What Is Griffonia Simplicifolia and How Can It Help With Sleep

Health and wellness are constantly at the forefront of many people’s mind. For many, it is a priority from sunup ‘til sundown. 

Most understand that proper nutrition and a well-balanced diet is a pillar to a healthy lifestyle. Daily exercise is another. 

However, one element to health and wellness that gets overlooked quite often is the importance of sleep. You can eat right and exercise every day, but poor sleep habits can delay any progress you hope to make. 

There can be many reasons for poor sleep; some of which we will discuss. In addition to developing good routines and habits, many have also turned to natural sleep aids; even herbs

But there is one West African shrub that boasts some surprising benefits that could help capture those elusive zzz’s — Griffonia simplicifolia. 

Its unique properties are worth exploring. 

The Importance of Sleep

 Sleep may be one of the most underrated elements of a healthy lifestyle. In fact, sleep is not optional at all. Your body needs sleep to rejuvenate, rebuild, and readjust. 

During sleep, cells are repaired and restored, energy is conserved, and new information is stored. Poor sleep can disrupt these important functions and lead to some pretty serious health issues. 

Some Causes of Poor Sleep

Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from sleep issues. The causes of poor sleep can vary:

Poor Diet and Lack of Exercise

Diet is one of the biggest reasons for poor sleep health. Proper nutrition helps the body function as it should. Exercise not only pushes the body to the limits, but it also demands recovery — sleep. 


Life can be stressful. The daily demands from work or school can take their toll on the body and the mind. Sometimes, these stressors can make sleep elusive and make for restless nights. 

Health Effects of Poor Sleep

Poor sleep can also have some serious health effects, as various sleep studies have shown.

The associated health effects of inadequate sleep are quite concerning:

Metabolic Health

Poor sleep can affect metabolic function and health as it can influence metabolism; increasing risk factors for metabolic issues. 

Immune Health

Inadequate sleep can also disrupt normal immune function of the body; e.g. immune response signaling messengers called cytokines are released during sleep. Sleep deficiency can impact this function. 


Some sleep studies have also found a link between higher body mass index (BMI) and the lack of sleep. High body fat comes with other health concerns. 

Memory and Mood

Brain fog and grouchiness. Sleep deficiency has been linked to poor mental clarity and memory. Plus, poor sleep tends to sour our mood.

What is Griffonia Simplicifolia?

The full, scientific name is Griffonia simplicifolia, but it is commonly referred to as simply Griffonia. 

Griffonia is a woody climbing shrub that is native to some West African and Central African countries; especially Sierra Leone, Congo, and Ghana. 

Its commercial demand and use go far beyond being a beautiful plant. The roots, stem, and leaves of the Griffonia have their medicinal uses (e.g. leaves and stems are used as a natural antiseptic), but the properties hidden within its seeds are its claim to fame. 

Griffonia Seeds, a Source of 5-HTP

The biggest demand for Griffonia lies within its seed. It is a natural source of 5-HTP.


5-HTP is a chemical by-product of the amino acid L-tryptophan; a protein building block. It is naturally produced within the body. 

Tryptophan, as an amino acid, plays a pivotal role in synthesizing two very important hormones: Serotonin and melatonin. When tryptophan is absorbed, it gets converted to 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) which is then used for melatonin and serotonin production.

Serotonin is sometimes referred to as the “happiness hormone” as it plays a key role as a natural mood stabilizer. Thus, 5-HTP has been used for mood disorders, such as depression and anxiety. 

Griffonia, 5-HTP, and Sleep

Due to its naturally high amounts of 5-HTP, Griffonia seeds are frequently sold as an herbal compound; Griffonia seed extract. As discussed, its high levels of 5-HTP have implications for hormone production — serotonin and melatonin.

Serotonin and Sleep

Low levels of these hormones, especially low serotonin levels, have been linked to poor mental health, obesity, and even sleep problems. 

Serotonin is responsible for stimulating certain parts of the brain that regulate sleep and its receptors influence the sleep cycle. 

Griffonia, due to 5-HTP, helps maintain serotonin levels. This can have an impact on sleep health. 

Melatonin and Sleep

Griffonia’s high level of 5-HTP can also have an impact on melatonin levels within the body. Melatonin is often referred to as the sleep hormone as it is instrumental in helping the body with the sleep/wake cycle. 

It is produced naturally by the body but its precursor is serotonin. As 5-HTP produces serotonin it in turn gets converted to melatonin. Melatonin supplements are also popular as natural sleep aids. 

Inadequate levels of 5-HTP can lead to a decrease in the production of serotonin, which cascades into a decrease in melatonin levels. All of which affects overall sleep health. 

Griffonia and Sleep

 So, how can Griffonia simplicifolia help with sleep? The answer lies in what has been discussed — its high 5-HTP levels and those potential effects on serotonin and melatonin levels. 

Deficiencies in these hormone levels can directly impact mood, such as anxiety levels, which can have a negative impact on sleep. 

But as we have seen, serotonin is dependent on 5-HTP and deficiencies can directly affect melatonin levels; which are vital for sleep health. 

Griffonia seed extract is loaded with 5-HTP, which studies have shown can have quite an impact on sleep quality

Tips for Getting Better Sleep

It is clear, Griffonia can make quite an ally in getting better sleep due to its prevalence of 5-HTP, but some of the simplest ways to help improve sleep quality come by developing better habits and making lifestyle changes. 

Of course, for the best results change of habit requires commitment and consistency. 

Here are a few tips for getting better sleep:

  • Get daily exercise; resistance training, running, walking, etc. 
  • Establish a healthy diet and avoid late night eating 
  • Get out; fresh air and natural light during the day do wonders for the body
  • Reduce artificial lights and noises prior to sleep 
  • Try to limit caffeine, alcohol, and stimulants before bed
  • Don’t discount natural sleep aids. 

For a safe and reliable sleep aid, you can check out our sleep gummies on the Shop Hope website. The active ingredient, melatonin, along with 50 mg of 5-HTP help support the body’s natural sleep cycle. 


Health and wellness should always be a priority in our lives. Diet and exercise are always at the top of the list. However, in the quest for health we can never discount the importance of sleep. Sleep is essential to maintain a healthy body. 

Poor sleep can have a drastic impact on health, leading to metabolic issues, disruptions in immune function, and negative effects on mood and memory. 

Surprisingly, aid is found in an unlikely plant; the Griffonia simplicifolia. It’s high levels of 5-HTP and its interactions with important hormones, serotonin and melatonin, make it a helpful ally for sleep health. 



Common Causes of Inadequate Sleep | Sleep Health Foundation

Sleep: a health imperative | NCBI

5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor | NCBI

5-HTP efficacy and contraindications | NCBI

Amino acid preparation on timing and quality of sleep | NCBI