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Does Lion's Mane Make You Sleep | UK

by Hamza Jamal |

Lion's mane is a promising natural sleep aid, but to say it can make you sleep is a bit of a stretch. The scientific opinion is that lion's mane can help you nod off, but there isn't enough data yet to recommend it as a remedy for poor sleep.

The thing with poor sleep is you can quickly exhaust your options for remedies like herbal medicines, aromatherapy, and eliminating blue light, leading you to lion's mane and other natural products that promise to do wonderful things.

The truth is that lion's mane has scientific studies backing it as a sleep aid, and there are several mechanisms for how this might happen:

  •         Reduces anxiety and depression: Studies show that lion's mane has anxiolytic and antidepressant effects, which could help calm the mind and make it easier to fall and stay asleep. In one study, 4 weeks of lion's mane intake significantly reduced depression, anxiety, and sleep disorder scores on standardised questionnaires [1].
  •         Lion's mane modulates neurotransmitters: Lion's mane influences levels of serotonin, dopamine, and other neurotransmitters involved in sleep-wake cycles [2]. It may increase BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), a key molecule for brain health that is lower in people with insomnia and sleep problems.
  •         Regulates the circadian rhythm: Some unique compounds in lion's mane may help normalise circadian rhythms and increase non-REM sleep time [3].

We provide more colour below.

The Evidence: Lion's Mane and Sleep Studies

The Evidence: Lion's Mane and Sleep Studies

While more research in humans is needed, a handful of animal and human studies provide early evidence that lion's mane can indeed improve sleep:

Sleep in Female Students

A 2015 study examined the effects of lion's mane on sleep quality and mood in 8 female undergraduate students preparing for exams [4].

After 4 weeks of taking lion's mane, the students had less anxiety and better sleep quality scores on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index than before supplementation.

They also had higher levels of salivary MHPG, a marker of brain noradrenaline activity, which is essential for sleep-wake regulation.

Sleep in Overweight People

A 2019 Italian clinical study looked at the effects of lion's mane on overweight or obese patients with mood disorders and impaired sleep [5].

77 patients were given either a low-calorie diet only, or a diet plus lion's mane for 8 weeks. The lion's mane group had significantly lower depression and anxiety scores and reported better sleep quality. They also had higher levels of circulating pro-BDNF, suggesting lion's mane increased expression of this important neuro-protein.

Sleep in Stress-Induced Insomnia (animal study)

A 2021 mouse study directly examined the impact of lion's mane extract on sleep in a stress-induced insomnia model [6].

Mice underwent daily tail suspension tests before their normal sleep time to disrupt sleep patterns and induce anxiety. Lion's mane administration reduced the mice's anxiety behaviours and normalised their circadian rhythms. The high dose fully reversed the sleep disturbances caused by the stressful condition.

While more robust human trials are needed, taken together, this early research suggests lion's mane intake can reduce anxiety and depressive symptoms, normalise sleep-wake cycles, and improve both subjective and objective measures of sleep quality, especially in people under mental stress.

Recommended Lion's Mane Dosage for Sleep

The human studies to date have used lion's mane doses of around 1-3 grams per day of the fruiting body or mycelium extract. These doses appear to be well-tolerated, with minimal side effects reported.

Of course, anyone considering taking lion's mane for sleep should consult their doctor first, especially those on medications or with pre-existing health conditions.

While generally safe, lion's mane could interact with some medications or health issues. For example:

  •         Lion's mane has an anticoagulant effect [7], which means it could potentially increase the risk of bleeding or interact with blood-thinning medications like warfarin, aspirin, or clopidogrel.
  •         Some studies suggest that lion's mane may help lower blood sugar levels [8], [9]. If taken alongside diabetes medications, it could potentially lead to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar).
  •         Lion's mane has immunomodulatory effects [10], so for those taking immunosuppressant drugs after organ transplants or for autoimmune conditions, lion's mane could potentially interfere with the effectiveness of these medications.

The Bottom Line

The Bottom Line

While more definitive research is still needed, the available evidence does suggest that lion's mane mushroom can help promote better sleep.

It appears to work by reducing anxiety and depression, modulating neurotransmitters and BDNF levels in the brain, and regulating the body's natural sleep-wake rhythms.

The sleep-supportive effects of lion's mane seem most pronounced in people with stress, anxiety, or poor sleep quality at baseline. Clinical studies have used 1–3 grams daily of lion's mane extract for 4-8 weeks to see sleep improvements.

Lion's mane may be worth adding to your natural sleep hygiene toolbox if you struggle with occasional sleepless nights or stress-related insomnia.

vybey Lion's Mane contains 100% Mushroom Fruiting Body Extract 10:1 —a concentrate with more powerful effects than the raw product. You can take it as a capsule or as a powder mixed into your meals and drinks.