Sleep Supplements That Really Work
If you are struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep, or just aren’t getting the quality rest you need, you’re not alone. Sleep deprivation is a problem that has reached epidemic proportions. The recommended daily sleep duration for adults is 7-8 hours, and children need more. Sleep provides the energy and resources for your body to repair and restore itself. Sleep insufficiency is linked to obesity, brain toxin buildup, blood sugar problems, and numerous other health problems. Many studies have shown that sleep deficiency can negatively affect both mood and work performance. To add to this problem, the perpetual cycle of stress, caffeine consumption, shift work and jet lag caused by rapid time zone, disrupted sleep has led humanity down a path of sleep insufficiency that can be difficult to correct. Melatonin is our primary sleep hormone. The pineal gland secretes it at night in response to darkness. The right supplements can help and are often used to improve sleep quality by addressing the root cause of your sleep issues.
There are many things you can do to help improve your sleep quality. These include; getting into a rhythm for going to sleep and waking up, eating the right foods, abstaining from alcohol and caffeine in the evening and avoiding heavy exercise in the hours preceding bedtime. There are also many natural supplements available that have the potential to help you get some much-needed sleep.
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Vitamin B6 is involved in the synthesis of several brain chemicals that play a role in helping promote healthy sleep patterns. Pyridoxine is involved in the assembly and disassembly of proteins and plays a central role in amino acid and fat metabolism. Vitamin B6 is not only involved in helping to convert tryptophan to serotonin but is also involved in other pathways that impact sleep: serotonergic neurotransmission (which facilitates the impact of food on sleep), REM sleep (the deep sleep where dreaming occurs) and the circadian cycle (which regulates our light-dark cycle and peaks at night). Without enough vitamin B6, the kynurenine pathway is blocked, and preventing the breakdown of tryptophan and the formation of NAD.
Signs of deficiency are irritability, low mood, confusion, cracks on the edge of the lips, excessive drowsiness and many more.
Good source of vitamin B6 is poultry, fish, liver and eggs, avocados, bananas, potatoes, prunes, spinach, nuts.
Magnesium is the essential mineral needed to regulate our daily rhythm, including sleep cycles and relax us into our rest and digest mode. It can activate the parasympathetic nervous system – which helps you calm down and relax by regulating neurotransmitters in the brain. Magnesium directly affects the production of serotonin which also regulates melatonin levels – promoting natural sleep patterns. Magnesium is used to reduce anxiety and works with GABA to create a calming effect. It supports heart function and can help prevent high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat. When we lack magnesium, our adrenals are consistently working to keep our stress hormones in check. This excessive release of stress hormones can lead to an imbalance of sodium and calcium, leaving us feeling stressed out and exhausted. Elevated cortisol levels lead to abdominal fat storage and disrupt overall metabolism, which not only makes us less capable of producing energy for potential stress situations but can also cause sleep disruption.
Natural sources of magnesium are green leafy vegetables, beans, nuts, legumes, whole grains, bran, sprouts, yeast, soybeans, in meat only in small quantities.
GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric acid)
GABA is produced in the brain from glutamate and has a calming effect on the central nervous system. The amino acid L-Theanine boosts levels of GABA by inhibiting its reabsorption into the nerve cell. GABA is an amino acid that has been shown to play an important role in regulating hormone production, sleep cycles, promotes relaxation and inhibits anxiety, pain perception, blood pressure and immune function; while also being important for healthy memory formation.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is produced in green tea leaves and some species of mushrooms. It is one of many naturally occurring components in green tea. This amino acid, without being absorbed into the bloodstream like ordinary amino acid, instead is directly dispersed to the brain through the blood-brain barrier. L-Theanine has been the focus of some recent news articles due to its ability to improve sleep quality. It helps to quiet the mind and reduce stress. It belongs to a group of neurotransmitters that work by increasing alpha-wave function in the brain, which relaxes the body.
When the body’s natural sleep patterns are disrupted, it can be difficult to get back on track. This is why L-Tryptophan can help promote normal sleep patterns and promote deep sleep. L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that our body converts to serotonin, creating a feeling of deep relaxation.
Taking L-tryptophan can help ensure nighttime, restful sleep since serotonin is involved in the regulation of your sleep cycle and REM sleep stages.
L-Tryptophan in the form of a serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) should not be taken by those taking serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SRRIs).
Melatonin is a natural hormone in your body that helps regulate your sleeping cycle. Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps regulate your circadian rhythm (your sleep/wake cycle). It begins its nightly rise in about an hour before your normal bedtime, then peaks generally at around 2-3am and gradually tapers off until it is hardly measurable at about 8 am. When you are exposed to light, your brain produces more serotonin and suppresses melatonin production. For this reason, melatonin is often recommended for those dealing with sleep issues resulting from jet lag or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). There are also dietary supplements that have melatonin added to them, which can be purchased over-the-counter.
Valerian Root Extract is a potent natural sedative that grows wild in some areas of Europe, Asia, and North America. Extracted is made from the plant roots and has had the place of a medicinal plant in many past civilizations. Its versatile effectiveness can be read in the historical records of Indian and Chinese medicine.
Valerian has been widely used as a spice in the past, and in folk medicine, the plant was considered a remedy for insomnia, nervousness before menstruation and during pregnancy, as well as for relieving headaches. Studies also show that Valerian Extract can improve circulation and reduce blood pressure. The effect is shown only after prolonged use. Whether you have trouble sleeping or have an overactive mind, Valerian extract can help you.
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