No one really has even associated honey with sleep, but recently, a team of scientists discovered that there’s definitely a link between the two. In some European countries in the past, people drank a cup of warm milk with a bit of honey inside in order to treat and prevent insomnia, while honey was also used against other sleeping disorders in other countries centuries ago.
For example, in Mexico a bit of honey and chamomile tea was used to help people fall asleep, while in other parts of the world people used honey and ACV for the same effect. And, although the practice has been lost over time, science has now confirmed that honey indeed works.
How are honey and sleep linked?
Mike McInnis, a Scottish scientist, has examined the link for a long time and claims that honey can help us sleep by boosting the production of melatonin, regulating our blood sugar levels and regulating the production of cortisol and adrenaline in our body. He has named the process the honey-insulin-melatonin cycle, or HYMN cycle. In order to start it, you can take 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup of milk before bedtime.
Here’s what this does to your body:
First, the glucose from the honey enters the blood flow through the liver. This signals the pancreas to produce insulin, which makes the brain release tryptophan. Lay down in a dark room, and the tryptophan will convert to serotonin which will help you relax. The serotonin will then convert to melatonin in your body, which will induce sleep by stopping the insulin secretion and preventing a drop in your glucose levels. At the same time, the melatonin will boost the production of the growth hormone and a number of other hormones as well.
All of this will accelerate the restorative processes in the body tissues and start consolidating your memories. Now, the fructose from the honey will go to the liver, where it’ll be processed to glycogen that will support your muscles and help them grow. The fructose will also prevent insulin spikes, so the body won’t need to release stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline.
Here’s how you can use honey to get some much-needed rest:
- Brew a cup of linden flower, chamomile or orange blossom tea, then drink it warm with a few teaspoons of honey;
- Drink a cup of peppermint tea with some honey before going to bed;
- Squeeze half an orange in a glass, top with water and add a teaspoon of honey for a nice energy drink;
- Add a couple teaspoons of honey in a cup of warm milk and drink it before bedtime;
- Add 5 drops of lavender oil in 2 oz. of honey, then pour hot water in your bathtub and add the mixture. Soak in it for about 15-20 minutes before bedtime to relax and sleep better.