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Sleep Support

For most adults, 7-8 hours of good quality, uninterrupted sleep, with sufficient time spent in deep sleep, is necessary in order to wake up feeling fully rested, energized and ready for the day.

Many people underestimate the importance of sleep (until they don’t get it) but there are many reasons why getting enough good quality sleep every night is vitally important:

It allows our brain and body to rest, which means we will wake up feeling energized and focused [1], it gives the brain time to process new information that we have learnt throughout the day [2], it enables muscle tissue repair [3], maintaining healthy weight [4] , regulating blood sugar levels [5], and maintaining good overall health [6]

In contrast, not getting enough sleep, or getting poor quality disrupted sleep, can have adverse effects on your health, energy and mental cognition, both in the short term, and the long term. Poor sleep has been linked to a heightened Stress response [7], increased or more persistent pain [8] , depression [9], Anxiety [10], and cognition, memory and performance deficits [11].

But why do so many of us struggle to get enough good quality sleep, no matter how hard we try?

There are few different factors that can cause you to have suboptimal sleep, including:

  1. Difficulty getting to sleep
  2. Difficulty staying asleep, or having interrupted sleep
  3. Lack of restorative deep sleep.

Firstly, you may have a suboptimal amount of the nutritional building blocks that enable high quality sleep.

Especially important is the amino acid L-Tryptophan. This amino acid, a constituent of protein found in foods, is crucial to sleep because it’s converted by your body into 5 HTP , which is the precursor to Serotonin, the neurochemical which helps you to relax, and in turn Serotonin is the precursor to Melatonin, the neurotransmitter that is responsible for letting your brain know it’s time to go to sleep. B Vitamins are also crucial building blocks, because they’re essential to the process of converting L-Tryptophan into 5 HTP, Serotonin and Melatonin.

Stress and Anxiety, as well as residual Psychological Trauma, can increase sleep induction time, or can stop you from falling asleep altogether. Excessively high levels of Stress Chemicals like Cortisol, Epinephrine and Norepinephrine can also wake you up in the night, and then may stop you from returning to sleep, maybe because of a nightmare (intense emotions), or your mind may be racing (intense thoughts).

Your Genetics also have a big impact on your sleep quality, you can find out how they affect you by checking the Genetic Insights reports on: your tendency to be able to have sufficient Deep Sleep and good Sleep Quality, and the potential of developing factors that interfere with sleep like Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Teeth Grinding, Restless Legs, Stress and Anxiety.

Recommendations

One of the biggest factors that affects the ability to sleep well is Stress and Anxiety. There are many nutrients that have been shown to be beneficial to reduce Stress and Anxiety, including:

Omega-3s reduce stress and help sleep by supporting brain function and reducing inflammation [12, 13, 14]. Studies have found that people with low levels of Omega-3 fatty acids tend to be more anxious. Taking Omega-3 supplements (at least 2,000 mg per day) may reduce anxiety [15, 16, 17].

Magnesium helps your muscles to relax, and studies have shown that it can increase sleep onset, sleep time, sleep efficiency and cortisol concentration [18]. Magnesium helps to regulate a normal stress response, so if you’re deficient you’ll be more stressed, which causes you to use more Magnesium … it’s a vicious cycle [19] that in turn, makes it harder to sleep.

Herbs like Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Valerian and Rhodiola have all been shown to help a person reduce stress and sleep better, which is why we included them in our Serenity Anti-Stress Formula.

L-Theanine is an amino acid that has also been shown to reduce stress and can be found in our Sleep Aid Ultra product, along with a strong, healthy dose of Melatonin - the neurotransmitter which is naturally secreted by the pineal gland in the brain, when it is dark, to let us know it’s time to sleep. For those who don’t experience enough darkness before bedtime (electric lights, blue screens like phone, TV, etc), or for those who naturally produce less Melatonin, taking additional Melatonin in a supplement like Sleep Aid Ultra can be beneficial.

Also very important for reducing cortisol levels (which is your body's primary stress hormone), is Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha is found in moderate quantities in our Sleep Aid Ultra and Serenity Anti-Stress Support products. However, research has found that a larger dose is more effective to significantly lower cortisol, so if that’s your goal, you can find a larger, more effective dose in our Organic Ashwagandha Capsules Organic.

The neurochemical Serotonin is one of the main mechanisms your body uses to keep you from becoming too stressed. Serotonin gives you the feeling of being relaxed and safe, which is essential in order to get to sleep, and stay asleep.

Due to genetics, some people naturally have lower levels of Serotonin. Others may also have suboptimal levels of Serotonin because they are lacking the nutritional building blocks in their diet (L-tryptophan), or potentially due to other unproven factors, like Psychological Trauma.

In either case, we recommend supplementing 5 HTP (the direct precursor to Serotonin) as a very potent and effective relaxing agent. It’s best taken in the evening, not long before you want to go to sleep. This can also lead to deeper, more peaceful sleep.

If you struggle with sleep, you may also struggle with low energy levels in the morning or throughout the day. If that’s true for you, we recommend finding a healthy and sustainable strategy to increase your energy, that doesn’t interfere with sleep later (like caffeine does).

To see our recommendations on how to increase your energy throughout the day without disturbing your sleep, please refer to our Energy and Fatigue collection.
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Scientific References: