Trouble Sleeping? These Tips (+ Supplements) May Help
March 01, 20213 min read
Did we catch your attention? Are you struggling to get enough sleep? If so, you’re not alone. The Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reported that 35.2% adults report less than 7 hours of sleep during a typical 24-hour period1.
Adults should be getting 7 ½ - 9 hours of sleep each night. It’s not just a luxury or “nice to have.” It’s critical and the consequences of short sleep duration are profound. Adults who got less than 7 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period were more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions (heart attack, coronary heart disease, stroke, asthma, COPD, cancer, arthritis, depression, chronic kidney disease, and diabetes) compared to those who got enough sleep.1 Struggling with cravings was also a connection. Lack of sleep makes cravings worse; it’s a biochemical fact that after a poor night’s sleep your body craves more sugar and carbohydrate dense foods (chips, French fries, bagels).
Now onto the good news: our favorite sleep solutions! The nutritionists at our parent company, Nutritional Weight & Wellness always recommend food first. Focusing on reducing the number of processed foods in your diet and eating a diet of real foods (food you find in nature) as a first solution. Their first recommendation is to be sure to eat a small snack before bed. And they don’t mean popcorn or chips. They recommend full fat yogurt and berries. To learn more about food recommendations for better sleep check out this article 5 Food & Drinks Sabotaging Your Sleep.
Supplements to Help You Sleep
Here’s a trifecta of supplements that the nutritionists recommend to their clients struggling with various sleep issues. They suggest starting at the top and work your way down if extra help is still needed. Bonus, all three are 15% off all March long!
Our go-to for sleep is magnesium, our most powerful relaxation mineral. Magnesium is involved in over 300 different processes in the body and most people are deficient because our bodies use it up very quickly. And, guess what? Stress depletes you of magnesium … we could all be deficient after the past year.
Research has shown magnesium supplementation helps with sleep.3 Many individuals report feeling more relaxed before bed, falling asleep easier, and sleeping deeper. Have you been dreaming more? That’s a sign of deeper sleep.
Start with at least 200 mg of magnesium and increase as needed up to 800 mg. If you’re also struggling with constipation choose Mixed Magnesium, it contains magnesium citrate which pulls fluid to your stool to loosen it. If you don’t struggle with constipation choose Magnesium Glycinate that comes in 100 mg tablets or the 75 mg capsules that are easier to swallow than the tablets. Magnesium doesn’t just help with sleep - read more about other benefits of magnesium.
If you tried magnesium and it didn’t do the trick, move onto 5-HTP. If you’re struggling with racing thoughts before bed or waking up in the middle of the night with racing thoughts, 5-HTP may be the answer for you. 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin, a very calming neurotransmitter (feel good brain chemical). Other symptoms of low serotonin can include anxiety, panic attacks or phobias, feeling worried or fearful, carbohydrate cravings, obsessive thoughts or behaviors, perfectionism, irritability, depression, excessive self-criticism. If this sounds like you, take 1-4 capsules (up to 200 mg) daily, at least 15 minutes before a meal. To help your sleep take it before bed. This should be taken on a regular basis to notice positive effects. If you’re on an anti-depressant medication discuss this with your medical provider before taking.
L-theanine may be another solution to your sleep problems. L-theanine stimulates the production of GABA, another very calming neurotransmitter. Symptoms of low GABA can include anxiety and feeling overwhelmed, feeling worried or fearful, panic attacks, unable to relax, feeling stressed and burned-out. If you fit some or all of these symptoms L-theanine may be worth trying. Take 1-3 caps (up to 600 mg) daily, at least 15 minutes before a meal. To specifically help you sleep make sure to take before bed. If you wake up in the middle of the night you can also take one to help calm your brain and fall back to sleep. Clinically, individuals report feeling much calmer within 30 minutes of taking L-theanine. It can also be used on an as needed basis for anxiety.