Counting Sheep Coffee Is Designed to Send You to Sleep on a Gently Drifting Sea of Java

Sam Penix at the Everyman Expresso coffee house prepares a latte July 31, 2012 in the Soho section of New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)
Source: STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

We know that coffee naps are a thing  — but what about sleep coffee? Yep, that exists, too: It's called Counting Sheep Coffee, and it promises that it'll send you off to sleep and into a wave of coffee-scented dreams. Well, maybe not the coffee-scented dreams, but it does say it can put you to sleep if you're having trouble getting your zzzzs. 

According to TIME, Declan Jessop first got the idea for what later became Counting Sheep Coffee after his wife complained about not being able to drink coffee after 3 PM. You know the drill: Drink something with caffeine too late in the day, and odds are you'll have issues getting to sleep at night. Sucks, right? So, in an effort to solve the problem, Jessop started experimenting with herbs and other supplements. Ultimately he arrived at valerian, which has been used throughout history as a sleep aid and sedative. Because everything is a pop culture reference to me, it's also what Ed Norton's doctor in Fight Club tells him to chew when he's suffering from the world's worst case of insomnia (funny to think that the entire book/movie might not have happened if Counting Sheep Coffee had existed back then, right?). And yes, valerian is FDA approved, so no worries there.

In any event, Jessop combined valerian with some decaf, and voila: Counting Sheep. The company launched in 2013; it's currently available in two varieties, the standard bedtime blend 40 Winks and the stronger Lights Out!, and available for purchase at Bed, Bath, and Beyond and on Amazon. You may even have spotted it on Dragon's Den in March of 2014:


I'll admit that I'm a little skeptical, mostly because decaffeinated coffee still contains at least some caffeine. It's got smaller amounts, sure, but's almost never totally absent. As Mental Floss once noted, a study conducted by the University of Florida in 2006 found that, out of 10 different types of decaf coffee, only one of them was actually caffeine-free. Said study co-author Bruce Goldberger, Ph.D., "If someone drinks five to 10 cups of decaffeinated coffee, the dose of caffeine could easily reach the level present in a cup of two of caffeinated coffee." Of course, it's unlikely that anyone would be drinking five to 10 cups of Counting Sheep Coffee right before bed, but still. I'm curious about whether the valerian root is enough to counteract the caffeine that's probably still present in the coffee itself. Maybe that's just me, though.

It's also worth noting, by the way, that Counting Sheep isn't meant to be used as medicine; it's a foodstuff, not a drug, so don't try to self-medicate with it. And, as they note on their website, "Just don't mix up your coffee in the morning." That could be disastrous.

Find out more over at Counting Sheep Coffee's website. Sweet dreams!

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