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Sleep Supplements: A Guide to Improving Sleep Quality

Why are sleep supplements important?

Sleep plays a vital role in mental health care, significantly affecting patients’ well-being and the success of their treatments. Sleep problems often go hand-in-hand with mental health issues, so addressing them is a key part of overall care. As a psychiatric practice, we focus on improving sleep during my patient consultations, highlighting how closely sleep is linked to mental health.

Our patients often seek advice on effective, safe, and natural sleep aids, and we aim to provide recommendations based on solid research and safety. Offering actionable advice on enhancing sleep is a vital component of our role, recognizing the significant impact of sleep on psychological health.

Addressing sleep issues is a key element in managing psychiatric conditions effectively. We actively advise my patients on establishing good sleep hygiene as part of their psychiatric care plan, guiding them towards practices and environments that support restorative sleep. This advice includes setting a regular sleep schedule, creating a peaceful bedtime environment, and reducing screen time before bed, all aimed at improving sleep quality and, by extension, mental health.

 

Importance of a healthy sleep cycle

Sleep is critical in maintaining our bodily health, cognitive function, and emotional equilibrium. While we sleep, our bodies undergo vital processes, including tissue repair, muscle growth, and protein synthesis. Moreover, sleep facilitates the consolidation of memories and the processing of emotional experiences, essential for cognitive and psychological resilience.

In today’s fast-paced society, many factors disrupt our natural sleep cycles. Using digital technology, blue light, irregular work schedules, and stress can harm our sleep quality, duration and can cause trouble sleeping.

Such disruptions in sleep patterns are associated with a range of health concerns, including decreased immune function, weight gain, and a higher risk of developing chronic health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety. Addressing these sleep issues is essential for maintaining both physical and mental well-being.

 

Below are some of the best sleep supplements, each with its unique benefits:

 

1. Magnesium L-Threonate

Magnesium L-Threonate is a highly absorbable form of magnesium that exhibits unique benefits for cognitive function, sleep quality, and overall wellness. Unlike traditional magnesium supplements, it effectively crosses the blood-brain barrier, enabling it to directly impact brain health.

 

Benefits of Magnesium L-Threonate

  • Improved Cognitive Function: Magnesium L-Threonate has been shown to improve cognitive function by increasing the number of synaptic connections in the brain and enhancing memory, learning, and attention.
  • Enhanced Sleep Quality: It promotes restful sleep by increasing the time spent in deep sleep, reducing the time it takes to fall asleep, and improving overall sleep efficiency.
  • Bone Health: Magnesium is essential for healthy bone development and density. Magnesium L-Threonate helps strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.
  • Blood Sugar Control: It plays a role in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, reducing the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.
  • Cardiovascular Health: It contributes to the health and proper functioning of the cardiovascular system.

Recommended Dosage for Adults 

The suggested daily dosage of Magnesium L-Threonate is up to 420 mg. It is advisable to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the optimal dosage based on individual needs and health status.

Recommended Dosage for Children

Magnesium L-Threonate may be used in children. The recommended dietary intake of magnesium for children aged 4 to 8 is 130 mg. Older children aged 9 to 13 should have 240 mg each day.

Suggested Brands

Double Wood – Magnesium L-Threonate

Now Foods – Magnesium Glycinate 

 

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha holds a place of significance in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. As an adaptogen, it is reputed to bolster the body’s resilience to stress of all kinds—be it from environmental factors, dietary issues, or disease states. Ashwagandha is posited to provide neuroprotective benefits — it’s seen as potentially enhancing brain health by combating the oxidative stress that can lead to neuronal deterioration.

Furthermore, studies suggests it might promote neuroplasticity and support the growth of nerve cell dendrites, both of which are crucial for cognitive function and mental agility.

Benefits of Ashwagandha

  • Stress Reduction: Ashwagandha is known for its adaptogenic properties, which means it may help the body manage stress more effectively. By mitigating stress and anxiety, it can promote relaxation and, consequently, better sleep.
  • Cortisol Regulation: It can influence the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and, in turn, potentially regulate cortisol levels. By normalizing cortisol levels, ashwagandha could aid in normalizing sleep patterns.
  • Sleep architecture: Research indicates that ashwagandha may improve sleep quality by enhancing non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM) and increasing overall sleep time.
  • GABA mimicking effects: Ashwagandha is thought to mimic the activity of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation and sleep. Herbs that have GABAergic effects can help calm the nervous system, making it easier to fall and stay asleep.

Recommended dosage for Adults

The recommended dosage for ashwagandha can vary depending on your needs, but most research suggests that taking 250–500 milligrams (mg) per day for at least 1 month may be beneficial.

 

Recommended dosage for children

Generally, the dosage for ashwagandha supplements is calculated based on body weight, with the recommended dose for children being about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of ashwagandha powder per day. However, it’s best to start with the lowest dose and gradually increase as needed to avoid any adverse reactions.

 

Suggested Brands

Jarrow Formulas – Ashwagandha

Life Extensions – Ashwagandha

 

3. Glycine

Glycine is a non-essential amino acid with a simple structure that facilitates multiple physiological functions, including the promotion of restful sleep and the enhancement of cognitive processes. As a neurotransmitter and a neuromodulator, glycine exerts calming effects on the brain and helps maintain a healthy nervous system.

 

Benefits of Glycine

  • Sleep Quality Improvement: Glycine is recognized for improving sleep quality by helping to regulate the body’s internal clock and circadian rhythms. It may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and promote a deeper, more restful sleep cycle, without the grogginess often associated with sleep aids.
  • Neurotransmitter Regulation: As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, glycine can decrease overstimulation in the brain, which helps in alleviating symptoms of stress and anxiety, potentially improving mood and mental clarity.
  • Collagen Formation: It is a key component in collagen, making it vital for healthy skin, connective tissue, and bones. Glycine supports the body’s ability to repair and grow these tissues.
  • Protective antioxidant: It acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from harmful free radicals and supporting the body’s natural defense mechanisms.

Recommended Dosage for Adults

As a dietary supplement, glycine can be taken in dosages ranging from 2 to 5 grams per day, especially for targeting improved sleep quality. It is typically taken on an empty stomach before bed for its calming, sleep-enhancing effects. For accurate dosing tailored to individual needs, it’s always best to seek advice from a healthcare professional.

 

Recommended Dosage for children

Glycine’s safety has not been fully tested or studied when considering glycine for young children. Please consult a healthcare provider before starting your child on glycine.

 

Suggested Brands

Now Foods – Glycine 

Life Extension – Glycine

 

4. Theanine

Theanine, a natural compound found in tea leaves, particularly green tea, is known for its calming effects on the mind and its ability to enhance cognitive functions. Unlike other tranquilizing agents, it does this without inducing drowsiness, making it a popular supplement for those who seek to reduce stress while staying mentally sharp.

 

Benefits of Theanine

  • Improved Sleep Quality: While Theanine does not act as a sedative, it may improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, contributing to a more restful state that makes it easier to fall asleep and maintain uninterrupted sleep.
  • Immune Function Enhancement: Some studies propose that theanine may contribute to a more robust immune system, potentially aiding in the defense against common infections.
  • Mood Regulation: Theanine can influence the levels of certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which play a role in mood regulation and can help manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • Stress Relief: It increases “alpha brain waves,” which are associated with calm and relaxation. It helps lower heart rate and blood pressure and mitigates the increase in cortisol levels often associated with stress.

Recommended Dosage for Adults

While dosage recommendations can vary, a typical dose of theanine for stress reduction and cognitive benefits is 100–200 mg, often taken a couple of times throughout the day. To aid with sleep, the dosage might be taken once before bedtime. Due to its calming effects, it’s suggested to start with the lower end of dosage and adjust as needed, consulting with a healthcare professional to ensure it’s appropriate for your health needs.

 

Recommended Dosage for children

L-theanine may be a suitable supplement for kids. At this time, there are no known side effects of l-theanine for kids and it is unlikely that side effects will be discovered.

The initial dosage for primary school children is 50 mg. 100 -200 mg may be more appropriate for high school children and adults. L-Theanine can be given each morning and if needed a second time at the end of the day to promote relaxation, focus, and eventually sleep.

 

Suggested Brands

Now Foods – Theanine

Life Extensions – Theanine

 

It’s important to note that not all sleep supplements are created equal. Some supplements may be more effective than others, and some may have side effects.

If you’re considering taking a sleep supplement, it’s important to talk to your doctor first. Your doctor can help you determine which supplement is right for you and can monitor your progress to ensure that you’re getting the best results.

 

Here are some tips for choosing a sleep supplement

 

  • Find supplements with top-notch, pure ingredients.
  • Choose supplements that have been clinically tested to show that they’re effective.
  • Be aware of the potential side effects of any supplement you’re considering taking.
  • Start with a low dose and gradually increase it as needed.
  • If you don’t notice any improvement in your sleep after taking a supplement for a few weeks, talk to your doctor.

 

 

Additional Tips for Enhancing Sleep

In addition to sleep supplements, several lifestyle practices can improve sleep quality:

  • Establish a Regular Sleep Routine: Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day, even on weekends. This helps to regulate the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle
  • Create a Conducive Sleep Environment: Engage in calming activities before bed, such as reading, taking a warm bath, or listening to soothing music. Avoid screen time in the hour leading up to bedtime, as the blue light emitted from screens can interfere with sleep
  • Minimize Blue Light Exposure: Blue light exposure in the morning helps to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm and promotes wakefulness. Consider using a light therapy lamp or spending more time outdoors during daylight hours.
  • Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol before Bed: Caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality. Avoid consuming these substances in the hours leading up to bedtime..
  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity can promote better sleep, but avoid exercising too close to bedtime.
  • Manage Stress: Stress can lead to sleep problems. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or spending time in nature.

Sleep supplements and lifestyle changes can significantly improve sleep quality. By choosing the right supplements and adopting healthy sleep habits, you can unlock the power of restful sleep and enjoy its numerous benefits for your health and well-being.

 

Are you struggling with sleep? We can help.

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Welcome to Kolli Psychiatric and Associates, where we have expert psychiatrists and therapists located in New Jersey. We provide custom solutions and treatment for mental health disorders so you can improve happiness, decrease worry, and lead a more fulfilling life.

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