Should You Take Lion’s Mane at Night?
Learn about the way Lion's Mane mushrooms benefit your sleep, if they can keep you awake at night, and the best time of day to take them.
Updated April 14, 2023.
Lion's Mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus) is a functional, edible fungus that received its name from the toothy spines that make up its fruiting body. Most functional mushrooms have similar benefits to their counterparts yet also have a few properties that are different.
Lion's Mane is revered particularly for its effects on cognitive functioning and mood, which often links to better sleep quality. That being said, does this mean that you should be taking Lion's Mane at night or in the morning?
Does Lion’s Mane Keep You Awake at Night?
In short, no, taking Lion's Mane at night will not cause insomnia.
This belief stems from the association between improved focus and stimulatory drugs that can cause insomnia as a side effect, but it doesn't extend to functional mushrooms. While they may offer similar benefits, they don't operate through the same mechanisms as pharmaceutical drugs. When people ask how quickly Lion's Mane takes to work, they're usually expecting an answer of a few hours, but the benefits of Lion's Mane and other functional mushrooms compound in the body over a few weeks or even longer.
The Best Time of Day to Take Lion’s Mane
As such, Lion's Mane doesn't promote sleep by inducing fatigue in the same way that pharmaceutical sleeping tablets do by immediately inhibiting or interacting with operating mechanisms in your brain. Rather, studies have shown that Lion's Mane extracts seem to promote nerve growth factors (NGF) associated with better circadian rhythm after a few weeks of regular consumption, thus improving both sleep and wakefulness cycles. There is also some anecdotal evidence that Lion's Mane might affect dreams through an effect on REM sleep, but more research is needed.
This means that, in the long term, it doesn't really matter what time of day you take your Lion's Mane supplements. Some people prefer to mix a scoop of Lion's Mane mushroom powder into their coffee in the morning, while others prefer taking their supplements before bed, and they would all be correct. There is no definitive answer for when to take Lion's Mane or even the best way to take Lion's Mane.
Where to Begin
Although this might seem like a loss, Lion's Mane appears to be relatively safe for consumption, allowing you the freedom to experiment with different methods until you find what works for you. Just be sure to exercise caution if you suffer from mushroom or mould allergies, and be wary of the potential side effects of Lion's Mane.