Do you find yourself counting sheep at night to help you fall asleep? Well, there is a new coffee on the market that might just do the trick for you. Yes, I did say coffee, and guess what its name is? Counting Sheep (how apropos).
Founded in Vancouver, British Columbia in 2013, Counting Sheep Coffee developed a gourmet, decaffeinated coffee using Arabica beans combined with an all-natural herbal supplement called valerian root. Valerian is known for treating sleeping disorders, restlessness, and anxiety.
According to Deland Jessop, sheep executive officer (love how they use “sheep” in his title), their goal was to create a great-tasting coffee that also helps you unwind after a long day. Counting Sheep coffee uses a Swiss water process that doesn’t involve chemicals and removes 99.9 percent of the caffeine. Jessop also said that amount of valerian in your mug can vary based on size, but a standard eight-ounce cup yields 130 milligrams (mg).
The coffee comes in two variety: the original Bedtime Blend/40 Winks and a stronger Lights Out! version with more valerian and a bolder taste. Both are available in pre-ground bags and single serve K-cups.
The truth here, though, is that the research on valerian is inconclusive. As of today it may possibly be effective for insomnia, but many of the studies conducted have generally been small, used different amounts of valerian for varying lengths of time, or had problems with their study design. Other studies have found that valerian simply doesn’t improve insomnia any better than a sugar pill (a.k.a. the placebo effect).
As far as it’s ability to help with anxiety or restlessness, overall the evidence is clear that more research is definitely needed.
And though valerian is generally considered safe, side effects have been reported, including headache, dizziness, itchiness, upset stomach, drowsiness during the daytime, dry mouth, and vivid dreams. (I guess the good news with this one is that you are sleeping?)
The company’s motto is “The best way to start your day is now the best way to end it.” Hey, whether it really is the valerian doing the trick or just the ritual of a hot beverage at night, either way if it helps you sleep, why not. But keep in mind that a hot cup of decaf tea or a glass of warm milk might just do the trick too. Pleasant dreams.