Popularly known in folk stories and sci-fi movies as a deterrent to insects, vampires, and evil spirits, garlic is a root vegetable with a wide variety of applications. It is incorporated around the world in dishes and delicacies and used as an ingredient in medicines and cosmetic products.
Garlic is notable for its smell, attributed to allicin, a sulfur compound, which is believed to offer several health benefits. It is highly nutritious, containing a high amount of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, and potassium. These help to improve physical performance, especially in individuals with heart disease, and improving bone health. It also an effective alternative to antibiotics and a strong disinfectant for wounds and injuries.
Scientifically proven garlic helps to boost the function of the immune system, preventing and reducing the severity of illnesses like the common cold and flu.
Incorporating garlic into your diet can help in improving your cardiovascular health. It contains active compounds that can reduce total and LDL cholesterol levels, ensure healthy blood pressure, and generally reduce heart disease risks. It contains antioxidants that can help manage the health risks associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It can also help to detoxify your system and help you live longer.
Apart from these many health benefits, garlic is surprisingly a good treatment for insomnia, an application that has been in existence since ancient Egypt and Rome.
With all the gains of eating garlic, why on earth would you put it under your pillow? and What makes it a remedy for sleep?
How Garlic Helps You to Sleep Better?
The high concentration of various nutrients and the sulfurous compounds, including allicin, responsible for garlic’s pungent smell, promotes a relaxation effect that helps you fall asleep faster and get quality sleep. This powerful smell also helps to clear blocked nasal and improve breathing, thus alleviating the effects of the common cold. Plus, garlic can serve as a mosquito or insect repellant, allowing you to sleep without worrying about insect bites or those irritating mosquito noises.
Garlic Under Pillow?
Putting garlic under your pillow when sleeping helps reduce the risks of contracting a disease as the allicin in the root vegetable blocks the route through which infectious microbes gain access to the body system and reproduces.
If you cannot stand the smell of garlic throughout the night, you can choose to eat some cloves before bed. It is best consumed on an empty stomach. You may need to check with your partner – if you have one – if they are okay with it.
So, what is the science behind garlic as a treatment of insomnia? What makes it a remedy for sleep?
Garlic & Sleep
While there is still no concrete scientific evidence on the impact of garlic on sleep, experience from various individuals supports that garlic improves sleep quality. The sleep benefit can be inferred from the various garlic components, which have been scientifically proven to help you sleep better.
Garlic contains magnesium and potassium, two components that are crucial to ensuring quality sleep. Magnesium helps maintain normal GABA levels, a neurotransmitter responsible for reducing neuron activity in the brain and central nervous system. It also regulates melatonin, the hormone responsible for guiding sleep-wake cycles in your body. These reduce stress and increase relaxation, thus promoting deep, restorative sleep. Additionally, magnesium helps lower blood pressure, which ensures improved sleep quality.
Potassium is crucial to staying asleep throughout the night. The mineral plays a role in promoting normal heart function, nerve impulse transmissions, and muscle contractions—this helps prevent and alleviate anxiety and stress levels. With the right amount of potassium in your diet, you can easily slumber through the night without disturbances.
If magnesium and potassium regularly feature in your diet, then you may not need to put a clove of garlic under your pillow or eat it before you sleep. The traditional recipe for this sleep remedy on the next page.
Recipe for A Garlic Nightcap:
The traditional recipe for this sleep remedy is a mixture of milk and garlic and, based on individual preference, honey.
Here are the steps:
• Add one crushed clove of garlic in one cup of milk, and boil the mixture for about 3 minutes
• Take it off the heat, allow it to cool, remove the clove, and then add honey to taste
• Drink it about 30 minutes before you sleep to enjoy its sleep benefits.
You are free to be flexible with the recipe and add other ingredients you want.
If you don’t see yourself drinking this kind of brew, you can settle for garlic supplements. While the supplements do not have garlic’s strong flavor and smell, they are not as effective as raw garlic. If you prefer garlic supplements, it is recommended to consult your doctor before purchasing or using any supplement.
If you are a pet owner, you need to take extra care regarding garlic usage as a remedy for sleep. Garlic is unhealthy for cats and dogs and can lead to complications. So, ensure you properly discard the clove of garlic each morning and not leave it under your pillow. Besides, you will reap the most benefit from fresh cloves of garlic instead of reused ones.
The sleep benefit of garlic has been attested by people from different places in the world. Not only does it help you sleep better, but it also improves your cardiovascular health and overall wellbeing. To take advantage of its sleep benefit, you can either put a clove of garlic under your pillow or drink it before you sleep.
Good luck and sweet dreams to you!