Sleep is something many of our Doreen personal training clients struggle with. A lack of sleep combined with a lack of sleep quality is the common trend. If you’re serious about results, sleep is non-negotiable. Poor sleep will lead to poor results long term.
In one of our previous articles we discussed the things that could be ruining your sleep. To read that article, click here.
Sleep is one aspect of a person’s results that a quick fix approach is beneficial. Improving sleep as quickly as possible will boost results dramatically. Tailoring lifestyle, nutrition and training are the first key points that should always be addressed before supplementation. These key areas are what we focus on with our Doreen personal training clients before we look into supplements.
If the above areas have been improved without any improvement in sleep, the below 5 supplements can be great options to ensure a good night’s sleep.
1) Magnesium L-Threonate
Magnesium has a massive benefit on stress management and sleep quality. If you are after the neurological and sleep benefits of Magnesium, you need to use this particular type. This Magnesium is bound to to Threonic Acid which improves the Magnesium’s ability to cross the blood brain barrier. This will improve neurological functions such as memory retention and learning ability. It also has an anti-anxiety and anti-stress effect on the brain which can boost sleep quality. This is a go-to option for our Doreen personal training clients who have sleep issues.
Inositol is a form of sugar with very low calories. It has shown to activate serotonin production in the brain which will have a positive effect on sleep. Inositol also has benefits for insulin function which can help broken sleep caused by blood sugar/cortisol swings. I often recommend ZenMag 2.0 by Poliquin Group supplements to my Doreen personal training clients. This is a combination of Magnesium L-Threonate with Inositol. Many clients who have used this product report improved sleep quality and an ability to achieve a deeper sleep.
Theanine is an amino-acid that is abundant in green tea. Theanine can help boost GABA levels in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps provide calm and reduce feelings of anxiety. Due to this, it can have great potential for improving one’s sleep. You can use Theanine as a supplement but for our Doreen personal training clients, we like to recommend decaffeinated green tea from 5pm to help maintain calmness and keep stress levels down.
Phenibut is a tricky one as it does come with some potential side effects. Phenibut is a Phenylated form of GABA which is our powerful inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA alone cannot pass the blood brain barrier but a Phenylated form of GABA can. Phenibut will dramatically increase GABA levels which can have a very noticeable improvement in your ability to fall asleep. It can also have longer lasting effects such as improved tolerance to stress and reduced anxiety. The drawback to phenibut is that there is evidence that in some it can have an addictive effect, although the studies used very high dosages to help with bi-polar and depression and this could be a factor. Dosages for sleep do not need to be drastic and most people will respond well. It can cause drowsiness the next day and also make you too chilled out. Probably a good thing for those who are too wired.
Best to do your research on this one to make an informed decision on it’s use. Cycling it’s use to 2 days on,4-5 days can be a good way to minimise any of the negative effects it may have. I personally use phenibut and find it works wonders for improving sleep quality and reducing stress related issues.
5-HTP stands for 5-Hydroxytryptophan. This is a form of the amino acid Tryptophan. Tryptophan will have a great benefit on Serotonin production which is crucial for Meltonin production and ultimately sleep. The other great benefit of using 5-HTP is it can prevent afternoon cravings and carbohydrate binging. A large reason for why people binge on sweets later in the day is due to the accumulation of stress and the body’s need for Serotonin. Eating carbohydrates can boost Serotonin levels but that may come with negative effects on your body composition. If you struggle with sleep and stress related food cravings, 5-HTP can be a great option.
As mentioned early in the article, lifestyle, nutrition and training should be addressed first before supplements. The first 4 weeks of our Doreen personal training client’s time with us we generally go without supplements to focus purely on these other 3 factors. From there we look to make improvements in areas that haven’t improved and sleep is often one of these areas. Supplements often will have more subtle effects and their benefit is more long term but for sleep, supplements can have drastic, immediate benefits. With all the positives that a good night sleep has, this is a no brainer for why we want to fix poor sleep as quickly as possible.