Lion’s Mane Mushroom is easily one of the best nootropics in existence. It is a primary ingredient in Mind Lab Pro, and it is used as a standalone nootropic supplement by many people around the world.
Of course, Lion’s Mane Mushroom has been used as a dietary mushroom supplement for a long time. It is a mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine, which prescribes it for everything from inflammation and immune system function to memory loss.
Today, of course, we know that Lion’s Mane Mushroom is actually an effective brain supplement. Clinical trials have shown that Lion’s Mane Supplementation drastically improves various aspects of cognitive performance, and studies have revealed how Lion’s Mane works.
Despite our thorough understanding of what Lion’s Mane Mushroom does and how it works, people are still unsure of how to use Lion’s Mane Mushroom properly for maximum results. Nor do people seem to know a lot about the side effects of using Lion’s Mane.
One thing people constantly ask us is whether or not Lion’s Mane affects sleep; they wonder whether it is a good idea to take Lion’s Mane before bed.
Does Lion’s Mane Mushroom make you sleepy?
Does it improve sleep quality?
Does it affect sleep at all?
To answer these questions, we first need to explain how Lion’s Mane works and what it does.
What does Lion’s Mane do?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is one of the most powerful and versatile nootropics in existence. Few natural substances can deliver the same kind of cognitive enhancements that Lion’s Mane can, especially in the same lasting, permanent way that Lion’s Mane does.
The primary benefit of Lion’s Mane Mushroom supplementation is enhanced memory function.
Clinical trials show beyond doubt that consuming high quality Lion’s Mane Mushroom extracts greatly improves memory retention and recall speed.
There is also strong evidence to show that supplementing with Lion’s Mane Mushroom on a regular basis leads to significant improvements in focus, clarity and mood.
Another somewhat surprising benefit associated with Lion’s Mane Mushroom use is improved sleep quality. Many users report experiencing noticeable improvements in both sleep length and sleep quality while using Lion’s Mane Mushroom. Few clinical trials have been done to assess this link, but one 2019 study found a strong link between Lion’s Mane Mushroom consumption and improved sleep quality in people experiencing low mood.
How does Lion’s Mane Mushroom do all of these things?
How does Lion’s Mane work?
Lion’s Mane Mushroom has a very straightforward but immensely powerful effect on the brain.
Lion’s Mane consumption stimulates the synthesis of two important brain chemicals: Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). Of these, Lion’s Mane has a far greater effect on NGF than BDNF, although there is clear evidence that Lion’s Mane consumption also increases BDNF levels.
This has major consequences for cognitive function and brain health. Both NGF and BDNF are neurotrophic factors. Together, they control the proliferation, growth, differentiation, and maintenance of neurons and their associated tissues and structures.
Higher levels of NGF, for example, leads to an increase in neuron growth and an overall increase in neuron density in the brain. This is the mechanism that underlies Lion’s Mane Mushroom’s observed effects on memory and focus; more neurons means more raw brainpower.
BDNF appears to affect cognition in even broader ways than NGF. BDNF is known to positively affect cognition, but also mood, anxiety, stress resistance, and sleep quality.
This has led many people to suggest that Lion’s Mane Mushroom is an effective sleep aid. Others have said that a side effect of Lion’s Mane is sleepiness, drowsiness, and feeling tired.
So which is the truth?
Does Lion’s Mane Make You Sleepy?
While Lions Mane Mushroom has been found to support sleep, it does not appear to make you feel sleepy. Lions mane’s effects on sleep are instead related to its anxiolytic and mood-boosting properties.
By boosting BDNF, Lions Mane effectively suppresses anxiety, lowers stress levels, and improves mood. As a result of this reduced anxiety and stress, Lions Mane can be said to positively affect sleep.
Most people find that they struggle to get to sleep at night due to intense anxiety, be it related to work, relationships, or just life in general. Anxious people also often wake up early with acute anxiety. By helping to improve mood and stress resistance via BDNF expression, Lions Mane positively affects sleep without making you sleepy, drowsy, or tired.
Brian Johnson is current Editor of Vagarights.com and a long-time writer for VAGA. A former psychologist, Brian is passionate about improving mental health and finding ways to stave off cognitive decline. He is an expert on nootropics, cognitive enhancement and biohacking more broadly. You can see his work on Google scholar.