Does ginger interfere with sleep?

Ginger is a common ingredient used around the world for both culinary and medicinal purposes. It has a long history of being used to help treat nausea, digestive issues, and other health conditions. In recent years, ginger has also gained popularity as a potential sleep aid.

Some people take ginger before bed to help promote sleep. The active components in ginger, like gingerol and shogaol, are believed to have sedative and sleep-enhancing effects. But could ginger also have the opposite effect and disrupt sleep? Let’s take a closer look at what the research says.

How ginger affects sleep

Ginger’s effects on sleep likely come down to its influence on various neurotransmitters and hormones:

  • Ginger may boost serotonin levels. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep.
  • Ginger also seems to interact with GABA receptors. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that promotes calm and sleep.
  • Ginger may lower cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can interfere with sleep when elevated at night.
  • Ginger can reduce inflammation. Inflammation is linked to disrupted sleep.

Through these mechanisms, ginger appears to have generally positive effects on sleep in most people. Small studies have found taking ginger before bed can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase overall sleep time.

Does ginger disrupt sleep?

While existing research suggests ginger has sleep-promoting effects, some people do report that consuming ginger makes it more difficult for them to fall asleep or stay asleep.

There are a few reasons ginger may potentially interfere with someone’s sleep in some cases:

1. Ginger is stimulating for some people

Although ginger’s effects are complex, it does seem to have some stimulating properties. Some people may find that eating or drinking ginger before bed causes them to feel more energized and alert at night when they are trying to relax and wind down for sleep.

2. Ginger may exacerbate heartburn

Ginger has gastroprotective effects for many people, but some individuals find it aggravates heartburn and acid reflux symptoms. Heartburn can disrupt sleep and ginger’s irritation of the esophagus may be the reason for sleep difficulties in some cases.

3. Ginger may act as a diuretic

Ginger has been used traditionally as a diuretic to increase urine production. The diuretic effects could result in more bathroom trips during the night and interrupt sleep.

4. Ginger may cause indigestion

While ginger often improves digestion, some people report experiencing indigestion, gas, or abdominal discomfort after eating ginger. Discomfort from indigestion can make it hard to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Tips for taking ginger before bed

If you want to take ginger before bed but are concerned about it affecting your sleep, here are some tips that may help:

  • Take ginger at least 2-3 hours before bedtime to minimize stimulation or indigestion issues at night.
  • Drink ginger tea instead of taking ginger capsules or crystals, since it tends to be less concentrated and stimulating.
  • Start with a low dose of ginger tea or supplement (1-2 grams) to assess effects.
  • Avoid drinking too much liquid 1-2 hours before bed to minimize bathroom trips.
  • Talk to your doctor if ginger aggravates heartburn or GERD symptoms.

Who should avoid ginger before bed?

While ginger is considered safe for most people, some individuals are better off avoiding it at night:

  • Those with a history of acid reflux or ulcers may find ginger aggravates heartburn.
  • People with bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners should exercise caution with ginger due to antiplatelet effects.
  • Those taking diabetes medications should monitor blood sugar closely, as ginger may increase risk of low blood sugar.
  • Individuals taking sedatives or sleep medications should consult their doctor before using ginger.

The bottom line

Research suggests ginger can help promote sleep in many people. However, others find it can make it harder to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night due to ginger’s potential stimulating effects, gastric side effects, or diuretic properties.

The effects of ginger on sleep tend to be quite individual. Most experts recommend taking ginger at least 2-3 hours before bedtime if using it for sleep purposes. Start with low doses to assess your personal response. Talk to your doctor if you have any pre-existing health conditions prior to taking ginger.

While ginger may not be the right sleep aid for everyone, it remains a versatile natural ingredient with science backing up its use for nausea, digestion, pain relief, and potentially sleep enhancement for many individuals.

Studies on ginger and sleep

Several small studies have looked at ginger’s effects on sleep quality and duration:

Study Design Results
Randomized controlled trial in adults with obesity (n=80) 1 gram of ginger vs placebo for 8 weeks Ginger group had significant increases in total sleep time and sleep efficiency vs placebo.
Randomized controlled trial in postmenopausal women (n=92) 500 mg ginger vs placebo for 6 weeks Ginger group had decreased time to fall asleep and improved sleep quality scores vs placebo.
Randomized controlled trial in elderly adults (n=57) 1600 mg ginger vs placebo for 10 nights No significant difference between ginger and placebo for sleep latency or duration.

While some studies found positive effects of ginger on sleep latency and quality, the evidence remains limited due to small sample sizes. Larger controlled studies are still needed.

Mechanisms of ginger for sleep

Researchers have proposed several ways ginger may promote sleep:

Increasing serotonin

In animal studies, ginger has increased serotonin levels in the hypothalamus. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter involved in regulating sleep-wake cycles.

Interacting with GABA

Ginger shows affinity for GABA receptors in animal models. Activation of these receptors increases production of GABA, the brain’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter that induces relaxation and sleep.

Reducing cortisol

Some research indicates ginger can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High nighttime cortisol disrupts sleep, so this reduction may promote sleep.

Anti-inflammatory effects

Chronic inflammation can interfere with sleep. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds like gingerol that may improve sleep by reducing inflammation.

Active compounds in ginger

The primary components of ginger thought to influence sleep include:


Gingerol is considered the most abundant and medicinally active compound in ginger. Studies show it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and sedative properties.


Shogaol, another prominent ginger compound, has been found in research to exert sedative and sleep-enhancing effects by modulating GABA receptor activity.


Zingerone is a compound produced when ginger is dried or cooked. Animal studies indicate it has sedative and analgesic effects. However, research is still preliminary.

Other ginger compounds like bisabolene and farnesene may also play a role in sleep, but human studies are lacking.

Potential risks and side effects

When used in moderation, ginger is considered very safe for most people. But there are some potential side effects to be aware of:

  • Heartburn – Can aggravate reflux symptoms in those with ulcers or GERD.
  • Bleeding – Ginger’s antiplatelet effects may increase bruising and bleeding risk.
  • Diarrhea – Large doses may cause loose stools or diarrhea.
  • Blood sugar – May lower blood sugar, increasing hypoglycemia risk for diabetics.
  • Drug interactions – May interact with blood thinners, sedatives, diabetes drugs.

Pregnant women should also exercise caution with ginger amounts over 1 gram per day due to concerns over miscarriage risk.

Types of ginger

There are many ways to take ginger. The most common types used as sleep aids include:

Ginger tea

Ginger tea is simple to prepare by steeping sliced fresh ginger or dried ginger powder in hot water. It provides hydration and is less concentrated than extracts.

Ginger capsules

Ginger root powder is commonly encapsulated into pills or caplets providing 500-1000 mg concentrated ginger per dose.

Ginger essential oil

Inhaling diffused ginger essential oil may promote relaxation. Topical use is not recommended due to skin irritation risk.

Ginger ale, beer, cookies

Ginger can also be found in various foods and beverages, although doses may be less standardized and sleep effects uncertain.

Recommended ginger dosage for sleep

There is no standardized dose, but most research has studied doses of 500-2000 mg ginger taken 30-120 minutes before bedtime. The table below provides general dosage guidelines.

Form Dosage
Fresh ginger 1-3 grams (approximately 1/2 tsp – 1 tbsp)
Dried ginger powder 250-1000 mg
Ginger capsules 500-2000 mg
Ginger tea 1-4 cups

It’s best to start with lower doses around 500 mg to assess individual tolerance and response. The maximum daily intake considered safe is 4 grams.


Does ginger tea help you sleep?

Drinking ginger tea before bed may help improve sleep quality and duration, likely due to compounds like gingerol and shogaol that interact with sleep-regulating neurotransmitters and hormones. However, some find ginger tea stimulating instead of sedating.

Is ginger a stimulant?

Ginger has complex effects in the body. It seems to have both stimulating and sedative properties. Some people respond to ginger with increased alertness and energy, while others find it relaxing and sleep-enhancing.

Should you take ginger before bed?

Some research indicates taking ginger 30-120 minutes before bed shortens the time to fall asleep and improves overall sleep quality. However, ginger’s effects depend on the individual. It may cause insomnia for some. Start with low doses and monitor your response.

Does ginger keep you awake at night?

In some cases, yes. Ginger’s stimulating properties may make it more difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep for certain people prone to insomnia. It may also cause indigestion or worsen reflux issues.


Ginger is used around the world as a sleep aid due to its effects on various hormones and neurotransmitters involved in sleep regulation. Research indicates taking ginger supplements may shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase overall sleep amounts for many people.

However, others find ginger consumption stimulating or causing gastric side effects that disrupt sleep. Those with GERD, ulcers, bleeding disorders, or taking certain medications should exercise caution.

While more research is still needed, ginger remains a potentially promising sleep aid that also provides additional health benefits. But it may not be appropriate for everyone, so personal response should be monitored.

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