One Chinese saying says that “eating honey every night” is the best way of getting proper sleep. In Europe, honey in a cup of warm milk was recommended against insomnia and other sleeping disorders, and other honey remedies have been used by people in the past to get some much-needed rest.
In Mexico, a teaspoon of honey was added in a cup of chamomile tea, while in other countries people added 2 teaspoons of honey and ACV in a glass of warm water before going to bed. There are many variations of these remedies and they all worked great in cases of poor sleep.
The link between honey and sleep
According to Scottish scientist and author Mike McInnis, honey remedies can help us sleep better by working on 3 mechanisms in the body. Here’s what it does:
- Regulates your blood sugar levels;
- Boost the production of melatonin which can help you fall asleep;
- Limits the release of cortisol and adrenaline in the morning and ensures proper liver glycogen reserves for a full (8-hour) cycle of sleep.
McInnis calls this process the HYMN cycle (honey-insulin-melatonin). You can start the process by taking 2 tablespoons of honey on its own or in a cup of milk an hour before going to bed. Here’s how the process unfolds:
1. The glucose from the honey goes from the gut to the liver and into the blood flow.
2. The raised glucose levels trigger insulin release in the pancreas.
3. The presence of insulin triggers the release of tryptophan in the brain.
4. When in darkness, the tryptophan is converted to serotonin, which relaxes your body and mind.
5. Afterwards, the serotonin is converted to melatonin.
6. Finally, the melatonin reduces your body temperature and stops the insulin release, preventing a blood sugar drop and activating sleep.
7. Melatonin also boost the production of the growth hormone, the first step in the process of restorative physiology that occurs during sleep.
8. A slew of hormones start restorative processes in the bone, muscles and all other tissues while you sleep.
9. Melatonin affects memory consolidation and assists in the formation of neural cell adhesion molecules during the REM cycle of sleep. These molecules are required for the procession of short-term memories into long-term memories.
10. At the same time, the fructose from the honey starts doing its main role – it is being converted into glucose in the liver, and then to glycogen which supplies the brain with energy during the night.
11. Fructose starts regulating the glucose uptake in the liver, thus preventing major insulin spikes.
12. By having a proper glycogen supply, the body doesn’t feel the need for stress hormones.
Here are a few honey remedies against insomnia:
1. Add a teaspoon of raw honey in a cup of orange blossom, chamomile, linden flower or lemon balm tea.
2. Warm up a cup of milk and add a few teaspoons of honey in.
3. Make half a glass of fresh orange juice, then top it with water and add a few teaspoons of honey.
4. Make a cup of peppermint tea and add a teaspoon of honey.
5. Mix 5 drops of lavender oil with 2 oz. of honey, then add the mixture in a bathtub of water and soak in it for 15 minutes before going to bed.