For thousands of years people have used honey in different natural remedies for better sleeping. There’s even an ancient Chinese saying which promotes eating honey every night before going to bed. European natural healers have also been using honey and warm milk as a cure for insomnia ever since the middle ages and the practice seems to be getting back in style.
There are thousands of different remedies with honey for better sleep. One suggests mixing 2 teaspoons of ACV and 2 teaspoons of honey in a glass of warm water and drinking it before going to bed while Mexican folk medicine recommends mixing a teaspoon of honey in a cup of chamomile tea. There are remedies that include honey and warm water, honey and passionflower tea and honey and peanut butter on a slice of bread before sleep. All of them have been proven to be very effective.
Honey and Sleep (The HYMN Cycle)
According to the Scottish author, pharmacist and researcher Mike McInnis remedies that include honey can increase the restorative sleep by 3 mechanisms. He says that if you consume honey before going to bed you will:
- Get the appropriate liver glycogen supplies for 8 hours of sleep (thus preventing early morning release of cortisol and adrenaline, stress hormones).
- Get your blood sugar levels stabilized
- Boost the release of melatonin, a hormone which your body needs to recover and rebuild its tissue during the night.
The way all of this works and the effect honey has on our sleep cycle can be explained by what McInnes calls the HYMN cycle (honey-insulin-melatonin). The process or cycle starts with taking 1-2 tbsp. of honey before bed and continues:
– The glucose portion of honey travels from the gut, via the liver flow and to the general circulation creating a minor glucose spike.
– This minor spike in your blood sugar levels (from glucose) boosts the pancreas to release a controlled amount of insulin.
– The insulin in the general circulation sends tryptophan to the brain.
– Our brain then converts tryptophan into serotonin, the happy hormone that promotes relaxation.
– When the lights are off the pineal gland converts the serotonin to melatonin.
– The melatonin reduces our body’s temperature and stimulates sleep. Moreover, it prevents additional release of insulin from the pancreas and prevents a sudden blood sugar drop.
– Melatonin also stimulate growth hormone release, a hormone which is in charge of out recovery physiology.
– Then a whole plethora of recovery hormones starts off the repair, preservation and renewal of muscle, bone and all other body tissues.
– In the meantime the fructose part of honey performs its essential role. Our liver uses the fructose and transforms it first into glucose and then into liver glycogen, giving our brain the necessary supply of glucose.
– When there is enough liver glycogen there’s no need for the stress hormones to be released.
There you go, a simple, natural and safe remedy for your sleeping problems, the opportunities are certainly exciting. There is still need for clinical trials for this information to be scientifically proven but until then there’s no harm in trying it out. It will certainly do you no harm.
Honey Remedies for Insomnia
As we already said, honey promotes sleep so here are some recipes you can try at home:
- Prepare some lemon balm, chamomile or orange blossom tea and add 1tsp of honey. Consume it before you go to bed.
- Mix 2 tsp. of honey with a cup of warm milk and drink it before bed.
- Squeeze a glass of orange juice mixed with some water and add 2tsp. of honey. Drink it before bed.
- Prepare a cup of peppermint tea and add 1tsp of honey and a clove.
- Mix two ounces of honey with 5 drops of lavender essential oil. Prepare yourself a hot bath and add two tablespoons of this mixture. Soak in your soothing bath for 15 minutes before you go to bed.