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The 5 Best Natural Sleep Aid Supplements

Medical professionals recommend that we need to get about eight hours of sleep each night. Kinda crazy to think that a third of the day is meant to be spent asleep. Just imagine, if you live to be 90 years old, you will have slept 30 of those years.

That probably sounds kind of disconcerting; 30 whole years doing nothing but laying in bed with your eyes closed.

The reality is that if you do not take those 30 years to rest and recuperate, you will never make it to 90 anyway. Many clinical studies draw a sharp connection between sleep deprivation and disease, persistent illnesses, weight problems, stress and anxiety, diabetes, oxidative stress, muscle shrinkage, and even sudden death. Yes, being chronically sleep deprived can literally kill you.

In this article, we’re going to divulge the drastic effect poor sleep habits have on your body composition. We will also detail the top five sleep aid supplements that you can use to enhance the length and quality of your sleep.

How Much Sleep is Best Per Night?

It appears that while sleep length is crucial, quality is even more important.

For example, in a recent research study, subjects that got fewer than six hours of sleep per night had a 250% higher gain in potentially harmful fat tissue than those who got between 6-8 hours.

Curiously though, individuals who slept longer than eight hours per night likewise had nearly a 170% higher gain in potentially harmful fat tissue than those who slept between 6-8 hours. Basically, you don’t want to sleep too long nor too short (assuming you get quality, deep sleep).

With many sleep-tracking gadgets being used around the world today, there has never been a better time to be precise about your sleep habits. Regularly track your sleep length and quality so you can assess what works best for you.

5 Best Natural Ingredients to Help You Sleep

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain. It controls the internal body clock of individuals in order to induce drowsiness. The body produces melatonin by metabolizing serotonin. Melatonin release is also controlled by the hormone norepinephrine.

Direct exposure to light environments, such as daytime sunlight, blocks melatonin synthesis by blocking the release of norepinephrine, whereas direct exposure to dark environments does the opposite.

Therefore, it is simpler for individuals to go to sleep when it’s dark outside rather than during the day. This is why routine body clocks are important for melatonin production and a healthy sleep-wake cycle. Graveyard shift employees might have a hard time staying asleep for more than a couple hours daily; their body is basically on an inverted schedule.

There are a host of advantages from supplementing with melatonin, thanks to its potential for correcting irregular sleep patterns; when body clocks and sleep patterns are random, many illnesses become more likely.

For that reason, people with sleeping issues like insomnia, and those that work the graveyard shift or get jet lag from taking a trip, should definitely consider using supplemental melatonin.

Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant with immune-enhancing properties. Antioxidants are compounds that decrease oxidative stress caused by reactive oxygen substances in the body; in turn, they are key for health and longevity.

Melatonin is also non-habit forming; interestingly, some data contends that melatonin can be taken throughout the day to treat stress and enact other therapeutic benefits.

Overall, the main benefits of melatonin include:

  • Supports healthy sleep-wake cycles and circadian rhythms
  • Enhances glutathione production and immune function
  • Encourages healthy hormone production
  • Helps treat sleep disorders and jet lag
  • Increases relaxation and calmness

2. L-Theanine

L-theanine is a natural non-dietary amino acid present in green tea leaves. This amino acid can enhance your mood and sleep by increasing alpha-brainwave production. Unfortunately, drinking green tea will only give you nominal amounts of L-theanine; it is best to supplement with an effective dose by taking LEAN PM before bedtime.

3. 5-HTP

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a metabolite of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan; it is necessary for your body to manufacture the “feel good” neurotransmitter serotonin which induces calmness. 5-HTP is readily extracted from the plant species Griffonia simplicifolia. Research suggests that taking 5-HTP about one hour prior to bedtime can increase the total time spent asleep and reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. It also appears to be a strong appetite suppressant.

4. Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 is an essential micronutrient that works together with 5-HTP to help your body make key neurotransmitters for enhancing your mood and ability to sleep, especially serotonin and melatonin. Some sleep supplements, like LEAN PM, contain melatonin along with vitamin B6 as they work synergistically to convert the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate to the calming neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

5. Bioavailable Magnesium

Of all the minerals, magnesium is the one most humans are deficient in. Magnesium is an imperative cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. Lacking magnesium in your body can lead to harmful health conditions, including depression, insomnia, fatigue, and poor bone health.

Thus, supplementing with a highly bioavailable form of magnesium will help encourage bone mineralization, muscle building, physical performance, nerve impulse transmission, and sleep quality.

The best magnesium supplements come in the form of magnesium citrate (or magnesium chelated to amino acids). Be wary as many magnesium supplements contain the rather worthless form of magnesium: magnesium oxide. Magnesium oxide has very low bioavailability, and only around 2% of the magnesium oxide you ingest is useful to your body.

Key Takeaways

  • Sleep length is important but less so than sleep quality
  • Aim for between 7-8 hours of sleep per night
  • A premium sleep aid supplement will contain proper doses of the five ingredients covered herein
  • We recommend taking LEAN PM each night, roughly 30-45 minutes prior to bedtime

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About the author

Elliot Reimers, CNC, M.S. Candidate

I'm a NASM Certified Nutrition Coach (CNC) and M.S. candidate in the Molecular Pharmacology program at Michigan State University. My undergraduate studies in the biological sciences led me to take a keen interest in research pertaining to nutritional science, exercise physiology, and dietary supplements. As such, I've been writing about these topics for the better half of the last decade. My main ambition is to educate readers and help them make sense of these evolving, yet increasingly hard to navigate, fields of study.

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