Green tea is a popular beverage with many health benefits.
A new trend is to drink it at night. Proponents swear it helps them get a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling more rested.
However, drinking tea at night comes with some downsides and may not be for everyone.
This article helps you decide whether drinking green tea at night may benefit you.
Green tea contains various beneficial plant compounds. Drinking it at night may not only improve your sleep but also offer a few additional health-promoting properties.
Beneficial compounds in green tea
Green tea is derived from the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant, which are loaded with beneficial plant compounds.
These can be subdivided into three main categories:
- Catechins. This group of antioxidants includes epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC). They’re thought to be the main reason behind green tea’s powerful medicinal properties (
- Caffeine. This stimulant is also found in coffee, chocolate, and other teas. It can promote nerve cell function, improving your mood, reaction time, and memory (2).
- Amino acids. The most abundant amino acid in green tea is theanine, which is thought to improve brain function, reduce stress, and promote relaxation (
3, 4, 5).
These compounds work together to provide the many health benefits attributed to green tea, including improved brain function, weight loss, possible protection against cancer, and a lower risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease (
Effect on sleep
Green tea may also help promote sleep quality and quantity.
Theanine is believed to be the main sleep-promoting compound in green tea. It works by reducing stress-related hormones and neuron excitement in your brain, which allows your brain to relax (
For instance, evidence suggests that drinking 3–4 cups (750–1,000 ml) of low-caffeinated green tea throughout the day may reduce fatigue and levels of stress markers, as well as improve sleep quality (
That said, no studies have investigated the effect of drinking green tea exclusively at night.
Summary Green tea contains several beneficial plant compounds that have been linked to various health benefits. Particularly, its theanine content may help you relax and improve the quality of your sleep.
Drinking green tea at night also has a few downsides.
Green tea contains some caffeine. This natural stimulant promotes a state of arousal, alertness, and focus while reducing feelings of tiredness — all of which can make it more difficult to fall asleep (
One cup (240 ml) of green tea provides around 30 mg of caffeine, or about 1/3 the caffeine in a cup of coffee. The magnitude of caffeine’s effect depends on your individual sensitivity to this substance (
Since the effects of caffeine can take as little as 20 minutes to appear and about 1 hour to reach their full effectiveness, drinking caffeinated green tea at night may hinder your ability to fall asleep (
Though some evidence suggests that the theanine in green tea counteracts the stimulating effects of caffeine, people who are sensitive to caffeine may still experience sleep disturbances, depending on the amount of green tea they consume (
For this reason, those who are particularly sensitive to caffeine may benefit from drinking a low-caffeinated green tea. Steeping your tea in room temperature water — rather than boiling water — may also help reduce its total caffeine content (
May increase nighttime wakings
Drinking any fluids before going to bed may increase your need to pee at night.
Having to get up to use the toilet in the middle of the night can interrupt your sleep, causing you to feel tired the next day.
Nighttime peeing is particularly likely when you drink fluids less than two hours before bedtime and consume caffeinated or alcoholic beverages, whose diuretic effects can increase urine production (
Finally, there's currently no evidence to suggest that drinking green tea at night is any more beneficial for sleep than drinking it throughout the day. Therefore, it may be better to drink it throughout the day, or at least two hours before bedtime.
Summary Green tea contains some caffeine, which can make it more difficult to fall asleep. Drinking this tea before bedtime may also cause you to need to pee at night, which can interrupt your sleep, leaving you feeling tired in the morning.
Green tea may provide an array of health benefits, including better sleep.
However, drinking it at night, especially in the two hours preceding bedtime, may make it harder to fall asleep. It may also lead to more nighttime peeing, which can further reduce your sleep quality.
Therefore, it may be best to drink this beverage during the day and early evening hours. This will maximize green tea’s beneficial health- and sleep-promoting effects while limiting its negative ones.