Nowadays people pay more attention to sleep and the fact how important it is. Unfortunately (really, unfortunately) there are still many people that do not pay any attention to this critical element of their lives. There are many things one can do to improve their sleep. Here we will take a look at one of these options, namely the nutritional supplementation for better sleep. We will review some of the several nutritional sleep aids sold at the market, from a scientific point of view.
You’ve probably heard of melatonin. This is one of the most recommended aids for coping with sleep problems worldwide. This is the hormone in our body that simply puts us to sleep at night. People, who have troubles falling asleep, might have a problem with their natural melatonin secretion or maybe a seriously unbalanced circadian rhythm (biological clock).
The melatonin supplementation is very well supported scientifically. Melatonin is safe and does not harm the body. It does not lead to a breach of its own secretion in the body as many people think. It also positively affects insomnia, improves sleep quality and reduces the feeling of fatigue when flying long distances (jet lag). In fact, the benefits of melatonin are much more but here we will not discuss all of them.
A dose of 1 mg to 3 mg of melatonin, taken about 30-60 minutes before bedtime, will do a good job for most people. If this dose does not work, increase the quantity to up to 5-6 mg. That should be sufficient. Your eyelids will slowly get heavy and you will feel slightly sleepy after 30 minutes. It is best to take your dose of melatonin and to fall asleep at the same time. Thus, you will be able to synchronize your biological clock as well.
Magnesium is extremely useful even if not taken for improving sleep. The mineral has a very good relaxing effect on the muscles and nervous system. A lot of studies have been conducted on its relationship with sleep and there is a certainty that such a correlation exists. It is not entirely clear, however, what it is and whether it is the only one. On the one hand, some sleep disorders in humans (and rats) with magnesium deficiency have been noticed. On the other hand, the melatonin level increases after a magnesium intake.
People suffering from restless leg syndrome (RLS), which prevents them from sleeping well, experience a significant improvement probably because of the melatonin’s relaxing effect. It is clear that the relationship between magnesium, its levels in his body, and sleep, is there. The dosage will vary according to the form of magnesium in the product. We recommend magnesium citrate as one of the most absorbable forms.
If the problems with sleep are due to a magnesium deficiency, you will probably need plenty of time to feel any serious effects – at least 3-4 weeks. If you suffer from magnesium deficiency, it is best to consult a doctor about your dose, but 800-1000 mg of magnesium citrate per day will be okay. If the purpose of the magnesium supplementation is just for a relaxing bedtime feeling, 400 mg of citrate will be a good dose. You can combine magnesium with melatonin and drink both supplements half an hour or an hour before bedtime.
Theanine (or L-theanine) is an amino acid, primarily found in tea. Even though science has not found a direct relationship between the amino acid and sleep till now, L-theanine turns out to be a really good relaxing agent. Since the accumulated stress during the day is one of the main reasons for not sleeping well, such relaxants would help, though indirectly.
You can take the amino acid both during the day and at bedtime. The standard dose is 200 mg of L-theanine, and the effect reaches its peak about 40-60 minutes thereafter.
Tryptophan (or L-tryptophan) is also an amino acid. It is found in nearly all foods in smaller or in larger quantities. There are some conflicting scientific data about tryptophan as this contradiction can be seen mainly in people who have trouble sleeping. Somehow logical.
People suffering from mild insomnia might feel that the intake of the amino acid shows improvements on both the sleep itself and on the duration and quality of sleep. Tryptophan is a melatonin precursor and a small study has shown the serious rise in the secreted melatonin in the body after administration of tryptophan as a dietary supplement.
The amino acid has calming properties. The standard dose in tests is between 1 g and 4 g of L-tryptophan, as 1 gram can be regarded as the minimum quantity for a good effect. A good timing for taking the dose is approximately 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
Who has not heard of the Valerian plant? Its combination with mint and hawthorn is really famous. Valerian has been recommended for nerves calming, easier and more peaceful sleep for many years.
Unfortunately, the scientific data are few and contradictory, and the meta-analysis (multiple studies analysis) from 2010 showed that the effects of valerian on the sleep are minimal, in the best case. However, it is worth a try. Maybe you will feel a significant effect.
Taken as a dietary supplement, 500 mg of valerian extract, 40-60 minutes before bedtime would suffice. If you feel very nervous and restless, you can increase the dose but do not overdo it.
About the Author:
My Name Is Militsa and I am The Founder of The First Blog For Supplement Reviews By a Female.
- Herbal medicine for insomnia: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
- Pharmacologic Treatment of Insomnia Disorder: An Evidence Report for a Clinical Practice Guideline by the American College of Physicians.
- Hacking Sleep