Saffron increased evening melatonin levels
Melatonin is the hormone that controls the sleep-wake cycle, with the pineal gland producing and releasing melatonin at night. In this study, 120 adults who reported having insomnia and poor sleep, took a placebo, 14 mg or 28 mg of saffron, one hour before bed. Doctors used standard scales to measure sleep quality, mood, and biological factors.
After 120 days, those taking saffron saw significantly greater improvement in all sleep measures compared to placebo. Sleep quality improved an average of 23.43 percent in both saffron groups compared to 8.43 percent for placebo. Rating mood after awakening, the low and high saffron groups improved 7.26 and 14.42 percent, respectively, compared to 1.58 percent for placebo. The saffron groups saw similar improvements compared to placebo for insomnia. Salivary melatonin levels increased in both saffron groups.
Reference: Sleep Medicine; October, 2021, Vol. 86, 7-18
Probiotics improved sleep, reduced depression
This study included 40 otherwise healthy adults who reported chronic insomnia without sleep apnea. On one night preceding treatment, participants wore an electrocardiogram patch to objectively measure the sleep-wake cycle, and for two nights, had a medical technician monitor brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity or skeletal muscle activation, and heart rhythm, during sleep, in a test called a polysomnogram (PSG).
Participants then took a placebo or 6 billion colony-forming units of lactobacillus plantarum after dinner. After 30 days, compared to placebo, the lactobacillus group experienced fewer depressive symptoms, less fatigue, awakening, and arousal, a decrease in high-frequency brain wave activity, and improved quality of deep sleep.
Reference: Nutrients; 2021, Vol. 13, No. 8, nu13082820