‘Calming’ mushrooms to consume before bed to aid sleep

This Morning: Insomniac describes her crippling condition

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Struggling to sleep at night can not only make daily activities difficult and frustrating, but it can have more serious health implications in the long run. Research has suggested that those who sleep less can be at greater risk for conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes, among others. Therefore, doing what we can to get a good night’s sleep is vital.

One such way to enable this is by consuming a specific type of mushroom.

According to expert Matt Kelly, the founder of Space Goods, reishi mushrooms have “significant” benefits.

Also known as Ganoderma lucidum or lingzhi, reishi mushrooms are native to east Asia.

Although they can be eaten as they are, they are not considered particularly tasty and are traditionally served in powder form, usually to be consumed in a drink, and can be bought as a supplement.

Mr Kelly explained: “Medicinal mushrooms may not be the first thing you think about as a natural aid to sleep, however variants such as reishi have been used for thousands of years by natural practitioners as a proven remedy.

“In fact, recent studies confirmed that medicinal mushrooms have a significant immunomodulatory action which can prolong total sleep time, including non-rapid eye movement sleep — or deeper sleep.

“This is because the mushrooms are adaptogens, which means they help your nervous system adapt to stress.

“Adaptogens of various types are used in all-natural medicine traditions to help calm the mind and support the body in managing stress.

“Although there are various herbal adaptogens and even sedative and hypnotic herbs, many of these can only be used for a limited time or cannot be combined with other medications, whereas medicinal mushrooms are safe to be consumed alongside most medications.”

Mr Kelly’s company Space Goods has recently utilised reishi mushrooms as part of a new sleep aid they offer.

“Reishi mushroom, also known as the ‘calm mushroom’, is one of the core ingredients in Dream Dust because it’s proven to boost serotonin levels and have an adaptogenic effect on chemical messengers that modulate immunity and the central nervous system, especially the stress response,” he said.

“Naturally occurring compounds have anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and sedative properties, helping to support sleep quality, which is why if taken regularly, reishi can help you to achieve a sense of calm and deeper sleep.“

He added: “Anyone without a mushroom allergy can use medicinal mushrooms; however, they can be unpleasant tasting if taken alone – which is why we have incorporated reishi mushroom into a great tasting, honey and ginger flavoured drink.

“These mushrooms are not just beneficial for adults who need sleep aid, kids can safely take them as well, they just need products that are dosed accordingly.

“Medicinal mushrooms can also improve focus and even enhance neurological development besides its calming effect.”

What does the research say?

A study, published in BMC Microbiology journal in 2021, examined the sleep-inducing properties of reishi – or Ganoderma – mushrooms.

It concluded: “In total, 34 sedative-hypnotic components (including five central active components) were identified, corresponding to 51 target genes.

“Multi-level interaction network analysis and enrichment analysis demonstrated that Ganoderma exerted an anti-insomnia effect via multiple central-peripheral mechanisms simultaneously, mainly by regulating cell apoptosis/survival and cytokine expression through core target genes such as TNF, CASP3, JUN, and HSP90αA1; it also affected immune regulation and apoptosis.

“Therefore, Ganoderma has potential as an adjuvant therapy for insomnia-related complications.”

Separate research, from the Pondicherry Journal of Nursing in 2016, also listed insomnia as a health issue that could be aided by reishi mushrooms – along with depression, anxiety and chronic fatigue syndrome.

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