Bedtime Honey and Sleep: More Evidence It Works

In a 2010 forum discussion I found this:

SLEEPY HEAD I read that honey helps you sleep. I’ve tried it the past few night and have slept very well! I have had trouble falling asleep and staying asleep since I was born. I even take Ambien sometimes and still stay awake alllllll night long. I can’t believe how well I slept the past 2 nights. Just take one teaspoon of honey before bedtime and sleep like a puppy!

USER 967048 I took honey again last night and slept awesome. I have found that 2 tablespoons work the best.

USER 968407 I took honey again last night and slept like a baby again! This really works!

USER 602568 I’ve been sipping a cup of milk with a couple teaspoons of honey on nights I can’t sleep. It always works. But I thought it was the warm milk. I didn’t realize the honey was the key ingredient.

More evidence that as little as one teaspoon produces a big improvement. One teaspoon of a common food can greatly improve something as important as sleep!


7 Replies to “Bedtime Honey and Sleep: More Evidence It Works”

  1. I’ve not tried this (yet), but in searching for something related to apple cider vinegar, I saw a comment that honey wasn’t vegan. The poster suggested trying maple syrup as an alternative. It’d be interesting to see if that works the same as honey for those who use it to help their sleep.

    Seth: I agree, maple syrup is worth trying.

  2. Hi Seth, I just recently found out about your blog and all the self experimenting you do.

    I am currently trialling raw cold processed honey and have noticed that my sleep isn’t as refreshing as store bought pasturized honey? According to David Asprey Raw Honey is 22% better at making liver glycogen and should improve sleep more but I’m noticing not as sound sleep! Thoughts?

    From my own experimenting I’ve noticed that when I take too much honey (over 1 tsbp + ) my sleep isn’t as good as taking 1 or 2 teaspoons.

    Also +1 for cutting sugar during the day to improve the effects of honey for sleep!

    Seth: I think Dave overstated things. Too much is unknown about the effect to be sure raw honey is better than pasteurized.

  3. There’s an earlier post on honey that has a drink of cider vinegar and honey as the recipe. As for honey not being vegan, you’ve hit on one of the controversies of that world.

    There is NO consensus on this. The issue is the question of whether you are abstaining from using all animal products to avoid causing them suffering or to avoid any form of exploitation. The former will include honey since they’re not being forced to produce it and don’t have any adverse consequences from us taking it. The latter won’t.

    As for using maple syrup as an alternative, frankly I’m surprised that someone against suffering and/or exploitation would suggest it. Forcing a tree to bleed regularly is better than taking something that’s produced painlessly by an insect?

    Disclosure here, I’m not vegan, and I eat both (as well as bleeding myself regularly for the blood bank). But I’m getting my results from milk and honey.

    Seth: What about causing animals pleasure? What if doing X causes animals pleasure? Why is that neglected from these calculations of the effect of this or that human action on animals?

  4. PS after re-reading, I want to clarify, it’s not quite such a clear cut divide, and there’s a lot of debate over whether taking honey is exploitation. Especially since bee farming recently helped with staying the effects of a disease ravaging the wild bee population. If you search the term “beegan” you’ll find more about the controversy over honey and veganism.

  5. I mentioned that honey might aid sleep to my wife & she said “duh, everyone knows that!” Apparently it is well-known in the Chinese-speaking world.

    Seth: Ask your wife what fraction of her Chinese friends actually do it. It is not “well-known” in the sense of commonly done. However, the Chinese certainly see honey as more of a health food than Americans do.

  6. Not just a well-known Chinese remedy…

    I don’t have time to check whether someone else mentioned this, but when I lived in Croatia (former Yugoslavia, really) a tablespoon of honey mixed with water and apple cider vinegar served at room temperature and sipped slowly before bedtime was not uncommon. My grandparents, now in their late 80s, still use it when they feel restless before bed. When I tried doing this every day for a summer, I was able to fall asleep within 30 minutes, and it usually takes me closer to an hour. I may have felt more rested, can’t remember.

    Unfortunately I’m just too lazy to do this every night.

    PS A quick search showed there was an earlier post on honey + apple cider. oh well 🙂

    Seth: Forgive me, but I fall asleep within a minute. It’s no great secret why, see my post about what I’ve learned about sleep.

  7. So one tsp of honey a night is working for me and it made me think: DayQuil in pill form is great, but I always used to swear that the NyQuil pills weren’t as good as the liquid.

    Maybe the reason it made me sleep better and feel better when I woke up had something to do with essentially taking a shot of sugar liquid right before bed.

    Seth: I think you’re right:

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