While some people claim that crystals can help with sleep, there is no credible evidence that they do. Experts say that positive experiences can usually occur from the placebo effect. Here are what the research says and some science-backed remedies for insomnia.

Insomnia, which means a person has a hard time falling or staying asleep, affects about one-third of the U.S. population. Some people with insomnia turn to alternative remedies such as crystals. However, it is important to note that no scientific evidence supports their efficacy.

For some people, believing that crystals will work can help them sleep. Others may fall asleep more easily because of the meditative practices associated with crystals.

Read on to learn more about what the research says about crystals and sleep, the placebo effect, and evidence-backed insomnia remedies.

A person holding a purple crystal.Share on Pinterest
Amor Burakova/Stocksy

No scientific evidence supports the claim that crystals can help with sleep.

Some alternative medicine practitioners say that crystals can improve health and promote sleep, but these claims are unfounded. They theorize that minerals that can heal and balance human health make up the earth, and crystals are part of that. Scientific communities do not support this yet.

While some people have positive results when using crystals for sleep, this is likely due to the placebo effect. This means that the crystals help a person with sleep because they believe that they will. The power of the mind can significantly affect sleep patterns.

Many people use crystals for mindfulness and meditation as well. Although the crystals themselves do not help a person fall asleep, the calming effects of mindfulness can.

There is little research supporting the claim that crystals help with sleep.

Some research exists on the effect of quantum waves coming from crystals. Experts theorize that the healing power of crystals comes from quantum theory’s idea that waves from atoms and molecules affect cells and proteins. No study proposing this has made it through peer review and publication.

However, a robust body of research supports mindfulness’s benefits on sleep quality.

A 2018 research review found that mindfulness meditation improved participants’ sleep more than education-based treatments. The analysis showed that mindfulness meditation was just as effective as other evidence-backed treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Although evidence suggested that mindfulness practices can improve sleep quality, the studies used varying types, durations, and frequencies of these practices. Experts need more research to understand the relationship between mindfulness meditation and sleep fully.

Learn more about meditation apps for sleep.

Many experts attribute individuals’ positive experiences with crystals to the placebo effect.

This is a phenomenon that occurs when ineffective interventions, such as crystals or sugar pills, cause an improvement in a person’s condition. While the placebo effect is not fully understood, it can be a powerful tool.

One key aspect of the placebo effect is expectations. A person needs to expect the intervention to work for it to have any effect on their symptoms. If they do not believe it will work, then it will not.

While experts typically consider the placebo effect a harmless, low risk treatment option, it can have some negatives. It can be detrimental if a person uses it instead of evidence-backed treatments that can produce real results. Additionally, some sham remedies are expensive and can waste time and money.

If a person uses crystals for insomnia and they help them fall asleep, they may be a positive example of the placebo effect at work. However, it can be disappointing if they do not help and a person continues to spend money on expensive crystals.

There are several evidence-backed treatment options for insomnia. People can choose pharmacological treatments, nonpharmacological options, or both.

Nonpharmacological treatment

Experts typically prefer these over pharmacological treatment options because they have fewer risks and side effects. Healthcare professionals will usually recommend these before prescribing insomnia medication. Options include:

  • CBT: This therapy aims to change a person’s negative thinking patterns and behaviors related to sleep. It can include relaxation techniques, guided breathing exercises, and bedtime routines.
  • Sleep hygiene: These regular practices around bedtime can help people fall asleep more easily. Examples include establishing a set nighttime routine, avoiding drinking caffeine in the afternoons, and avoiding screens before bed.
  • Relaxation therapy: Regularly practicing breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga can help to improve sleep quality and reduce underlying stress.
  • Hypnosis and self-hypnosis: These are effective in helping people fall and stay asleep. One 2020 study found that self-hypnosis improved participants’ length and quality of sleep in women with menopause.

Pharmacological treatment

Doctors can prescribe certain medications to help people with insomnia if nonpharmacological treatments are ineffective. They include medications such as:

  • melatonin receptor agonists
  • nonbenzodiazepine hypnotics
  • benzodiazepines

It is important to note that all medications have risks and side effects, so experts recommend that people take the dosage a doctor prescribes.

Learn more about medications for insomnia.

Although some people claim that crystals can help with insomnia, there is no scientific evidence that they aid sleep. People who benefit from using crystals to fall asleep are likely experiencing the placebo effect or the evidence-backed benefits of mindfulness meditation.

It is a good idea for a person experiencing persistent insomnia to contact a healthcare professional to discuss effective treatment options.