by Dr. David Minkoff October 23, 2019 11 min read
"It's more than likely that you or someone in your household suffers from sleep-related issues."
The American Sleep Association estimates that 50-70 million US adults have a sleep disorder. That's about 20% of the US population. Furthermore, insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, with short term issues, reported by about 30% of adults; chronic insomnia by 10%. It's more than likely that you or someone in your household suffers from sleep-related issues.
On the issue of sleep, we've found that every "body" is a little unique and what works for some, has the opposite effect on others. One thing is universal in everyone, sleep is a must and to many, it's the foundation of health and wellness. Here are some things that could make an impact and it might work best to experiment around with these to find what works best for you.
Essential amino acid supplements: The body must get EAAsfrom dietary sources in order to have the raw ingredients to synthesize and regulate all body proteins, enzymes, hormones, and neurotransmitters. That includes the creation and regulation of your body's natural hormones related directly and indirectly to sleep like cortisol, melatonin, 5-HTP, GABA and serotonin.
Magnesium Citrate: Calming and relaxing, magnesium plays an important role in maintaining GABA, a neurotransmitter that is responsible for promoting healthy sleep.
Valerian Root: Calming, relaxing it's been used to promote healthy sleep since the times of Ancient Greece and Rome. A double-blind study conducted by the Foellinge Health Center in Sweden found that the effects of Valerian on poor sleep were significant.
Phenibut: Recently banned by the FDA, it's a recent ruling and it's a good time to stock up on inventory that might be out there. Phenibut was actually invented for Russian astronauts to ease the stresses of space flight and help promote sleep. L-Theanine is a great replacement for phenibut.
Vitamin B6 (Natural, not the synthetic Pyridoxine Hydrochloride): It's required by the body in order to synthesize serotonin from the essential amino acid tryptophan.
Vitamin C (Natural, avoid synthetic Ascorbic Acid): Vitamin C can reduce cortisol (a stress hormone) which in turn aids in healthy sleep cycles.
L-Glycine: Promotes sleep and enhances the quality of your sleep through its calming effects on the brain and its ability to lower core body temperature. During the normal human circadian rhythm, sleep occurs when the core temperature is dropping.
5-HTP: Because of its role in creating serotonin, 5-HTP is indirectly involved in producing melatonin, a hormone that is critical for sleep.
GABA: Synthesized in the body with taurine and glutamine, you can take separately or in addition to GABA. GABA enables the body and mind to relax and fall asleep, and to sleep soundly throughout the night. Low GABA activity is linked to insomnia and disrupted sleep.
L-glutamine: Is a precursor to dopamine and low levels of dopamine are related to sleeplessness, in addition, it's required for GABA production. Since it's a non-essential amino acid, you can ensure your body synthesizes adequate quantities with a daily dose of Essential Amino Acids.
Taurine: Taurine has a wide range of potential health benefits, including the unique ability to bind to GABA receptors in the brain which play a crucial role in regulating and most especially calming the central nervous system.
Melatonin: Melatonin's main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. It's important to point out that light naturally decreases melatonin which in turn signals the body to wake.
Lavender: Lavender oil is a popular aromatherapy choice for sleep and relaxation. Several studies show using lavender oil for aromatherapy can improve sleep quality, including in people with insomnia, depression, and anxiety.
Passion Flower: Studies have pointed to passion flower's ability to relieve insomnia and anxiety. It appears to have the ability to boost the level of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in your brain. This compound lowers brain activity as well, which in turn helps you relax and sleep better.
Limeflower: Classified as a nervine, they have a long history of use as a traditional remedy for nightmares and bad dreams and it has a calming effect on the nervous system.
Ashwagandha: A traditional Ayurvedic remedy shown to improve sleep quality by tackling core energy levels as well as supporting the body's ability to adapt and respond to stress efficiently.
L-tryptophan: Tryptophan increases serotonin, which also increases melatonin, both neuro-transmitters in your brain's pineal gland. Your body uses tryptophan and turns it into a B vitamin called niacin which plays a key role in creating serotonin, a neurotransmitter that's associated with sleep and melatonin levels (a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycles).
Ginkgo biloba: Aids in sleep by reducing stress and enhancing relaxation, it's effects are most prominent in non-REM sleep cycles.
L-Theanine: Research shows L-theanine can improve the quality of sleep—not by acting as a sedative, but by lowering anxiety and promoting relaxation. It supports increases in GABA and other important sleep chemicals in the brain.
"Some solutions may take time to begin to have an impact on your sleep and then finding your effective dosage is just as important"
Now that we've given you a pretty big list of natural aids to experiment with, let's cover some practices, tips, tricks, and hacks that could also help increase the duration and quality of your sleep.
In the wake of poor sleep, we hope these tips, tricks, and hacks improve the quality and quantity of your sleep. We hope you get so good at sleeping that you'll be able to do it with your eyes closed.
by Dr. David Minkoff
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