Taking Melatonin Plus L-Theanine for Sleep

-Yawn-

The work week can be exhausting.  Add on some school and family obligations and you may as well kiss a relaxing evening goodbye.

Not only is it difficult to get enough sleep, but finding time to adequately relax before sleep is next to impossible.  This impossibility can lead to poor sleep-quality, which can lead to increasing levels of stress and exhaustion.  L-Theanine and Melatonin show promise in securing you a solid night’s sleep.

L-Theanine for Sleep

L-Theanine, also known as just theanine, is a non essential amino acid and glutamic acid analog that is usually found in many different types of tea. It is similar in structure to glutamine which is one of the most abundant amino acids in the human body.

Theanine was originally extracted from green tea leaves and has been commonly researched for its potential sedative properties and ability to have a calming effect. Theanine is an analog of glutamate which is a critical neurotransmitter that has been implicated in improving memory and learning processes.

Theanine stimulates the GABA receptor and it is also a fat soluble nootropic. Since theanine is an analog of glutamine it has been proven to be effective for both physical stress and mental stress.

Find the correct Melatonin plus theanine dosage for quality sleep

Additionally, there have been multiple studies that show theanine is anxiolytic, which can potentially be attributed to raising dopamine levels.

In addition to helping theanine users improve their scores on tests and improve their memory, theanine can also lower blood pressure and boost health.

Reports have shown that theanine can help assist the body in improving the efficiency of the immune system by increasing antibacterial proteins and increasing the amount of fighting gamma delta T-cells.

There was one study that showed that theanine can promote memory improvement and health in cases that were related to repeated cerebral ischemia in rats.The study also showed that theanine has neuroprotective qualities and helped to promote neuronal cell health.

L-Theanine Dosage

The standard Theanine dosage is between 200mg and 400mg per day (taken in two 200mg doses throughout the day).

What About Melatonin?

Melatonin is made by the pineal gland and is a natural hormone. The pineal gland is very small and around the size of a pea, it is located in the center of the brain. The pineal gland helps to regulate sleeping cycles on 24 hour cycles which helps tell the body when it is tired and needs sleep.

Melatonin is suppressed by light and stimulated by darkness and this is the reason we usually want to sleep at night but stay awake during the day. Melatonin controls the circadian rhythm in the body which makes us feel tired and lets us know when it is time to get some rest. When there is a change in our schedule, melatonin can be disrupted and thrown off very easily. Jetlag also disrupts our normal melatonin cycles.

Melatonin supplements are available for people who would like to fix their sleeping schedule and get back on track the natural way. Some benefits of melatonin in addition to its sleep inducing properties include alleviating anxiety and depression.Melatonin affects the serotonin levels in the body which lowers the effects of depression, sadness and anxiety.

Additional studies on melatonin effects have shown that there is less of it in people who have cellular irregularities, heart problems, and joint pain. Combining theanine and melatonin can be very effective and many people have reported positive effects but taking them in combination are usually not necessary. However if you take one and it is not as effective, adding the other can sometimes work wonders.

Where to Buy Quality Melatonin and L-Theanine for Sleep

I’m sure that you’ve seen tea labeled as featuring Melatonin with L-Theanine on the shelves of your local supermarket, but what quality L-Theanine and Melatonin are you purchasing?  Many companies use shady practices in order to use lower-quality supplements.

There are a few decent companies who put their products to the test via a third-party to ensure quality. Don’t risk your health for a dirt cheap price tag. Find a store that has reasonable prices as well as third party testing.

Sources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18681988
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11083131
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9243626

Valerian Root vs Melatonin

It can be difficult in this high-stress world to find a way to wind down and relax at the end of the day.  Because of this difficulty, many people end up with poor sleep quality, stressed moods, and an overall feeling of being overwhelmed.

Luckily, there are some ways that you can take the bull by the horns and change how you relax after a hard day.  When it comes to natural relaxation and sleep aids there are two supplements that stand out among the rest: valerian root and melatonin.

Melatonin

For starters, melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone in all living plants and animals, although it serves a different purpose in each.

For mammals, melatonin is the hormone that, in combination with circadian rhythms, helps to regulate and normalize sleep patterns. Research has shown melatonin is beneficial not only with helping to regulate sleep but also to decrease anxiety, alleviate headaches, and more.

While melatonin is naturally produced in the human body, sometimes your melatonin levels become imbalanced so supplementating it can go a long way to improving sleep. Now let’s take a look at valerian root.

Valerian Root and High Stress

The root of the valerian plant has been supplemented for a very long time (we’re talking 16th century long time), and has served many different purposes over the years.

Today, valerian root is a common supplement for those who are looking to curb anxiety, reduce stress, and fight sleeplessness. While melatonin is a hormone found in the human body, valerian root certainly is not, therefore it works in a much different way.

Through binding with GABA (A) receptors via valerenic acid, the valerian root extract is able to exert most of its effects. While this may not mean much to you, it is important to note that valerian root is working in a synergistic manner with your brain and its constituents.

Most research involving valerian root has been focused on its ability to lower anxiety levels and it has shown that the extract does act as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety).

In addition, research involving sleep and and lack thereof has shown to be promising but ultimately inconclusive. Interestingly enough, the most profound and conclusive effect found to stem from supplementing valerian root is its ability to induce lucid dreaming, although this study involved a rather high dosage.

Sleep and relaxation supplements are not by any means in short supply, but when it comes to natural options that have been studied and proven to be effective, melatonin and valerian root really hit the nail on the head.

The facts are there now it’s up to you to decide which one is right for you. Remember always pay attention to the packaging of your supplement for dosage instructions and make sure you always listen to your body, because if you don’t who else will?

Melatonin and Valerian Root: Where to Find the Best Quality?

Valerian Root and Melatonin are fairly common supplements and can be found at many health-food or drug stores.  Therefore, the prices are standardized in the industry.  At most, you may pay a dollar or so more from store to store.

However, quality can vary greatly.  Many less-than-ethical companies will use low quality supplements in order to boost their profit margins.  Because of this quality difference, it is important to use a supplier that features third-party testing.  Third-party testing uses an unbiased tester to assure quality and purity of supplements.  Some sites use third-party testing on some supplements but not all of them.

Melatonin vs Valerian Sources:

  1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20347389
  2. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18036082

 

Relaxation Supplements: Top 5 for Sleep and Relaxation

Getting enough sleep and rest are two very important links in the chain when it comes to fitness, and too often their importance is overlooked. Some people may have trouble getting to sleep at night while others may suffer from poor time management. Simply put, recovery is just as important as nutrition or training when it comes to being the best you can be. While getting as much natural rest as possible should be your goal, sometimes you need a little push in the right direction. I’ve broken down the top 5 supplements to aid in sleep and relaxation to help you get the best recovery possible and supercharge your next workout.relaxation supplements

  1. Melatonin Benefits

    • Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain that regulates sleep. In two separate studies long term supplementation of melatonin has shown to decrease insomnia and regulate sleep in both older adults as well as youth. The supplementation of melatonin has not shown any side effects or symptoms of withdrawal.
    • Melatonin Dosage: Start with 500mcg (0.5mg) and work up to 3-5g, stick with lower dose if effects are strong and proceed from there.
  2. L-Theanine Benefits

    • L-Theanine is an interesting supplement that has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and reduce mental and physical stress. In one study supplementation of L-theanine was shown to reduce the subject’s heart rate and salivary immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) responses to a stress related task in comparison to a placebo control group.
    • Theanine Dosage: Start with 100mg and work your way up to 200mg according to results and personal preference.
  3. Valerian Root benefits

    • Valerian root or valeriana officinalis is an herb that is commonly found in green tea. While supplementing this herb will not put you to sleep, instead relaxation and ease of mind are more inclined to ensue. Although this herb has been used throughout history only recently have we started to understand how it works. Animal research has shown that the main benefits of valerian supplementation come from the way in which the valarenic acid in the herb interacts with the GABA receptor, binding to it and ultimately reducing anxiety levels significantly.
    • Valerian Dosage: Take 400-900 mg within two hours of going to bed.
  4. ZMA for Sleep

    • ZMA is a patented formula that contains zinc aspartate, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B-6 (which is typically pyridoxine).While ZMA is one of the least researched supplements in my top 5, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that suggests the formula is effective at both inducing sleep and raising testosterone levels. Magnesium has been linked to effectively inducing sleep in individuals who are deficient in the mineral according to a German study done in the 90s.
    • ZMA Dosage: Take supplement before going to bed at least two hours after your last meal. Do not take with calcium as this can block the absorption of zinc.
  5. L-Tryptophan benefits

    • Tryptophan is an essential amino acid in the human diet and is part of the 22 standard amino acids. The supplementation of tryptophan has been shown to increase sleepiness and decrease sleep latency (how long it takes for you to fall asleep) after a dose of 1 gram or more.  Contrary to popular belief, turkey does not contain a more significant amount of tryptophan than other meats and should not be seen as a source for supplementation.
    • Tryptophan Dosage: Start with 1g and work your way up to 5-15g depending on personal preference.

Sources

Melatonin:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18036082

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21340475

L-Theanine:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17272967

Valerian:

http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(06)00275-0/abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20347389

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17517355

ZMA:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9703590

L-Tryptophan:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6764927

L-Theanine and GABA for Sleep

Taking theanine and gaba for sleep is beneficial for everyone, even your cat!

Insomnia is a fairly large but common problem. The amount of input our brains are forced to deal with on a daily basis is far beyond that of 50 years ago.

Now, with mobile phones, constant internet connections, social media notifications and DVRs with hundreds of channels, it’s hard for many people to properly disconnect enough to get a good night’s sleep.

The importance of good sleep cannot be understated. Sleep deficiency has been linked to problems ranging from heart health to weight issues. It can also have a very negative impact on your mood and cognitive performance.

So how are we to deal with this sleep problem? A natural approach to improving sleep quality is to get enough exercise, eat a healthy diet, and reduce the sources of stress in the environment.

Even if all those pieces are in place, it can still feel like not enough so additional help may be needed. Natural supplements are a great way to help you get to sleep. Two popular supplements with synergistic properties that help with relaxation and sleep quality is the l-theanine and GABA combination.

L-Theanine and GABA as Sleep Aids

L-theanine, also simply known as theanine, is an amino acid naturally found in green tea. It has effective daytime use as a supplement to help with cognition and concentration. The main function of l-theanine is to inhibit certain neurotransmitters to reduce anxiety and increase dopamine levels.

The anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of theanine translate well into nighttime use as well. Simply being more calm and less high-strung in the evening can help you get to sleep faster.

A study was performed in Japan on 22 men, about half were daytime workers and the other half were students. The group was given a placebo before sleep for six days and then l-theanine after that. When the study concluded, 70% of the participants reported more sleep efficiency, better mood before sleep, and less nightmares.This is all without the morning drowsiness that can accompany other sleep aids. [1]

For coffee drinkers, an animal study showed that l-theanine can help counteract caffeine-induced sleep disturbance. [2] Theanine was also shown to improve sleep quality in boys with attention issues. [3]

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it serves to slow down certain parts of the central nervous system and helps regulate nervous system excitability [4]. In addition to being a critical factor in maintaining ideal cognitive well being, GABA deficiencies have been linked to sleep problems.

Studies show that insomnia is caused by low GABA levels. [5] When there is not enough GABA present in the brain, the areas that GABA slows down keep on going and the activity doesn’t decrease as it normally would when the body winds down. GABA has been shown to positively impact deep sleep, the most important type of sleep we need. So even if you can fall asleep, a GABA deficiency may reduce the amount of deep sleep your body gets. [5]

L-Theanine and GABA have different, yet very complementary mechanisms of action when it comes to sleep. The addition of either one or both of these to your nightly routine could help you get to sleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake more rested than before.

GABA and L-Theanine Sleep Supplements Online

When looking for a supplier for GABA, L-theanine and other supplements, there are a few important points to keep in mind.  Firstly, the website should be upfront about the ingredients included in the supplements, such as whether or not it is pure Theanine or Theanine with other additives.

Secondly, the price should be competitive with the rest of the suppliers in the market.  If the price is significantly higher or significantly lower, there may be something else at play.

Finally, figure out if the supplier uses third-party testing to verify the quality and purity of the product.  This third-party testing is a huge indicator of honesty and quality from the supplier. One supplier that I frequently use is Powder City. They meet all of the above criteria and have been good to me in the past.

Sources

  1. www.ismh.org
  2. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22285321
  3. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214254
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid
  5. www.webmd.com

Better Sleep with Melatonin

Sleep is a necessary function in keeping our bodies healthy.  Sleep deprivation can result in emotional and physical fatigue, as well as a breakdown in cognitive functions.  Our post-industrial society offers distractions and barriers that inhibit sleep.better sleep

The Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School has found that in the short term, sleep deprivation can affect judgment, learning, emotions, and other cognitive functions.  In the long term, chronic deprivation can result in higher rates of “obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even early mortality.”

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, found in people, plants, and animals.  Hormone levels fluctuate during the day, increasing or decreasing, depending on the environment.

Melatonin Benefits

Free radicals are unpaired groups of atoms that interact with certain molecules, such as our DNA or cell membranes.  These interactions can lead to poor cellular function, and even cellular destruction.  A powerful antioxidant, melatonin absorbs free radicals in the body, arresting these reactions and preventing molecular damage.[1]

One of the major benefits of melatonin is it is paramount in regulating the sleep cycle, making a proper balance of the hormone a critical component to an individual’s health. The absence of light causes an increase in melatonin production, which aids in sleep.  When light is introduced, melatonin production decreases. If the body is deprived of light during the day, or receives too much at night, levels of melatonin can deviate outside an optimal balance. This inconsistent and unnatural frequency of exposure may disrupt the sleep cycle.

Based on medical research, the University of Maryland Medical Center has found evidence that individuals who take melatonin supplements are able to fall to sleep more quickly.  Further, sufficient levels of melatonin help an individual to maintain sound sleep, through the night. Melatonin levels can decrease as one gets older.  Taking the supplement helps to establish a healthy and consistent sleep cycle over time. Hormone levels can also fluctuate seasonally and the introduction of supplements assists in adjusting to the seasonal changes.

Melatonin has other benefits beyond helping to maintain a restful sleep cycle. There is evidence that melatonin may decrease deterioration in the cognitive ability of Alzheimer’s patients, possibly by defending brain cells from “beta-amyloid,” a toxic protein.[2] The hormone has also demonstrated the ability to fight various types of cancer and counteract the harmful effects of chemotherapy. Scientific trials have provided evidence that melatonin supplements increase the life span of individuals suffering from cancer.[3] Melatonin has also proven to be an effective treatment for migraines.[4]

Sources

[1] Reiter RJ, Tan DX, Leon J, Kilic U, Kilic E. When melatonin gets on your nerves: its beneficial actions in experimental models of stroke. Exp Biol Med (Maywood.). 2005 Feb;230(2):104-17.

[2] Cardinali DP, Furio AM, Reyes MP. Clinical perspectives for the use of melatonin as a chronobiotic and cytoprotective agent. Ann NY Acad Sci. 2005 Dec;1057:327-36.

[3] Lissoni P, Barni S, Mandala M, et al. Decreased toxicity and increased efficacy of cancer chemotherapy using the pineal hormone melatonin in metastatic solid tumour patients with poor clinical status. Eur J Cancer. 1999 Nov;35(12):1688-92.

[4] Peres MF, Zukerman E, da Cunha TF, Moreira FR, Cipolla-Neto J. Melatonin, 3 mg, is effective for migraine prevention. Neurology. 2004 Aug 24;63(4):757.

Stress Relief with GABA Supplementation

Nearly everyone experiences stressful circumstances from time to time.  We are constantly looking for new ways to relieve ourselves from stress and increase the quality of our lives. A great and natural way to address this very common issue is Gamma-Aminobutric Acid (GABA).

What is GABA?stress relief

GABA is produced in the human brain from glutamine and glucose. GABA is known for being a calming amino acid and a natural regulator of nervous system excitement. It significantly helps balance your mind. When in a situation that may prove to be anxious or frightening, GABA eases your mind as well as your thought process making it easier for you to concentrate. It also comes to the rescue when you need to sleep. GABA will help “shut off” a restless mind when your body senses that it’s time to rest. After the GABA releases you should notice that your dreams are much more vivid than usual, and you will be able to enhance your sleep-cycle, which in turn will increase the amount of energy you have the next day.  The healthy sleep that you fall into will considerably reduce your stress level for when you wake up.

This naturally produced amino acid has a very high rate of effectiveness without any side effects. Unfortunately people suffering from anxiety, depression and panic disorders do not usually produce enough GABA for their bodies to function properly, and help them deal with stressful situations when they arise. These people may need an outside source to supply them with this very useful amino acid. The quality of your life will noticeably increase and you will tend to feel more alive.

GABA for Stress Relief

GABA supplements will help with your stress, and anxiety issues, providing you with higher quality of life and less stress. When GABA is released, its effects are noticed almost immediately. In some instances you may even achieve the state of mental euphoria.

Sources:

5 HTP Review for Relaxation and Mood Support

5-HTP (Griffonia Seed Extract)

Do you experience high levels of stress on a day to day basis? Does your busy schedule, demanding job, or the pressure of daily living perpetually keep you in poor spirits? Do you find it hard to relax after a long day? If you said yes to these questions, you may be suffering from depression or anxiety, which contribute to mood swings and insomnia. In this instance, a supplement of Griffonia Seed Extract, more commonly known as 5-HTP, can help to improve your mood and bring you the relaxation that you deserve in a safe and natural way.relaxation and mood support

What is 5-HTP?

5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid derived from the seed of the wooly shrub Griffonia simplicifolia [1]. Griffonia plants are indigenous to regions in West and Central Africa. The 5-HTP organic compound is essential to the body’s creation of the mood and health enhancing compounds melatonin and serotonin [3]. 5-HTP works with the essential amino acid tryptophan to create these compounds through a process called metabolization [2]. This supplement easily crosses the blood -brain barrier unlike other naturally occurring compounds. This attribute is what makes 5-HTP an effective solution to different obstacles by simply enabling the brain to create increased amounts of these beneficial compounds.

5-HTP  for Mood and Relaxation

Because 5-HTP has been shown to increase the body’s production of serotonin, studies indicate the supplement has benefits outside simply curing insomnia. When 5-HTP metabolizes and subsequently releases serotonin and melatonin, the compounds are directed to different systems of the body to help regulate their functions.

Through the use of a 5-HTP< supplement, melatonin levels increase to help regulate the circadian rhythms, the sleep-to-wake cycle, of humans. Other studies have shown that many individuals who suffer from mood swings and mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and depression benefit from increased melatonin due to 5-HTP. Other functions of melatonin include:

  • Treatment for those with severe headaches
  • Functions as a powerful antioxidant
  • Metabolism and weight control
  • Possible beneficial properties in the battle against Alzheimer’s [4]

Studies indicate low levels of serotonin are linked directly to anxiety and depression [5], two things closely associated with a heavy workload and the ever increasing demands of life.  The increased production of serotonin with a 5-HTP supplement counteracts the effects of depression and mood swings by better transmitting and relaying messages between nerve cells. The improved nerve cell communication contributes to the following:

  • Improved sleep patterns
  • Increased attention/alertness
  • Memory
  • Regulate digestive processes
  • Improved mood

Sources

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Griffonia_simplicifolia
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin
  3. 5-htp wiki
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin
  5. http://www.livestrong.com/article/219843-what-are-the-benefits-of-serotonin/

Valerian Root for Sleep

What is Valerian Root?

Valerian Root, also known as Valeriana Officinalis is a root typically brewed with tea that is usually used as a sleep aid. It is known to be an agonist of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain.[1] GABA receptors are the “downers” of the brain[2] which regulate neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system.[3] Basically, what this means is that Valerian Root tends to be a sedative tea and anxiolytic.valerian root for sleep

It is also known that Valerian root significantly decreased insomnia in human trials[4] and acts as a good sleep aid. It is generally advised to avoid taking Valerian Root in the mornings to avoid the sedation effect.[1]

Valerian Root has been reportedly used since ancient Greek and Rome,[2] and has always been used as a calming tea. They used it as a remedy for insomnia and was also used as a general medicine to heal the sick.[2] It is also known that Valerian flowers were used in perfume during the sixteenth century. Because it works with the GABA neurological system, it is shown to be “sedative, anticonvulsant, [a] migraine treatment, and pain reliever” (Wikipedia). It is also possible that Valerian Root is nontoxic even after long term use. People oftentimes combine valerian with other herbs to mix into a tea for a synergistic effect. A popular combination is with Valerian root and Ashwagandha.

Valerian Root Adverse Effects

Like most compounds, some people experience side effects, especially with long-term use. There are occasional side effects of “headache, excitability, uneasiness, and cardiac disturbances”.[5] It is for this reason that it is suggested that users start at a low dose and try it in isolation (not mixing it with other compounds in case of adverse effects) and work their way up to an ideal dose. An ideal dose is typically around 300-600mg per day.[1]

Many supplement enthusiasts use valerian root during the daytime as a natural remedy to treat general anxiety. Similar to L-theanine, it sedates the body which eliminates adrenaline and the physical feelings of fear and nervousness.

One large shortcoming of Valerian Root is despite its use throughout history all over the world, it has very few clinical studies done in western science. As a matter of fact, most studies point to the inefficiency of Valerian root over other methods of calming and relaxation. It is generally recommended for those who are more natural-oriented and herbal enthusiasts.

Even though those who use it during the daytime experience a decrease in anxiety, it is recommended to be taken 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime.[6]

 Sources

[1]: http://examine.com/supplements/Valerian/

[2]: http://examine.com/supplements/GABA/

[3]: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0074769602130117

[4]: Thorpe, Benjamin; Northern Mythology, Vol. 2, pp. 64–65

[5]: Michael F. Caron, RPh * *Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Boston. Valerian: A Practical Review for Clinicians

[6]: http://socialanxietydisorder.about.com/od/treatmentoptions/p/valerianroot.htm

Melatonin Supplementation for Healthy, Natural Sleep

For hundreds of years our bodies used light as a signal if we should be awake or asleep. When the sun came up, it was time to be awake and when the sun went down the world was dark and it was time to sleep. Fast forward to modern times, things have changed a lot. The wide availability of electricity and electronic devices makes us masters of our own sleep schedule. When the sun goes down, most people start watching TV or use some other electronic device. These devicesrestful sleep can stay on all night long, completely throwing the body’s natural light signals out of the equation. When dependent upon natural light, however, the body develops a circadian rhythm with the sun. In this natural process, signals are sent throughout the body to wake up when the sun rises and at night, when the sun goes down, signals are sent to the body that it’s time to go to sleep. The main regulating signal the body uses for sleep is a hormone called melatonin[1].

Melatonin levels can vary throughout the day, but spike in the evening when darkness occurs[2]. Unfortunately, melatonin production is inhibited by blue light, the light given off by TVs, computers, phones and other electronic screens. This means as long as you’re in front of a TV or computer screen, you’re inhibiting melatonin production and, ultimately, sleep. Melatonin levels can also be disturbed in shift workers since working at night and sleeping during the day sends conflicting messages to the body. Essential functions are impaired when the body doesn’t get enough sleep. Aside from leaving you feeling tired and groggy, a sleep deficit impairs your cognitive function, keeps your organs and brain from resting and healing and prevents the proper production of important hormones.

Whether it’s nighttime work, jet lag or just a long evening in front of the computer, the demands of the modern day don’t always respect the natural order of life – that’s when melatonin supplementation should be explored. Melatonin is available in supplement form and helps balance out the natural hormones in the body to promote quality sleep. Imagine falling asleep when you wanted to and staying asleep all night long, that’s the primary benefit of melatonin supplementation! Clinical studies have shown that melatonin supplementation reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, increases the hours slept and boosts daytime alertness. Melatonin supplements work by providing a shortcut in the sleep process and sending the signals to your body that it’s time to sleep.

Additional melatonin benfits include [2][3]:

  • Treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Prevent cluster headaches
  • Treat sleep problems associated with menopause
  • Fight breast and prostate cancer
  • Reduced fibromyalgia symptoms

Melatonin Dosage

Melatonin should only be taken at night, the only exception being shift workers who need to sleep during the day. The body naturally produces about .3mg of melatonin each day, so you should start low. Begin with .3mg an hour before bed and increase slowly each day until you find your sleep improving (1mg-3mg one hour before bedtime is normally an effective dose). To maximize the effect of melatonin, try to limit exposure to artificial light from TV and computers before bed.

Sleep deprivation will wreak havoc on your quality of life and make you miserable. If you suffer from poor sleep, definitely give melatonin a try. Consistent, quality sleep can be life-chaning.

 Resources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin

[2] http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/melatonin-000315.htm

[4] http://altmedicine.about.com/od/melatonin/a/melatonin.htm

[4] http://www.talkaboutsleep.com/circadian-rhythm-disorders/circadian-rhythm-sleep-disorders/10-how-to-use-melatonin-correctly.htm

L-theanine for Anxiety

I am on my third month of L-theanine usage and now find it indispensable. By nature I am internally extremely anxious.stress supplements

I worry too much when I drive, I’m a helicopter, overly safety conscious dad with my child and routinely do things like panic at the checkout to the point of my heart racing because my wallet was in a different pocket in my cargo pants and I have a mini panic attack while I’m checking successive pockets.

L-Theanine Effects

The first day I had theanine supplement was excellent, I had to drive in a busy,  unfamiliar section of the city, in the rain and on a tight schedule, normally this would have me stuck in my lane, panicking about each parked car I had to negotiate around and missing opportunities to change lanes and go through signals out of caution with annoyed drivers behind me but instead found myself aware of all the traffic around me , not sweating like I normally would, cruising into the correct lane and with no issue finding my destination. I take theanine with my tea or coffee (stirred into a little boiling water at the bottom of the cup before the rest goes in) and find I am mentally sharp, quick to respond but free of the jittery panic that coffee can normally produce. I ensure I have the theanine I have put into capsules in a jar in my work bag and I keep my bag of loose powder right next to the kettle so I can never forget to have it in the morning with my drink. My dad tends towards anxiety just like I do and based on observing the change in me has ordered his own supply, I haven’t seen my father this cheery before or being such a relaxed grandfather to my daughter, she has gone from avoiding him because of his fixed furrowed brow to running and throwing her arms around his knees!

The effects of theanine have only stacked and multiplied over time, not only am I less anxious in a given moment, I now carry less anxiety because over the previous week I will have acted more calmly and confidently in all manner of situations and thus I have contentment about how I am conducting myself instead of mild regret and the anxious ball of stress I was in the past before I started having L-theanine daily.

With theanine, I had the benefit of improved sleep. This was highly unexpected but greatly enjoyed. For the last two years I have taken either melatonin or valerian sleep aids which were indeed effective but perhaps not ideal for years of supplementation, its now two months since I needed to take either, the theanine appears to deepen my sleep and ensure I have no worry ticking over in my head when I hit the sack, it’s a keeper!