Garlic and Sleep

Natural Insomnia Treatment?

Sleep is an essential part of life. We need it to remain physically and mentally healthy. The effects of sleep deprivation can be disastrous - consult your doctor. If we're having trouble sleeping then it would be nice to have something natural and inexpensive to help.

Sedative vs Stimulant

So, could garlic help us to sleep? Or is it more likely to keep us awake?

The evidence is mixed. It has a reputation for doing both!

On the one hand garlic is generally classed as a "hot" herb and has been known as a stimulant. Some groups have even objected to garlic because of the "over-stimulation" it can produce by "inflaming" the passions. It has sometimes been considered an aphrodisiac, which would hardly seem to be suggestive of a sedative effect!

Yet despite that garlic also has a reputation for helping people to get to sleep, even if they don't want to. Some people have claimed that eating garlic at lunch time can make it more difficult to concentrate in the afternoon. This contradiction was summed up by gourmet Curnonsky who wrote:

"A garlic caress is stimulating. A garlic excess soporific."
It seems that garlic might help you to get a good night's sleep - under certain conditions. For example, if you have a cold and are having trouble breathing then garlic might be able to assist. Garlic can help to dry up the nasal passages in some cases, improving breathing and helping to reduce snoring in some people. This can in turn ease sleep.

Whether garlic works as a sleep aid under "normal" conditions is as yet unproven.

Some people suggest chopping a little garlic, infusing it in simmering milk for a few minutes then straining to produce a night-time drink. Check with your partner first!