Eating saffron could help you get to sleep
Having trouble sleeping? A dose of saffron – yes, that fancy spice you find in Moroccan and Indian cooking – might help.
Consuming saffron can enhance the quality of sleep in adults who have been struggling to get a decent night’s rest, suggests new research from Murdoch University.
But before you start piling up on the pricey spice, be warned: the researchers used affron, a concentrated saffron extract, at a dose of 14mg. That’s not a dose that’s easy to consume in standard saffron you might buy from a supermarket, and considering how expensive the spice can be, it might not be something you want to buy loads of just to replicate the study’s effects.
That being said, the research does point to some intriguing potential properties of saffron. More studies will need to be done to see the effects of consuming saffron as part of a dish (or even a nice cup of warm milk infused with the spice), but if you already have saffron hanging out in your cupboards, it might be an ingredient worth exploring to see if it improves your sleep.
The research used volunteers who were not being treated for depression, were physically healthy, had been medication-free for at least four weeks (apart from the contraceptive pill), and had self-reported symptoms of poor sleep.
A 14mg dose of saffron extract twice daily for 28 days was found to improve sleep quality in the adults studied, with most of the changes happening within the first seven days of treatment.
Lead researcher Dr Adrian Lopresti said: ‘Our previous research showed saffron was an effective add-on to pharmaceutical antidepressants in patients experiencing mild-to-moderate depression.
‘Because many of these people reported improvements in their sleep, in this study we focused on healthy adults who were generally medication-free but had experienced poor sleep lasting greater than four weeks.
‘In addition to the improved sleep, the study showed that saffron was well tolerated with no reported adverse effects.
‘Our early research is indeed positive and there is evidence that taking a standardised saffron extract is associated with improvements in sleep quality.
‘However, to verify these findings, further studies using larger sample sizes, treatment periods and volunteers with varying characteristics is required.’