If you want to focus on one area of your health that will bring dramatic positive benefits to every area of your life, focus on the quality of your sleep. When the quality of your sleep suffers, so does your immune system, self-awareness, hormone health, mental performance and physical performance. But if you take the small amount of effort required to optimize your sleep, this really does become your personal superpower and a competitive advantage over everyone else. Adaptogens can support us to thrive in almost any area of our lives, but there are 3 particular adaptogens which are especially supportive of sleep health.
The Queen of Mushrooms: Reishi
Reishi Mushroom has been extremely highly regarded by herbalists for thousands of years as a Shen (Spirit) tonic. It is known to help decrease stress and anxiety, getting you out of your head and into your heart. Many people who experience a strong Reishi extract for the first time report strong heart-opening feelings. Naturally such stress-relief benefits are going to be very conducive to quelling mental rumination and beginning a good night's sleep.
Modern research on Reishi in animal models has found it to decrease sleep latency, which is the amount of time between when you lie down and when you fall asleep. Not only that, Reishi has also been shown to increase total sleep duration. Some of the most recent research from 2021 also suggests that at least part of Reishi's effects on sleep are a result of it's impact on the gut microbiome. And while you're sleeping, Reishi continues to deliver so many other benefits in other areas of your health.
But don't forget that it's very important to use a Reishi which has been grown on wood. Reishi grown on grain may bear an organic certification and be less expensive, but when mushrooms like this grow on grain instead of their natural food (wood), they don't produce the same compounds. Most importantly, grain-grown Reishi won't produce the terpenes responsible for many of it's adaptogenic properties.
The Ultimate Adaptogen: Ashwagandha
Another well-known adaptogen that has been studied for its sleep health benefits is the Ayurvedic root, Ashwagandha. Many people consider Ashwgandha the ultimate adaptogen, as it helps to balance so many different functions in the body. It helps natural energy production and endurance, but at the same time helps to decrease stress and anxiety and help with sleep. A 2019 double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled human study found that 300 mg a day of Ashwagandha taken twice daily for 10 weeks improved both sleep latency and sleep efficiency. Sleep efficiency is the percentage of the time spent in bed where you are actually asleep. So if you are in bed for 8 hours, but over the course of the night as you wake up and roll around, go to the restroom, etc., you spend 30 minutes awake, your sleep efficiency would be 93.75%.
Increasing REM & Healing Your Brain: Lions Mane
Lion's Mane Mushroom has also gained great attention for its cognitive health and gut health benefits. More research still needs to be done on the impact that this mushroom has on sleep. However, with so many people these days using sleep tracking devices such as the Oura Ring, Whoop Band, and Apple Watch, sometimes we can start to get an inkling of how certain practices are affecting sleep without having to wait years for clinical research to happen. And many people have been reporting increased REM sleep as a result of taking Lion's Mane. REM sleep is dream sleep and during this time, the brain is forming new connections, problem solving, undergoing emotional healing and building emotional intelligence. It's very exciting to see these anecdotal reports and hopefully this will lead to clinical research in the future.
The 3 Sleep Muskateers Rescue Circadian Rhythm
One final element of sleep health that shouldn't be overlooked is the circadian rhythm. This is regulated by the suprachiasmatic nucleus in the brain, which oversees secretion of melatonin. Through releasing (or not releasing) melatonin, the suprachiasmatic creates (or doesn't create) what's known as sleep pressure. You want this functioning perfectly to establish a strong circadian rhythm so you feel awake and alert throughout the day and can sleep soundly at night. And in fact, all three of the herbs we've mentioned so far- Reishi Mushroom, Ashwagandha and Lion's Mane Mushroom have been found to support a strong and healthy circadian rhythm.
Steps of the Sleep Tonic You Want To Try
Grab a small cup and add one by one
1/2 teaspoon Addictive Wellness Reishi Mushroom
1/4 teaspoon Addictive Wellness Ashwagandha
1/4 teaspoon Addictive Wellness Lions Mane Mushroom
Stir them together while dry to avoid clumping
Pour 2-3 ounces of hot water or almond or coconut milk on top
Sweeten it a little to your discerning taste buds
Stir it all up, you may use a hand frother but it's not necessary
Let it cool a bit while you get ready for bed...
Good Night and Sweetest Dreams!
You won't need to count your sheep!
Reishi Mushroom + Spores
Lion's Mane Mushroom
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