Study: Berberine Improves Sleep and Memory and Alleviates Insomnia

  • by Nils Osmar. April 10, 2024
  • This post is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. 
  • See full Medical Disclaimer

Getting enough sleep is a prerequisite to healthy longevity. But for people who have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep, it can be easier said than done. This study suggest that berberine, which many in our community are taking for anti-aging purposes and for lowering blood glucose and stabilizing cholesterol levels, might also help alleviate insomnia.

For those taking it, simply switching to taking it at night might have benefits.

From a recent study:

Therapeutic Effect of Berberine on Insomnia Rats by ErbB Signaling Pathway (emphases are mine):

After 7 days of intragastric administration of berberine, the body weight, memory, and sleep quality of insomnia rats were significantly improved… In the pentobarbital sodium test, berberine… significantly reduced sleep latency and prolonged the sleep duration in insomniac rats (Figure 2B).

In addition, we evaluated the effect of drug treatment on memory ability of insomnia rats by water maze experiment. Insomniac rats treated with berberine and diazepam could find the platform more quickly, and the times of crossing the platform within the prescribed time increased significantly (Figure 2C).

In our study, we found that the moderate dose of berberine could alleviate the memory function of insomnia rats better…

Through the analysis of biological functions and signaling pathways, berberine was shown to play a salutary role through nervous system development and ErbB signaling pathway. Gene-set enrichment analysis (GSEA) results showed that berberine treatment affected more metabolic pathways. Compared with diazepam, berberine can play a faster role, and also improve the overall health level of insomnia rats.

These results suggest that berberine can alleviate insomnia in rats through a neuroprotective effect and improved metabolic level. Berberine has great potential in treatment of insomnia and might have better clinical significance.

My thoughts:

  • In the above study berberine was compared with a drug called diazepam.
  • It was an animal study and the berberine was given by injection. Further studies should clarify whether berberine has the same effect in humans. It is known, though, that it has a calming/sedating effect. And unlike diazepam, it’s readily available as a supplement.
  • The study also looked at body weight. Rats with insomnia had poor body weight and memory; both functions were improved after being given berberine

Not medical advice

This article is not intended as, and should not be taken as, medical advice. I’m not advising that people eat any particular diet or take any particular supplement(s), just reporting on what I’m doing. Supplements, like medications and other interventions, can have side effects; I would encourage people to research both possible benefits and side effects before starting on any supplementation regimen, and consult with a medical professional about any issues which might have a medical component.  See full Medical Disclaimer

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One Comment

  1. Thanks for passing along the info, Nils. Your readers may be more familiar with diazepam under one of its brand names: Valium. Given diazepam’s well known adverse affects, the use of Berberine as a sleep aid could be of interest.

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