You know that feeling when you're exhausted and it's not even lunchtime yet? You might think it doesn't matter, but sleep debt can really start to creep up on you and affect your day. The link between lack of sleep and the problems it causes is well documented.
When people don't get enough rest, they experience mood swings, decreases in cognitive function (including the ability to retain new information), and difficulty focusing on tasks at work or school that require attention. Basically, without adequate sleep, your brain isn't working properly, and the chemicals that regulate your mood are all out of sync.
So how can you avoid this feeling and get the most out of your day? Start by getting enough hours of sleep each night, and if you're not, consider adding nootropics to your routine. Nootropics are a class of compounds that improve cognitive function, and they can also help with sleep.
In part one of this series of blog posts, we talked about the importance of sleep and how it impacts our overall health. We also discussed some practical tips on how to get better sleep. In this second installment, we'll talk about three nootropics that can help you sleep better: ashwagandha, L-theanine, and NMN - and how they can help improve your sleep quality by aiding in the release of sleep-inducing chemicals and hormones.
Taking Nootropics for Better Sleep Quality
Nootropic stacks are specially formulated combinations of ingredients that work together to improve cognitive function. Simply Nootropics' stack includes Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, and NMN. Among other things, our stack is designed to help you get the most out of your sleep by providing your body with the nutrients it needs to repair and regenerate. In addition to helping you feel well-rested, our stack can also help to improve your cognitive function and reduce stress levels.
- Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that helps to reduce stress levels.
- Theanine is an amino acid that has been shown to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness.
- NMN is a precursor to NAD+, a molecule that plays a vital role in energy production, cellular repair, and gene expression.
Together, these nutrients help to support the body's natural circadian rhythms and ensure that you wake up feeling refreshed and well-rested. Let's look at each in more detail:
Ashwagandha as a natural sleep aid
Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries. It's a popular nootropic because it's known to improve cognitive function and memory, as well as reduce stress and anxiety. But ashwagandha also has an impact on sleep.
In one 2020 study using actigraphy (i.e. scientifically measuring sleep parameters using wrist-worn devices - sort of like an Apple Watch), it was shown that subjects who took ashwagandha supplementation for six weeks experienced improved sleep quality and increased the amount of time spent in deep, restful sleep, and reduced the number of awakenings during the night.
Participants also self-reported feeling more rested and refreshed, and that their sleep was on average, 72% better (vs 29 in placebo). Think about what you could achieve with an extra hour of deep, restful sleep every night!
How it works
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, insomnia is often caused by an imbalance in the body's "yin" and "yang." Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for centuries in India to help restore balance and promote healthy sleep. The herb works by calming the mind and body, while also reducing stress levels. In addition, ashwagandha helps to improve circulation and increase the production of "feel-good" hormones like serotonin. As a result, ashwagandha can be an effective natural remedy for those who suffer from insomnia.
Another study, this one from 2011, found that ashwagandha has a GABA-mimetic activity - a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect on the nervous system. This is important because GABA deficiency has been linked to insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Theanine for more restful sleep
L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in green tea. It's known for its natural calming effect on the brain, and ability to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness. L-theanine is often used to reduce stress and anxiety. It also has a positive effect on sleep: a study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology in 2019 found that L-theanine was effective in improving sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) in people with mild-to-moderate sleep disorders.
How it works
Anyone who has ever had a cup of tea knows that it can have a calming effect. This is due in part to the presence of L-theanine, a compound that is found almost exclusively in tea leaves. When consumed, it quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier and begins to exert its effects. Studies have shown that L-theanine can promote relaxation without causing drowsiness. It does this by increasing levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating sleep. In addition, theanine also increases levels of serotonin and dopamine, two other neurotransmitters that are known to promote relaxation. As a result, L-theanine can help improve sleep quality by encouraging relaxation and reducing anxiety. This 2019 study, published in the journal Nutrients, showed that L-theanine improved sleep quality and reduced daytime fatigue in people with sleep disturbances caused by chronic stress.
Why not just drink green tea?
Because green tea also contains caffeine, which can have the opposite effect on sleep. Caffeine is a stimulant that increases alertness and can make it difficult to fall asleep. In fact, one 2017 study found that reduced caffeine content dramatically enhanced the anti-stress and sleep-promoting effects of L-theanine. So, if you're looking for a natural way to improve sleep, it's best to choose a supplement that contains L-theanine but not caffeine. All our Simply Nootropics products are proudly caffeine-free, because coffee might be doing you more harm than good.
NMN for better sleep and overall health
Nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) is a compound that occurs naturally in the body and plays a vital role in energy production, metabolism, and cell repair. It's also been shown to have anti-aging effects. NMN supplementation has been shown to increase levels of NAD+, a coenzyme that plays a vital role in cellular metabolism. NAD+ levels decline with age, and this has been linked to a number of age-related diseases. Supplementing with NMN has been shown to slow the aging process by increasing NAD+ levels. NMN potentially also has sleep-promoting effects (although according to the latest research, published this year in The Journal of Functional Foods, these may be due to its general beneficial effects and not a specific sleep-promoting mechanism).
How it works
While we don't yet know all the ways in which NMN can help improve sleep, its general therapeutic benefits are well-established. One promising option is that by increasing energy levels during the day, NMN might make it easier to fall asleep at night. The results are promising, but more research is needed to confirm the findings in humans. If NMN does turn out to be an effective treatment for insomnia, it could have a major impact on public health.
Sleep Easy with Simply Nootropics
Lack of sleep is one of the leading causes of stress, burnout and lost productivity. It can be hard to get your Z’s when you have a million things on your mind.
That's why we've created Elevate™ - and our new line, Essentials™ - that, along with its many other adaptogenic benefits, may help you get deeper, restful sleep. No more struggling with fatigue - our nootropic stacks will help you get the sleep you need so you can be your best self. You’ll finally be able to get the rest you need during the night - and feel more energetic during the day.
Try our products today and see the difference for yourself!