If you struggle with sleep or can’t seem to relax, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation, about 30% of adults in the United States have difficulty sleeping, and nearly half report feeling restless or wound up at bedtime.
But before you reach for that bottle of sleeping pills, perhaps consider the potential of functional mushrooms. These medicinal mushrooms have been used for centuries in traditional medicine for their health-promoting benefits, and some varieties may actually be able to help you with sleep and relaxation.
Some of the most well-known functional musrooms include reishi, shiitake, and lion’s mane. All contain compounds that have been shown to have therapeutic effects on the body.
One such compound is tryptophan, an amino acid that is converted into serotonin and melatonin in the body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep, and melatonin is a hormone that plays a key role in sleep-wake cycles. By increasing the production of these compounds, functional mushrooms may be able to help improve sleep and relaxation.
In addition to tryptophan, functional mushrooms also contain other compounds that may be able to help with sleep and relaxation. For example, some contain beta-glucans, which are a type of fibre that has been shown to have immune-boosting and stress-reducing effects. Others contain compounds called triterpenes, which have anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting effects.
So, do functional mushrooms really work for sleep and relaxation?
While more research is needed to confirm the effectiveness of functional mushrooms for sleep and relaxation, some early studies suggest they may be able to help.
For example, a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that taking a reishi mushroom supplement improved sleep quality and decreased the time it took to fall asleep in people with insomnia. Another study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that shiitake mushrooms improved sleep quality and increased the duration of deep sleep in mice.
While these studies are promising, it’s important to note that more research is needed to confirm the benefits of functional mushrooms for sleep and relaxation in humans.
How to incorporate functional mushrooms into your routine
If you’re interested in trying functional mushrooms for sleep and relaxation, there are a few different ways you can incorporate them into your routine.
One option is to take a supplement. Many functional mushroom supplements are available in capsule or powder form, making them easy to incorporate into your daily routine. Just be sure to follow the dosing instructions on the package, as some supplements can be quite potent.
Another option is to incorporate functional mushrooms into your diet, for example with our drinks. Many functional mushrooms can be found at natural food stores or online, and they can be added to a variety of dishes. For example, you can add reishi or shiitake extracts to smoothies, or you can make a tea with chaga.
Do you feel rested after you sleep? Let us know in the comments below.