- Sleep is vital to basic human function.
- According to a 2013 Gallup Poll, 40%+ of adult Americans don’t get enough sleep.
- It’s time to prioritize the space that allows your body to regenerate. Here are some key supplements to enhance your sleep.
There never seems to be enough time for adequate sleep. It doesn’t matter if you can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, or haven’t been getting the recommended amount of sleep. In fact, about half of adult Americans aren’t getting the sleep they should, a problem that is getting progressively worse, not better.
But sleep – and the quality of sleep you get – is integral to basic human functioning. Sleep can help our minds bank memories, increase our learning capacity, heal and regenerate our skin, enhance immune function so we can fight off viral invaders, and optimize our body’s processes. Not enough sleep leaves us not only tired, but can drastically impact our mood, productivity, and sometimes even our body’s basic ability to function. According to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute, “Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke.” So why is it that so many of us are okay almost bragging to our friends about the lack of sleep we are getting?
Whether experiencing lack of sleep due to stress – the added fears of COVID-19 and work from home overwhelm haven’t exactly improved things – light exposure, sugar or chemical intake, or a slew of other reasons, your sleep isn’t a lost cause. A multitude of supplements exist on the market that can help you achieve optimum sleep, depending on the unique chemistry of your own body. While many supplements are pushed as sleep aids, the industry is largely unregulated, and most options don’t require approval by the FDA. The good news? We have conducted extensive research to find the best options in each of the recommended sleep aid categories.
For those of you struggling with sleep imbalance or lack of sleep, melatonin is a wonderful natural supplement to check out. It complements your natural levels of melatonin – an antioxidant hormone produced by the pineal gland – to ensure an easy and restful sleep.
- While many supplements only allow for around 15% of your dose of the supplement to be absorbed by the body, this Liposomal Melatonin liquid was developed by Dr. Christopher Shade, PhD, to get more of melatonin’s benefits into the bloodstream at a faster rate than traditional delivery methods. While most caplets can take 40-90 minutes to take effect, this all-natural supplement had me in bed, asleep, within 30 minutes.
- These delightful tasting raspberry melatonin gummies have our favorite flavor profile of any melatonin supplement, and no added sugar or preservatives to speak of.
- For those of us who have a higher body chemistry tolerance for melatonin and often find ourselves needing to supplement differently, THORNE has developed Melaton-5. This 5mg capsule makes dosing in increments – or using multiple organic capsules – easy and pain-free. It’s easy dosage customization makes it a great option as you age, since melatonin requirements increase as you get older.
Research suggests that L-Theanine – found in green and black tea – can have profound sleep benefits. It helps to regulate brainwaves by triggering the production of alpha-waves, which boost relaxation without the side effects of drowsiness. According to Psychology Today, “Alpha waves are also present during REM sleep. L-theanine appears to trigger the release of alpha-waves, which enhances relaxation, focus, and creativity.” It has been used safely in Japan for decades, and boasts many potential health benefits, including guarding the body against influenza. Research suggests it could be supplemented to help control ADHD symptoms in children, and it has been proven to reduce the physiological effects of stress, which contribute to many diseases.
- THORNE Theanine capsules are one of the best on the market. Flavorless and simple to consume, it is recommended to take 1-3 capsules daily depending on your need. (Most people will find that one or two does the trick.) Not only does it support a healthy stress response, but it may help increase your focus for a productive and efficient day.
- DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont has a 200mg L-Theanine capsule on the market, and each capsule supports a full day of regulated stress response. It truly is like a cup of tea, with effects that last 8-14 hours on any given day.
Most supplements related to sleep health will also drastically affect your performance during the daytime, since your body is getting the recommended amount of recovery while it rests. Glycine – an amino acid found in the body that contributes to protein creation and growth – is perfect both for exercise recovery and a great night of sleep. It can help to streamline neurotransmitter function, achieve healthy blood sugar levels, and optimize brain health.
- One of our favorite supplement options includes, this magnesium bisglycinate powder that can be added to water or a fruit smoothie for an extra boost of fruity flavor. It carries the added benefits of magnesium, which is involved in over 300 chemical reactions in the body. Magnesium helps with energy creation, DNA maintenance, and muscle function, among a slew of other things. In fact, the glycine and magnesium in this formulation bond together for a more enhanced effect from each. (And it tastes amazing!)
- For those that rely on magnesium to support sleep, there is a wide selection available in powders and capsules to find the best option for your needs. We recommend that speak with your health care provider before before starting any new supplement.
As always, your immune system’s ability to defend you from outside stressors and viruses is highly reliant on factors such as the amount of sleep you get. During sleep, the immune system stays awake, releasing cytokines that alert the body to infection or inflammation. Sleep deprivation or irregular sleep patterns can also lead to obesity.
In tandem with your supplements, try sleeping with the temperature down a bit, within the range of 60-67 degrees Celsius. This cooling and heating water-activated mattress pad is a great way to help regulate the temperature as well. Staying cool at night can help you achieve – and maintain – your Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep Cycle.