“Bedtime Honey is a Godsend”

A reader writes:

The bedtime honey treatment has been a godsend for me. I had been sleepless for several months when you first wrote about the honey, waking up many times every night and staying awake for long periods. I immediately began trying the honey, and the first night, though I still woke up a few times, I had dreams for the first time in ages. After a couple more nights I was sleeping all night. I usually wake up once a night for one reason or another, but wonderfully, get back to sleep which was impossible for so long before the honey. Sleep deprivation is so miserable, I cannot thank you enough!

In case you haven’t tried it. What did I blog about before? I can’t remember.

15 Responses to ““Bedtime Honey is a Godsend””

  1. Rif Says:

    So am I the only one honey *doesn’t* work for? I’ve been trying it for about a month now [I think since one of the very early mentions]. I *want* it to work, because I sure do need to sleep better and honey is delicious, but so far I seem to be sleeping neither better or longer. Right now it’s the third night in a row when I’ve tried honey before bed but I’ve woken up after about 3 hours of sleep, still tired but having a hard time getting back to sleep. I’ve experimented with quantities between 1 Tbs and 1 Tsp.

    Seth: You might want to try taking it earlier in the evening, such as 2 hrs before bedtime.

  2. Sentinel Says:

    Rif, don’t worry, honey does not make much difference for me either! It seems that people suffer insomnia for a variety of reasons: toxin exposure, anxiety, depression, poor sleep hygiene, a room that is too warm/cold/bright/noisy, etc. It would be surprising (to me, anyway) if a given supplement or food could improve sleep for ALL of these types of insomnia. Seth does not even currently suffer from insomnia (jealous!), but instead (sorry if I am misstating this, Seth!) has sleep that tends to vary only between 99% restorative and 100% restorative; so we are all dealing with different sleep issues, different starting points. What I learned from Seth is not “honey will fix your sleep,” but “theorize and experiment until you find what fixes your sleep.”

    Seth: After 20 years of trial and error, I managed to sleep well…but honey easily improved on that. That is the lesson I draw. I feel better the whole day because I have slept better. I have the wrong scale to show how much better I feel the whole day.

  3. Three Pipe Problem Says:

    My presumption has been that honey works better for those who are more carb/fructose depleted

  4. Bob Says:

    Hasn’t worked for me or my wife, either. Not that we were sleeping poorly before trying it, but all the reports here made it worth checking out. No effect for me, worse for my wife (hours of wakefulness in the middle of the night after a few hours of sleep, what someone jokingly said Seth would call “morning” since he sleeps far less than most of us).

  5. Bruce McCullough Says:

    Tablespoon of honey before bed works wonders for me; did nothing for my wife. But she sleeps like a log anyway — probably there is no improvement to be had in her case.

    Rif, try taking vitamin D in the morning as an aid to sleep. Search this blog for posts on the phenomenon. I doubt that honey would have worked for me if I hadn’t already been taking D.

  6. Joe Says:

    Hasn’t worked for me either. At least not yet.

    I wonder of the placebo effect might be in play here?

    Perhaps some of us are just more suggestible than others?

  7. peter Says:

    it helped my sleep some; but the clear difference for me was more stamina and more energy. I seem to get more out of my workouts. My experience seems consistent with the view that honey restores a depleted liver.

  8. William Blair Says:

    I must say it’s been phenomenal for me for a couple weeks now. I am happily amazed at the difference it made for me, daily. Even with inadequate amounts of sleep I can wake up on a dime without any grogginess – such an event happened just last night. The wife turned the nightstand light on at 3AM. I woke up immediately, alert and ready to go.

    I wish it worked for everyone like this and I’m sad to see that it isn’t (judging by some of the comments). I’ve even been eating badly the last couple of days (in moderation) – still no problems!

    I’m rambling now, but I honestly can’t remember ever feeling this good. Years and years, literally.

    All I can say is: I’m glad I found this blog and that article!!

  9. William Blair Says:

    [Joe Says:
    January 15th, 2014 at 11:11 am
    Hasn’t worked for me either. At least not yet.
    I wonder of the placebo effect might be in play here?
    Perhaps some of us are just more suggestible than others? ]

    From what little I know, the placebo effect is certainly a squirrely thing, so it would impossible to effectively refute your suggestion. I can only speak for myself and say I had no expectations either way.

    However! I can say this as a personal observation (in the same vein as personal science, I suppose). I have eaten honey with breakfast periodically and let me tell you – I sure didn’t feel any better afterwards or the next day.

  10. Joe Says:

    William: “From what little I know, the placebo effect is certainly a squirrely thing, so it would impossible to effectively refute your suggestion. I can only speak for myself and say I had no expectations either way.”

    William, if you had no expectations, why did you try it? I didn’t try it because I didn’t think it would work. I tried it because I thought it just might work. It had worked for others, maybe it would work for me.

    I agree that there are things about the whole placebo/nocebo theory that are not easily explained. The way I look at it is this: I don’t care if it can or can’t be explained scientifically. But if someone can take a pill that is supposed to make, say, his headache go away, and it’s only a placebo, but his headache goes away, I don’t think it would matter much to the person taking the pill.

    I have no doubt the honey is working for you. I also have no doubt that it’s not working for me. The mystery continues…

  11. John Smith Says:

    There are so many variables in our lives, it is presumptuous to expect honey to be a cure all for everyone in the matter of one week, or even one month. Perhaps many of you readers and commenters know more of each other’s details, but I can only guess at:

    How old is this person?
    How Sick?
    With what other symptoms?
    What is the lifestyle, including the diet, mindset and disposition?
    What was the origin of the honey?
    (And pertinent to my case:) How close to your bedhead is there excessive electromagnetic fields?
    What priority does this person give to getting good sleep?

    Good health follows on from good lifestyle, which includes myriad factors to be considered. And each of us has the challenge of working on our own leading edge causes of illnesses of all types. Not being able to sleep well is certainly in the loop, both as a cause of disease and as a result of disease.

    But at the end of the day, by eliminating each ’cause’ as it comes to our notice, we can energize our body and be delightfully healthy. Disease cannot exist in a fully energized body. Failing energy will promote diseases of every persuasion.

    Modern sweeteners are an abomination. They are a factor in most everyone’s energy problems. Getting off them is a big challenge, as is finding foodstuffs that are high quality. Modern medicines are also a major factor, as we easily get hooked on them and lose our awareness of just what real health feels like. Trying to wean ourselves off ‘treatments’ of all types is a big challenge.

    But for those of us with reasonable lifestyles and average health, a well fed belly and a well stocked liver is the key to good sleep. Honey is the gold standard food to achieve this liver ‘charging’ with glycogen.

    Honey that has been diluted with any other commercial and cheap sweeteners probably will not work, but the percentages of real honey to the substitute is to be considered. Determining the difference is not easy, this is why the remark, “Buy your honey from someone you trust” becomes so pertinent.

    Unfortunately not everyone has immediate access to someone they trust to get their honey from, but giving this detail some priority will pay big dividends.

    In my case, I was pre-diabetic, but probably with Type III as I have been a health fanatic for most of my life, thanks to my father before me. But as age took its toll I had spells of not sleeping at all on occasion, and once for three nights in succession. Not good. I thought I was dying.

    Without consulting any professionals, I read McInnes’s book, seriously policed my ‘other’ sweeteners intakes, shunned alcohol and caffeine, and commenced to reduce my work hours.

    My health completely turned around, although I did go through several months of ‘withdrawal’ which was not encouraging. Even now, I have occasion not to sleep at all for one night, and nerves are usually indicated, but overall I sleep quite well, and have energy above and beyond many other men my age.

    I need to work on my brevity now, don’t you think?

    Cheers

  12. daz Says:

    just talking on the sleep benefits of honey here, not any other benefits…

    one possible explanation why honey does not improve sleep (or certain sleep issues) for some people, could be because they need more than the liver glycogen ‘hack’ mentioned previously (here & under other posts)…

    take an example of two people, both of whom wake up in the middle of the night, lets say at 3am (& they would prefer not to),
    Lets say that Person A already has full liver glycogen before taking the honey dose before bed.
    &
    Lets say that Person B has low liver glycogen before taking the honey dose before bed. & lets assume that the honey dose replenishes the liver glycogen of person B to that required for a good nights sleep (as far as liver glycogen requirements are concerned).

    So from a liver glycogen perspective for a good nights sleep both persons are covered.
    But both persons still wake at 3am…so the presumptions would be that the wakings are not related to liver glycogen in these cases. & the reasons/causes for the wakings lies elsewhere.
    I am not saying that the appropriate liver glycogen levels are not required, but in these cases something else is also ‘broken’ (or multiple ‘things are broken’) that need to be resolved as well (on top of any potential liver glycogen shortfalls).

  13. Nathen Says:

    I’ve been taking varying amounts of honey just before bed for several weeks now and after what seemed like great results the first night, have noticed no effect since on number of instances of sleep onset, maintenance, or morning insomnia, nor on energy level upon waking or during the day. This does not seem to depend on how much carbohydrate or sugar I’ve had during the day. I’d like to have a more precise dependent variable than my subjective experience–something like reaction time measurements, but I use a Mac so can’t use yours. (Anyone have a Mac solution?) I suspect that even with a better measurement I’d be ferreting out a small effect, if any. Disappointing because I love honey and really need better sleep. Maybe a post updating your theory to explain negative results?

    Seth: Maybe you don’t get enough circadian-rhythm-establishing events, such as morning sunshine and morning Vitamin D3. No doubt they matter too.

  14. Drini Says:

    After several trials, I can say as well that honey did not improve my sleep.
    On the contrary, it actually worsened it, because it made me self-conscious about my sleep, which used to be ok. I wanted honey to work especially for improving my energy levels during the day. Alas, it did not work on that either.
    Other forms of sweets before sleep don’t work either, I’ve tried bananas several times before sleep without any noticeable improvement. I have still to try having honey 2-3h before sleep. Or trying to up my dose (2T). 1t up to now has been better than 1T. 1T impairs sleep onset.

    Seth: What works best for me is having something sweet at three different times: 1.3-4 hr before bedtime. 2. 1-2 hr before bedtime. 3. At bedtime. Each time, roughly 40-60 kcal.

  15. Pine Cone Says:

    I tried 2 tsp of honey before bed two nights in a row. The first night I definitely ‘felt’ like I had deeper sleep, but it almost seemed like I was ‘dreaming’ that I was sleeping deeper. I’ve read many comments about increased dream activity, so maybe that make sense. I generally wake several times per night, this did not change with the honey either of the two nights. However, I’ve suspected for some time that I need a new mattress :)

    I use Sleep Cycle to track my sleep and per the app, my sleep DID improve… by 12%. That’s enough for me to keep at it. THE REASON FOR MY COMMENT TODAY, is that I’ve encountered another possible side effect, and I’m curious if it’s been noted yet? The first morning after the honey, my resting heart rate was 49 bpm (usually in the 60 bpm range, sometimes higher), AND my blood pressure was WAY down (110/75). I’ve bee wrestling with high blood pressure for months, in fact the previous day it was 160/89… typical. The second morning, my heart rate was in the ‘normal’ range for me (60 bpm) but my blood pressure was close to the same, 110/77.

    Possible caveat that I will test against, is that I also added red light exposure before bed in hopes of winding down… BUT I did expose myself to red light the night before… and the morning of the 160/89 reading.

    Any similar experiences with blood pressure??