How to sleep: Candy Cane Lane tea
Can’t sleep? You may want to try a peppermint green tea from Celestial Seasonings.
No, I’m not talking about their Sleepytime Herbal Tea, or any of their expanding line of Sleepytime teas. The original blend — with chamomile, spearmint and lemongrass — is soothing, but it does not give me the kind of deep, thoroughly rested sleep that a different Celestial Seasonings tea produces.
Candy Cane Lane is special holiday tea that only appears in supermarkets in the weeks before Christmas, and it disappears again not long after New Year’s Day.
According to the box, Candy Cane Lane’s ingredients are peppermint, decaffeinated green tea, orange peel, natural vanilla and mint flavors with other natural flavors, cinnamon, milk thistle, blackberry leaves, roasted carob, roasted chicory, and vanilla bean. Its flavor is predominantly peppermint and it’s very pleasant, but not extraordinary in and of itself. The box makes no mention of sleep or any other claims, simply promoting the tea as a “festive and healthy” tradition.
Several times, though, after joining Amy for a cup of Candy Cane Lane before bed, I noticed that I slept through the night like a log, and woke up with that deep sense of being rested that you can also get by eating a Thanksgiving dinner early in the afternoon, then passing out on the sofa in front of a football game. You know the kind of sleep where you wake up wondering what month it is and what country you’re in? It’s like that. I want to say that there’s a certain serotonin effect, but I won’t because I don’t have the slightest idea what I’m talking about.
This happened at least twice before I associated my deep sleep with this tea. Amy agrees that it has the same effect on her. Since figuring it out, we try to stock up on extra boxes of Candy Cane Lane during the holiday season, so we’ll have it as a sleep aid in the summer too, if needed.
As with any substance, this tea is probably something to be used in moderation, and not as nightly routine. When I’ve tried it two nights in a row, the second night’s sleep is not as satisfying as the first, so it’s probably not a permanent remedy for insomnia.
I have no idea what causes its effect, but the ingredient which jumps out at unusual would be milk thistle, which has long been thought to be liver-protective, along with other reported health benefits. I have also read that “Peppermint increases the effectiveness of milk thistle tea,” but I have no idea how true any of these claims are. I do know that Celestial Seasonings does include milk thistle in their Natural Detox Wellness Tea, but that tea does not have the peppermint and is frankly not delicious.
Anyway, you might want to pick up a box or six before the season is over, just to have on hand. (You can also find Candy Cane Lane at Amazon.com.) Try it first on a night when there’s nothing pressing the next morning, because the mellowness can linger a bit after waking.
Be sure to let me know your own results in the comments below.