Posted by: dan | June 23, 2009

i can’t sleep

ChamomileHeader(title with apologies to The La’s)

For the last week or so, my sleeping patterns have left me. They’ve slowly dripped away, starting by getting me to dream about hypothetical situations in my life, and mundane ones at that. Dreams about doing the washing up, working, or vacuuming are intensely tedious, and don’t help you rest. Soon after this started, I started waking a few hours earlier than usual. Last night (as I write this), I got the fewest hours yet, and I don’t fancy doing it again (even though, curiously, I don’t feel so tired). So I’ve decided to try adagio’s Chamomile tea, which I’ve been saving for just such an occasion.

Lots of chamomile flowers

Lots of chamomile flowers

I’m not just linking two random things, there is method in my madness. There are a few herbal remedies for sleeplessness, and chamomile – specifically as tea – is one of them. I grabbed the bag and brewed it up. According to brewing instructions, the bag needs to be infused for 5 minutes in boiling water. To my skeptical mind, this seems to be quite a long time, especially for an herbal tea. I tore open the packet and investigated the bag contents. It’s absolutely chock-full of tiny chamomile flower heads. It’s full even by adagio’s “let’s burst the bag” standards. The scent of the flowers is very strong, and very sweet. At this point, there was a moment of realisation. This smelled familiar – hold on – I’ve had this before. Those horrific Twinings tisane teas have come back to haunt me!

But this is an adagio teabag, and there are actually full flowers in the bag, not just “tiny slices of miscellaneous plant detritus” as I called the Twinings effort. I gave it a go anyway, and rather than relying on the 5 minutes advised, I withdrew the bag when the smell filled the kitchen (and I’m not exaggerating, it’s a powerful aroma).

The sweet concoction

The sweet concoction

And so we come to the taste. It’s actually rather pleasant. It’s sweet, though not as strong as the smell. I’m glad I took the teabag out when I did, which was about 3 or so minutes into the infusing. If it had been in there much longer, I think it would have been too sweet, and perhaps a little sickly. Much like the Twinings version, however, it is a little bland. Once you’ve had the impact of the sweetness, you’re left with a hollow liquid. That said, I think this is most likely my fault for not really liking the flavour, and not because it’s a bad tea. It’s easily better than the Twinings dull-fest, which is what you’d expect from a company that actually cares about the quality of their products.

But will it help me sleep? I’m feeling a bit sleepier now I’ve drunk the tea, but I shall fill in the end of this post in the morning.

~one night later~

No. Same procedure as usual: ages to get to sleep, then awoke at 5am. Hoorah. I still don’t feel too tired, though my concentration is waning. Anyway, the tea has helped not one jot. Perhaps it requires you to really believe it will work in order for it to help. Placebo effect or not, I’m still sleepless and not likely to look for a cup of chamomile in the future.

Dan was drinking adagio’s Chamomile tea, available at £4.99 for 15 teabags


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  1. My Dad drinks chamomile tea to help him sleep, but insists on a minimum of two mug-fulls. It’s either the tea or staying up so long to wait for the tea to cool that gets him to sleep.

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