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Sleep Starved: A site by insomniacs and for insomniacs who are looking for something new…

Unexpected help…

I don’t know if this will help anybody else, but it’s worth a try.   Yerba mate tea was recommended to me by an alternative doctor.  I didn’t hold out much hope, but decided I’d try it–and it’s really improved my sleep.  For this past month, I’ve taken hardly any Ambien.

There’s a difference of opinion about whether it contains caffeine:  some people say yes, others no;  some say it contains something that’s related to caffeine, called mateine, others say mateine is the same as caffeine.  All I know is that yerba mate gives me about the same lift I get with green tea, only  when I wake up in the middle of the night, it’s much easier to get back to sleep-I don’t wake up with heart pounding and that all-systems-go feeling which I usually have.  My doctor said she’s measured her own bodily responses and found that it produces less cortisol. That’s the thing about caffeine:   that wonderful lift it gives happens because it raises raises blood pressure, speeds the heart, and stimulates the stress system, and the system may not return to resting place so easily, especially if you’re older   Yerba mate seems to be out of my system faster, though there was one day I drank some late in the day and that did seem to interfere with my sleep.

Anyhow, it’s very interesting and definitely worth a try.

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17 Responses to “Unexpected help…”

  1. Dan Eaves

    Did you do the whole bit with cured gourd and special “straws” or just chuck in some water, brew, and drink?

    My problem is that I’m afraid of falling victim to cognitive dissonance if there’s lots of fussy details involved.


  2. David

    Hello Gayle I have read your book and actually sent you an e-mail about a week or two ago. I am open to any and everything at this point that has the chance of assisting in normalization of my stages of sleep. I consider myself an anecdotal ’sleep expert’ as I have been through all of the trials and frustrations that you have. Please check your old e-mail address from Scripps College for the e-mail that I sent you. I am looking into this Yerba mate tea and from what I am reading it seems to help some individuals. We shall see …

  3. One month use not sufficient to recommend regukar use. Side effects may occur after prolonged use - one momth, one year, 5 years etc. As the Matain is arelative of Caffien solar side effects may emerge.

  4. One month use not sufficient to recommend regular use. Side effects may occur after prolonged use - one month, one year, 5 years etc. As the Matain is a relative of Caffien similar side effects may emerge.

  5. One month use not sufficient to recommend regular use. Side effects may occur after prolonged use - one month, one year, 5 years etc. As the Matain is a relative of Caffien similar side effects may emerge.

  6. Joe Johns

    Hi Gayle, and everyone,

    So I read part of your book in a bookstore, Gayle, and was very moved.
    Then I spilled coffee on it so I had to buy it! Well I read a bit more at home as well, and was more moved. That was a couple years ago.

    I am no insomniac but I suffered (and still do a bit) the very common misery of constant thinking. I want to very humbly and tentatively suggest a book you may have heard of “The power of now” and/or ” a new earth” by E. Tolle. I don’t say this will cure you, but … it may help in some way, it is hard to describe how. All you can do is take a look at it and see if it is meaningful to you, if you hear some truth there deep down
    from a place behind or beneath your thoughts. If you don’t, well, no harm.

    Best wishes. -Joe Johns

  7. Ben

    I have tried Terba Mate tea as well and had good results. After drinking it I was much calmer and clearer when I laid down. Still I had trouble falling asleep and did not want to have to drink tea every time I went to sleep.
    I did some research on other non invasive methods to improve sleep and stumbled upon this Brain State Technologies . They optimize your brain so your brainwaves are balanced leaving you more clear headed and concise. The process is said to help with sleep and many other issues and they are right. After my 6th session of 10 I slept all the way through the night falling asleep in a matter of minutes instead of the hours of tossing and turning that preceded my previous sleep. Now when I wake up I feel revived and refreshed, if you have any sleep related issue I would suggest looking into this as a solution.

  8. Marek

    I am sorry to be bringing bad news, but Brain State Technologies is an absolute fake.
    As a professional professional researcher of neural function for many years, I feel confident that there is absolutely no scientific founation to their claims.
    They use the technology of registering brain activity (EEG), used routinely in neurology, psychiatry and brain research. However, their claims of what this technology enables them to do go far beyond anything realistic, or proven.
    First , there is no such thing as “optimized brain waves” True, there are normal and abnormal patterns of EEG, and a study of such patterns may reveal defects or disease processes in your brain. It could for instance be sites of origin for epileptic seizures, sites where some abnormal tissue mass may be present, or you could analyze brain activity during sleep and help define the kind of sleep disturbance in question. This kind of analysis requires a laboratory setting and an expert evaluation, not something that a layperson may be able to do on her/his own after buying a product on the net.
    Secondly, the whole concept of “presenting the brain for itself” by feeding some “optimized frequencies” through a pair of headphones is ridiculous. It has no basis and no connection with what EEG recordings are, and what changing their pattern might mean.
    Finally, you might say: what if it DOES work?? What if I have tried it, and I do sleep better?
    As any experienced insomniac might tell you, and indeed as is also clear from reading this site, there are a large number of things and measures that occasionally, over shorter or longer time periods, may seem to help. For instance, listening to audiotapes is also recommended here on this site, and - apart from the actual narrative content - may also represent feeding a calming, gentle sound to your mind, promoting sleep. As with any other condition, self-suggestion and hope play also a role (professionals call this a placebo effect). Unfortunately, those psychological factors tend to wear off relatively soon.
    Brain State Technologies feeds on the ignorance of an average customer, projecting a marketing image of “science of the brain put to use” to drain your pocket. They pretend to be modern and cutting edge technologically, while throwing such ancient mind-tuning techniques as meditation into the pot, just to make sure they also cover that “segment”. They are nothing more than a high-tech, internet-age, smartly packaged witchcraft. At the end of the process, the only change you will notice will be in your bank statement.

  9. Anne

    Hi, Gayle! I *loved* your book! It is next to my bed at this moment! It’s great to hear from someone who understands and who doesn’t think I’m depressed. I am trying the Yerba Mate (as of today) and am curious about how much of it you drink, as my insomnia patterns sounds identical to yours. Hope springs eternal…
    many thanks for all the great work you are doing!

  10. Crystal

    Very late to the party, but I read this with interest. I’m a chronic insomniac myself, been down the “warm milk, strict schedule, dark room” road as well as Ambien, Trazadone (the latter is bad stuff, gave me crazy nightmares), Melatonin, you name it.

    I don’t drink a lot of caffeine - just a few cups of tea in the morning - but I am going to try going off the caffeinated beverages entirely, and try yerba mate, if it helped you. I figure if it could help the author of “Insomniac” it could help anyone! Maybe some of us are just more than ordinarily caffeine-sensitive, and it’s not enough for us to keep our consumption to the mornings - we have to eliminate it.

  11. Jose

    Hi! I came here browsing internet. I grown up in Argentina drinking “mate cocido” (when you brew it like tee) every day on breakfast, and since some years now, drinking after lunch as “mate” (in a gourd -could be any small cup with a metal’s straw with a filter called “bombilla”. The water temperature, the quality of the yerba, the mixes you make, and the amount that you drink, let says it’s not the same a liter than a cup!)mixed with herbs like mint, chamomile, pepermint, orange peels, etc. The mate WILL affect your sleep if you drink it late during the day making it difficult to sleep. Yes, the effect is different than coffee, but some person are very sensible as I prove it with my coworkers!!! I recommend mate IMMEDIATLY after lunch, or for breakfast, but not before bed.

  12. 1. Re Yerba Mate, from what you say I assume you are using it as a substitute for coffee or black/green tea? So it’s not something you take before bed, but early in the day? I am willing to give it a try.
    2. THANK YOU for taking this on. From your blog, your sleep issues sound exactly like me.
    3. Your book “Insomniac” is not on Kindle!!! So I have to read it the hard way with physical pages. Mild complaint.

  13. Sorry!!!on the comment above my website is incorrect. I am not very computer savvy but am getting better. So please try this one this will be much more helpful. Again sorry.

  14. Judi Gedcke

    Just wondering how much Yerba Mate you would

  15. Great Post! Thanks for sharing the tip with the mate tea. Never tried that!

  16. Kendra

    Why no more posts? WE NEED YOU!!

  17. Sleeper

    You can find a wide range of Yerba Mate selection here:

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