While most folks keep honey in the pantry, you may want to grab a bottle for your nightstand, too. Raw and unfiltered honey can hydrate your skin, soothe your throat, help heal wounds and sweeten everything it touches, but it can also help you get a sweet night’s sleep. Raw honey, eaten just before bed, helps you snooze in two general ways:
- It provides easy-to-access fuel for your brain throughout the night. Specifically, it restocks your liver’s glycogen. Low levels of glycogen tell your brain that it’s time to eat. If you haven’t eaten in several hours when you go to sleep, this “hunger” can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and sleep less soundly.
- Honey helps your brain release melatonin, the hormone that your body uses to restore itself during sleep. This happens through a series of transformations in your brain: honey’s sugars spike your insulin levels, releasing tryptophan, which becomes serotonin, which becomes melatonin.
Our very own Dr. Ron Fessenden has written extensively about how honey can help with sleep, and now the word is out. Even the lifehackers over at Bulletproof and Lifehack.org are promoting honey because of how well it promotes sleep.
“Having a little extra sugar before bed can help your brain function better at night…As long as you don’t combine it with protein…you can get more deep sleep when you take a small amount of raw honey.”
– Dave Asprey, bulletproof.com
So, let’s get serious then. If you were going to do everything you possibly could to get the best night’s sleep ever, what would it take? Start with this checklist:
- Don’t drink alcohol, or at least get it in before dinner. Late-night alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but it’ll also cause you to wake up throughout the night.
- Dim the lights in your house once it gets dark outside.
- Get omega-3 fats from either meat, seafood or fish oil pills at dinner or 2+ hours before bedtime.
- Take one tablespoon of MCT oil, coconut oil or other fat just before dinner. This will keep you full all night without causing blood sugar swings.
- Stop looking at screens (including this one) at least two hours before bed. The blue light from screens of all kinds can disrupt melatonin production. If you just can’t unplug, there are also apps that can help cut down the blue light screens generate.
- Make a to-do list, take a shower, meditate, read a book – all of these things can help you get your mind off the coming day. Whatever your preferred method of relaxing moment is, do it in the hours before bed.
- Try drinking bone broth or eating gelatin or glycine pills. All contain amino acids, which can boost serotonin and melatonin, telling your brain it’s time to sleep.
- Finally, have one or two teaspoons of raw and unfiltered honey right before bed. Sweet dreams!