If you’re here, you’re likely wondering whether reishi mushrooms are an effective supplement for sleep support.
Well, you’ve come to the right place!
In this article, we tell the unbiased truth about whether reishi is an effective sleep aid. We explore the current scientific evidence on this subject. Plus we’ll give our unbiased review on some of the top reishi sleep products, how to dose reishi for sleep, the side effects, and more!
At Remeday, it’s our goal to provide highly educational and unbiased information to people looking to improve their lives with medicinal mushrooms.
Let’s dive in!
What are reishi mushrooms?
Reishi mushrooms, also known as Ganoderma lucidum, are famous for their medicinal properties. Often referred to as King of Herbs in Chinese herbalism, reishi is said to help with everything from asthma and indigestion to immune function and anxiety.
One of reishi’s most notable potential health benefits is its ability to promote healthy sleep.
Reishi mushrooms are large, woody and usually have a red to brownish-gray color. They’re most commonly found growing on dead trees or tree stumps.
Reishi’s most potent medicinal value comes when it’s dried and then extracted in hot water. This is why reishi tea and tinctures are so commonly used in traditional herbal medicine.
Where can I find reishi mushrooms?
While reishi mushrooms are widely available in Asian and other specialty food markets, they’re becoming more popular in your average supermarket and health food store.
The easiest way to spot them at the farmer’s market or on the supermarket shelves is by looking for a mushroom with a bright red cap and white underside. It should also have a strong, earthy smell.
Reishi is also becomingly widely available online due to a massive influx of interest in this medicinal mushroom. Just make sure you shop from a trusted brand. Not all mushroom companies are created equal.
And until there is more regulation in the industry, it’s critical that you research the brands you’re buying from for maximum functional value.
The history of reishi mushrooms for sleep
If you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep, reishi (often labeled as “lingzhi”) might be able to help you out. Reishi is commonly called the mushroom of immortality. That’s because reishi mushrooms contain compounds that have powerful effects on the body and mind.
Reishi mushrooms have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
Yes, that’s right. Humans have used reishi for functional health for THOUSANDS of years.
Whether you choose to take a daily supplement, use an extract tincture, or make yourself a nice sleepy-time reishi tea, there are plenty of reasons to give reishi a try as you work towards your good night’s sleep.
Recently, reishi has garnered attention as an effective sleep aid and a possible alternative to prescription sleep medications.
But does it really work?
Let’s explore what the science says.
Does reishi help with sleep? What the science says:
Yes, it is generally believed that reishi can lead to better sleep for a number of reasons. But more human research needs to be done. What we know right now is that reishi is purported to be natural alternative to prescription sleeping pills due to its ability to suppress beta-amyloid proteins and increase sleep-inducing serotonin levels. All while helping to decrease your overall anxiety and restlessness.
By improving balance and homeostasis within the body, a better night’s sleep can be achieved.
Some of this insight comes from studies. And some of it is anecdotal knowledge from thousands of years of use in herbal medicine.
Let’s take a look at what the clinical research and studies have to say:
First, it’s important to note, that in the United States, most of the sleep studies done with reishi have been completed on rats. That’s right. So when you see a list of studies proving that reishi improves sleep, note that while animal studies can correlate to human effectiveness, more research needs to be completed in order to definitively state that reishi helps with human sleep.
Here are the two studies showcasing reishi’s benefit for sleep:
- Ganoderma lucidum promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-involved pathway in mice: In this study, researchers focus on the gut-to-mind connection for sleep. The study showed that administering reishi to rats for four weeks led to significant decreases in sleep latency and increases in sleeping time compared with the control group. Additionally, this study shows that reishi, even when given in regular doses led to no toxicity in the rats. Additionally, reishi may have positive effects on our gut microbiome, which can lead to faster sleep, as is showcased by decreased efficiency of the reishi with rats who were given an antibiotic.
- Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats: In this study, positive results happened rapidly. Results of this study showed that “three-day administration of GLE significantly increased total sleep time and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep time at a dose of 80 mg/kg (i.g.) without influencing slow-wave sleep or REM sleep in freely moving rats.”
These are the only two studies that specifically focus on reishi with sleep.
But that’s not all reishi may be able to help with:
What are the other health benefits of reishi mushrooms that can lead to improved sleep?
- A strengthened immune system: Everyone knows that illness can throw off your sleep cycle. Reishi has been linked to improved overall immunity. Additionally, human studies show that reishi can be a powerful natural cancer-fighting supplement. Reishi improved the immune response of those undergoing cancer treatments.
- Antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties: Reishi has also been studied for it’s potential as an antidepressant supplement. One study on rats noted that reishi supplements had “antidepressant-like potential, which is most likely due to the antagonism of 5-HT2A receptors, and possesses anxiolytic-like effects toward memory-dependent and/or stress-induced anxiety in rats”
- Allergy treatment: If allergies are keeping you up at night, reishi may be able to help as well. One study on guinea pigs showed significant improvement in allergy symptoms including pollen-induced biphasic nasal blockage and nasal hyperresponsiveness.
- Other benefits: Including reduced liver toxicity, lower cholesterol, cognitive and neuroregenerative benefits, and more can be correlated to reishi supplementation. Homeostasis in the body can lead to improved sleep.
For a more complete look at reishi’s long list of potential benefits, check out this article.
What to look for in a reishi sleep supplement?
As reishi becomes popular, more and more companies are starting to sell reishi products. But not every company selling reishi supplements has your best interests at heart. In fact, there are a LOT of crappy companies out there.
When buying a reishi supplement for sleep, here’s what you should look for:
- A trusted brand: Someone who has been around, is focused on education, and doesn’t use clever marketing tactics to trick you into buying a crappy product
- 100% fruiting body: Some companies mix mycelium (the mushroom’s root structure) with the mushroom itself in order to bulk up their product and save costs. Are there some benefits to mycelium? Certainly. But most people agree the biggest benefit is in the fruiting body – the mushroom cap itself. Regulation doesn’t require companies to disclose how much mycelium vs fruiting body is in the product. Which means it could be mostly mycelium. Until there is more regulation in the industry, we highly recommend choosing a 100% fruiting body product.
- Extract: Most of the studies using reishi use an extract. A mushroom extract takes the dried fruiting bodies of the mushrooms and uses heat and hot water to extract the beneficial compounds hidden within the mushroom’s tough cell wall exterior. Some products simply dry reishi mushrooms and grind it into powder. Be mindful that you’re likely to get the most medicinal value from an EXTRACT powder, not just powder.
We know that researching a great product to help improve your sleep can be tricky. Especially with all the misinformation out there. We compiled a list of trusted brands for you to explore below.
The best reishi brands for improved sleep:
- RealMushrooms - Organic Reishi Mushroom Powder – Bulk 45g Extract: RealMushrooms uses 100% organic, 100% fruiting bodies, and is highly transparent in their sourcing and extract processes. Not to mention their products are third-party lab tested. Powder is ideal to add to teas, smoothies, and more.
- Mushroom Revival - Reishi Calm Tincture - If you prefer a tincture to take orally or to add to your nightly tea, you won’t find a better brand than Mushroom Revival. These guys know their mushrooms inside-and-out. And they apply that incredible knowledge to their products.
- Rainbo - Reishi Tincture - We love Rainbo’s products because they aren’t just of the highest quality, they’re also dedicated to sustainable practices and racial justice. This makes them the ideal choice for those looking to have a larger impact when buying health products.
- FreshCap - Reishi Capsules - If you prefer a capsule, then you can’t do better than FreshCap. Pre-extracted and 100% fruiting body makes these capsules an effortless and effective way to get more reishi into your diet.
Reishi tea is a popular way to wind down at the end of the night. Tinctures and powders are great options for making tea. Here’s a complete guide to reishi tea to learn more!
Are there any side effects to taking reishi supplements?
Side effects are rare but should be noted. Some of the side effects reported from taking reishi mushrooms include stomach aches, dizziness, and a dulling of the senses. As with any supplement or medication, there are certain people who should avoid taking it—and if you have a pre-existing condition, you’ll want to consult your doctor before taking reishi.
For a more complete look at reishi’s potential side effects check out this article.
How to take reishi for better sleep
The best method depends on the type of reishi product you're using. We'll outline some of the easiest ways to incorporate reishi into your sleep routine below.
- Make a cup of reishi tea: this is by far the most widely used method - and the longest lasting. With more than 2,000 years of use, reishi tea is by far the most reliable way to get a better night's sleep. And making reishi tea is easy!
- Reishi Powder Tea: You can pour hot water over commercial reishi powder and steep for 3-7 minutes. Then, add honey, lemon, or other flavor additives to taste.
- Reishi Powder Tea (version 2): You can make a cup of your favorite herbal tea and add reishi powder to that!
- Reishi Tea with Tincture: This is our favorite method. Make a cup of your favorite herbal tea. Then, while it's still very hot, add a full dropper of reishi tincture (following package directions for dosage). Steep according to your tea's directions. And enjoy!
- Take reishi tincture: If you prefer the fast-and-easy method, try taking reishi tincture directly under your tongue!
- Take reishi capsules: Reishi capsules are great if you're not excited about the earthy taste of reishi mushrooms. Measure and take the capsules according to your package directions.
When should I take reishi for better sleep?
While some people recommend right before bed, there simply isn’t enough evidence to suggest that any one time is better than another for reishi.
Consistency appears to be slightly more focused on than timing in the studies. Which means taking it daily may be more effective than exactly when you take it.
With that said, there’s nothing wrong with experimenting to see what works best for you and your daily routine!