Against insomnia? Saffron! Thanks to previous studies it had already been possible to hypothesize the calming action of this spice, capable of promoting a good rest. However, the research was always based on personal feelings on the part of the study participants and never on objective data. This is why a group of Belgian and Spanish scientists decided to carry out a study in order to measure the action of saffron on sleep and states of anxiety. The work was published a few days ago in the Nutrients journal (Pachikian et al, Nutrients, Apr 2021).
Insomnia and anxiety
Sleep disorders affect an ever-increasing number of the population. Insomnia is also often associated with problems during the day, such as increased fatigue, poor concentration, anxiety and depression. That's why researchers are focusing on possible cures and treatments, possibly natural and without side effects like addiction and daytime sleepiness. Among the natural remedies for insomnia and anxiety there is saffron that, thanks to its active ingredients such as safranal, crocin and crocetin, seems to counteract these conditions.
The action of saffron against insomnia, the experiment
In order to objectively test the anti-anxiety and anti-insomnia capacity of saffron, the researchers recruited almost 70 people, between 25 and 70 years old and all with mild to moderate sleep disorders. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take one capsule containing 15.5 mg of saffron extracts every day in the evening for six weeks. The second group took instead a placebo. All study participants were asked to wear an actigraph, which is a kind of watch that must be worn for all the duration of the experiment and which records the movements of the body. Finally, the volunteers also underwent a questionnaire to assess the time to fall asleep and the quality of sleep.
The benefits of saffron
At the end of the experiment, what emerged is that in the group that had taken saffron, the time spent in bed while asleep increased and the time taken to fall asleep decreased. Not only that, saffron also improved the quality of sleep. Quality of life parameters during the day also improved, as those who took the spice experienced less pain and fatigue.
In general, the intake of saffron reduced insomnia and made sleep a moment of refreshment for body and mind.