Cover art by @giraffesdoingthingsIf you’ve noticed that your sleep schedule is out of wack, or you’re being plagued with restless nights more often than normal, you’re not alone. Since the pandemic era arrived, doctors have seen an increase in patients with chronic stress and insomnia.
According to a report from Express Scripts, there has been a 21.0% increase in the number of prescriptions filled per week for antidepressant, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia medications between mid-February and mid-March of 2020. Behavioral sleep medicine provider Lisa Medalie, PsyD, has dubbed this phenomenon coronasomnia. Coronasomnia is not only linked to the chronic stress many have felt since COVID-19 arrived, but also the disruption of our normal schedules and routines.
For many, prescription medications are the only option. However, if you’re looking to try a natural path to better sleep, function mushrooms may be your golden ticket to dreamland.
The Science of a Good Night’s Rest
Our bodies have something called a circadian rhythm, which is essentially our internal clock telling us when it’s time to go to sleep and when it’s time to wake up. When we ignore the signs our bodies tell us, our sleep cycles can be seriously disrupted. Add stress, routine disruption, and a global pandemic and it’s no wonder many of our circadian rhythms are seriously out of wack.
When we sleep, our bodies produce growth hormones, which help us heal from ailments. Other hormones are also stimulated throughout the sleep cycle process, such as prolactin, cortisol, and thyroid-stimulating hormones, all of which are essential to keeping our bodies in a biological state of balance, called homeostasis.
Bad Sleep Has Negative Consequences
When we consistently have bad sleep, our bodies can quickly start shutting down. A 2019 study on the effects of sleep deprivation describes how disrupting our body's natural ability to produce hormones and maintain biorhythms can profoundly affect our memory, metabolism, immune response, and overall survival.
Poor sleep has been connected to a series of negative diseases and conditions. The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has linked constant sleepless nights to obesity, heart disease, cognitive and mental decline, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, poor immune function, and decreased testosterone in men.
It’s clear that allowing our bodies to rest is one of the most important ways to live a long and healthy life. But what do you do if you’re unable to fix your sleeping patterns on your own? Before resorting to pharmaceuticals, you may want to consider something our earth provides us.
Functional Mushrooms For Sleep
The benefits of functional mushrooms have been recognized for thousands of years by indigenous people across the world. Only in recent history have function mushrooms been researched in depth in Western medicine. From treating cancer to skin wellness, functional mushrooms can help our bodies and minds stay healthy and happy.
Out of the hundreds of known functional mushrooms, there are a few that stand out for their sleep-inducing properties. Keep reading to see how lion’s mane, reishi, and cordyceps mushrooms can help you drift off easily.
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s mane is often known to improve focus and clarity, which may seem like an odd choice for improving sleep. However, a recent study done on Japanese students showed a major decrease and anxiety and insomnia when they took the lion’s mane mushroom extract called Amyloban 3399.
Other studies have shown that lion’s mane can improve delayed sleep disorder, which is caused by the disruption of the circadian rhythm which can ultimately lead to delayed sleep cycles.
A study done on rats showed that reishi extracts may help us fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and spend more time in non-REM (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep is an important step in our sleep cycle where most of the recovery work that our bodies need is done.
Reishi mushrooms can also help us deal with external stress factors due to their immunomodulatory properties. When we feel less stressed we often get better sleep.
The rich antioxidative properties of the reishi mushroom can also help reduce fatigue and balance our biological systems.
Cordyceps mushrooms are commonly known to help improve exercise and increase energy levels, so why are they listed in an article to help with sleep? The answer is adenosine.
Adenosine is a nucleoside (or a compound that occurs naturally in our cells) and an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it can act as a central nervous system depressant and can reduce arousal and promote sleepiness.
Interestingly enough, cordyceps mushrooms contain a compound called cordycepin, which is similarly structured to adenosine and has comparable effects on the body. This may improve NREM sleep and 5-HTP levels, which positively impact serotonin and melatonin in the body. Lion’s mane may also improve our ability to fall into a deep sleep due to reduced glutamine and acetylcholine levels.
All of this to say, taking cordyceps regularly can help you lull yourself into a restful night sleep.
Functional Mushroom Capsules
If you’re looking to start adding functional mushrooms to your daily routine, Alchemi Mushrooms can help. We have capsules filled with reishi, lion’s mane, and cordyceps mushrooms to help you feel your best.
Try our Clear Mind, Energy Balance, or Immune Shield capsules to see how mushrooms can improve your mental and physical wellbeing.