The Benefits of Reishi and Lion’s Mane Mushrooms for Sleep
We like to think of sleep as overnight therapy for body and mind. A critical time to rest, recover and rejuvenate ourselves. High-quality restorative sleep is key to feeling our best and brings with it many health benefits including:
What causes poor sleep and insomnia?
When sleep alludes us it can feel frustrating and lonely like you're the only person in the world who cant drift off to dreamland. Two of the main factors that can make falling asleep and staying asleep hard are disrupted circadian rhythm and stress.
In its simplest sense, our circadian rhythm is like an internal clock that when working well follows the natural flow of the day rousing and alerting us in waking hours and winding down and prompting rest after nightfall. Our circadian rhythm can be disrupted by things like eating too close to dinner (which is telling our body to digest and metabolise energy from food), staring at screens or having bright lights on at home in the evening (inhibiting the release of melatonin), staying up late and lack of exercise.
Stress is also a supreme sleep disruptor and with the demands of modern life more fast paced than ever, many of us have had those times when you feel so tired and are desperate to sleep yet the body and mind cant quite wind down enough to deliver us to rest. In response to stress, our body primes us to respond to what it perceives as threats, like an unresolved situation at work, prompting wakefulness rather than rest. It also activates the release of hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol that again tell the body it's time for action not rest.
Getting good quality sleep can be somewhat of an art, yet even if we achieve 8 hours of sleep a night, is it always optimal, uninterrupted rest? There are a variety of tools that help support restful sleep, the type that leaves you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle the day and medicinal mushrooms are in the mix. Read on as we dive into which medicinal mushrooms best support good quality sleep.
Medicinal Mushrooms for Sleep
Many medicinal mushrooms are well-known adaptogens. Adaptogens are substances that help regulate vital systems within our body, like the nervous system, for example, to assist the body in restoring balance and adapting to stress. One of the main reasons why medicinal mushrooms are classed as adaptogens is that they contain compounds called beta-d-glucans which are biological response modifiers that help prompt this state of balance within the body. It’s through this action that medicinal mushrooms can help support sleep by calming and balancing the nervous system and balancing hormones, particularly the release of cortisol, at optimum times of the day rather than in the evening. The two mushroom extracts that we reach for to support optimum sleep are Reishi and Lion’s Mane.
Reishi for Sleep
Reishi mushroom is coveted for its ability to help lower both mental and physical feelings of stress and increase the quality of our sleep. Studies have demonstrated the triterpenes and beta-d-glucans in Reishi have the potential to soothe the nerves, promoting a sedative quality that can help support restful sleep. The accumulative effect of taking Reishi mushroom across a long-term basis was also shown to increase states of deep sleep.
A 2021 study further examined how Reishi supports sleep uncovering that Reishi increases sleep-promoting neurotransmitters in the hypothalamus, which regulate our sleep and wake cycles. Researchers also concluded that Reishi can help induce sleep by influencing the gut-brain pathway via its positive effect on gut bacteria.
Lion’s Mane for Sleep
A 2015 study on Japanese female university students suffering stress and disrupted sleep, demonstrated Lion’s Mane to be effective in reducing stress and alleviating insomnia. After a month of using Lion’s Mane, the subjects reported significant declines in fatigue, anxiety, irritability, depressive states and better sleep quality.
While the researchers didn’t uncover by what mechanism Lion’s Mane was effective in promoting good quality sleep and lessening stress there’s the potential that’s it’s due to its ability to support nerve health and nerve growth via NGF production in the brain thought to help to increase the function and strength of neural pathways.
NGF proteins protect existing neurons and stimulate new neuron growth. While this is the case, the blood-brain barrier is not permeable by NGF proteins which are too big to pass through. Hericium Erinaceus, Lion’s Mane’s Latin name, alludes to the substances which give the potential for this potent mushroom to provide brain supporting benefits; hericenones are molecular compounds that can stimulate the brain to make more NGF and erinacines are small enough to cross this barrier and have the potential to work with the brain to foster the production of NGF. Together these compounds are thought to have the ability to foster NGF production within the brain.
Recent studies have confirmed that NGF can also help regulate the circadian rhythm cycle promoting wakefulness and sleep at the appropriate times.
Working with Reishi and Lion’s Mane for Good Quality Sleep
The real benefit of medicinal mushrooms lie in working with them consistently over a period of time to experience their accumulated benefit. Our Inner Atlas extracts are highly concentrated meaning a little goes a long way; we recommend a ¼ teaspoon per serving.
We love Reishi in the evening to make the most of its calming qualities before bed. You can enjoy it as a tonic tea by adding your Reishi extract powder to a small cup of warm water.
Lion’s Mane doesn’t need to be taken before bed to make the most of its sleep-supporting qualities. We recommend enjoying Lion’s Mane during the day - it works well when added to coffee, juice, tea, smoothies or meals.
Inner Atlas Reishi and Lion’s Mane
We’ve worked hard to deliver what we believe are the most potent medicinal mushroom extracts available. Mushrooms you can really feel. Our Inner Atlas Reishi and Lion’s Mane are:
- Fruiting body only – 100% real mushrooms with no added fillers or mycelium.
- Lab-tested for purity.
- Highly potent, containing greater than 30% beta-D-glucans.
- Certified USDA & EU Organic.
- Grown Di Tao – sourced from the pristine and remote Jinzhai County, Anhui, China (Reishi) and Gutian County, China (Lion’s Mane).
- We source from these traditional growing locations to access medicinal mushrooms that are semi-wild crafted, grown outdoors on hardwood where the mushies absorb all of their beneficial compounds from.