You’d think that as a dairy-free tea drinker I’d be into herbal teas because they’re never drunk with milk. But I confess: I’ve always hated herbal tea. I like black tea, green tea, oolong — you know, all the ones with caffeine. Unfortunately, I can’t have caffeine in the evening or I’ll be up all night.
I have tried tons of herbal teas and the only one I’ve managed to stick with is Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Extra. The original Sleepytime was the first chamomile tea blended and marketed specifically to counteract insomnia. Everyone knows chamomile has calming effects. The “extra” in Sleepytime Extra is valerian root, an herb that seems to act like a sedative on the brain and nervous system.
I remember an episode of The Sopranos where Christopher and his girlfriend (Julianna Margulies) are both recovering heroin addicts and they drink super-concentrated cups of valerian tea because they heard that in high doses it feels like valium. Believe it or not, this is what made me decide to try Sleepytime Extra. I thought, “That shit must work.”
Well, it does. I noticed the difference when I’d been drinking Sleepytime Extra every night before bed and then I ran out. I started waking up in the middle of the night and generally sleeping less soundly. Of course I stocked back up on Sleepytime Extra, pronto. You may notice that this tea is frequently sold out. That’s because the shit works.
It also tastes pretty decent. Pure chamomile can be bland. But Sleepytime’s trademark blend of herbs produces a caffeine-free tea that, although it can’t compare to a strong Earl Grey, is easy on the tastebuds.
Now I very much enjoy my nighttime ritual of sipping Sleepytime tea while I do my physical therapy exercises, watch Netflix, and cuddle our new dog, Sammy Bagel Jr. If only they made valerian root dog treats…
On second thought, I don’t think he needs any.