As the world becomes more and more fast paced, important things have started to fall by the wayside. One of the main things that we’ve made less of a priority is sleep.
Who has time to sleep?
The answer is that we should ALL make time for sleep. When we get optimal rest, the benefits we get are incredible. Benefits that include everything from increased brain functionality, to a more energized body, to increased happiness (source).
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Sleep supplements can be crucial for your success, and quite frankly, your sanity. While there are many different sleep tips and tricks for improving your rest, one of the best ways to optimize your sleep is by taking a sleep supplement.
Below is a list of the best sleep supplements that you can take. These are effective, natural ingredients with science backing them.
1. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
While it’s official name may sound intimidating, GABA is a highly effective sleep supplement. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that is naturally found in your body (and via supplementary sources).
Think of GABA as a “brake” for your brain. Its job is to tell your brain to slow down. High GABA levels help your brain to wind down and aids your brain in stress management. In addition to this, research has shown that GABA helps to increase alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation (source).
Increasing GABA via supplementation is a great way to counteract low levels of GABA (source). The best option for GABA supplementation is a form called PharmaGABA®, a clinical researched ingredient. If you are buying GABA in the form of a sleep supplement, make sure that it is PharmaGABA®.
2. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian is one of the most recommended herbal remedies for sleep. It’s relaxing qualities help to give it a sedative affect. While there are many different compounds present in Valerian, the active ingredient is thought to be Valerenic Acid (source).
Valerian’s sedative qualities are a result of its ability to increase GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) in your body. This increase in GABA works to decrease the amount of nerve impulses in your body., which helps to relax your mind and body. This makes Valerian one of the best sleep supplements to take to help you wind down before bed.
3. 5-HTP (5-hydroxy-tryptophan)
5-HTP is a compound, derived from L-Tryptophan, that works to increase serotonin. Think of 5-HTP as a building block that is used to make serotonin. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter that promotes feelings of well-being and happiness. It is essential for a good night’s sleep.
5-HTP can be especially helpful as a sleep supplement because it is known to cross the blood-brain barrier, which means that it works to increase the amount of serotonin found in the brain.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your body that helps regulate your sleep/wake cycle (also known as your circadian rhythm). Simply put, Melatonin tells your body when to go to sleep. An important factor to consider is that, as we age, our bodies tend to produce less and less melatonin. This can lead to sleepless nights (source).
Your body naturally produces melatonin after the sun goes down, this let’s your body know that it’s time to fall asleep. Supplementing with melatonin can help assist with this process.
One thing to be aware of is that smaller melatonin dosages can be just as effective as a larger dose, if not even more effective! Often times, your body only needs a slight nudge when it comes to melatonin supplementation.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is almost solely found in green tea leaves. It is known for inducing calming, tranquilizing effects while simultaneously improving mental alertness (source).
The best form of Theanine is Suntheanine®. Suntheanine® is a 100% pure form of L-Theanine, and is viewed as being the leading brand for L-Theanine supplementation. Suntheanine is also the most researched form of L-Theanine, with multiple human clinical trials backing it.
6. Lemon Balm Root (Melissa officinalis)
Lemon Balm is a sweat smelling herb that is widely valued for its calming properties. It has been used since ancient times, particularly in Southern Europe.
In conclusion, using a sleep supplement is a great idea for those that have trouble with occasional sleeplessness. While there are many different lifestyle-based sleep tips that you can undertake to get better sleep, sometimes the best solution is a high quality sleep supplement.