A few posts ago I wrote about sleep being an elusive fairy. She tickles my brain and then runs away only to come back and dance around. My brain, on the other hand, I described as an obnoxious bedmate. The moment I lie down he pokes me saying “Wanna think about stuff? Did you call the electrician? What if you don’t remember in the morning? Do we need apples? What are Catskills?”
Between the elusive fairy and the obnoxious bedmate, sleep for me has been a journey. In my first post on sleep, I discussed reasons we may be sabotaging our sleep. Inconsistent routines, screens, and nutrition choices all have the ability to impact our sleep negatively. But even if you have all those sleep-impacting external issues figured out sometimes there is one other beast that keeps us awake when we should be fast asleep – an anxious mind. The anxious mind is like a broken faucet spurting water with no place to shut off the master valve. Having an anxious mind is troublesome anytime but debilitating if it hits when you are trying to get to sleep. So, In my second post, I discussed the best relaxation techniques for sleep. Many different options to use breathing and relaxation methods to bring on sleep in minutes instead of hours.
Now we know that our sleep environment is key, and we know that we can have quick access to breathing and relaxation techniques you should be aware there is a third arm of the sleep trifecta -Supplementation
HERE ARE THE SEVEN SUPPLEMENTS TO KICK YOUR INSOMNIA
VALERIAN ROOT: Many recommend this herb for aiding in sleep induction and sleep quality. None of the active properties of Valerian have been well identified, but the theory is that Valerian increases the amount of GABA in the bloodstream which dampens nerve impulses. Apparently Valerian is more useful if repeatedly used, so the recommendation is to use it for several nights in a row to get your sleep back on track. It is not recommended to combine with other sleep aids because they can compound their effects.
BUY IT HERE: Valerian Root
MAGNESIUM: Magnesium is one of my favorite supplements. The multiple benefits of Magnesium make supplementing with it a health-blast for your body. The word on the street is that most people are deficient in magnesium. Put succinctly magnesium has a significant role in digestion, muscle metabolism and brain function and conveniently, it also plays a role in relaxation and sleep inducement. But which magnesium you might ask? There are several different forms. This article breaks it down for you but in a nutshell. Magnesium Citrate is a safe and available form. Be careful not to take too much! Magnesium in excess can make your bowls an Olympic luge track. Nobody wants that.
BUY IT HERE: Magnesium
MELATONIN: Crossing the finish line in a tie with Magnesium, Melatonin is a fantastic product to bring on dreamland a little more quickly. There are some things you should know about Melatonin. It is a hormone. However as we age or come under stress, our natural reserves of melatonin tend to deplete. Supplementing with Melatonin is considered safe within a range. Melatonin is not fast acting. If you are going to take it in pill form, it is best to take it 30 minutes before bed. But, good news. I have listed a fantastic spray option that is sublingual. Using a spray means that the Melatonin goes directly into your bloodstream from under your tongue and acts within ten minutes. A spray is also better because you can discretely monitor dosage both before bed and if you wake in the middle of the night and want to use it to fall back to sleep. Melatonin should not be used in children under eight without a doctor’s supervision.
BUY IT HERE: Melatonin
THEANINE: Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. Its benefit is that it increases the release of GABA from the brain. Supplements containing GABA are hard to absorb and not as effective so many recommend the use of Theanine, which is readily absorbed and can increase those GABA levels so desperately needed for sleep.
BUY IT HERE: Theanine
KAVA: Kava, reminds me of this time in Fiji. The native Fijians mixed Kava in coconut shells and fed it to several unsuspecting college students, including yours truly. Nothing happened. All it did was make me sleepy. Wait! Maybe that is why they now recommend the US approved version and dosage for sleep inducement? It is not recommended that Kava be taken if you drink alcohol or use medications that have to be detoxed by the liver. Long-term use of Kava is also in question because of the potential stress on the liver.
BUY IT HERE: KAVA
L-TRYPTOPHAN: Now available over the counter again so this is why I recommend this instead of 5HTP which can be risky because of its effect on blood serotonin levels. Yes, tryptophan is the junk in poultry that makes you want to lie comatose on the couch after Thanksgiving dinner. However, the reading I have done suggests that just eating a leg of turkey before bed does not possess not enough Tryptophan to be meaningful for sleep induction. So, the recommendation is to take Tryptophan as a supplement.
BUY IT HERE: L-Tryptophan
GABA: GABA is a neuro-inhibitory transmitter. Put simply; it is the hormone that will calm you. If taken away from any other proteins, it will be very calming. But there is some discussion as to the absorbability of it as a supplement, and so many recommend taking other supplements mentioned above that help encourage your body to release more of its own GABA int the bloodstream.
BUY IT HERE: GABA
BONUS – MELISSA: More commonly called lemon balm, this essential oil promotes relaxation and calming of the nerves. It is from the mint family, and it is most known for its soothing, memory boosting and antidepressant powers. I wanted to link the pure essential oil here, but it was a 150 dollars for an ounce. I have attached something a little more affordable.
BUY IT HERE: Melissa
From occasional sleep issues to severe insomnia these supplements can aid in taming the elusive sleep fairy. Combine these ingestibles with the recommendations from my other two sleep articles listed below and you are going to rest like a wee babe.
This week pick one technique from each of my three articles on sleep. Combine to see the positive effect they have! I would love to know which ones you tried!
If you liked this article, you are going to lose sleep over these.
The Better Health Store
Body Building – Dream Big Supplements
Sleep Hacking – Falling Asleep