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Cordyceps Before Bed: A Secret For Better Sleep

Cordyceps is a genus of ascomycete fungi (sac fungi) that includes around 600 species. It is often referred to as an exotic medicinal mushroom in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine, and in Latin its name translates to ‘club’.

Cordyceps sinensis and Cordyceps militaris are two of the most popular species of cordyceps. Cordyceps sinensis, also known as the caterpillar fungus, is traditionally used by healers in Sikkim as a tonic to treat “all illnesses”. Cordyceps militarist, also known as cordyceps flower, is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat a range of medical issues.

Overall, cordyceps has been celebrated for centuries for its medicinal therapies. Rich in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes, it is believed to offer a wealth of benefits when it comes to supporting the health of the body.

One of its believed remedies is the ability to improve sleep. Cordyceps is considered a safe and natural alternative to combating sleep problems over using additive solutions such as sedatives and sleeping pills.

If you struggle to get consistent sleep or you find difficulty in getting to sleep and staying asleep, Cordyceps extract may be the solution you are looking for. Other than potentially being able to combat sleep disorders, it may also provide additional health benefits.

This post will give you all the information you need on whether Cordyceps really works when it comes to sleep.

A Little About Sleep: The Circadian Rhythm

Cup of cordyceps tea with dried cordyceps and flowers beside

Did you know that your body has a natural sleep and wake cycle? This is known as your circadian rhythm. You may also have heard it being called a biological clock or body clock.

Your biological clock refers to the internal clock that serves to regulate your sleep-awakening cycle, hormone secretion in the body, blood pressure, and metabolism.

When people ignore or disrupt their body’s sleep signals this causes disrupted biorhythms. The result is an inability to sleep for a prolonged period of time or experience difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, and feeling terrible or groggy in the morning.

As you’re tucked up asleep, your body goes through numerous sleep cycles to keep your body happy and healthy. During your sleep, your body produces hormones such as prolactin that help you grow and sleep. This is just one of the many hormones working during your sleep time. These hormones provide support in helping you grow and heal.

Getting a good night's sleep is essential for regulating your body’s hormone levels to help your body stay in a healthy state of balance. This is known as homeostasis.

A lack of sleep, poor sleep patterns, disrupted sleep, or jet lag can have critical effects on your body’s health from illness to symptoms of sleep deprivation.

Luckily, there are effective and natural ways to support and improve your body’s circadian rhythm for improved sleep. Cordyceps is believed to be an effective solution.

Does Cordyceps Help You Sleep Better?

Cordyceps have long been believed to support the health of the body in a multitude of ways from increasing energy to supporting the immune system.

When it comes to difficulty sleeping, Cordyceps is believed to increase the quality of sleep by providing restorative and regenerative properties.

Cordyceps contain several active compounds that could be said to have an effect on sleep. Cordyceps contain beta-d-glucans (polysaccharides) which are known for their immune-boosting ability.

They are rich in antioxidants such as polyphenols, ergosterol, ergothioneine, and glutathione, which are each associated with providing immunomodulating properties, helping to reduce oxidative stress and the damage inflicted on the body by free radicals.

How Cordyceps Helps You Sleep

Pile of dried cordyceps

The following will show you the ways in which Cordyceps can potentially be the solution to combating sleep problems.

Restorative Properties

Cordyceps is believed to stimulate the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is characterized as a high-energy molecule that works to carry energy in the cells and supports the body’s ability to repair.

Cordyceps is believed to increase the flow of oxygenated blood in the body which results in the increased production of ATP. Increased production of ATP is what boosts an individual’s energy and stamina. But how will a boost of energy help you sleep?

The production of ATP improves sleep by boosting levels of cellular regeneration and rejuvenation, this leads to making your body’s rest and repair function efficient for a night of better sleep.

Increased Sleep Time

Studies on rats have shown that Cordyceps may be helpful when it comes to treating sleep problems. One study showed that Cordyceps actively increased NREM or non-rapid eye movement sleep and decreased REM or rapid eye movement sleep.

The result was the suppression of waking which makes for increased total sleeping time. NREM sleep is characterized as deep sleep as a critical phase for inducing muscle recovery and body restoration.

Cordyceps could be a useful solution to jet lag and insomnia as it may increase NREM sleep which helps to reset biorhythms.

Can I Take Cordyceps At Night?

Unlike other sleep solutions, Cordyceps shouldn’t be taken before bed. As cordyceps help to boost energy, if you take it before bed, you may get the opposite desired effect.

Instead, it should be taken in the morning to firstly boost your energy levels for the day and to give it time to increase the production of ATP in preparation for when you go to sleep.

Will Cordyceps Keep You Awake?

Beating fatigue naturally by boosting one's energy, can cordyceps cause insomnia? There is some debate as to whether cordyceps will keep you awake at night if taken before bed.

Although this could be true, cordyceps actually contains several bioactive components such as polysaccharides, amino acids, protein, etc, all of which provide antioxidant, immunomodulatory, and anti-inflammatory properties which help to reduce the effects of pain and extreme tiredness. This, in turn, helps to reduce symptoms of insomnia by promoting and inducing sleep.

However, as mentioned it's still recommended that cordyceps be taken in the morning as it has a natural energizing effect.

What Is Insomnia?

Cortisol is an important hormone when it comes to the sleep cycle. It is characterized as a stress hormone that helps to coordinate your sleep cycles.

When the production of cortisol is disrupted, your body becomes susceptible to insomnia and other sleep disorders. The production of cortisol can be easily disrupted by eating a diet with insufficient nutrition, chronic stress, or sickness.

Cordyceps are considered an adaptogen. Adaptogens help to restore and balance the body by promoting homeostasis. This is believed to provide effective stress relief as well as increasing and supporting the production of cortisol, which in turn may help in sleep regulation.


Although cordyceps is generally considered safe, you should treat it as a medication. Before taking natural supplements it is advised that you consult a medical professional.


The information above shows that Cordyceps could potentially work as a suitable solution to combating sleep problems. It serves as a natural solution to helping improve your quality of sleep by supporting the body and resetting the circadian rhythm.

It is also believed to provide properties that have an energizing effect to not only make you feel better in the morning but to support a night of restful sleep.

Darcy Ogdon-Nolan

Holding a Bachelor Of Science (Hons.) combined with close to a decade now in the health food and wellness industry, I believe I'm uniquely positioned to provide a depth of knowledge and first-hand experience on emerging health products, trends and ideas! From greens powders and medicinal mushrooms through to protein powders and workout nutrition - I'm particularly interested in what modern science can uncover about what human cultures have been using to treat ailments for millennia!

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