An ingredient found in beeswax and wheat germ oil may reduce stress and induce a sound slumber, according to scientists.
The chemical – found in a variety of plants including sugar cane and rice bran – was found to decrease levels of a major stress hormone in mice. Experts say the compound, called octacosanol – which is used as a supplement for lowering cholesterol – could now be used as a new therapy for stress-induced insomnia.
They also say it is safe for humans because it is a food-based compound.
Many studies have shown that poor sleep is linked to a host of health problems including increased risk of obesity, depression, heart attacks and strokes.
Insomnia is thought to affect around one in every three people, and is particularly common in elderly people.
A team from the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine at the University of Tsukuba in Japan investigated the effect of octacosanol on sleep regulation in mildly stressed mice.