Ensuring that you get a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do to prime your mind and body for the following days to come. Getting enough REM sleep is essential for our bodies to perform certain biological functions that control both how our minds perform as well as our bodies. Most people don’t get enough sleep as it is so we want to make sure that the sleep you do actually get is quality. When looking at characteristics of a quality sleep supplement I look for ingredients that are going to help us recover both mentally and physically. During sleep is when many of our hormones are created that control our biological processes. Here are 5 supplements that will help you get the best night’s sleep of your life.
Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland. That’s a pea-sized gland found just above the middle of your brain. It helps your body know when it’s time to sleep and wake up.
Normally, your body makes more melatonin at night. Levels usually start to go up in the evening once the sun sets. They drop in the morning when the sun goes up. The amount of light you get each day – plus your own body clock – set how much your body makes.
Melatonin supplements were designed to make sure we get enough melatonin at night. People use melatonin when they have insomnia, trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep. A typical dose would be 5 mg which is usually more than enough to help you fall asleep fast. It’s worth noting that everyone reacts to melatonin differently and some people don’t react at all to it. The only way to find out if this sleep supplements will work for you is to give it a try and start out with the minimum recommended dosage.
Magnesium ions regulate over 300 biochemical reactions in the body through their role as enzyme co-factors. They also play a vital role in the reactions that generate and use ATP, the fundamental unit of energy within the body’s cells. Without magnesium we could not produce energy, our muscles would be in a permanent state of contraction, and we could not adjust the levels of cholesterol produced and released into the bloodstream.
Insomnia is a common symptom of magnesium deficiency. People with low magnesium often experience restless sleep, waking frequently during the night. Maintaining healthy magnesium levels often leads to deeper, more sound sleep. Magnesium plays a role in supporting deep, restorative sleep by maintaining healthy levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep. Research indicates supplemental magnesium can improve sleep quality, especially in people with poor sleep. Magnesium can also help insomnia that’s linked to the sleep disorder restless-leg syndrome.
Magnesium also helps with stress reduction and mood stabilization. Magnesium increases GABA, which encourages relaxation as well as sleep. Low GABA levels in the body can make it difficult to relax. Magnesium also plays a key role in regulating the body’s stress-response system. Magnesium deficiency is associated with heightened stress and anxiety. Recent research indicates that magnesium deficiency can negatively affect gut health and is linked to anxiety behaviors.
Sleep is just one of the biological functions that magnesium helps support. It can’t be stressed enough about how important this mineral is to our overall sense of well being. If you don’t think you’re getting enough magnesium in your diet, having trouble sleeping, or even just in a lousy mood all of the time, try supplementing with a little magnesium before bed. A typical dose of this sleep supplement for an adult male would be around 400 mg a day.
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. 5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.
Any supplement that can help increase the production of serotonin gets a thumbs up from me. Serotonin is believed to help regulate mood and social behavior, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. If you’re looking for a sleep supplement to help increase your overall sense of well being then be sure to add 5-HTP to your bedtime supplement stack. Typical dosages can range anywhere from 150mg – 3000 mg a day depending on the individual but typically most people supplement with 500 mg a day.
L-theanine is an amino acid (a building block for proteins) found in green tea. L-theanine has a chemical structure very similar to glutamate, a naturally occurring amino acid in the body that helps transmit nerve impulses in the brain. L-theanine promotes relaxation and facilitates sleep by contributing to a number of changes in the brain including:
Boosts levels of GABA and other calming brain chemicals.
L-theanine elevates levels of GABA, as well as serotonin and dopamine. These chemicals are known as neurotransmitters, and they work in the brain to regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, and sleep, as well as appetite, energy, and other cognitive skills. Increasing levels of these calming brain chemicals promotes relaxation and can help with sleep.
Lowers levels of “excitatory” brain chemicals
At the same time it is increasing chemicals that promote feelings of calm, L-theanine also reduces levels of chemicals in the brain that are linked to stress and anxiety. This may also be a way that L-theanine can protect brain cells against stress and age-related damage.
Enhances alpha brain wave
Alpha brain waves are associated with a state of “wakeful relaxation.” That’s the state of mind you experience when meditating, being creative, or letting your mind wander in daydreaming. Alpha waves are also present during REM sleep. L-theanine appears to trigger the release of alpha-waves, which enhances relaxation, focus, and creativity.
L-theanine is another great ingredient to add to your night time sleep supplement stack to help you relax and increase overall sense of well being. For sleep, stress and other uses take 100 mg to 400 mg per day.
GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerve cells in the brain. GABA is the most potent depressive neuroamine in human brains. It regulates many of the depressive and sedative actions in brain tissue and is critical for relaxation. Low levels of GABA may be linked to, anxiety or mood disorders, epilepsy, and even chronic pain. Researchers suspect that GABA may boost mood or have a calming, relaxing effect on the nervous system. Interestingly enough, supplementing with GABA is still relatively new and there is no recommended daily dosage. From researching some of the more popular GABA supplements it seems like dosages range from 250 mg – 750mg per day. As with any new sleep supplement it’s best to start with a lower dose and increase as needed.
Getting a good night’s sleep should be a priority for anyone who is looking to live a healthy and happy lifestyle. Sleep is when our bodies recover from the stress that it endured during the day. Taking sleep supplements can help increase our sleep efficiency which can drastically help increase our overall quality of life. There are more supplements out there that help promote sleep quality but these 5 are on the top of my list as the most effective. I hope that you find this information helpful and cheers to a healthy and happy night’s sleep.