Ginger, a root with a distinct flavor and aroma, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine for its various health benefits. One of its lesser-known benefits is its potential to promote a good night's sleep. Ginger contains active compounds, such as gingerols, that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which can positively impact sleep patterns.
It's typically combined into ginger and lemon tea when it's used for sleep, but there are a few ways in which it can help by itself, although it's probably not the most effective natural sleep aid.
Perhaps surprisingly, there's also some evidence to suggest that ginger footbaths can include sleep quality, but first we'll have a look at the oral benefits of ginger for sleep.
Ways in Which Ginger Can help You Sleep
1. Reducing Inflammation and Pain
Chronic inflammation can disrupt sleep and contribute to conditions such as insomnia. Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce inflammation in the body, promoting a more relaxed state and easing any pain or discomfort that may interfere with sleep. By incorporating ginger tea into your bedtime routine, you may experience a reduction in inflammation and an improvement in sleep quality.
2. Calming the Digestive System
Digestive issues, such as indigestion and bloating, can disrupt sleep and cause discomfort. Ginger has been used for centuries to soothe the digestive system and alleviate symptoms of indigestion. By calming the stomach and reducing inflammation in the gut, ginger tea can help settle your digestive system before bedtime, allowing for a more peaceful sleep.
3. Managing Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are common culprits of sleep disturbances. Ginger contains compounds that have been found to have calming effects on the brain, potentially reducing stress and anxiety levels. By incorporating ginger tea into your nighttime routine, you can create a soothing ritual that promotes relaxation, helping you unwind and prepare for a restful sleep.
In short, ginger is not a sleep aid persay, but can address some of the root causes of sleeplessness.
Ginger Footbaths And Sleep
There was one study done to see the effects of warm water footbaths with and without ginger on sleep quality and warmth regulation in adults with self-reported insomnia symptoms. the randomly-controlled study was conducted with 28 participants, aged 50.9 on average, with 64.3% women.
These participants reported experiencing insomnia symptoms for an average duration of 11.4 years. The participants were randomly divided into two groups: one group received warm water footbaths and the other group received warm water footbaths with ginger. Both groups underwent daily footbaths for a duration of 2 weeks. The footbaths consisted of 12 liters of warm tap water, with a temperature ranging from 38-42°C, and a maximum duration of 20 minutes. The warm water with ginger group also had topical ginger added to the footbaths in the form of 80g of powdered ginger rhizomes.
The study resulted in a smaller improvement to the with ginger group than without, but neither reported percieving the water as warmer as a result of the ginger. Overally the footbaths did make a difference to insomnia scores. Both groups showed improvements in their insomnia over the 2-week period, but the differences between the groups were not statistically significant. Meaning that soaking your feet may help with insomnia, and the ginger can make it a little bit more effective, but it's probably not worth it.
The Ginger for Sleep Study
A study conducted by researchers aimed to observe the effect of ginger on fatigue, sleep quality, and depression in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. The study involved 62 patients who were randomized into an observation group and a control group. While the control group followed a normal diet and engaged in regular physical exercise, the observation group received ginger in addition to the same routine.
The results of the study showed significant improvements in the scores of each studied category, fatigue, sleep quality and mental health. So, it is possible that there is a unknown mechanism by which ginger can promote sleep beyond anxiety relief that has yet to be studied. Or this could simply be an isolated result. There would need to be more trials to know for sure.