Wellness

By 

Erin Bunch

Aug 17, 2022

5

 Minute read

Three Mushrooms That'll Make You Go Zzz

Make room for these 'shrooms in your nighttime routine.

Having a hard time catching enough zzz's lately? You're not alone. According to the CDC, more than one-third of Americans are not getting a good night’s rest, and up to one-third of adults will suffer from symptoms of insomnia at some point. None of this is great news given that skipping out on sleep can make you super miserable in the short term and can lead to significant health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes, in the long term. In fact, sleep is one of the most important things you can do to improve and maintain your overall health.

Rest assured, there are expert-approved ways to better your sleep quality. Aside from cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and supplements, including magnesium and melatonin, functional mushrooms can also help you snooze more soundly. “All functional mushrooms can have an impact on sleep, even indirectly, because their high levels of beta-glucans help to generally promote balance in the system, which in turn can help improve overall sleep quality,” says Erica Huss, cofounder of functional mushroom company Earth & Star.

But not all 'shrooms are created equal when it comes to sleep enhancement. Keep reading to find out which mushrooms will help you achieve sweet slumber.

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Reishi

For over 2,000 years, reishi has been known for its benefits, including as a tranquilizing agent. “It’s what’s called ‘the spirit mushroom,’ and that’s because it has a calming effect,” says Tony Shields, cofounder of functional mushroom purveyor FreshCap.

Reishi’s ability to improve your sleep may be due to the fact that it has a high concentration of triterpenes, which have been studied for their hypnotic effect. “This doesn’t mean you’re going to be hypnotized,” explains Shields. “It’s a scientific term that just means they cause a relaxation effect.”

He points to various studies on mice that show a promising effect of reishi mushroom extracts on sleep, including longer periods of non-REM or deep, restorative sleep. The mice in these studies also fell asleep faster and slept for longer periods of time—an exciting result for the insomniacs among us. Other research has shown that sleep can be influenced by the gut microbiome, and Huss cites one study which indicates that reishi promotes better gut-brain pathways to induce better sleep.

According to Shields, some people find reishi use has acute benefits, meaning they can take it as a tea before bed, and it will help them somewhat immediately. Others find it has cumulative benefits to improve sleep over time.

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Cordyceps

It might surprise those familiar with cordyceps mushrooms’ performance-enhancing abilities to learn that they have sleep-enhancing properties too. “Cordyceps are good for energy and endurance. So how can they be good for sleep?" says Shields. "They have been shown to help regulate our circadian rhythms.”

In case you need a quick refresh: Circadian rhythms are the internal processes that regulate the sleep-wake cycle, helping you to rouse in the morning and get sleepy at night. “Our sleep is managed by those daily rhythms, and if those get messed up, it can really affect our sleep,” says Shields.

All kinds of lifestyle factors—from technology to unnatural light sources to travel and more—can throw off your rhythm. But, according to Shields, cordyceps have the ability to shorten recovery time from those disruptors. In one study, researchers split mice into two groups and simulated jet lag in the critters. One group was given cordyceps, and the other was given a placebo. “The mice that were treated with cordyceps recovered in a period of four days, whereas the mice that didn't get cordyceps would typically take about 10 days to recover,” he says.

Researchers theorize that cordyceps help with circadian rhythm regulation because they contain a compound called cordycepin, a type of adenosine or chemical that plays a role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle.

Lion’s Mane

Like cordyceps, lion’s mane mushrooms aren't the most obvious sleep aid as they’re best known for helping to enhance cognition and focus. But Huss notes that this particular mushroom also helps to reduce depression and anxiety, both of which can lead to insomnia.

While research is still ongoing, the findings from one small study show lion’s mane administration did indeed diminish insomnia in participants. Other research shows it may help individuals suffering from delayed sleep phase disorder, a condition resulting in a delay of normal sleep patterns.

When it comes to getting shut-eye, studies suggest that the benefits of lion's mane mushrooms may stem from their ability to impact levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which affects sleep, stress, and memory. People with insomnia tend to have low BDNF levels, which lion’s mane may be able to increase.

Ready to 'shroom your way to sleep? Shop five snoozy supplements below.

FreshCap Unwind Instant Drink Mix

$

30

USD

This blend mixes sleep-enhancing reishi with magnesium and L-theanine, two additional slumber aid supplements, to create the perfect bedtime elixir.

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North Spore Lion’s Mane Mushroom Kit

$

28

USD

Those who can’t stomach yet another supplement can instead grow their own lion’s mane 'shrooms to sautė or otherwise incorporate into a meal.

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Shroomy Nootropic Adaptogen Mushroom Gummies

$

35

USD

These high-quality gummies contain all three of the 'shrooms experts suggest for sleep: lion’s mane, reishi, and cordyceps.

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Earth & Star Brain Drops

$

35

USD

Add two to three drops of this tincture into your nighttime tea (or directly into your mouth) for an easy-to-consume dose of lion’s mane.

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Noble Spore OMFG Sleep Gummies

$

28

USD

Looking for a product specifically designed to knock you the eff out at night? These Oh My Fungi Gummies (OMFG) might be your best bet. They contain reishi as well as other natural sleep aids L-theanine, valerian root, and melatonin.

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.