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sleep / wellness

Does Honey Help You Sleep?

by BetterSleep
Jun 21 • 4 min read
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Honey is well-known to have numerous health benefits, containing antioxidants that reduce the risk of heart disease, suppress coughing, relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, and can be used for wound care. But can honey help you sleep better? Evidence suggests using honey for sleep can be beneficial.

Fueling the Brain for Sleep

Honey might help you sleep better by providing the energy required for normal bodily functions during sleep. Your brain is active while you sleep, and it needs an energy source during this time that you’re not eating.

The brain utilizes glycogen stores in the liver for sleep energy. A spoonful of honey before bed supplies the liver and ensures you have adequate glycogen stores for good sleep.

Stabilizing Blood Sugar

Hunger pains during the night can be disruptive. A signal goes out in your body that your blood sugar is unstable and that it’s time to eat. A small amount of honey just before bed stabilizes blood sugar and prevents this reaction that can lead to increased wakefulness.

Tryptophan and Melatonin

Another reason honey might be useful in promoting good sleep is the presence of tryptophan. This is an amino acid that is a precursor for melatonin, the hormone that signals the brain and body when it’s time to go to sleep. Tryptophan might also support other hormones that promote quality sleep.

Does Honey Help You Sleep According to Research?

The idea behind honey improving sleep makes sense, but there is also real evidence from studies. A clinical trial conducted at the University of Saskatchewan enlisted participants to test the effects of honey on sleep.

The researchers recruited people who sleep poorly and compared the benefits of honey to a melatonin supplement. They found that the honey improved sleep more than melatonin. These preliminary results will lead to a more extensive trial.

In another study, researchers recruited children with upper respiratory infections. Their parents gave the children either honey or a placebo before bed. Those who received honey slept better, possibly because honey reduced their coughing and other symptoms.

What Do Milk and Honey Do for Sleep?

Warm milk, often with honey, is a sleep remedy people have used for hundreds of years. Some research suggests that this old folk remedy really can help people sleep better. A study of 68 patients hospitalized for cardiovascular disease investigated the effects of milk mixed with honey.

Half of the patients received the mixture twice a day for three days, while the rest received normal care. The researchers found clear evidence that the milk and honey group experienced improved sleep as compared to the control group.

Whether you take a spoonful of honey straight or mix it into a bedtime cup of warm milk, the benefits for your sleep are proven. Make it a part of your nightly relaxation routine. Along with meditation, soothing music, or a bedtime story, honey can help improve your sleep.

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