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When you lay your head down on the pillow each night, it’s time for your body to rejuvenate and rest. Sleep is a crucial component of our daily lives: good sleep provides us with a systematic reset each night, promoting good health and boosting our immune system.
While sleep is as vital as food, water, and air, there is a wide-sweeping sleep crisis across the country. If you are one of these individuals struggling to find a good night's rest, reishi mushrooms might be able to help. This article will help you understand how reishi mushrooms can help with sleep, plus some bonus sleep strategies including using herbs like chamomile, lavender, and cacao.
The history of the usage of reishi mushrooms for anxiety and immunity goes back thousands of years to ancient China. Reishi mushrooms were elevated in these ancient societies, often thought to sustain long life or immortality.
The Reishi Mushroom, or Ganoderma lucidum, was regarded as “the king of mushrooms,” due to its holistic healing properties. In fact, another name for the reishi mushroom is Língzhī, which roughly translates to “divine mushroom.”
In ancient Chinese medicine texts, various plants were rated for their healing properties. Reishi was given a superior rating above ginseng, and traditional healers upheld reishi as a powerful supplement that provided medicinal benefits without causing ill effects.
According to traditional Chinese text, the ganoderma functional mushrooms was known for its usefulness in:
Is the power of reishi for sleep real? The short answer? Yes. Reishi mushrooms have long been known for their sedative properties that promote a healthier night’s rest. That’s why people often take advantage of this powerful mushroom by adding it to teas and supplements.
The sleep-promoting powers of reishi mushrooms are largely due to the mushroom’s calming effects on your central nervous system (CNS)—the messaging network in your body that also sends stress signals. In a relaxed state, your body:
So, when your CNS is relaxed, so are you—which ultimately helps you slip into a slumber more easily.
However, it’s worth noting that reishi mushrooms have no effect on REM sleep. REM sleep is considered to be the “deep sleep” your body undergoes during its sleep cycles. And well-regulated REM sleep leaves you feeling rested the next morning.
Although reishi mushrooms don’t impact REM sleep, they have been shown to help the body arrive into a deep sleep state.
To that end, reishi mushrooms can be useful in the preliminary stages of sleep, which is known as light sleep. This stage helps transition your body from wakefulness to a restful slumber. As such, reishi supports the initial relaxation of your motor functions and mind that’s required to start your rest cycle, which, with other sleep aids, can help support a night of better sleep.
As you already know, your body requires a good night’s sleep to properly function physically and mentally. To that end, there have been several studies involving G. lucidum pertaining to the effectiveness of reishi mushrooms on sleep.
Results have shown in both human and animal subjects that reishi mushrooms can improve a night's rest. But how does this work exactly? A recent study from 2021 determined that the key to understanding reishi’s impact on sleep might be found in gut microbiota.
Within your gut, the cell walls contain substances that stimulate the surfaces of the intestinal walls, which then impact functions of the rest of the body. When consumed, reishi mushrooms interact with these cell walls, which may have an effect on how well you sleep throughout the night.
More specifically, the researchers found that a reishi mushroom extract:
Not many supplements begin to work immediately after being consumed. While at a micro-level you will be benefiting from reishi mushrooms, you will most likely need to give it some time before you see any noticeable changes.
Typically, you may have to consume reishi mushrooms for about ten days to two weeks before you’ll see any noticeable changes to your sleep pattern. In the meantime, keep up with your supplement intake and maintain a consistent dose each time you consume the mushrooms or supplements.
Reishi is not the only mushroom on the market for sleep. And as we’ve mentioned, paired with other sleep supplements, reishi can help decrease your sleep latency and support deep sleep.
In addition to reishi mushroom supplements, there are various natural solutions that support restful sleep.
Lion’s mane mushrooms are large, white functional mushrooms used in culinary and medicinal practices in China, Japan, Korea and India. When cooked, the adaptogenic mushroom is often described as having a seafood taste.
Lion’s Mane works similar to reishi mushrooms, activating the body’s gut-brain axis to help improve your night's rest. While it’s not the star of the show when it comes to sleep-aiding mushrooms (that title is reserved for reishi mushrooms), lion’s mane is still another great mushroom you can use to enhance your night’s rest.
Yep, really! Cacao is another sleep-support superfood solution that you can take before bed.. Cacao contains a dense assortment of nutrients including:
Because of its high-nutrient and alkaloid profile, cacao can help you calm down before bed. This is mostly due to tryptophan, an ingredient in cacao that supports a good night's rest. Interestingly, Tryptophan also aids in the production of serotonin, helping you feel happier. So, if you’re looking for a supplement that will improve your sleep and mood, try our Nightlight Mushroom Cacao Mix.
Chamomile, which is often found in warm cups of herbal tea, may help ease you into a restful sleep. The plant, which functions as both an edible and aromatic remedy, contains a chemical compound that binds to receptors within the brain to induce sleep.
If you’re not one to boil a pot of tea, chamomile is also available as a supplement and as an essential oil, which you can diffuse throughout your home or bedroom to promote feelings of relaxation.
While chamomile does provide many rest and relaxation benefits, ingesting too much may lead to stomach issues. So if you’re looking to support your sleep, limit your intake to one or two cups before bed.
Lavender aromatherapy is often considered a natural sleep to restlessness or nervousness. When diffused, the herbal solution may improve your sleep quality, according to a study in which participants inhaled lavender essential oil before bedtime.
In addition to essential oils, lavender is available in:
In addition to medicinal foods, CBD—or cannabidiol—is another compound that may aid sleep, promote relaxation, and deliver you into a night of deep sleep.
As an extract of the hemp plant, CBD has no psychoactive effects. Instead, it interacts with your body’s endocannabinoid system. This system comprises a vast network of receptors that work with your body to maintain proper function and homeostasis.
When you ingest CBD, it slows down your locomotor activity, making it easier to fall asleep. For those looking for a sleep-promoting solution, a full-spectrum CBD oil like CBD Drops + Sleep may improve your nighttime routine.
In addition to supporting sleep, CBD may also:
Ever wonder why we spend so many hours of the day asleep? Sleep problems can often arise from occasional stress and busy schedules. In America, around 70% of people report that they struggled to obtain the proper sleep at least one night each month, while another 11% struggled to find sleep every night.
The averages for sleep deprivation have been increasing in the last few decades to the point where nearly 50 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep deprivation or sleep-related disorder.
Without proper sleep, you can be susceptible to fatigue-related struggles, including:
Good sleep means better health, and the more you obtain restful nights, the better your body is prepared to combat diseases, maintain systems, and recover.
Whether you’re interested in the power of sleep-inducing reishi mushrooms, or CBD oil that can help you slumber through the night, Plant People provides the supplements and CBD you need to discover holistic nighttime solutions. Specifically, WonderDay and NightLight are two of our go-to’s for sleep.
Want to try other reishi mushroom benefits? Our Advanced Immune Power uses a combination of maitake mushrooms, turkey tail mushrooms, reishi mushrooms, chaga mushroom, and astragalus to grant you the ultimate vitality boost. Plant People’s line of immune function boosting and sleep boosting supplements can help you stay healthy and find that restful sleep so you can continue living every day to the fullest.
Reviewed by Gabe Kennedy
Co-Founder of Plant People, Gabe Kennedy is an acclaimed chef and entrepreneur. Growing up in a house of healers and herbalists, he is passionate about the power of food as a tool for health, and actualized this passion and belief system into his company, Plant People. Named to Forbes 30 under 30 Gabe has shaped menus and cooked his way around the world with his mission to promote a more communal, green and healthy world.
Gabe is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. You can learn more about his work at his website.