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Does Ginkgo Biloba Improve Sleep? (Science-Based Answer)

by Dale Cudmore | Updated: Mar 06, 2022

Ginkgo biloba has been around for about 200 million years, and humans have used it as a medicinal plant for a long time, especially in China (1).

It’s claimed to be neuro-protective and anti-inflammatory, which is where claims of ginkgo biloba being good for anxiety, heart health, and many other conditions have come from.

I want to look at one specific claim here - can ginkgo biloba improve sleep quality?

Let’s look to see if there’s any evidence either way about this topic.

Research About Ginkgo Biloba and Sleep

Unfortunately, despite many supplement companies selling ginkgo biloba and making claims about it, there’s very little research done on it.

There’s only one decent study about sleep in particular at this point that was done on humans, so we’ll have to make do with that.

A research team recruited 10 volunteers in order to test the effect of a single dose (240 mg) of a ginkgo biloba extract on sleep (2).

They compared sleep polysomnograms for each subject taken the night of the test compared to a night where they took a placebo dose.

No significant differences in sleep parameters were detected; however sleep efficiency measures and subjective sleep quality reports showed that Li 1370 was well tolerated.

So the supplement didn’t make sleep worse at the very least, but it also didn’t show any significant benefit.

It’s important to note that this is a single study with a small sample size, and they only tested one dose.

SummaryThere’s very little research about the effect of ginkgo biloba on sleep in humans. So far, there’s no evidence that shows that it improves sleep.

Ginkgo Biloba May Improve Sleep in Certain Situations

While ginkgo biloba may or may not help the average person sleep better, there could still be certain situations where it may help.

One study looked at its effect on patients with depression who also had sleep issues. They found that (3):

In patients with major depression (MD) an increase of slow wave sleep was observed by our group after a six week therapy

While it’s only a single study, it does at least suggest that the neuroprotective effects could help against conditions like anxiety and depression that are known to cause sleep problems.

Some Extracts May Be Better Than Others

When you buy ginkgo biloba extract, you can currently only buy it as a complete extract.

However, researchers have found different extracts (ginkgolides) that may have different effects on sleep. Even different plants can have different relative levels of these extracts, so it could help explain why some people find that some supplements are more effective than others.

A study on ginkgolide A, B, and C on mice found that ginkgolide B in particular produced an adverse effect on total sleep time (4):

The higher the dose, the more the total “wake” time increased.

While it’s not that useful currently other than to potentially suggest that you should try multiple supplements if you do want to try one, it may lead to further research down the line with improved results.

References

  1. Biology and chemistry of Ginkgo biloba
  2. The Effect of Li 1370, Extract of Ginkgo biloba, on REM Sleep in Humans
  3. Phytotherapeutic drugs and sleep
  4. Intraperitoneal injection of ginkgolide B, a major active compound of Ginkgo biloba

Medical Disclaimer: The information on SnoozeUniversity.com is not intended to be a substitute for physician or other qualified care. We simply aim to inform people struggling with sleep issues about the nature of their condition and/or prescribed treatment.


About the authorDale is the founder of Snooze University and a sleep researcher. I overcame my sleep issues and now I'd like to help you do the same by summarizing the latest sleep studies for you.