Does Honey Help You Sleep? (The Real Truth)

does honey help you sleep

Tossing and turning in bed all night?

I think we can agree that waking up at night is frustrating. Staring at the ceiling and counting how many hours of sleep you have left is even worse.

Luckily, there are natural ways you can achieve that deep rest. In fact, a great help towards getting a good night of sleep is taking a teaspoon of honey before bed.

So yes, honey indeed helps with sleep. But some may wonder, just how does honey help you sleep? That’s what this article explains in-depth.

Honey and Sleep Chemicals

One of the ways honey helps you sleep is by enhancing your body’s production of sleep chemicals.

Honey helps the brain absorb tryptophan, an amino acid that turns to serotonin, which then turns to melatonin – your key sleep hormone.

[alert type=”warning” icon-size=”hide-icon”]When you go to bed, your melatonin levels rise. This results in feelings of sleepiness and sedation. Melatonin levels are the highest when you’re in deep sleep. Upon waking up, they’re at their lowest.[/alert]

However, we often break this natural sleep-wake cycle these days. Digital screens emit blue light which is known to disrupt our body’s natural melatonin production. Chronic stress can do the same.

Luckily, honey is an excellent sleep and relaxation aid. By allowing for higher tryptophan, and consequently melatonin in the brain, it helps you get back into a healthy sleep rhythm.

Want to know more about honey’s benefits for your mental state? Then be sure to check my honey brain benefits article.

Being Hangry at Night Is Not Good For Your Sleep

Did you ever find yourself wake in the middle of the night, unable to fall asleep? Maybe you felt food cravings? Chances are your brain woke you up because it was hungry.

See, your liver stores about 70-100 grams of sugar at the time. Your body uses up that fuel pretty fast, consuming 10g of glycogen per hour. Now, many of us eat dinner fairly early in the day. Around 6 or 7 PM. While this has its advantages, it also potentially comes with its downsides – especially if you have a fast metabolism.

By the time you hit the pillow, you’ve already used a hefty portion of the glycogen from that dinner. This can potentially leave your body with less fuel than needed to have a full night of sleep. That’s why you might sometimes wake up in the middle of the night. It’s really just your brain telling you that it’s hungry.

Honey to the Rescue

Having a teaspoon of honey before bed can help you sleep soundly through the night. The liquid gold will replenish your liver with the glycogen, which will keep your brain fueled for a full 8 hours afterwards.

Now, honey’s natural sugars will also slightly spike up your insulin. This will allow for the entrance of L-tryptophan in the brain as we mentioned. When the brain has a steady supply of this critical amino acid, it can produce more serotonin, and by extension: melatonin. Your sleep hormone.

Your body can also use tryptophan to make niacin, which is an essential B vitamin. Niacin is another key player in the making of serotonin.

And the best of all is, using honey to help with sleep is super simple. Sure you can add it to various things like tea, but all you really need is a spoon and a jar of raw honey. And you’re all set!

Speaking of raw honey…

Raw or Commercial Honey For Sleep?

You may wonder, will commercial honey do the trick here? Or is raw honey better for helping you sleep?

Truth be told, there is no contest between raw vs. pasteurized honey. The process of pasteurization involves heating honey to high temperatures. This effectively kills the live enzymes and most of the nutrient content of raw honey. What’s left is dead fructose and glucose.

Honey processing also removes bee pollen. A 2015 study review shows how bee pollen has:

  • Antioxidant effects
  • Anti-inflammatory properties
  • Antibacterial and Antifungal activity
  • Pain-alleviating properties

It’s also shown that our liver can absorb 22% more glycogen from raw honey than conventional honey. Needless to say raw honey is a far better choice in any scenario. Sure processed honey might be cheaper. But a waste of money is a waste of money, no matter how cheap it is.

Further Reading: Honey Brain Benefits – Is Honey Good For Your Brain?

Conclusion on Does Honey Help You Sleep

So that was our answer to does honey help you sleep. Yes, it does, and it’s quite effective at it. From raising your melatonin to providing your brain with fuel, honey helps you achieve a deep sleep in more than one way.

For all the busy bees out there. Why not give a teaspoon of raw honey before bed a try. The liquid gold might just be what you need to sleep through all night. At last.


  1. The New Honey Revolution, Dr. Ron Fessenden.
  2. The Honey Prescription: The Amazing Power of Honey, Nathaniel Altman.

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