3-2-1-Go to Sleep! Here’s Why… (Part 5)
Sleep Supplement Education
Last week we learned about some holistic and helpful tips for sleep. This week we will complete our sleep journey with educating on the good the bad and the ugly on sleep supplements. But again sleep supplements should only be used if there’s and issue and if you’ve tried everything holistic first.
Helpful Sleep Supplements
- L-Theanine (an amino acid) to fall asleep (take 45 minutes before you need to fall asleep) L-theanine’s effect on the brain can be visualized on an EEG. Brain waves are actually smoothed out—but not flattened out—by supplemental L-theanine. The body is relaxed, the mind is calmed, but no drowsiness occurs.
- Zinc (but only for a season) (a micronutrient) Zinc plays an essential role in neurotransmitter function and helps maintain cognition. It is necessary in the metabolism of melatonin, which is a key hormone for healthy sleep.
- Magnesium (a micronutrient) to obtain deeper sleep. Magnesium ions regulate over 300 biochemical reactions in the body through their role as enzyme co-factors. They also play a vital role in the reactions that generate and use ATP, the fundamental unit of energy within the body’s cells. On a chemical level, magnesium aids this process by activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the system responsible for getting you calm and relaxed. First, magnesium regulates neurotransmitters, which send signals throughout the nervous system and brain. It also regulates the hormone melatonin, which guides sleep-wake cycles in your body. Second, this mineral binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors. GABA is the neurotransmitter responsible for quieting down nerve activity. By helping to quiet the nervous system, magnesium may help prepare your body and mind for sleep. Not only can magnesium help you get to sleep, but it plays a part in helping you achieve deep and restful sleep as well. Anxiety can both have a negative impact on sleep. Interestingly, magnesium has been shown to help alleviate mood. Additionally, magnesium is wonderful for physical recovery and muscle cramps.
Why not melatonin?
Since melatonin is a hormone there are some risks supplementation. These include: If you take melatonin regularly, you can, “teach” your body to stop making adequate levels of melatonin. Your body perceives you have plenty (due to the supplementation), so it slows down or stops production.
Why not sleeping pills?
They are potentially addictive and can cause problems with memory and attention over the course of time.
Amino acid vs. Micronutrient vs. Hormone
Amino Acid = a simple organic compound containing both a carboxyl (—COOH) and an amino (—NH2) group.
A large proportion of our cells, muscles and tissue is made up of amino acids, meaning they carry out many important bodily functions, such as giving cells their structure. They also play a key role in the transport and the storage of nutrients. Amino acids have an influence on the function of organs, glands, tendons and arteries. They are furthermore essential for healing wounds and repairing tissue, especially in the muscles, bones, skin and hair as well as for the removal of all kinds of waste deposits produced in connection with the metabolism.
Micronutrient = a chemical element or substance required in trace amounts for the normal growth and development of living organisms. Micronutrients are the vitamins and minerals required by your body. Unlike macronutrients, you only need minuscule amounts of micronutrients to maintain good health. Micronutrients are essential to the production of enzymes, hormones, proteins, and other products created by your body. Some micronutrients have a specialized role, while others fulfill a broad range of functions.
Hormone = a regulatory substance produced in an organism and transported in tissue fluids such as blood to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. Hormones are special chemical messengers in the body that are created in the endocrine glands. These messengers control most major bodily functions, from simple basic needs like hunger to complex systems like reproduction, and even the emotions and mood.