Does Reishi Help You Sleep?
If you’ve been tossing and turning when you should be sleeping, it’s time to give Reishi a try. For centuries, this mushroom has been the Number One ingredient in many herbal medicines. And modern studies proved its numerous health benefits, including better immunity and fighting cancer cells.
But that’s a story for another time. For now, let’s focus on how to use Reishi for sleep and learn how it can restore your consciousness and emotional balance to help you sleep.
What is Reishi Mushroom?
Reishi mushroom is a fungus. People use the dried powder made from the fungus body for medicine.
There are many different kinds of Reishi mushroom preparations sold as dietary supplements. These preparations include capsules, powders, teas, liquids, and extracts.
The reishi mushroom is used to treat viral infections like the flu, swine flu, and avian flu, as well as lung conditions like asthma and bronchitis, heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, high cholesterol levels, and many more. Its benefits are so many that we would need several hours to list them.
Triterpenoids are also antioxidants that can help reduce stress levels by lowering cortisol, a stress hormone. The body releases cortisol when we're stressed or anxious — this can prevent us from falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. By lowering cortisol levels, reishi helps promote a good night's sleep.
Circadian Rhythm & Hormones
The high concentration of polysaccharides, triterpenes, and other unique chemicals in the Reishi mushroom makes it an effective adaptogen. Its ability to balance hormone levels, adrenal function, and other body systems has earned it the title of "master" adaptogen. Restoring physiological balance can alleviate frustration, jet lag, tension, and anxiety.
Hormones are the important messengers in your body that regulate appetite, sleep cycles, moods, weight gain and loss, and many other functions. The hormonal system is controlled by a master clock located in the brain called the hypothalamus. Your hormones follow a 24-hour cycle known as Circadian Rhythm, governed by your master clock.
Your sleep-wake cycle is part of your circadian rhythm. The hypothalamus sends signals to release melatonin when it's dark outside so you can get sleepy and go to bed. Light signals wake you up by shutting off melatonin production in the morning.
Like all complex rhythms in your body, this system can be thrown off by things like stress or illness. And when your hormones are out of whack, it could lead to problems like depression or weight gain.
This is where Reishi comes into play. It helps balance not just one hormone but a whole group of them. You'll have more energy throughout the day, sleep better, and have fewer mood swings overall. This means it's easier to lose weight, gain energy and keep it off!
What are the Consequences of Poor Sleep?
Sleep is a vital part of our everyday life. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to function properly and would struggle to get through the day. There are many different reasons we may not get enough sleep, with stress being the most common cause.
You might think losing a few hours of sleep here and there won’t affect you too much, but you’d be surprised. Here are some of the main consequences of poor sleep:
- Lack of concentration and productivity
It goes without saying that if you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to concentrate properly. This can make it difficult to focus on the tasks at hand and makes us less productive. If you have an important meeting coming up or need to submit an essential piece of work tomorrow, you might want to make sure that you grab a few extra hours of sleep tonight!
- Increased risk of illness
If you don’t give your body enough time to recover whilst resting, your immune system will struggle to fight off infections such as colds and flu. Although it may seem like a good idea to pull an all-nighter before a big exam or event, in the long run, it will probably leave you feeling exhausted.
- Memory impairment
Research shows that when people are sleep-deprived, their ability to think clearly and form new memories is impaired. During sleep, the brain makes connections between events, emotions, and memories in the day and consolidates them for storage in the brain's memory banks.
- Altered judgment and decision-making
Research has shown that sleep-deprived people are less able to process information and make good decisions. Sleep loss also affects how people feel about themselves, others around them, and their ability to function at work or school.
- Impaired motor function
Sleep deprivation affects the brain’s ability to communicate with the body’s nervous system, which controls muscle function. Inadequate sleep has been linked to poor hand-eye coordination, which can have consequences if you’re operating heavy machinery or driving a vehicle.
- Increased levels of stress hormones
Increased stress hormones like cortisol suppress immune function, increase blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and raise blood sugar levels. These same hormones promote stored fat release into the bloodstream to be used as fuel; this boost in circulating fats increases the risk for heart disease. Levels of cortisol are lower when people get enough sleep; high cortisol levels are associated with a higher risk for heart disease.
- High blood pressure
Several studies have linked insufficient sleep to an increased risk for high blood pressure. One study showed that people who slept less than six hours were more likely to develop high blood pressure than those between seven and eight hours each night.
- Increased risk of psychiatric disorders like depression and schizophrenia
Studies have shown that people with insomnia have a higher risk of developing depression, while those with depression have a higher risk of developing insomnia. Schizophrenia patients treated for their insomnia showed significant improvement in their psychotic symptoms.
- Increased risk of diabetes.
Research shows that people with chronic insomnia are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes than individuals without insomnia symptoms. However, it's not clear if treating insomnia can reduce this risk factor.
- Increased levels of ghrelin.
Because it stimulates desire, increases food intake, and promotes fat accumulation, ghrelin is known as "the hunger hormone." When you don't get enough sleep, your ghrelin levels rise while your leptin levels fall, making you hungry.
Reishi Mushroom Sleep Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of Reishi is its ability to support quality sleep. A study by Peking University proved its power to treat restlessness and insomnia. According to the researchers, consuming the mushroom for three days increased total sleep time in rats.
Another study revealed that Reishi decreased sleep latency, or the time it takes someone to fall asleep. This study also indicated the mushroom's positive effects on rats’ sleep stages, namely non-REM sleep and light sleep.
Non-REM sleep (NREM) is the 30-60 minutes in which the body repairs itself and improves its immunity. By getting longer NREM, your body will grow stronger. You’ll also enjoy looking the same for a longer time since aging is linked to shorter sleep spans.
As for light sleep, it’s the stage between waking and sleeping where you may hear and feel your surroundings. By getting sufficient light sleep, you’ll be able to wake up refreshed. As a result, your memory, learning ability, and motor skills will be sharp.
It’s worth noting that some researchers believe that this improved sleep is due to reduced stress. Consuming the mushroom has an effect similar to that of a tranquilizer with sedative properties. It can relax the central nervous system, which, in turn, relaxes the muscles.
Besides using Reishi for sleep, these mushrooms can also counter insomnia induced by medical conditions and mental health disorders. From cancer to depression, the mushroom can de-stress patients and alleviate some of their symptoms. Therefore, ensuring they get sufficient sleep.
Which Type of Reishi Mushroom Is Best for Better Sleep?
The official species of Reishi is Ganoderma lingzhi, which is the fungus commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine. There are also many species out there, including the Japanese Ganoderma tsugae and North American Ganoderma curtisii.
However, if sleep is what you’re after, you need to get your hands on Ganoderma lucidum. This is the species that Peking University has tested in the above studies. And luckily, you can find it in several forms that best suit your needs.
Types of Reishi Mushrooms for Sleep
You can either eat Reishi mushrooms directly, or get them in the form of powder, capsules, tincture, or tea. If you’re not sure which form is best, here’s a quick look at each.
Whole Reishi Mushrooms
If you’ve been struggling to sleep, sinking your teeth into this mushroom may seem like a great idea. Unfortunately, fresh mushrooms have a woody texture and a bitter taste.
While you may get used to the taste with time, other alternatives may be easier to incorporate. Especially since you need to consume this daily, maybe even twice a day, for the results you seek.
Mushroom Tea for Sleep
Making Reishi tea is probably the easiest way to consume this mushroom. However, you’ll need to boil 3 oz of dried mushroom for 30-120 minutes.
Thankfully, there are readily available teas that can be ready instantly. For example, you can use teabags with Traditional Medicinals Organic Reishi Mushroom with Rooibos & Orange Peel Tea. Some teas like Chaga Reishi Tea by Baikal Tea also include other mushrooms to improve your overall wellbeing.
Reishi Mushroom Capsules
If you don’t think you can handle the taste of reishi at all, your safest bet is capsules. What makes this even more tempting is that it offers additional benefits.
For example, The Real Mushrooms Reishi Mushroom Capsule Supplements ensures high-levels of beta-glucans. These support the immune system while fixing oxidative damage.
What makes reishi liquid extracts so popular is their potency. The water-soluble polysaccharides in them boost the immune system, while the alcohol-soluble triterpenes target cells directly.
However, you need carefully prepared tinctures, or else you’ll miss out on the alcohol-soluble constituents. So, choose tinctures like Horbäach’s Super Concentrated Reishi Mushroom Tincture that are expertly crafted and tested for purity and potency.
Like tincture, reishi powder can be quickly absorbed by the body. Besides, it’s easier to swallow and quicker to consume. All you need to do is mix it in hot water or your tea/coffee. And if you choose powder like Terrasoul Superfoods Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder, potency can be guaranteed.
How To Take Reishi for Sleep
After the what and why, it’s time for the how. That is, how to reap the benefits of reishi mushrooms and get better sleep.
When to Eat Reishi for Sleep
If you plan on cooking reishi, you should consume that dish three hours before you sleep. That way, your body can digest it and let the good sedatives work their magic.
Alternatively, you can have it as a snack two to three hours before bedtime. Just make sure to follow the recommended dosage to get the results you’re after.
When is the Best Time to Take Reishi for Sleep?
Even if you’re not eating these mushrooms whole, the evening is the best time to have any reishi product. If you’re having tea, powder, or extract, you’ll need to take these after dinner but close to your bedtime.
As for supplements, you’ll need to follow the instructions on the label. That said, most recommend two tablets a day to get the required results.
Reishi Mushroom Dosage for Sleep
How much Reishi for sleep do you need to consume? That depends on various factors like your age, health, and form of mushroom.
Typically, you’ll need 25 to 100 g if you’re consuming crude dried mushroom. If you choose Reishi extract, you can consume 6 to 12 g daily. Start from the lowest range and work your way up to find the right dose for you.
Luckily, most products will guide you properly on how much you need to consume. So, all you need to do is check the label for dosage details.
How Much Reishi Mushroom Powder to Take for Sleep?
The recommended Reishi mushroom dosage for adults is 1,000 milligrams (mg) of reishi powder or 4 to 8 ml of liquid extract daily.
This amount can vary depending on the condition you’re trying to treat. For example, you may need to take 4,500 mg if you’re using reishi to treat cancer or 2,000–4,000 mg if you want to boost your immune system.
The easiest way to determine the right dose is to start with one scoop or 3g.
Add this scoop to a 6–8-ounce mug of hot water or your favorite hot drink 1-2 hours before bedtime. If you decide to cook with the powder, you’ll find dosage details in these recipes. And you’re in for a treat since these recipes range from smoothies to bolognese sauce.
Also, as with any supplement, talk with your doctor before taking Reishi mushrooms for any treatment.
Reishi mushrooms have been shown to promote relaxation, reduce mental stress and anxiety, and improve sleep. The potential role of reishi in improving sleep quality is of great interest given its reported nootropic properties. Future research may well show the efficacy of this herb in treating insomnia and psychiatric disorders such as depression and anxiety. If you're hesitant about taking yet another medication to help with your sleep issues, why not give reishi a try?