Bedtime Honey: Less Honey May Be Better

Some people find that bedtime honey does not work, at least initially. One reader wrote:

I tried it out for several days now [1 tablespoon of honey], and it produces in me a similar effect as when I go to sleep when I have drunk several beers before. I wake up several times during the night, vivid dreams, and feel less rested in the morning rather than more.

I suggested a smaller dose — 1 teaspoon, which may be effective. He tried it:

I have taken a teaspoon of honey now for three days and my experience so far is that it is better than a tablespoon of honey. I vaguely remember that I dreamed but do not remember about what. Today I also noticed that reading in the train was easier than before, despite waking up earlier, I felt I understood and retained more of what I was reading. What I find most surprising over these three days is that I don’t use my glasses as often as before.

So if a tablespoon causes you to wake up in the middle of the night, try a smaller dose. I haven’t yet tried a range of doses.

12 Replies to “Bedtime Honey: Less Honey May Be Better”

  1. I too have cut back on my honey dose at night from about 2+ tablespoons to about 1 tablespoon. Maybe one has to take a small enough dose to not trigger a big insulin surge but big enough to keep the brain in glucose during the night

  2. Seth, Since you have published this, I have tried various quantities and different kinds of honey, each experiment lasting about 4 consecutive days. Although this is very subjective – what works best (for me) is one level teaspoon of raw fermented honey, taken right before going to bed. I do not know the bio chemistry behind honey digestion nor anything about the changes that fermentation may cause. My source for the honey is

  3. I’m still taking a teaspoon per night, just before bedtime, and am still finding benefits. I actually stopped late last week for about 3 days, thinking that it had stopped working, because my hot flashes had increased in intensity and were waking me up again one or more times per night. I was going to sleep without it for a week and then resume to see if there was a real difference. After the third night of really awful sleep, I restarted the honey.

    Between the hot flashes, which ebb and flow, three dogs that don’t always sleep through the night themselves, and a cat that occasionally gets very affectionate after dark, sleep is a challenge at our house. What the honey does for me:
    1) gets me to sleep very quickly – in the neighborhood of 15 minutes after lights-out.
    2) makes the sleep itself deeper – I also know that I dream, but don’t usually remember any of the dreams.
    3) helps me get back to sleep quickly and easily after any of the interruptions.
    Overall, a huge benefit from something so very small.

  4. I measured how much honey is in a teaspoon and a tablespoon with a scale and it’s more than I thought. A teaspoon was about 10-15 grams and a tablespoon was about 20 – 25 grams. So a tablespoon could provide up to 20 grams of sugars.
    I’ve been measuring my sleep and have found that going over 100-110 grams of sugars per day worsens sleep and makes me feel terrible the next day. I’ve looked at the point in my day when experimenting with sugary foods (fruits, honey, desert,etc) and I can pinpoint the moment I start feeling bad (elevated heart rate, sore muscles and joints and so forth) and it always seems to occur when I go past 100 – 110 grams of sugar. This may seem like a lot of sugar, and it is, but a can of soft drink can contain 40 grams and many juices have a lot as well, so it may be easy to over do it. So the optimal dose of honey might depend on sugar consumption from fruits, honey or deserts/snacks throughout the day. I didn’t count starch sources (or veges), so I guess I’m really looking at fructose consumption… On the days where I consume close to zero sugary foods (fructose), my sleep is bad also. My best sleeps happened somewhere around 70 grams of sugar. This suggests to me that there might be an optimal amount of sugary foods and going above or below that may impact sleep (and health).

    Seth: I measure 1 tablespoon of honey to be about 20 g. Honey is supposedly 20% water, so there would be 16 g of sugar in 1 tablespoon.

  5. I drink a lot (a couple bottles of cheap wine, more or less) before bed, and I’ve found that just a teaspoon of honey is helpful. Sleep is better, and I feel better in the morning.

    I should add that I take an N-acetylcysteine and a vitamin C pill every other drink or so to prevent hangovers. I also take magnesium and evening primrose oil before bed. It works, but I used to wake up shaky (presumably from hypoglycemia), and the honey has alleviated that entirely. I wake up and have a b-complex and more evening primrose oil and feel great.

  6. Gina, a couple of bottles of wine just for you, or shared among many people?

    If the former, you are probably an alcoholic, especially if you have been drinking like that for any extended period of time. Consider enrolling yourself in a 12 Step program like Alcoholics Anonymous. Let me know if I can help.

  7. Thank you for mentioning this. I tried honey a couple of times but I haven’t actually seen any improvements. I was looking for improvements in strength, my sleep is ok. It seemed that I was sleeping longer after it, but I am not sure.
    But I see that I may have been using too much. I will try smaller doses and try the same type of exercise across a week, to see how it goes.

  8. Thank you, stylite. Yes, the wine is for me, but I’ve found ways of keeping it from negatively affecting my life and health (see my comment re: supplements). AA may work for some people, but my research has lead me to conclude that it is not an effective treatment for alcoholism.

    I do appreciate your comment. I am especially touched that a perfect stranger would express such concern and even an offer for assistance. Consider my faith in humanity bolstered.

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