Fresh Clips: Sleep Deprived? Stay Sharp with Green Tea

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If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)—a fairly common yet serious condition that disrupts sleep and breathing—try drinking more green tea. While drinking tea will not necessarily improve your sleep, green tea’s antioxidant compounds could help counter the learning and memory problems associated with OSA, according to a recently published study.

Researchers intermittently deprived 106 rats of oxygen to mimic OSA in humans, then gave half the rats water laced with green tea polyphenols and the other half plain water. The rats that drank the green tea-treated water performed significantly better in a maze than the rats that consumed plain water.

According to David Gozal, M.D., the study’s lead author and director of Kosair Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the University of Louisville, green tea polyphenols “may represent a potential interventional strategy for patients” with sleep-disordered breathing.

“A growing body of evidence suggests that the adverse neurobehavioral consequences [of OSA] … stem, at least in part, from oxidative stress and inflammatory signaling cascades,” Gozal says.

Green tea polyphenols are highly beneficial antioxidants. See “Leaves of Fortune in Your Tea Cup” on Page 46.

For more information, see American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 177:1135-1141, 2008.