Lion’s Mane Mushroom is one of the most effective nootropics on the market today. It is an increasingly common ingredient in high quality nootropic stacks, such as Mind Lab Pro, and standalone Lions Mane supplements are becoming more popular by the day.
Despite it being so widely used, there is still a lot of confusion out there as to how to use Lion’s Mane Mushroom properly.
One question we get asked constantly is whether or not it is OK to take Lion’s Mane before bed.
So, can you take Lion’s Mane at night before going to sleep? Will Lion’s Mane supplements keep you awake? Or does Lion’s Mane actually help you sleep?
Let’s take a closer look at how Lion’s Mane works to try and answer that question in detail.
How does Lion’s Mane work?
Lion’s Mane actually has quite a simple mchanism of action.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom primarily works by stimulating the release of Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) in the brain.
NGF is a neurotrophic factor which controls the growth, proliferation, maturation and maintenance of neurons. In simple terms, higher levels of NGF means more neuron repair and growth, leading to enhanced cognitive function and bettr brain cell health. Lower levels of NGF means the opposite; lower rates of neuron repair and impaired long-term cognition.
By increasing NGF – and thus neuron density and health – Lion’s Mane sinificantly improves cognitive performance across a number of measures, especially memory and learning.
Lion’s Mane also works by triggering the release of another neurotrophic factor: Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF for short.
Like NGF, BDNF promotes the growth of new neurons and the repair of existing, damaged brain cells.
Interestingly, BDNF also has some benefits not directly related to neuron growth, or at least not obviously related.
Having higher levels of BDNF is closely correlated with reduced anxiety, better stress resistance, improved mood, and better sleep.
Obviously, the improvements seen in sleep quality in people with elevated BDNF levels may well be a direct result of having reduced anxiety and improved mood; two things known to support healthy sleeping patterns.
Does Lion’s Mane help you sleep?
Lion’s mane is a popular mushroom for reducing stress and anxiety. This in turn promotes deep, restful sleep. So yes, Lion’s Mane can be said to actively help you sleep.
In terms of other mushrooms, you may notice that some extracts like cordyceps keep you awake if you take it before bed.
Lion’s Mane has no known effect on wakefulness or energy levels. This means it is extremely unlikely to keep you awake at night.
So if you need to take your mushroom supplements before bed, Lion’s Mane is probably a far better option that Cordyceps.
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.