Natural remedies with honey have been used as a popular way to induce sleep for thousands of years. An ancient Chinese saying calls for “eat honey every night”, and European healers, since the Middle Ages, recommend drinking honey with a cup of warm milk before going to bed. Keep reading because below we will tell you some ways to use honey to sleep through the night.
Another ancient remedy with honey to fall asleep and achieve sleep through the night is to take two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with two teaspoons of honey in a glass of warm water before bed, while traditional Mexican healers have prescribed a teaspoon of raw honey in a cup of hot tea such as chamomile tea. Variations that are said to induce sleep include a teaspoon of honey in a cup of hot water, a teaspoon of honey in a cup of passionflower tea, or just a teaspoon of honey in a peanut butter sandwich before bed.
Honey and Sleep (The HYMN Cycle)
Scottish pharmacist, researcher and author Mike McInnis believes that honey remedies improve and lengthen restful sleep through at least three mechanisms. When taken before bedtime, he teaches that honey:
- It ensures adequate storage of liver glycogen during eight hours of sleep (this prevents or limits the early release of two stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline).
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels.
- It contributes to the release of melatonin, the hormone necessary for both recovery and rebuilding of body tissues during rest.
The mechanism for this process can be described by what McInnes calls the honey-insulin-melatonin cycle or the HYMN cycle. This cycle begins with the ingestion of one or two tablespoons of honey in the hour before going to bed, as follows:
- The rest of the glucose (portion) of the honey passes from the intestine, through the liver circulation and into the general circulation, producing a slight glucose spike.
- The slight rise in blood sugar (glucose) causes a controlled release of insulin from the pancreas.
- The presence of insulin in the general circulation drives tryptophan to the brain.
- Tryptophan is converted to serotonin, a key hormone that promotes relaxation.
- In the dark, serotonin is converted to melatonin in the pineal gland.
- Melatonin activates sleep by reducing body temperature and other mechanisms. It also inhibits the release of more insulin from the pancreas, preventing a rapid drop in blood sugar level.
- Melatonin promotes the release of growth hormone. Growth hormone is the hormone that governs the entire physiology of recovery. This is the first step in recovery or restorative physiology that occurs overnight.
- A cascade of recovery hormones initiates the repair, maintenance, and rebuilding of bones, muscles, and other body tissues.
- Melatonin affects memory consolidation by its requirement for the formation of neural cell adhesion molecules during REM sleep. These molecules are necessary for the processing of short-term memory in the hippocampus into long-term memory in the cerebral cortex.
- Simultaneously, the fructose fraction of honey fulfills its critical role. The liver absorbs fructose and converts it to glucose and then liver glycogen, providing the brain with a sustained supply of glucose for the night.
- In addition, fructose regulates glucose uptake in the liver by causing the release of glucokinase from the nucleus of hepatocytes. Thus, fructose ensures a good supply of liver glycogen overnight and prevents a major glucose / insulin spike as mentioned in step 1.
- An adequate supply of liver glycogen means that it is not necessary to release stress hormones.
The possibility that natural honey remedies can be used as a safe, cheap and effective sleep aid is exciting. More research is needed in this important field with carefully controlled and randomized human trials.
How to fall asleep with natural remedies with honey from bees
Honey and sleep go hand in hand. Here are some additional recipes:
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey to a cup of hot chamomile, orange blossom, lemon balm, or linden flower tea. Drink before going to bed.
- Add 2 teaspoons of honey to a cup of warm milk. Drink before bed.
- Prepare half a glass of orange juice diluted with an equal amount of warm water. Add 2 teaspoons of honey and drink just before going to bed.
- Add 1 teaspoon of honey to a cup of warm peppermint tea. A nail can be added if you wish.
- Combine 2 large tablespoons of honey with 5 drops of lavender oil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture to a tub of warm water and enjoy a relaxing 10–15-minute bath.