Saffron For Better Sleep

Does your little one have trouble sleeping?

Does your child take forever to fall asleep at bedtime? Maybe they fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow, but wake multiple times during the night? Or, perhaps some kind of internal alarm has decided that 4am is the best time for them to start the day, and you could really do with just a few more hours of rest!


They’re Not the Only Ones!

Rest assured, you are not the only parent experiencing sleep issues with their child! Around 85% of people experience sleep disturbances per year, and about 10% of these people are formally diagnosed with primary insomnia, or insomnia that can’t be attributed to any existing issues or medication. Considering the potential effect poor sleep has on an individual’s mental and physical health, it is vital to explore some potential therapeutic options.


Sleeping Pills?

Yes, there are effective drugs that can help with insomnia, but they can come with many unwanted side effects, including dependancy, an increased risk of morbidity, and scarily, sometimes even death, after long-term use. This reality has spurred increased investigations into the efficacy of natural and safe remedies for insomnia.


Saffron: A Sleep Wonder Drug

There is plenty of good quality evidence to demonstrate that saffron, a spice derived from the stigmas of the Crocus Sativas flower, is an effective remedy for mild-to-moderate depression and anxiety. Now, researchers are beginning to recognise that saffron may also help to improve sleep quality and duration!


Recent studies

A 2020 randomised, placebo-controlled trial involving 55 ‘troubled sleepers’ investigated this alleged effect of saffron on sleep. The group of participants were split in half, one group was provided with a saffron extract supplement, known as affron, and the other group with an identical-looking placebo supplement. After 28 days of taking 14mg of affron twice daily, the affron group reported improved sleep quality, reductions in night awakenings, and higher levels of alertness upon awakening, compared to the placebo group.


A more recent randomised, placebo-controlled trial (2021), helps to confirm and support these findings. This study took 66 people with anxiety-affected sleep problems and divided them into two groups, receiving either 15.5mg saffron extract per day, or a placebo pill. In addition to participant questionnaires, this study also used actigraphy (data collected by a watch that participants wore to bed), which provided a more objective analysis of sleep duration and quality. After six weeks, the saffron group were falling asleep more easily, and also saw an improvement in sleep duration.


How Does it Work?

The exact way in which saffron may positively impact sleep is not known, although there are plenty of theories. Saffron impacts the production of neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine, and GABA, and we know that these levels play a role in depression, anxiety and insomnia, so it is probable that this is one of the ways that saffron effects sleep. It is also possible that saffron’s anti-inflammatory properties may help with sleep quality and duration, as we know that insomnia is associated with increased inflammation.


But is it safe?

It is very important to recognise that just because something is natural, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe, however, in all studies to date, saffron supplementation has been shown to be extremely safe, with close to zero negative side effects reported, and abundant positive satisfaction ratings.


Time to try it out?

Given these promising findings, coupled with the absence of negative side effects, saffron is an interesting natural therapy option to consider to help improve the quality and duration of sleep for your children.


Brittany Darling
Tags: Saffron