Wondering whether you can take Lion’s mane before bed? As a nootropic, Lion’s mane is often studied for its cognitive enhancing properties. While these properties are great for your waking hours, research now seems to suggest that this medicinal mushroom could also improve your sleep quality.
Is there any truth to the benefits of Lion’s mane before bed? If so, how safe is it? To learn more about this superfood mushroom, read on!
What Is Lion’s Mane?
Lion’s mane is a type of adaptogen mushroom that has been used in Japan, China, and Egypt for thousands of years. The fungus has many names including Hericium Erinaceus (its scientific name), hedgehog mushroom, sheep’s head, monkey head, and yamabushitake. [*]
Very common in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), this edible mushroom belongs to the tooth fungus group and is celebrated for its many health benefits. The mushroom is also widely used as a nootropic.
Like other medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi and Chaga, Lion’s mane works slowly as it adapts to your body. In other words, you won’t see results right away.
It may mostly have funny names, but the benefits of Lion’s mane mushroom are rather serious. Before we dive deeper into whether you can take lion’s mane before bed, let’s firstly explore what the benefits of this superfood mushroom are.
Health Benefits Of Lion’s Mane
If you’re not easily impressed, we hope that the powerful benefits of this odd-looking fungus will do the job! To give you an idea, Lion’s mane mushroom is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer, to name a few.
From helping treat inflammation-related illnesses and boosting the immune system to optimizing cholesterol levels and supporting healthy liver function, the mushroom stands out for many reasons. [*] [*] [*]
Lion’s mane mushroom contains many minerals and vitamins in addition to certain compounds that have neuroprotective properties.
The mushroom is also celebrated for its ability to promote brain health and improve cognitive function. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits that stand out:
Lion’s Mane And Brain Health
Sometimes referred to as the “smart mushroom,” Lion’s mane has notable benefits that support overall brain health and function. The mushroom contains hericenones and erinacines; two naturally-occurring bioactive compounds known for their cognitive health benefits.
What exactly are NGF and BDNF? Nerve growth factor or NGF is a signaling protein that’s important for the development as well as the maintenance of the sympathetic and sensory nervous system.
BDNF on the other hand plays a crucial role in both neuronal survival as well as growth. This key molecule is involved in plastic changes that are connected to learning and memory. In other words, BDNF increases brain plasticity and helps your brain cells stay resilient during times of stress. [*]
This molecule is also linked to aging and studies show that BDNF has a crucial role to play in age-related synaptic loss and cognitive decline. [*] Thanks to its ability to nourish neurons, prevent them from dying, and stimulate the growth of new ones, BDNF has been called “Miracle Grow for Your Brain!”
Since lion’s mane can enhance brain function, the mushroom can also help defend against diseases associated with low levels of NGF. Namely, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases [*]
So, whether you want to supercharge your brain cells, remember better, get rid of brain fog, or protect your brain as you age, Lion’s mane mushrooms have you covered!
Lion’s Mane And Cancer
As one of the leading causes of death in the world, cancer claims the lives of many. In 2018 for example, there were 9.5 million cancer-related deaths worldwide. While this number is shocking, it’s estimated that by 2040, the number of cancer-related death worldwide will be 16.4 million. [*]
As scary as this is, cancer doesn’t have to be part of your future. A healthy lifestyle, a diet of whole foods, and making medicinal mushrooms stable in your diet can protect you against this killer disease.
This is where the lion’s mane mushroom comes in. As weird as this fungus looks, studies show that it has anti-inflammatory effects and powerful anti-cancer properties. To give you an idea, lion’s mane has been found to either slow down the progression of or reverse the spread of the following types of cancer:
Gastric (stomach) cancer
In the case of lung cancer, for example, cell and animal studies show that the lion’s mane mushroom can help treat it. One study showed that dietary administration of lion’s mane extract was able to reduce the formation of tumor nodules in the lung by 50% and 55%.
The medicinal mushroom also prevented increases in lung weight caused by cancer cell metastasis. [*]
Leukemia – a type of cancer that usually involves white blood cells – is one of the cancers that lion’s mane mushroom can help treat. A Korean study demonstrated that a lion’s mane significantly reduces leukemia cells. [*]
Thanks to the phytochemicals in lion’s mane, another study found that this powerful mushroom has “therapeutic potential against human leukemia.” [*]
All the research that looked into lion’s mane mushroom for different types of cancer found similar results. In other words, when it comes to cancer, lion’s mane is a powerful and natural treatment against this killer disease.
Sleep Deprivation And Health
We all need sleep but not all of us get enough sleep or quality sleep. Many of us are familiar with (or have personally experienced) sleep disorders such as insomnia. Poor sleep doesn’t only make you grumpy and unproductive in your waking life and interfere with everyday life.
Poor sleep quality is also linked to an increased risk of many health issues including the following: [*]
High blood pressure
Simply put, poor sleep is no joke. And naturally, you want to avoid all these!
Lion’s Mane And Sleep
After a long day of working, running errands, and fulfilling our different responsibilities, we should all – ideally – be falling asleep as soon as we get into bed. But for many of us, this is more of a distant dream than reality!
The many stressors of modern life have made it hard for us to do many things we’re naturally wired to do – sleep being one of them. Thankfully, there are natural ways to get a good night’s sleep in the form of beneficial mushrooms such as lion’s mane.
So to answer the million-dollar question of “Can I take lion’s mane before bed?” the answer is a resounding yes! In fact, now that you know about the health benefits of the lion’s mane mushroom, you can take mane before bed and in your waking life, too.
In other words, the bioactive compounds in lion’s mane mushroom are a natural solution to many modern challenges and ailments. By now, you probably have a few more questions.
- How does the lion’s mane before bed work?
- When can I get a better night’s sleep with the lion’s mane?
- Where can I find lion’s mane products?
- How do I choose the best lion’s mane supplements?
Let’s answer all these questions (and hopefully more!) in the rest of this article.
Lion’s Mane And The Circadian Rhythm
If you’re familiar with the science of sleep, you have no doubt heard about your internal clock also known as the circadian rhythm.
Your circadian rhythm is a natural process that regulates many essential bodily functions. Part of our body’s internal clock, the circadian rhythm also controls our sleep-wake cycle. [*]
This cycle repeats roughly every 24 hours and when everything’s working as it should, we get consistent and restorative sleep. But what happens when this internal clock is out of balance?
Short answer – poor sleep can eventually lead to sleep disorders such as insomnia. This is where the lion’s mane before bed helps this process. How does this work exactly? Let’s find out!
Lion’s Mane And Cortisol Levels
One of the most common things that disrupt this natural sleep-wake cycle is high levels of cortisol. Produced and released by the adrenal glands, cortisol is also known as the stress hormone. [*]
Like other mushrooms and adaptogens, the adaptogenic properties of lion’s mane allow this mushroom to adapt to your body’s specific needs. How does it do this? By improving your stress response so that you can adapt to life’s different challenges.
Taking lion’s mane before bed promotes restful sleep. How so? Remember what we mentioned earlier about nerve growth factor (NGF)? Turns out that this signaling protein is also involved in the circadian clock. [*]
In other words, NGF directly impacts your sleep, and the lion’s mane has plenty of this protein!
Beyond stress, cortisol also has an important role to play in your sleep-wake cycle. The hormone peaks in the morning and decreases during the day. By nighttime, both the production and release of cortisol drop – reaching the lowest point around midnight.
Some of the things that disrupt this natural sleep-wake cycle include poor diet and lack of exercise/movement. Not only does this impact our brain’s ability to perform basic tasks but both our sleep duration and sleep quality are also negatively affected.
Taking lion’s mane helps stabilize cortisol levels so you can get better sleep.
Lion’s Mane Before Bed
We’ve already mentioned the health benefits and potential health benefits of lion’s mane. Based on the research, it’s clear that a lion’s mane before bed makes a lot of sense. After all, this edible mushroom promotes deep sleep by regulating your sleep cycle and keeping your cortisol levels balanced.
It’s believed by many that taking lion’s mane before bed may improve REM sleep. Rapid eye movement or REM sleep is one of the stages of sleep that’s said to start roughly 90 minutes after we fall asleep. [*]
This is a stage that’s important for learning and memory as well as dreaming. In other words, all the good things! While there’s no scientific evidence to support this (yet), we know that the bioactive compounds in lion’s mane stimulate NGF and BDNF.
For example, NGF is involved in our circadian clock whereas BDNF is key for learning and long-term memory in the central nervous system. It’s clear that lion’s mane offers a lot when it comes to getting better Zzz.
How To Take Lion’s Mane
If you like what you’ve read so far and are impressed as we are about the powerful benefits of medicinal mushrooms such as lion’s mane, then it’s time to give this fungus a try.
This mushroom comes in a wide variety of forms including fresh, as a mushroom extract, and in powder form. You can also find lion’s mane supplements.
These come as capsules but you can also find them in extracts and powder forms. Just make sure you get the highest quality mushroom extracts you can find.
If you’re feeling a little adventurous, you can even find lion’s mane mushroom extract in granola bars!
Lion’s mane safety: Not much is known about its side effects. It’s thus recommended to start with a low amount and increase your dosage based on your needs.
Lion’s mane offers a lot in the way of health benefits. Whether you want to use this powerful mushroom to get rid of brain fog, learn better or age without losing your memory, this mushroom has something for you.
While this article was focused on how to get sound sleep with a lion’s mane before bed, it’s important to remember one thing. The health benefits of lion’s mane mushroom aren’t limited to a particular time of day or night.
In simple terms, you can take lion’s mane at any time and still get its benefits. Medicinal mushrooms like lion’s mane will adapt to your body’s specific needs, regardless of the time or situation. Now that’s a superpower!
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