Insomnia, restlessness, and weird work schedules can make regular, restorative sleep something of an enigma.
If you’re struggling to fall and stay asleep at night, there are options that can keep you feeling energized and focused during the day—sans the ‘script. Check out these three natural supplements; they may help correct your sleep cycles and get you back on track.
But first, see if you’re making any of these mistakes that can destroy your sleep cycle.
Irregular sleep is a common problem. You might find yourself waking in fitful spurts at night, having an overall sense of exhaustion during the week, and spending your weekend sneaking in cat naps just to get by. If that’s an accurate snapshot of your current sleep situation, melatonin may help. It’s a neurohormone our bodies naturally produce. Melatonin supplements are sometimes used to help regulate sleep cycles—particularly when someone’s experiencing jet lag or insomnia. Typical dosage is from .2mg-5mg and varies by person. Start at the low end and see what dose works for you. But remember: Melatonin is helpful at regulating sleep cycles, but it’s not encouraged for daily use.
Theanine is an amino acid that’s not commonly found in our diet, unless you’re a big tea drinker. Although it doesn’t act as a sedative, it contains a calming and relaxing agent that may help reduce the perception of stress. Be careful though: It has the opposite effect when combined with caffeine and can increase alertness and cognition.
Glycine may not be familiar to you; its another amino acid that can promote better sleep. A 3g dose before bed can improve REM sleep, reduce daytime sleepiness, and help you fall asleep faster at night, according to research published in Sleep and Biological Rhythms.
Jordan Mazur, M.S., R.D., is the coordinator of nutrition and team sports dietitian for the San Francisco 49ers.
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