Herbal Tea Sleep StudyNovember 16, 2009 Written by JP [Font too small?]
A common criticism of conventional medicine is that it’s too clinical. Some patients feel like they’re simply cogs in a massive medical machine that needs repair. This is one of the unintended consequences of relying too heavily on the cold, hard facts provided by science alone. On the other hand, alternative medicine can sometimes go too far in the other direction, allowing emotions to run the show. Several years ago I attended a conference in which the famed cancer patient advocate Dr. Bernie Siegel gave a presentation. He emphasized the importance of considering every available treatment option and understanding the reality of one’s condition. But he balanced that advice by adding this, “Statistics do not apply to individuals and there is no false hope”.
When I was compiling research for today’s blog, I began to pull studies that evidenced the many hazards of sleep deprivation. Normally, I would cite those scientific trials at the end of the paragraphs that make up my column. But two things happened recently that shaped how I’m writing today’s particular entry. I discovered some coverage about SLEEP 2009, the 23rd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies. One of the presentations there caught my eye. It was entitled, “Sleep Disturbance and Daily Relationship Quality in Couples: Evidence for Bidirectional Associations”.
A bidirectional association is basically a chicken and egg kind of circumstance. If a couple isn’t getting along, it negatively affects their sleep quality. However it’s also true that poor sleep, no matter what the cause, is damaging to relationships. But here’s where it gets more interesting and specific.
- Women’s sleep tends to suffer the most if daytime interaction with their mate is stressful or unfulfilling.
- Men who sleep soundly at night rate their relationship as more positive during the day.
Scientists learned about this pattern by examining the sleep diaries of 29 couples over the course of one week. On 6 separate occasions during each day, the men and women independently rated the quality of their interactions with their partners. (1)
The lead researcher of the study, Dr. Brant Hasler of the University of Arizona, commented that “In this cycle, conflict with one’s partner during the day leads to worse sleep that night, which leads to more conflict the following day. Although these results are preliminary due to the relatively small sample size and a subjective measure of sleep quality, the woman’s perception of the relationship seems particularly important, as it impacts both her own and her partner’s subjective sleep quality that night.”
The scientists behind this pilot study suggest that couples work out their problems prior to retiring at night, which is in line with the traditional axiom “never go to bed angry”. But beyond that, it’s important that both men and women understand that arguments or negativity expressed the day following a poor night’s sleep may be tainted by sleep deprivation.
In addition to the suggestions made by Dr. Hasler and his colleagues, I want to offer one other possible aid to individuals and couples. I’ve decided to put together a very basic study that will evaluate the efficacy of a natural herbal tea on sleep quality. To do this, I’m teaming up with Kroeger Herbs. I’d like to test how well their SLP tea works in a group of 6 people who have difficulty sleeping well on a consistent basis. The details of this open-label trial is as follows:
- I’m asking for 5 readers who would be willing to use an all-natural herbal tea before bedtime for a period of 2 weeks.
- It’s important to point out that this herbal aid is not intended to be taken along with other sleep medication. Therefore, I need to find individuals (or couples) that do not already use synthetic sleep medications.
- The tea contains a blend of hops flowers, lemon balm leaves, linden flowers, orange flowers and poppy flowers.
- I’ll send you the tea, free of charge, and provide you with a copy of the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) – a questionnaire/rating scale.
- You’ll complete the PSQI and e-mail me the results. Then, you’ll repeat this same step after having used the SLP tea for 14 consecutive days.
- Once I’ve collected all the data, I’ll put together a column about the specific details of the product and the results reported by our study volunteers.
All of the participants will be completely anonymous to everyone except for myself. No names or personal information will posted or otherwise shared with anyone. In addition, I will be the 6th participant in this study. My sleep quality could be better and I would certainly never ask you all to use something that I wouldn’t personally try myself.
The complementary tea is provided by Kroeger Herbs. A representative recently contacted me and inquired about doing a product review. I thought that doing this experiment might be a more interesting option for everyone involved. In fact, I’d like to do more of these types of mini-studies in the future. I think this is an opportunity to safely share potentially valuable information and at the same time offering up a more interactive experience.
I want to make it 100% clear that I’m not receiving any gift or payment with regard to this experiment. I’m certainly hopeful that the findings of the trial will be positive, but the results will speak for themselves. The only way this sort of research can be of any value is if everyone involved provides an entirely truthful account of their own experience. That’s what I’ll do and that’s what I’m asking of everyone else.
If any of you are interested in taking part in this experiment, please e-mail me directly. I urge you not to leave your e-mail address or any other contact information in the comment section at the bottom of this column. I have no idea how many people will respond to this offer. If I happen to receive responses from more than 5 readers, I’ll try to include all the extra volunteers in other upcoming trials. I’m looking forward to hearing from some of you and learning as much as possible from this new adventure. Who knows, we may even improve a few relationships along the way!
Tags: Mental Health, Sleep, Tea
Posted in Alternative Therapies, Food and Drink, Nutritional Supplements