May 23, 2022 6 min read

Reishi mushrooms have a lengthy history of medicinal use. In fact, herbalists from many Asian cultures consider reishi to be a “shen tonic,” or a spirit-balancing supplement that can help support mood, cognitive function, and healthy sleep cycles. Modern research supports some of these effects, and evidence regarding reishi mushroom sleep benefits is on the rise.

If you want to know more about how reishi may help calm your body and mind to help you fall asleep and wake feeling more rested, just take a look at the evidence below.

Key Takeaways

  • Research suggests that reishi could help decrease sleep latency and improve sleep quality.
  • It doesn’t have any sedative effects, so many people claim that it helps to improve sleep without any daytime grogginess.
  • Reishi side effects are rare and mild, especially compared to common sleep-enhancing medications.
  • Talk to your doctor about using reishi mushroom for sleep, especially if you already take medications for regulating blood sugar or blood pressure.
A fresh reishi mushroom growing from a hardwood tree just before harvest

Does Reishi Mushroom Help With Sleep?

According to some researchers and a slew of anecdotal reports, Reishi may help improve sleep quantity and quality. And unlike common sleep-supporting medications, it may provide sleep benefits without causing you to feel drowsy or groggy the next day. Reishi contains compounds that may help regulate the body’s stress response to naturally improve sleep quality over time.

One study found that reishi had a significant impact on total sleep time and the duration of n0n-REM sleep after only three days of use. The study found reishi supplementation to have a positive impact on the hypothalamus region, the portion of the brain that regulates sleep cycles, as well as the portion of the brain associated with learning and memory.

Another study confirmed similar results, stating that reishi supplementation increased sleep time and non-REM sleep. This study also suggests that animal subjects fell asleep faster after the reishi dose, and experienced less anxious behaviors, like fidgeting or other spontaneous activities.

One other study confirms that reishi could have some potential benefits for managing daytime fatigue. This study looked at the impact of reishi on patients with neurasthenia, a rare condition involving chronic fatigue, irritability, and headaches linked to emotional disturbances. After an 8-week trial, patients in this study experienced a significant decrease in fatigue and an increased sense of overall well being.

Although these studies definitely confirm some potential benefits of using reishi for sleep, more evidence is needed to understand why this may be the case. For now, though, anecdotal reports point to some serious benefits of incorporating reishi into your sleep wellness routine. Here’s how to do it:

How Much Reishi Should I Take for Sleep?

Understanding the answer to, ‘how much reishi should I take for sleep?’ will depend on multiple unique factors, like your overall health conditions, your weight and tolerance, and the reishi dosage you choose–a steeped mushroom tea is less potent that a concentrated extract, such as a capsule or tincture. In general, though, it’s always best to start with the lowest recommended reishi dose and increase until you reach the desired effects.

The amount of reishi used in sleep related studies varies. Some studies use around 80 mg per kg of body weight, or about 5.4 grams daily for a 150 pound person. Other studies have focused on rounded doses between 2-5 grams each day.

A 2004 clinical trial at the MARA Institute of Technology in Malaysia found that doses of 1.5 grams of reishi taken three times per day were most effective for managing migraines. The same study also found success in using doses of 4.5 grams taken three times daily for managing gout, osteoarthritis and rheumatism.

We recommend starting with doses of 1-3 grams, or simply starting with the lowest recommended dose on the high-quality reishi supplement of your choosing. Then, monitor the effects for several days before deciding if you should increase your dosage. You may also find that less reishi is needed when using it alongside other adaptogenic herbs and functional mushrooms to support the body’s sleep cycles.

Reishi Mushroom Sleep Safety

Studies involving regular reishi doses rarely indicate any severe side effects, and reishi is thought to be safe when taken for up to one year, which is generally plenty of time to help regulate your sleep routine. Let’s take a look at possible side effects and drug interactions to be aware of when using reishi for sleep:

Reishi Mushroom Side Effects

In general, reported side effects linked to reishi supplementation are rare and mild and may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Upset stomach
  • Rash

If you experience these effects or any other adverse reactions after taking reishi, you should immediately discontinue use and consult your doctor. In most cases, effects are incredibly mild and may be linked to improper doses, though drug interactions could be more severe.

Read "Reishi Side Effects" to learn more. 

A bottle of spilled prescription medications that may have interactions with reishi when used for sleep

Reishi Mushroom Drug Interactions

Because reishi contains bioactive compounds that can interact with the body’s immune functions and regulatory systems, it may interact with some medications, particularly:

  • Antihypertensive drugs: Medications prescribed for managing high blood pressure may interact with reishi because reishi mushrooms may lower blood pressure. This combination may result in blood pressure being too low, which could be dangerous. You may still be able to take reishi under a doctor’s guidance while closely monitoring your blood pressure.
  • Anticoagulants/Antiplatelet drugs:Reishi could prevent blood clotting and thin the blood, so it is unsafe to take with other blood thinning medications. You also should not take reishi before a scheduled surgery since it may increase bleeding.
  • Antidiabetes drugs: Reishi could lower blood sugar. In combination with other blood sugar regulating medications, this may cause blood sugar to drop too low. You may be able to take reishi under a doctor’s guidance if you closely monitor your blood sugar.

Is Reishi Mushroom Addictive?

No, reishi mushroom is not known to have any addictive or habit-forming properties, which means it could be a better alternative to some habit forming sleep-aids.

Which Reishi is Best?

There is no “one best reishi mushroom sleep supplement” on the market, rather there’s a wide variety of different supplements available that may work for different needs. It’s crucial that you choose high-quality supplements that are free of harmful contaminants that may cause unwanted side effects. Be sure that you buy reishi mushroom from a responsible manufacturer that provides lab testing for the final product batch.

You may also consider a mushroom blend for supporting sleep. Other herbal adaptogens and holistic supplements are known to help support healthy sleep cycles and may pair well with reishi to optimize your sleep wellness routine.

You may also want to read:

Reishi Mushroom Sleep FAQs

Can you take reishi before bed?

If you’re hoping to reap reishi mushroom sleep benefits, you should take reishi at least an hour before bed. It may take around an hour for the mushroom to take effect in the body and provide the sense of calm you need to fall asleep. Generally, the best time to take Reishi varies depending on the health benefits you hope to achieve. 

Can reishi mushroom keep you awake?

There have not been any substantial reports to suggest that reishi can disrupt sleep. If you experience sleep disruptions after taking reishi, it could be caused by something else or a rare circumstance, like an allergic reaction. Talk to your doctor to determine if reishi is best for you.

Can reishi cause insomnia?

One limited study regarding the use of reishi as a cancer treatment reported mild insomnia as one of the possible side effects. However, it’s unknown if other medications or circumstances could have led to this effect, and sleep disruptions caused by reishi have not been reported otherwise.

Resources

  1. “Extract of Ganoderma lucidum prolongs sleep time in rats” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22207209/
  2. “Extract of Ganoderma lucidum potentiates pentobarbital-induced sleep via a GABAergic mechanism” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17383716/
  3. “A randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study of a Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract in neurasthenia” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15857210/
  4. “Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi mushroom) for cancer treatment” https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD007731.pub3/full

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