It’s a spice that most households have stashed away in a dark cupboard, but cinnamon is more than just an aromatic condiment to add to your oatmeal or sweet treat. It has some great health benefits, and one of those is the potential to take cinnamon for sleep purposes.
Cinnamon – a spice gathered from scraping the bark off the tree Cinnamomum – has been used for centuries, and its earliest known use was in Ancient Egypt when it was used for both medical and culinary purposes.
However back then spices were expensive, and only kings and the wealthy elite had access to this condiment.
Thankfully that’s not the case now, and if you’re suffering with sleep issues, eating cinnamon before bed could help. Particularly if some of your sleep problems are due to stress, as you’ll find out below.
tHE BENEFITS OF CINNAMON FOR SLEEP
What makes this spice special is that it’s packed with a compound called cinnamaldehyde which has powerful anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
However there also appears to be evidence that cinnamaldehyde has an effect on rapid eye movement (REM) sleep – a type of dream sleep that should happen several times during nighttime. One study – albeit with rats – showed that when treated with cinnamaldehyde there was a direct increase in REM and non-rapid eye movement sleep in rats that had been put under stress. The conclusion of the study was that the compound was helping the stressed animals sleep.
Therefore the normal consumption of cinnamon within someone’s diet could be beneficial for individuals suffering from stress-related sleep issues.
With it’s anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon can help fight infection and in turn reduce pain due to inflammation. That can have a direct impact on sleep quality too.
As many major diseases like heart disease, arthritis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s are often linked to chronic inflammation, incorporating anti-inflammatory foods into your diet – like cinnamon – is a no-brainer.
Antioxidants appear to have a direct effect on sleep quality, as they support the immune system and help promote restfulness at night.
Insomnia and sleep problems create oxidative stress, as a good sleep itself has antioxidant effects. Therefore making sure you’re incorporating antioxidant spices and foods into your diet, can help bring the body’s balance back and restore what you may be missing from a lack of sleep. That in turn, could have an effect on sleep quality.
Cinnamon’s antioxidant effects could help restore balance in your internal health, a balance that has been skewed due to the creation of oxidative stress as a result of sleeplessness.
eATNG Cinnamon BEFoRE BED: incorporating it into your diet
Cinnamon is a popular spice available throughout the world, and subsequently is easy and cheap to incorporate into your diet.
While cinnamon is widely available in sweet treats such as pastries, cookies, and hot cross buns, there are much healthier ways to get your cinnamon fix.
Adding a sprinkling of cinnamon on your coffee, breakfast cereal or on porridge would be a quick and tasty way to ensure you gain the powerful health benefits of this spice.
A little cinnamon in soup or a curry, can add a sweet side to popular dishes too.
If you’re looking for a more direct way to incorporate cinnamon for sleep, having a hot cinnamon milk before bedtime could be useful. Warm up a cup’s worth of milk on a stove, and add a quarter teaspoon of cinnamon – add a little vanilla for taste too if you wish. This warm aromatic drink will help you relax and soothe after a long day, which in itself has potential benefits for sleep.
Other potential benefits of cinnamon
- It has been shown in studies to have anti-cancer properties, and therefore could potentially be used in cancer prevention.
- Studies have shown it could be effective in fighting risk attached to heart disease.
- In studies involving chicken and mice, cinnamon was seen to lower cholesterol.
- Research has also shown cinnamon to have anti-diabetic effects.
- It could be beneficial in the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Cinnamon for sleep: Any drawbacks?
Cinnamon has been enjoyed for thousands of years, and usually causes no issues. However excessive consumption could lead to side effects such as liver damage, anxiety, difficulty breathing, dizziness, mouth sores, and even digestive issues.
As always, we recommend consulting with your doctor if undertaking a diet change, or if you have concerns about how a specific food may interact with any preexisting conditions or medicines.