Matcha contains caffeine, and caffeine is a stimulate, and stimulants keep us awake. It makes sense and seems so logical. However, it is not as black and white as it seems.
We would like to take a closer look at the caffeine content of Matcha Green Tea. A 1g serve of Matcha tea contains around 0.25% of the caffeine of a small, single shot of espresso. There are some people, just like us, who can drink a coffee or espresso at 9pm and have no trouble to go to bed at 10 or 11pm. If you think this further, it means that we could have 4 cups of Matcha (which is quite a lot), and we would have the same effect.
When talking about Matcha and sleeping and caffeine, there is one important factor to consider. Matcha contains high levels of L-theanine. L-theanine makes us feel calm. This L-theanine, combined with the caffeine, ensures that we don´t get a short spike in energy (as you would from drinking a cup of coffee or two). Rather, this calming energy helps you focus your mind and is at the same time calming. This is the same calming energy that helps Zen Buddhists medidate. Also, while the energy spike you get from coffee disappears quickly, the increased energy levels from Matcha last much longer.
Thus, Matcha makes you calm and at the same time gives you energy. This makes it very hard to give a clear answer on the question if Matcha keeps you awake.
Caffeine generally suppresses the increase of melatonine level, which is the main sleep hormone. Caffeeine generally stays in our system for up to 5 hours, but the energy level peaks in the first 15-45 minutes after drinking the beverage. This obviously is different when drinking Matcha due to the L-theanine, which leads to some sort of "calm alertness". It could even be argued that the L-theanine helps you sleep.
L-theanine lowers levels of stress and anxiety and increases those that promote feelings of calm.
What we recommend is to set aside two evenings where your energy and stress levels are the same and drink Matcha before going to bed. Don’t take Matcha on the second night and then you will know if drinking matcha in the evening is good for you.
We always enjoy our Matcha before meditating. As we frequently meditate in the evening, we sometimes accidentally fall asleep while meditating. To avoid this, we drink Matcha and it helps us stay focused in a calm way during the meditation.
Either way, Matcha is just fantastic!