While the rest of the world is sleeping, some of us remain wide awake due to insomnia. With about 1/3rd of adults experiencing insomnia symptoms at any given time, it is the most common sleep-related problem.
Popping pills do the job but are not viable long-term solutions. But when insomnia tends to become a long-distance race, you will need something else after the first mile or two. Novel and non-addictive solutions are required to combat this chronic issue.
Cordyceps has been celebrated for centuries(1) for its medicinal therapies. Traditional Asian healers recommend the fungus Cordyceps sinensis, as a tonic, for “all illnesses”. They claim that the mushroom improves energy, sleeping patterns, stamina, libido, appetite, and endurance.
This rare combination of a caterpillar and fungus can be taken at night, although there is much debate over the efficacy of taking it then instead of in the morning. This is because the major benefit offered by Cordyceps mushrooms is improved daytime functioning. But many studies do say that by improving cellular function, Cordyceps certainly helps with sleep.
Let’s explore whether taking Cordyceps before bed is a good idea. We will also talk about the effects of Cordyceps mycelium taken before bed.
Cordyceps Sleep Effects: What Does The Evidence Say?
Cordyceps mushrooms are believed to aid the body's process of "rest and repair" rejuvenation. This would translate to better quality and efficiency of your sleep, rather than helping you fall asleep directly.
There is some debate about whether taking Cordyceps before bed will help you fall asleep if you suffer from insomnia. Let's look at some of the currently available research and what they have to say.
May Improve Sleep Symptoms
The efficacy and safety of Cordyceps militaris in the treatment of insomnia in people with depression were evaluated in this 6-week study(2) from 2021. The mushroom was combined with duloxetine, a common anti-depressant medication.
This Chinese research randomly assigned patients into two treatment groups, with one receiving the combination of the drug and Cordyceps militaris mushroom while the other received a placebo.
The severity of depression and insomnia was evaluated at the start of the study and 1, 2, 4, and 6 weeks following treatment. Depressive and sleep symptoms in all patients reduced over time but were not significant. It is, however, safe with rare side effects.
Increases Non-REM Sleep
Cordycepin is the bioactive compound found in Cordyceps mushrooms. Because of the similarity of its chemical structure with adenosine (a chemical proposed to act as a homeostatic regulator of sleep), cordycepin has been focused on the diverse effects of the central nervous system (CNS), like sleep regulation.
This 2013 study(3) was undertaken to know whether cordycepin increases natural sleep, in rats. 4 hours after oral administration of cordycepin in rats, sleep was recorded using an electroencephalogram (EEG). Researchers found that Cordycepin reduced sleep-wake cycles and increased nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep is characterized as deep sleep as a critical phase for inducing muscle recovery and body restoration.
The study concluded that this experiment can provide basic evidence that cordycepin may be helpful for sleep-disturbed subjects.
Can Help Reset Natural Biorhythms
One of the main factors that can make falling asleep and staying asleep hard is disrupted circadian rhythm. This is like an internal clock that follows the natural flow of the day rousing and alerting us in waking hours and winding down and prompting rest after nightfall.
Studies have suggested that a synthetic form of cordycepin, may help reset the body clock and ease the pain of jet lag. The effects could eventually fine-tune our body clocks and help us sleep better.
While this may not directly point to curing insomnia, resetting biorhythms means easier recovery from jet lag. And we all know how those transatlantic flights impact our sleep by wreaking havoc on our body clock!
However, more work needs to be done to gain an understanding of how this happens in people.
Increases cellular energy
Cordyceps mushroom is a favorite fungus among athletes. It increases the ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) production in the body at a cellular level. This is an organic compound that provides the energy to drive many processes in living cells.
Some people will notice that because Cordyceps extract makes them feel energized, it may not be best to take it before bed.
When Should You Take Cordyceps?
Based on what we have explored till now, the best time to take Cordyceps would be in the morning.
There are concerns that as Cordyceps mushrooms help boost energy, taking it before bed may have the opposite desired effect.
So, how would taking Cordyceps in the morning prepare you for a good night’s sleep?
Many studies say that by improving cellular function, Cordyceps could aid with sleep. When it is taken in the morning, it boosts your energy levels for the day. This gives it time to increase the production of ATP in preparation for when you go to sleep.
Will Cordyceps Keep Me Awake Before Bed?
Some people may notice that Cordyceps mushroom can keep you awake if you take it before bed while others say the improvement in the blood flow in the body helps them sleep better at night. See what works for you, because more than the timing, it is about taking the mushroom consistently.
How To Take Cordyceps For Insomnia Before Bed?
You can use Cordyceps by taking it in capsule form or powder form by adding it to your favorite beverage.
If you’re not getting the quality, restorative sleep that you need to conquer the day, then consider using cordyceps before bed. The mushroom is packed with a health-boosting punch to not only reset your natural sleep and wake cycle but to benefit all areas of your health. However, there are also concerns that it may keep you up at night due to a surge in energy levels.
Talk to your healthcare provider about using this fungus before bed. As everyone reacts differently to medicinal mushrooms, you cannot tell without experimenting first.
- Traditional uses and medicinal potential of Cordyceps sinensis of Sikkim, (1)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3121254/
- Efficacy and Safety of Cordyceps militaris as an Adjuvant to Duloxetine in the Treatment of Insomnia in Patients With Depression: A 6-Week Double- Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial, (2)https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyt.2021.754921/full
- Cordycepin Increases Nonrapid Eye Movement Sleep via Adenosine Receptors in Rats (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3655593/
- Chemical perturbations reveal that RUVBL2 regulates the circadian phase in mammals, (4)https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.aba0769