If you’re concerned about the side effects and dependency of prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids, you’ll be happy to know there’s a safer solution.
In fact, this common kitchen condiment may be sitting in your cupboard right now. The natural sleep remedy I’m referring to is honey.
Inexpensive and safe to use (no nasty side-effects) and best of all, readily available – Honey has been used for thousands of years and has many medicinal properties. But what we are most interested in today is honey’s effect on sleeplessness.
Why Honey Works Better Than OTC Sleep Aids
The problem with medications and over-the-counter sleep aids is that they don’t get to the root cause of sleep problems. Sure, they may help you sleep, but the moment you stop taking them, your insomnia will surely return.
So, if you want to fix your sleep problem you have to ask yourself, what’s the real reason I can’t get a restful night’s sleep?
If you find yourself waking in the middle of the night at approximately 2:00 – 3:00 am, your sleep problem may be do to a drop in blood sugar. This drop is blood sugar causes a mini physiological crisis, which alerts you by waking you in the middle of the night.
In fact, you might even find yourself waking up with cravings and feeling hungry. This is your body’s way of saying…”hey, I need little help here, because I’ve got a job to do and there’s no fuel”.
The Science Behind Honey And Sleep
A common reason for a drop in blood sugar mid-sleep has to do with stress.
You see, when you’re under stress, your body releases cortisol – which is a stress hormone. Cortisol is then turned into energy in the form of glucose or blood sugar to help fix the stressor. But not before messing with your sleep first. 1
BTW, the stress that causes cortisol to be released can be physical, mental, emotional, and biochemical. If you’re constantly being bombarded with stressors, this can cause an abnormal fluctuation in cortisol levels throughout the day.
Normally, cortisol is highest in the morning upon awakening and lowest at night. However, constant stress can disrupt this rhythm.
You may be asking yourself, “I’m not under stress or active while I’m asleep, so why does my body need energy?” What you may not realize is that your body is very active during sleep. This is when your body restores itself and uses energy for repair.
So, if you’ve used a lot of energy throughout the day for stress, you may find yourself depleted. In this case, you might wake up because your body is looking for energy.
And that’s where honey comes in. By taking a spoonful of honey before bed, you can negate the drop in blood sugar, keeping you asleep for longer.
How Honey Helps You Sleep
Honey is a unique sugar that can help normalize blood sugar levels so that there are no big dips in blood sugar causing you to wake from your sleep.
Honey is typically stored in your liver for a later use. So, it doesn’t get used up right away like most sugars. This makes it perfect for when your body is looking for a stored energy source to repair itself while you’re asleep.
Honey also helps with the production of melatonin.2 Melatonin is a hormone that helps you sleep and is released by your brain when it’s dark.
Honey may even help with sleep apnea by reducing inflammation of the airway passages allowing for more airflow, which is usually reduced during sleep apnea.3
How To Use Honey For Better Sleep
It’s best to take honey just before retiring at bedtime. Simply take one tablespoon of honey before you go to sleep at night.
Some people prefer to mix their honey in a glass of warm milk while others combine honey and lemon with hot water. Whatever it takes to get the honey into your body without gagging.
However you take it, the Trick is to take the honey just before you turn in for bed. This will give your body time to process and store the honey in your liver as glycogen, the storage form of glucose.
Now it’s ready to use later on when your body really needs it. Your body has access to an energy source for rest and repair instead of waking you up for help in the early hours of the morning.
The Right Type Of Honey
The best type of honey to use for sleep is raw, unfiltered honey. Honey that’s heated, processed, or filtered can lose some of it’s medicinal properties through processing.
Look on the label for the terms: raw, organic, unfiltered honey. This is the best natural form of honey that can result in better, more restful sleep.
One popular type of American made honey that is both raw and unfiltered is Nature Nate Farms made in Texas.For more information on honey and it’s medicinal properties for sleep and other health remedies, please refer to the resources used for this article.
Has including honey in your nightly routine helped you to beat insomnia? Let me know in the comments below!
Dr. Kevin Dobrzynski, DN