Anybody who has ever struggled with insomnia knows that one of the cardinal rules of getting a good night’s sleep is to stay away from coffee — even decaf varieties can spell trouble for those who are particularly sensitive to caffeine. But now a company called Counting Sheep Coffee has introduced a new java that claims to let coffee lover have their cup and sleep a bit too. The company offers an unusual blend of decaf beans combined with a whopping 176 milligrams of valerian root, an herbal sleep remedy that is said to be a natural sedative.
According to Deland Jessop, the company’s co-founder, valerian will not only help you go to sleep, it also is said to have properties that will provide muscle relaxation, ease anxiety and helps you overcome restlessness. It grows in Europe and Asia. Jessop says, “The decaf market was ten percent of the coffee market. That’s a huge number of people drinking decaf to begin with. We don’t know exactl how big. But the decaf market is worth billions of dollars, so there is space there.” He says that the idea for the blend came while trying to find an answer for his wife, who is a coffee lover but who has an extreme sensitivity to caffeine. The impact on her was so great that she was not able to even drink decaffeinated coffee in the afternoon or it would keep her up.
Jessop tried to come up with a coffee that would please her taste but also appease her sensitivity. He tried lavender and chamomile, both of which are popular in teas, but then decided to try valerian which has the same impact but which doesn’t alter the taste of the coffee. The results were positive. The company has two varieties available: one called ’40 Winks’ is a bolder flavor, while ‘Lights Out!’ has even more of the herb in it in order to help you get to sleep more quickly.
Though the product has its detractors and doubters, the overall reviews have been positive. The New York Daily News complained that it tasted more like “coffee scented tea” than like coffee, but on Amazon (where the coffee is sold) most people praise its ability to help them fall asleep. One reviewer wrote, “I am shocked to see anything negative about this product … You don’t pass out or anything, just slowly feel drowsy and relaxed, and for those of us who adore coffee, it’s a great new way to enjoy the beverage.” Some say that the extra-valerian version tastes like Starbucks Pike Place Roast, and claim that it makes them fall asleep within twenty minutes of downing a cup.
The product does have its downside, as some have indicated that as is the case with many other sleep aids, it may induce a feeling of grogginess in