Everyone is familiar with the strong taste of garlic. Add flavor to countless tasty dishes. It’s also quite healthy, with complex carbohydrates and proteins, plus vital minerals and vitamins like B vitamins, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Eating garlic regularly can help prevent heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, as well as metabolic disorders like diabetes.
The instantly recognizable smell of garlic comes from allicin, a sulfur compound. It makes garlic great for treating infections because it can kill some types of viruses more effectively than antibiotics and without the nasty side effects. Garlic also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds that support the optimal function of all body systems.
But we still have not finished! Garlic improves blood flow, lowers cholesterol, and even helps prevent premature aging by reducing oxidative damage. With all the benefits of eating garlic, why the hell would you put it under your pillow? It turns out there are several reasons.
Read on to find out what happens when you hide a tooth or two under your pillow at night.
1. You will breathe better
One of the ways garlic helps you overnight is that it can clear blocked nasal passages. Allicin, when breathed in, thins mucus to drain. Your breathing will improve, which in turn makes it much easier to fall asleep.
If placing a clove or two of garlic under your pillow isn’t enough, you can steam the garlic for breathing before bed. Simply place 3-5 crushed cloves in a pot of boiling water, turn off the heat, and then inhale the steam. Be careful not to get so close to the pot that you burn your face.
2. You will get sick less often
Garlic is also a powerful antibacterial and can kill common germs before they make you sick. It can also help shorten the duration of a cold or flu. Researchers believe this is because allicin is capable of blocking two groups of enzymes that allow infectious microbes to survive in a host body.
Sleeping with garlic under your pillow on a regular basis can help prevent germs from passing through, but you may want to add more to your diet if you really do get that cold.
3. You will sleep better
Sleeping with garlic under your pillow is a holistic insomnia remedy that has been used for centuries. It’s counterintuitive to think that a scent as powerful as garlic can be calming, but it works. Smelling the allicin in garlic can help you fall asleep and stay asleep so that your sleep is truly restful.
Beyond sleeping with garlic under your pillow, eating more can increase your intake of magnesium and potassium. These two minerals play a vital role in sleep by working synergistically to relax muscles and produce a chemical called GABA. GABA is the body’s signal that it is time to calm down and cools down the brain cells so they can begin the restorative work that takes place overnight.
4. You will naturally repel insects
If you’ve ever worried about a spider crawling through your mouth while you sleep, or you’ve woken up to a ton of mosquito bites, you’ll appreciate having some extra protection under your pillow. Garlic is toxic to insects and they know it, so having something under your pillow naturally deters them from accompanying you to bed.
In fact, some people use a water and garlic spray to repel insects in the garden. But for the purpose of repelling insects, eating garlic doesn’t seem to be that effective. Mosquitoes are especially attracted to the carbon dioxide we breathe out, and of course it happens no matter what we have eaten.
A couple of words of caution
One thing to remember if you have cats or dogs is that garlic is toxic to them. If your pets climb on your bed and are prone to stealing food, it is best not to leave garlic under your pillow when you are not there. A small amount of garlic in a meal probably won’t make a pet sick, but a whole clove certainly will.
In any case, it is best for garlic’s effectiveness as a sleep aid to use a fresh clove each night. We also recommend wrapping your nail in a washcloth or alternatively keeping your skin on while you sleep. Garlic contains oil that can stain the leaves if crushed.
Garlic is a fantastic health boon, whether you sleep with it, eat it, or breathe it in. There is no reason not to do all three! But hundreds of years of use as a sleep aid undoubtedly speak to its unique ability to calm both body and brain and improve the quality of your sleep.
You should definitely try garlic under your pillow before turning to dangerous sleeping chemicals, which have been shown to trap you into relying on them. And even though you get “knocked out”, the quality of your sleep is not good under the influence of these medications. Garlic is cheap, easy, and it works with zero side effects. Sweet Dreams!