Functional mushroom supplements are only growing more popular. They are gaining traction for various reasons, but using mushrooms for sleep is one of the most common. It might seem strange to use mushrooms to improve sleep length and quality, but some species are well-suited to this purpose.
Reishi and lion’s mane, in particular, are two types of mushrooms that can be used to improve sleep. This brief but comprehensive guide covers five of the top benefits when it comes to using these two mushrooms for sleep.
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1. Lion’s Mane Can Soothe Anxiety
Typically, when someone has sleep problems, it’s important to first look at the causes. Many people are prevented from sleeping by anxiety and chronic stress. Thinking about all the things you have to do in a day can stop you from settling down, leading to delayed and restless sleep.
In animal studies, researchers have shown lion’s mane to exhibit antidepressant and anxiolytic effects. In other words, certain extracts in the lion’s mane could reduce anxiety.
One small study involving menopausal women also found that lion’s mane cookies led participants to report reduced feelings of anxiety.
For those who struggle with sleeping due to feelings of anxiety, lion’s mane could help address the causes of restlessness.
2. Reishi Can Promote Relaxation
Similarly, reishi could promote relaxation and lead to better sleep. A couple of studies have investigated reishi’s ability to help the user fall asleep.
In 2007, a study showed that reishi could increase light sleep time. Light sleep is a period of rest in the sleep cycle, somewhere between wake and rest. It tends to make up the most significant portion of the sleep cycle and is essential in its own way, although many people do not consider it proper rest.
More recently, a 2019 study demonstrated that triterpenoids in reishi extract had significant sedative effects on mice. In part, this was due to painkilling properties.
3. Lion’s Mane May Promote REM Sleep
There are lots of anecdotal reports that suggest a lion’s mane can lengthen REM sleep. This phase of the sleep cycle is sometimes called ‘dream’ sleep because it’s when the brain is dreaming.
Users of lion’s mane supplements who track their sleep have discovered that using the extract before bed leads to more extended periods of REM.
However, no clinical trials have been conducted on this yet. The fact that the evidence is anecdotal does not entirely discredit the hypothesis, but it’s worth taking it with a grain of salt.
4. Reishi Can Lead to Longer Sleep
Reishi mushrooms may lead to longer sleep, which was shown in the 2007 study linked above. Furthermore, it may boost delta brainwave activity during non-REM sleep.
A 2021 study involving animal subjects showed that after just three days of using reishi extracts, subjects’ sleep time increased. Another study from the same year investigated how reishi caused these effects. Researchers concluded that reishi’s positive impact on the gut could lead to better sleep by influencing the gut-brain pathway.
If this all sounds complicated, here’s the long and short of it: reishi extract may promote longer sleep, which may be ideal for those with sleep disorders.
5. Mushrooms Contain Adaptogens
Functional mushrooms are usually adaptogens. They contain adaptogenic compounds that help the body combat oxidative stress.
Reishi, in particular, is an adaptogenic powerhouse. Among others, it contains fatty acids, polysaccharides, and triterpenoids. The latter could be excellent for sleep.
One of the great things reishi can do is prevent the adrenal gland from overworking. Reishi extract may also stop the adrenal glands from producing cortisol (a stress hormone) following a stressful event.
Lion’s mane also contains plenty of antioxidants. As well as supporting a better sleep-wake cycle, the lion’s mane has a variety of other health benefits that the user can benefit from.
Final Thoughts on Reishi & Lion’s Mane for Sleep
Reishi and lion’s mane are just two mushrooms that could support better sleep. With thousands of Americans experiencing trouble sleeping, natural supplements like mushrooms could be the way forward.
If you decide to order mushrooms for sleep, make sure to do so from a reputable brand. It’s vital to find a supplement brand that places quality ingredients and transparency at the heart of everything they do. Brands like VidaCap are an excellent place to start, especially with their Capsules for Sleep, containing reishi and passionflower extract for a perfect settling-down supplement.