Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Why does Turmeric Have an Effect on Sleep?

The other day, my cousin Agatha dropped by our shop for a visit. In the course of the conversation, she mentioned that her mom had been taking turmeric powder for general health. The first thing she noticed was it has totally transformed the way she sleeps!  The effect was a bit unusual: she gets sleepy just a few minutes after having dinner, she’s able to sleep soundly throughout the night and she wakes up a bit later than her usual waking time in the morning. And she feels refreshed!

I got curious. How could turmeric affect our sleep?

Turmeric Buds
Insomnia Natural Cures
There are many theories by experts as to why insomnia or sleep disorders are a challenge to many of us today. I find Sidney Baker's, M.D., explanation in his latest book, Detoxification and Healing to be one of the most logical. Here's what he said: 

"We go about our daily chores without conscious attention to the molecular details of our body's management of toxins, allergens and other waste, but if our sanitation department did make itself known to us - say by making a noise - it would drown out all the comparable noises of walking, thinking and talking. Imagine the machinery of detoxification, mostly in the liver, emitting an enormous grinding, groaning, gurgling sound that would dwarf our loudest intestinal rumblings and belches. Considering that most detoxification goes on at night, the noise of our sanitation department would surely keep us up if were able to give forth sounds comparable to the work it does. As it is, a faulty detoxification system is a common reason for poor sleep (or sleep disorders) . We sometimes reach too quickly for a sedative for our nerves when it is our liver that needs help” (p.141). 

Sleep disorders and the liver: 

Dr. Jeffrey Bland explains how the liver gets overburdened with toxins. He says that there is a relationship between a faulty digestive system and a faulty detoxification system in the liver. So, before you address detoxification of your liver, you might consider first addressing how to regain balance in your digestive system (Nichols, Ed., pp. 105-106). 

Dr. Bland explains further by saying that one of the body’s key means of detoxifying harmful chemicals is the liver’s specialized enzymes; which scrub chemicals out of the blood. This process depends on specific nutrients that must be present for this chemical interaction to take place. Most people lack these essential nutrients in their bodies because of nutrient depleted foods. This is why most people are less able to detoxify foreign chemicals and their liver becomes overburdened (pp. 107-108). 

In addition to handicapping the liver detoxification system, nutritional deficiencies contribute to other health problems. The gut’s mucosa normally shield the rest of the body from many toxins, but is weakened by medications, alcohol, food allergies and auto immune disorders. When the mucosa is damaged, more toxins get through, placing more stress on the liver to detoxify them (pp. 107-108). 

Here are some harmful substances to our health, and specifically to our liver. If you are sleeping poorly or have sleep disorders, you need to examine your lifestyle and avoid the following toxins: 

Aluminum: Enters our bodies through aluminum pots, deodorants, antacids and food additives (Baker, p. 144). 
Lead: THE MOST INSIDIOUS OF TOXINS. Found in artificial sweeteners (saccharine for example is extracted from coal tar and tens of thousands of foods today have artificial sweeteners as ingredients), lead paint, etc., (Baker, p.145). 
Caffeine: Found in coffee, chocolate, or over-the-counter stay-awake pills such as No-Doz (Baker, p. 146). 
Acetaminophen: Commonly found in pain medicines. 
Sodium benzoate: A common food preservative (Baker, p. 146). 
Alcohol: Alcohol is not a food It is toxic to the body and the body must burn it to get rid of it. Unlike foods, the body cannot treat alcohol as something to be saved for later and stored as fat. Another reason that alcohol is toxic is that it interferes with the many different enzymes, specifically the detoxification enzymes of the liver. Dr. Sidney Baker, has good advice for all of us about alcohol. He says, “Next time you go past the liquor store, replace in your mind’s eye the sign that says ‘Frank’s Spirit Shop’ with one that says ‘Fungal Toxins Sold By the Bottle” (p. 30). 

There are many other toxins that can affect the ability of the liver to function optimally, but the above toxins are the ones you would want to address first and are most likely to give you noticeable relief. 

Nutritional strategies for a healthy liver: 

Maintain a healthy “gut”: Use acidophilus, bifidus....and other transient and non-transient friendly bacteria in large amounts. Use plant based enzymes with each cooked meal. Take virgin coconut oil for its antibacterial, anti viral, and anti parasitical activity. Use herbs known to be helpful in repairing the intestinal tract such as anise, caraway, ginger, and fennel. (You can make a very effective tea with these herbal ingredients). 

Nourish your body with nutrient-rich foods: blue green algae, sea vegetables (wakame, kombu, hijiki, arame and nori), bee pollen, wheat grass, and fresh organically grown fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. 

Reduce oxidative stress: use antioxidants such as Coenzyme Q10 (abundant in sardines, spinach and peanuts) and wheat sprouts supplements micro-blended with red sea algae and fresh water blue green algae (wild-crafted). 

Eat specific liver friendly foods: Turmeric and cumin. Both have anti-mutagenic agents that supports the liver in the detoxification of carcinogens and helps to block environmental carcinogens. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, radish, cabbage and collard greens because they are abundant with indoles which help the body to produce detoxification enzymes that help to neutralize the effects of harmful chemicals. 

Detoxify your liver: Do the other steps first before you try this liver detoxification drink. Use organic apple cider vinegar, organic whole lemons, organic maple syrup and hot water. Begin with one tablespoon of vinegar, the juice of one half lemon, enough maple syrup to make your drink tasty and hot water (not boiling). Drink this 20 minutes after taking your friendly bacteria and wait another 20 minutes before you eat. Gradually, increase the vinegar to 3 tablespoons per day and continue to drink this mixture for 30 days. At any time if you feel your body is telling you to stop this drink (you’ll actually develop an aversion to the taste), then stop. Your body is getting ready to do a major cleanse. Always listen to your body. This drink may seem like it has harmless ingredients, but vinegar, lemon and maple syrup combined in this drink are very potent liver detoxifiers. 
A couple of final tips that will help you sleep better: 

1) Take some turmeric just before bed time. Start with 1/4 teaspoon and swallow the powder with some water. If the taste is too bitter put the powder in capsules. In a few days, increase the turmeric to 1/2 teaspoon and get to the point where you can take one flat teaspoon of turmeric (four capsules) every day before bed time. Many people noted that turmeric helps them sleep soundly and for those who had sleep disorders, their symptoms were greatly reduced. 

2) Squeeze fresh lemon and add to a glass of water and drink before bed time. Lemon benefits bile formation and therefore supports liver function. 

I hope these health tips are helpful for understanding why some individuals experience insomnia or sleep disorders and what to do so you can again have restful sleep. Sweet Dreams. 

Baker, Sidney. (1997). Detoxification and Healing. New Canaan, Connecticut: Keats Publishing, Inc. 
Nichols, Trent (Ed.). (1999). Optimal Digestion. New York: Avon Books, Inc.


  1. I recommend making fresh turmeric tea.:) Use a cheese grater to shred some turmeric and ginger into the bottom of a mug. Pour hot water and mix it. You'll start to see the natural yellowish-orange oil come out from the turmeric. Instead of using sugar or artificial sweeteners, use agave or coconut sugar. But you can enjoy it unsweetened too.

    I usually drink once in the morning and once in the evening. All my morning allergies are gone and I do sleep better.

    Tip: The oil stains the mug and spoon so make sure you use both specifically for your turmeric tea only. Unless you don't mind it.:)

    1. Turmeric really works!!! I just started one week ago... I am sleeping 9 hours!!! Amazing

  2. Thanks so much, Sans! This is great since I've seen fresh turmeric ginger in our local supermarket :-) I'll try your tip of making fresh turmeric tea. - Misty

    1. He mentions toxins in the liver. That's...what it does. "What" toxins...doctor?

  3. i have a chronic sinusitis. everytime i have a flu my situation worsens.

  4. does turmeric causes nose bleed if you have chronic sinusitis if taken more than 2 glasses

  5. Thank you for such a fantastic blog , and I have been on the lookout for such information. new chapter turmeric

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  7. Ive had this recently, also. Has anyone had any luck with magnesium? The jerks I get are VERY mild, but still enough to wake me as I'm sleeping.So see also www.howtly.com/stay-awake-night/- howtly for more info.

  8. My daughter takes a powder called Natural CALM by Natural Vitality. When I am finished with my Magnesium Caps by Country Life, I will buy the powder form.

  9. Your blog has given me that thing which I never expect to get from all over the websites. Nice post guys!

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  10. Tumeric had the opposite effect on me and kept me AWAKE all night long. Anyone else had this problem?

    1. Yes, it is very good and has alleviated various problems but I stopped taking it at night. The affect on me is the same as the affect that OTC sleeping tablets have on me. You get very drowsy but it's like the "off switch" doesn't work and you sort of lie there in a semi comatose state all night. It also seems to fight any other attempts to sleep like codeine for example. I only take 2g in the morning now.

    2. Me too!!When I took first dose of turmeric powder with black pepper at night I slept very well, but on further nights it kept me AWAKE whole night. Mood elevated and feeling well but facing insomnia.
      Strange thing is that I'm capable of functioning well in day without sleeping.
      Any suggestion please?


  11. When my son was 23 years old, he developed chronic insomnia, having consistent sleeplessness. This had made him tremendously suffer from great tension and devastating health. He was suffering from a life resulting from a lot of bad choices he made as a messed up person. He was addicted pleasing others. I let the doctors put him on drugs. After going through a lot of drugs, this is what he ended up on daily for a few years: (enough to put down an elephant): 3 mg Ativan, 900 mg Seroquel, 300 mg Topamax, 3 mg Klonopin. I would follow anyone’s advices that came along my path. I had tried my very best and every method for him to be cured of insomnia, but unsuccessful. I therefore had stopped seeking any treatments for him to take any pills or medicine, and turned to live sarcastically ruined life instead. He ended up in a 4 day stay at a mental hospital because I was afraid he would kill himself. They also took him to receive treatments as far as china in the hope that his severe sleeplessness would be healed. However, his insomnia problems were still unsolved despite an enormous pile of pills plus Chinese herbal medicine he had taken. But everything started to get easier from the point we came across Vihaan Herbal Medicine. Luckily, everything seemed to be okay after he took an Herbal Medicine. I wish I could say that’s the end of it because he havn't had any symptoms since then.
    Having a child with special needs is difficult. You sit living in fear of the reality your child may face, never really knowing what will happen until it does. Do not expose yourself to more danger, use a herbal remedy that is safe and effective. If interested contact him: vihparth030@gmail.com to find out more information about the disorder and treatment.

  12. These all work for insomnia. Just watch the doses of 5 htp. Break up the tablet if needs be. No more than 25mg. The same applies to melatonin. You only need a crumb or two of a 3mg smashed tablet. Taking 3mg or 10mg is a huge amount and can have an opposite effect. Finally do not take prescribed drugs. They only make it worse.
    5 HTP

    Don't take the above 3 together except you can take a small amount of melatonin with tryptophan.
    Turmeric 1-2g per day with black pepper and a bit of olive oil.
    Fish Oil 6g per day
    B6 twice daily
    Zinc and magnesium.
    Don't do or watch anything stressful/emotional before going to bed.
    Finally. STOP drinking coffee. No matter what anyone says it's not good for you, period. Drink as much tea as you want but not coffee, EVER. Tea contains theanine which actually promotes relaxation.
    Finally if you have sleep anticipation stress try lying on the couch watching something boring without sudden loud noises. Cover your eyes a bit with a dark cloth or T shirt. Once you get a bit of sleep on the couch you will build up some confidence. Finally do not underestimate circadian rhythms. Forget about nanna naps. Go to bed at a reasonable hour every night say 10pm. This reduces the "time stress" element of insomnia and whatever you do do not clock watch. Don't have a clock you can see or hear anywhere near you. Good luck.

    1. 30mgs of codeine now and then to get you over the rough patch and on the right track can help a lot.

    2. Sorry I should add that the list is a daily list. You need to take vitamins, zinc, magnesium and fish oil as a daily regime. A multi B would be a good idea to. Take the 5Htp/Tryptophan or melatonin in the evening about 30 mins before bed time.

  13. It’s really interesting, looking forward to more updates and posts on the same.

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  14. You might have heard of drinking turmeric milk but you might be unaware of the complete benefits of drinking turmeric milk and here we will bring to your knowledge the amazing and the unknown Benefits of Drinking Turmeric Milk . In childhood, most of the children are forced by their parents to drink turmeric milk and you used to save yourself from this because that time you were unaware of the health benefits that this milk provides to your body and helps you to get relief from various health issues. Benefits of Drinking Turmeric Milk

  15. It is basically a condition that affects most people causing them to stop breathing for around 10-20 seconds as they sleep. It is curable by taking proper medical treatments and using proper medical devices..
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  16. Does the same with me, it's a stimulant.

  17. I enjoyed reading this article. PLease continue publishing helpful topics like this. Regards, from beddingstock

  18. Clinilabs in Manhattan is currently looking for healthy males, ages 18-50, to take part in their paid research study investigating the effects of an investigational drug on slow wave sleep.

    To qualify, you must be a non-smoker and must not have been diagnosed with insomnia or any related sleep disorders. You will be required to stay overnight in Clinilabs’ sleep clinic for a total of 4 overnight stays.
    Participants who qualify and participate may be eligible to receive compensation up to $1,300.

    Refer a friend and qualify to earn a $50 gift card!

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  19. Clinilabs in Manhattan is currently looking for healthy males, ages 18-50, to take part in their paid research study investigating the effects of an investigational drug on slow wave sleep.

    To qualify, you must be a non-smoker and must not have been diagnosed with insomnia or any related sleep disorders. You will be required to stay overnight in Clinilabs’ sleep clinic for a total of 4 overnight stays. Participants who qualify and participate may be eligible to receive compensation up to $1,300.

    Refer a friend and qualify to earn a $50 gift card!

    For more details please visit Study Scavenger Insomnia Study
    #NYC #NewYorkCity #insomnia