* Prices may differ from that shown
As a rather excessive tea drinker, but health enthusiast, I like to balance my regular tea consumption with various herbal teas.
I've been drinking Clipper's Sleepy Easy Infusion for quite some time now, and I look forward to it every night as it makes the perfect accompaniment whether I'm curling up on the sofa, reading in bed or even taking a few moments stargazing outside. The warming nature of the infusion acts like a cosy hug in a mug somehow and helps prepare me for sleep. Whether this is the infusion itself causing an extra calming effect or simply the warmth of the tea helping me unwind in the evenings, I honestly can't say for sure, but I find the taste delicious and I do believe in the effects herbs can have, so I suspect it does enhance my sleep quality also, plus I do find I sleep well.
The tea itself is also organic, fair trade and unbleached, and I am a fan of Clipper teas in general for this reason alone. Plus, if you're looking for an alternative to replace unhealthy night time habits, this may help!
I try to make healthy choices with food and drink, as I feel I benefit from consuming healthy products. As far as beverages are concerned, I avoid many as they contain too many nasty ingredients that I'd rather not consume. I am not overly keen on artificial tasting drinks either. My staple drinks include water or green tea. I have been branching out and trying other herbal infused - teas, of which there are many.
Whilst in my local supermarket I was scanning the aisle to see what herbal teas were available. There's quite a few now to choose from, and I wasn't aware of all the different flavours. I was also looking for tea that is calming and something different to Chamomile which I often have in, as Chamomile is relaxing. I wanted something to help with relaxation and to aid in good sleep, as my sleep has been a bit disturbed with many stressful situations all occurring at once, it's always the way.
I scrutinised the shelves reading the labels carefully and my eyes stopped on the Sleep Easy Infusion Tea produced by Clipper. I often choose teas from this brand, as they are always good. I picked up the attractive box to take a closer look. The subdued colours along with the stars and moon picture on the box allow this tea to be easily distinguished. The box provides 20 teabags priced at around £1.35 a box. This tea is widely available in most leading supermarkets, and can be found alongside other herbal teas.
I was intrigued and wondered if a tea would actually help me to get a decent night's sleep. I must say, I was a little unsure. Looking at the ingredients, however, the tea does contain valerian, which is a natural sleep aid. This made me think that this tea may be good after all. The fact that it is on the shelf alongside the other tea products means this product is available to anyone. The unbleached teabags are enclosed in a foil bag for freshness in a biodegradable and recyclable box. It must be noted that this is a fair trade product that is organic, which is good to know.
The scent that emanates from the packet isn't overly pleasant, it must be said. It is quite overwhelming and may be off-putting to some. However, once infused in boiling water the scent takes on a more orange fragrance. It suggests brewing for 5 minutes, though I never leave it that long. I was a little apprehensive to try the tea once brewed; however, I wanted to get some sleep, so hoped for the best. The tea isn't the nicest, but that was expected from the heavy scent. It is still palatable though. It has quite an orange zesty taste to it. I sipped on my tea in bed shortly before getting ready for sleep.
I usually have a green tea last thing at night, so this wasn't a great change for me. I didn't feel any different after drinking the tea, and shortly after I settled down ready for sleep. The next thing I knew, it was morning and I had had a good, settled sleep! I was astounded at the fact that I had had a good sleep and was ready to start the day. I continued taking the tea for a few nights with the same pleasing results. Once my sleep had improved, I went back to my regular tea. I was happy that the sleep infusion tea was beneficial and let me get a good sleep and got my sleeping pattern back on track.
With there being 20 teabags in the packet, it isn't necessary to consume them all after opening. I do go back to them occasionally to help me when I feel a little unsettled and if my sleep pattern suffers. I have actually gone through a box and have purchased a second box to keep in the cupboard, as I find this a good alternative to medication. This can be used on its own with pleasing results.
This tea is worth trying, as it can work wonders. Sleeping tablets leave that groggy feeling the next day, making it difficult to wake up fully and feel energized. I hate the feeling and find that it alters the quality of the day. This tea leaves me feeling perfectly normal and ready to get going in the morning with no after effects whatsoever. If you need to get your sleeping pattern back on track, give this tea a try and enjoy the benefits.
For about a year I suffered with sleep problems: to be precise I had no problem falling asleep, my problem was waking up after only a few hours of sleep and feeling wide awake. I eat a reasonably good diet, don't drink excessively and I don't have a television in the bedroom - all factors that are mentioned in magazine articles about poor or disturbed sleep. I tried all sorts of things to tackle the problem - going for a good long walk in the evening to tire myself out, covering the display on my DAB radio, adjusting the room temperature - but nothing worked. I was toying with the idea of trying some natural remedies when I found Clipper's Sleep Easy infusions; I'd always thought that this kind of product was designed for people who have problems dropping off, which is not my problem at all, but the blurb on the box suggested that this was something that would help promote good, sustained sleep. Clipper says that this product 'Contains natural herbal ingredients that can help promote and maintain healthy sleep in conjunction with a balanced, varied diet and a healthy lifestyle.'
One thing that really appealed to me about this product was that it involved no change in my usual routine, as I do tend to have a hot (caffeine free) drink about an hour before bed. I was also persuaded by the fact that the ingredients include valerian, a herb that is commonly used as a natural remedy for sleeping problems, in the sort of product I'd originally thought of trying.
Clipper Organic Sleep Easy Infusion comes in conventional teabags in boxes of 20 bags. The teabags are unbleached and the cardboard box is biodegradable and can be recycled; the only thing that's not too 'green' is the foil inner bag. The ingredients are fairly traded and certified organic by the Soil Association: the ethical credentials are good. The package design is simple but attractive and the muted blues and greens used on the box make this look like a natural, good for you product. The only thing I don't like is that there's an awful lot of written information on the back of the packet which is quite difficult to read, partly because of the colours, partly because of the fonts used and partly because of the size of the text - frankly this bit gives me a headache.
I would urge anyone trying these infusions for the first time not to be put off by the initially unpleasant aroma that emanates when the packet is opened: I can only describe it as 'oily orange zest with a strong background scent of vomit'. Fortunately this is not the fragrance you get once you've poured on the water. From the moment the hot water is poured over the bag there's a very strong aroma of orange, more like an essential oil than orange juice or orange blossom. This fragrance is so strong that it fills the room.
Clipper advises that the water should still be boiling when you pour it onto the bag; well, that's easier said than done unless you're using a whistling kettle or you're waiting beside the kettle for it to boil. I tend to switch on the kettle and go off and do something else so I can't say I've ever made this infusion up according to the exact directions; however, I've been very pleased with this product so I don't think my failure to comply has had a negative effect. I find that the suggested infusion time of five minutes to be the upper end: this is quite a strongly flavoured infusion and even three minutes infusing time will produce a well flavoured drink. If you make this in a small pot and use just one bag you can easily get two cups without compromising on flavour strength.
Although I drink a lot of different kinds of herbal and fruit teas I do tend to avoid the ones that are - for lack of a better description - more 'earthy' by which I mean things like nettle teas, and this is purely from experience. I've tried them and didn't really enjoy them. When I saw the composition of this infusion, I was pleased to see that the main ingredient by volume is camomile (25%) and that the valerian root was not so great (5%); I really like camomile tea and, fearing that I might hate the taste of valerian root, I thought this might be a way of getting the benefits of valerian without having to hold my nose and knock back something foul tasting. As it happens I can't detect camomile in the fragrance and I only very faintly pick it up in the flavour. The dominant flavour is orange, which the ingredients list as coming from natural orange flavourings. It's a warm rich orange taste with just a hint of cinnamon which gives this quite a Christmassy flavour.
Flavour-wise this is more like something that would appeal to me as a morning drink because it's fresh and lively but I had bought it to drink in the evenings. I can't deny that a cup of Sleep Easy makes me feel relaxed and calm though I can't categorically say that it's done anything particular to improve my sleep patterns. Since I've been drinking it my sleeping has improved; I sleep longer and it's a more settled sleep, and some nights I've even slept right up to the alarm, unheard of for at least a year. Regardless of whether it has directly altered my sleeping patterns, it's a pleasantly flavoured drink that promotes a feeling of restfulness.
The full list of ingredients can be seen at http://shop.clipper-teas.com/organic-sleep-easy-infusion
Clipper Organic Sleep Easy Infusions can be bought directly from the Clipper online shop priced at £1.35 for a box of 20.
Waitrose have this product for sale priced at £1.11 until 22nd January. TESCO and Sainsbury's sell it for £1.39 at the time of writing. Even at the most expensive price give here, I think this is a good value product
Although I'm usually a good sleeper (we're talking head hits the pillow and out like a light, then sleep like a log until morning, then have difficulty waking up and getting on with the day) I've been stressed, overworked and over-tired recently - which has had the unforeseen effect of giving me insomnia and really restless nights. As I'm a great believer in the powers of herbal tea, even if it's only as a placebo, I thought that before I reached for the Kalms or something more heavy-duty, I'd try some of my favourite brand of herbal tea, Clipper's Sleep Easy teabags.
Clipper aren't just known to me: founded in 1984, they're now a pretty well-known brand in the tea world - they were the brand behind the launch of the world's first Fairtrade tea in 1994. Worthy stuff, and a move which happily set quite a precedent for all the other companies following suit. Now they're known for making all kinds of fairtrade, organic teas from English Breakfast to more exotic teas such as jasmine and speciality blends, and also herbal teas such as lemon and ginger, red berries or liquorice. Sleep Easy is their house insomnia blend which rivals other sleep aids such as Dr Stuart's Valerian Plus or Kalms.
So what is Sleep Easy? They're a blend of organic cinnamon, chamomile, rooibos, lemon balm, valerian root and natural orange flavouring: chamomile is known to relax and calm the mind, while valerian root has been used as a natural anti-anxiety remedy for many years. The back of the box states that this tea is "naturally caffeine free" (I should hope so, if it's going to get you to sleep!) and that it "contains natural herbal ingredients that can help promote and maintain healthy sleep in conjunction with a balanced, varied diet and a healthy lifestyle." Basically, you're not going to become addicted to these, but it's also a bit hit and miss as to whether they're really going to work for you as we're not all able to have the stress-free healthy lifestyle that promotes good sleep.
The tea comes in a 40g packet with 20 bags, in an average-sized cardboard box which is grey and light blue coloured, with Clipper's standard design: a black cup of tea with white writing, and above that a picture of a moon and stars annotated with the words "organic sleep easy". The packaging is very well designed, kind of rustic yet chic at the same time, and I really like the economical and elegant design of the box itself - to get into the packet you tear a strip off the top, which creates a little flap that you can reseal the box with. Inside is a foil bag containing all the teabags; they're not individually wrapped but if you're careful not to tear the foil bag, and take care to wrap them up again well, they stay fresh for ages. The bags come in 2s that you have to tear off, but as the bags are strong there's no chance of ripping it open unless you really go for it.
Clipper are very proud of the fact that their teabags are made with unbleached cotton - sounds good in principle, but I'm not sure what that means in practice. It does mean that the bags aren't that bright white that say, PG Tips are, they're more of a buff colour and they do feel a little rough. The packet says that the best way to brew this tea is to pour fresh water over the bag while it's still boiling, then leave for two to five minutes before drinking.
You can sweeten the tea with sugar or honey, but I don't like the taste of sweet herbal tea so I don't ever do that, particularly when tea tastes as good as this one! It smells very delicate, not particularly strong or potent, which is a mercy as it does contain valerian and that usually has a very pungent "wet dog" smell. The taste is dominated by the orange and the lemon balm, making it a light, delicate and very zesty kind of drink with a small kick of the stronger and more insinuating valerian underneath, but nothing awful. Basically, it's a very drinkable cuppa with a lovely fresh, zesty thing going on.
But does it work, I hear you ask. I must admit that I didn't try the tea by itself: the night I tried it first, I did a lot of things to help me relax - I had a bath, went to bed early, didn't play on the computer in bed etc etc. And I slept very well! I think the tea at least helped me relax whilst in bed, but that might well have been the calming effect of simply drinking a warm drink...it's hard to know, but seeing as I like the taste of these and I don't think it'll hurt to have them regularly, I'm going to finish the box and probably get some more afterwards.
I bought mine in Holland & Barrett for £1.19 per pack of 20 bags, which means I'm looking at 6p per cup. Not bad and certainly not the end of the world if you find they don't actually work for you or you don't like them at all. I'm sure I've seen these in Sainsburys too, and certainly in local health food shops, so you could look around in your area or just go to Holland & Barrett, which definitely stocks them.
Overall, these are recommended and certainly worth a try if you're having some problems sleeping, although if you have real insomnia then I doubt they're going to do much one way or the other.