An Ode to Sleepy Time Tea

How a bear on a box helps me get to sleep.

Written by Alanna Burns, Illustration by Jaclyn Simon

Ah, bedtime. For many of us, bedtime is a welcome time of our day. It’s time to unwind and let the day go and prepare ourselves for a night of rest.  Those who are fortunate enough to merrily tuck themselves into bed at the end of the day without any problems probably don’t rely too much on products that will aid in shuttling you off to sleep (please, tell us your secrets!). Others, myself included, need a bit more than a bed to get to sleep at night. Making it through an entire day takes a lot of effort. Some days, it takes even more effort. Being a person in today’s world takes its toll on our well being in an insurmountable number of ways – no wonder most of us lie awake at night tossing and turning, anxiety running rampant through our minds which are supposed to be shutting down for the night. How does one get enough sleep to face the next day? Sleep is so important and vital to our very existence. Try having a productive day with little to no sleep – it’s a struggle! There are what feels like endless products on the market targeted towards sleep deprivation. Pillows, mattresses, sound machines, eye masks, ear plugs, weighted blankets, drugs, natural sleep aids. The list is extensive and it can feel overwhelming to find the right solution. Sometimes there is no one solution, and everyone’s experience with sleep is different. A commonly used and inexpensive product is tea. 

A hot cup of tea is  there for me at the end of long days when I need a little help settling down. It’s also there for me on days when I’m just not feeling like myself. I’m not just talking about any old tea, I’m talking about Sleepytime Tea. The Sleepytime Tea. The one with the snoozy bear on the box wearing the adorable sleep cap sitting precariously close to a roaring fire. I have a box on hand at all times. Sometimes more than one if I panic at the grocery store and can’t remember if I have one at home already. The soothing blend of chamomile, spearmint and lemongrass is a delightful combination that will knock you out so fast you won’t know what hit you. Well, hopefully. At the very least it’ll make you feel like you’re on your way to snoozeland. There is something so comforting about this particular tea. I’ve tried dozens of other “sleepytime” teas, but none of them shine in comparison to this beloved classic. Celestial Seasonings – the quirky company that produces other hits like Red Zinger and Bengal Spice – has been around since 1969. They introduced Sleepytime Tea to the world in 1972 and since then it has been extremely popular. So popular, it actually sells around 4 million (!!!) boxes a year. The people love the bear! Making a cup of Sleepytime tea has become such a favourite routine of mine. My brain, so accustomed to having this tea strictly at bedtime, immediately reacts and sends a message to the rest of my body that it’s time for sleep.  I’ll sip while sitting in bed and within minutes I feel my eyes get heavy and I definitely feel tired, or dare I say, sleepy? That sneaky little bear. 

 I can’t promise you that tea will solve all your problems. It most likely won’t if I’m being totally honest. But, I will promise you that taking a few minutes at the end of your busy day to brew a cup of  tea (any tea!) and just sip it quietly before bed, you will feel marginally more relaxed and your brain will feel quieter. I strongly feel that drinking tea is a small act of self care and we can all afford to be a little kinder and gentler to ourselves. At the end of the day, it’s just tea. It’s just a bear on a box trying to sell you a promise of a better night’s sleep. I’m a sucker for good branding and Celestial Seasoning knows how to sell you a box of tea, but I will happily give them my money if it means I get to enjoy a cup of the only tea that helps get me to sleep. Even if it’s all in my head.