Natural ways to deal with sleep issues​

In the fungi kingdom, two mushrooms are well known help to provide a proper night’s rest. One is known as  Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) and the second is Reishi (Ganoderma Lucidum). Here we’ll focus on Lions Mane since its many benefits contribute to deeper focus and better sleep. 

This fabulous fungi has rapidly accelerated into public awareness fuelled by its acclaimed power to benefit sleep, reduce stress, whilst supporting memory and neurogenesis (new neural pathways in our brains!)

Not surprisingly, a quick Google Trends search identifies the mushroom’s popularity as increasing tenfold over the past 12 years. This mushroom is being referenced regularly by nootropic advocates and bodyhacking bioneers: communities active in fine-tweaking our bodies performance for optimum health. But I hear you ask… 

Pensive woman holds Lion's Mane tincture bottle, suggesting contemplation of cognitive benefits.

How does Lion's Mane mushrooms help with sleep? 

“Clinically Hericium erinaceus produces consistent improvements in anxiety and insomnia […]” Martin Powell. “Medicinal Mushrooms–A Clinical Guide.” 

Of it’s many attributed benefits, Lion’s Mane is being understood to stimulate both the Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) (1) and Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) (2). These two functions are essential for neurogenesis and are hypothesised to be important for other brain chemical related states such as memory retention, mood, and relaxation. 

Some have attributed this to the mushroom’s ability to reduce anxiety and depressive tendencies: those which are known to have a reductive effect on sleep quality. For example, through stimulating BDNF, it’s possible that the resulting reduced anxiety and low mood could contribute to better sleeping. 

Good sleep is essential for overall health and wellbeing and usually it is said that 7-9 hours of high quality sleep per night ensures that we are well prepared to face our days. Although our biological need for sleep is not fully understood, a widely held view is that it provides our bodies with a regular and necessary opportunity for restoration with respect to molecular, cellular, or network changes (3)

We all know how good an excellent night’s sleep feels; and conversely how terrible we can feel when sleep deprived. Of course many life factors contribute to good restful sleep, but we find it fascinating that Lion’s Mane has the ability to support peaceful sleep through the stimulation and transference of chemicals such as NGF and BDNF, hericenones and erinacines, polysaccharides and more. 

A calmer, more relaxed mind leads us to better overall health! Indeed, in a 2021 study (4) researchers recognised that because Lion’s Mane contains hericenones and erinacines, taking supplements containing the mushroom’s mycelium may support sleep disruption improvement. 

One of the reasons for this beautiful mushroom’s popularity is the emerging body of science related to characteristics such as enabling better sleep through regular consumption. For example, Vigna (2019) (5) found that volunteers suffering from sleep disorders were found to have an improved mood and an increased quality of nocturnal rest after 8 weeks of Lion’s Mane supplementation. 

Our brains are known to process information during our sleep. Mathew Walker, author of “Why We Sleep” argues that dreaming is like overnight therapy, as it takes the edges of emotional experiences to feel better the next day. This could also be why improving our brain processes could help us sleep better and feel better the next day. With Lion’s Mane creating new brain pathways, what better time to do this than whilst we are away with the fairies? 

What are other benefits of Lion’s Mane?

On top of all the many tangible benefits on sleep, Lion’s Mane is found to be used as an antibiotic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, antifatigue, antihypertensive, antihyperlipodemic, cardioprotective, hepatoprotective, nephroprotective, and neuroprotective properties and improvement of anxiety, cognitive function, and depression (6). Each of these qualities qualifies a blog post in and of itself so we’ll see what we can do in the future. For example, one study has shown promising signs of brain nerve repair in the early stages of recovery after brain injury (7)

Although more scientific research on Lion’s Mane is needed (like many mushrooms!) the more we learn about this magical mushroom, the more our minds are literally blown by their humble power. We are looking forward to going deeper on other qualitative aspects of Lion’s Mane and our other mushrooms in more blog posts soon, so keep a watchful eye!

If you’ve got a little more time and would like to hear how Lion’s Mane helped Katie sleep better and have a more consistent REM sleep it’s worth watching her video here.

If you’re interested in trying Lion’s Mane yourself, you can purchase on our online store. Did you know you can also Subscribe & Save up to 35% by making a repeat order which you can cancel at any time? We’ve created this option to allow our customers to receive the maximum mushroom benefits over time! Check out the Lion’s Mane Subscribe & Save options here

Let us know what you think of this article on our instagram or facebook and share your mushroom love with friends, family and community. Until next time, mush love from the Love Mushrooms crew <3 



1. Mori K, Obara Y, Hirota M, Azumi Y, Kinugasa S, Inatomi S, Nakahata N. Nerve growth factor-inducing activity of Hericium erinaceus in 1321N1 human astrocytoma cells. Biol Pharm Bull. 2008 Sep;31(9):1727-32. doi: 10.1248/bpb.31.1727. PMID: 18758067.


2. Ramón Martínez-Mármol, YeJin Chai, Zahra Khan, Seon Beom Kim, Seong Min Hong, Rachel S. Gormal, Dae Hee Lee, Jae Kang Lee, Mi Kyeong Lee, Sun Yeou Kim, Frédéric A. Meunier; Hericerin derivatives from Hericium erinaceus exert BDNF-like neurotrophic activity in central hippocampal neurons and enhance memory. bioRxiv 2020.08.28.271676; doi: 


3. Vyazovskiy V. V. (2015). Sleep, recovery, and metaregulation: explaining the benefits of sleep. Nature and science of sleep, 7, 171–184.


4. Li, T. J., Lee, T. Y., Lo, Y., Lee, L. Y., Li, I. C., Chen, C. C., & Chang, F. C. (2021). Hericium erinaceus mycelium ameliorate anxiety induced by continuous sleep disturbance in vivo. BMC Complement Med Ther, 21(1), 295. doi:10.1186/s12906-021-03463-3 


5. Vigna, L., et al. (2019). “Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2019: 7861297. 


6. Friedman, M. (2015). Chemistry, Nutrition, and Health-Promoting Properties of Hericium erinaceus (Lion’s Mane) Mushroom Fruiting Bodies and Mycelia and Their Bioactive Compounds. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2015, 63, 32, 7108–7123


7. Wong KH, Naidu M, David RP, Bakar R, Sabaratnam V. Neuroregenerative potential of lion’s mane mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (higher Basidiomycetes), in the treatment of peripheral nerve injury (review). Int J Med Mushrooms. 2012;14(5):427-46. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushr.v14.i5.10. PMID: 23510212 .

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