all I wake up feeling refreshed. No grogginess or wooziness and my head is clear and I feel like I've had quality sleep rather than a couple of hours of dozing. It's amazing and I can't believe how much more awake and fresh I feel in the mornings! Once I wake up I don't struggle to get out of bed but I'm wide awake and ready to get up and get on with my day. It hasn't helped my pain any but it isn't a pain killing tea!
Overall I absolutely cannot praise this enough, it works brilliantly and tastes nice too. It isn't expensive as you only need one teabag a day, I know they say you can have 2 but I think 2 would knock out a rhino! I wish I'd found it years ago and thoroughly recommend it to anyone with sleep problems. Excellent and 5 stars doesn't seem enough.
Can't sleep for whatever reason? Then try this. I have gone of caffeine for whatever reason and am constantly looking for new herbal teas. I have also had trouble sleeping lately and while some of that is doen to stress there is also the issue of my wife stealing the covers!!!
I bought this from Tesco for 99p. I also got the slimming one for my wife as she had tried a herbal supplement before that she liked but was £18 a packet.
So price wise they are fairly reasonable.
The come in individual packets inside a cardboard box with a bland design and a pile of info on various languages about the pure herbs used. There is also a picture of a man with a beard on the back. I am guessing this is Dr Stuart. Word of advice. They are not the nicest smelling but if you can get by that they are fine to drink. I tried using one sweetener but find that I need two. The taste is what you would expect from a herbal product but not as refined and pleasant as say Lipton's.
Now I have had this product twice with very different outcomes. The first night I took it and went to bed an hour later. I did fall asleep quickly. Then I woke at 3.28 (with no covers I might add). I woke again at 5.23 (with just a sheet). I woke again at 6.24 (and I might as well have been in Siberia). I went to work like a half shut knife.
Last night I made another cup. My wife decided she wanted a small glass of vino following a stressful day. After I had my tea I ignored the advice on the box and had two glasses of red wine. I went to bed and woke this morning with the cover intact and my wife sleeping soundly beside me.
My conclusions? I do not advocate achololism but I definately think that aided a more restful sleep. As a tea the product is fine and it does make you feel sleepy and help you get over to sleep but I do not think I will be getting this product again. In fairness though that is largely to do with the smell and the taste. I much prefer a more subtle tea so will be returning to the Lipton's range.
A small add on. I contacted the company with my comments about the product and they have offered to send out complimentary samples of two other teas. So far that alone I will stick another star on.
Trouble getting to sleep? This could be the answer!
Dr Stuarts make a wide range of herbal teas, which have recently been rebranded with swish looking white packaging. This Valerian tea is now marketed as 'ticket to bedfordshire' tea... and it does exactly what it says on the package.
The tea contains valerian, limeflower (a natural substance that reduces blood pressure) and hops, and is manufactured to strict German pharmaceutical standards to ensure purity. In the packet, it smells very strong and slightly unappetizing but as soon as you pour on the water, however, a much pleasanter aroma suffuses the room. The taste is fairly bland, but pleasant - Dr Stuarts teas are generally a lot nicer than Twinings herbals, being a lot less acidic. About twenty minutes after drinking, I find myself feeling pleasantly relaxed and heavy, and when I switch off the light, I go into a heavy and restful sleep almost straight away, waking up refreshed the next day, without the headache that "herbal sleep aids" like Nytol tend to produce. At £1.50 for 20 tea bags, it's pretty cheap too! And all the packaging (bar the cellophane wrapping) can be recycled.
A natural sleep-aid, valerian is an ideal bedtime drink to encourage restful sleep. Dr Stuart's Herbal Teas are an award-winning range of teas that are caffeine-free and use only pure natural ingredients. Insisting on premium quality, they were the first in the UK to ban all synthetic flavours and become all natural, and are based upon the world's best grade for medicinal plants - the DAB standard.