Sleep is as essential for the human body as food and exercise. When you sleep, nerve cells in your brain make new connections, and your body repairs its cells and releases hormones and proteins. Americans are notorious for not getting enough sleep; 16% of adults say they never feel sleepy during a typical week, and 40% say sleepiness interferes with their daily activities.
It’s undeniable that we need sleep to achieve everything we want in life. Can sleep supplements help?
What are sleep supplements?
Sleep supplements are over-the-counter products that can help you fall and stay asleep and achieve better-quality sleep. These supplements contain a mix of ingredients and can be synthetic, derived from plants, vitamins, or minerals. Many people with mild or moderate insomnia prefer supplements for sleep over prescription medications, which sometimes have unwanted side effects and lead to addiction, and antihistamines, which can also cause dependency and are often the main ingredient in over-the-counter medicines.
Benefits of sleep supplements
Chronic lack of sleep is associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, negative moods, mental health, and cognitive functioning. So why don’t we get enough sleep?
Sometimes environmental factors prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep. Stress, caffeine, daytime naps, and lighted screens can all affect your ability to fall asleep. Keeping a regular sleep schedule, exercising, and eating healthy are all essential for sleep. However, if you’re doing all the right things, sleeping supplements can still benefit you by allowing you to:
- Feel more refreshed: Sleep isn’t just about quantity, but quality. Supplements can help support occasional sleep disturbances to reset your cellular clock and align your circadian rhythm so you wake up refreshed.
- Strengthen your body: Getting adequate sleep helps your body repair itself and helps build muscle health, strength, and metabolism.
- Support your brain: Your brain also needs sleep. The best sleep supplements promote focus, cognitive function and an improved mood.
Types of sleep supplements
Researchers study the association between sleep and various compounds, including those derived from natural plants and herbs and hormones produced by the body. Here are a few of the most promising:
Nearly every system in your body needs magnesium, including the blood, soft tissue, organs, and bones. Magnesium is crucial in regulating blood pressure, repairing bones, and relaxing muscles. This relaxation effect can regulate melatonin and certain neurotransmitters, making magnesium an exciting area of research for scientists studying sleep supplements. One recent meta-analysis noted promising links between magnesium and sleep quality.
Glycine is an amino acid — the molecules that make up proteins. Glycine accounts for nearly 12% of all amino acids in the body and plays an essential role in the central nervous system, acting as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune system regulator. It also has cryoprotective properties, which means it protects cells from freezing. That is the source of glycine’s ability to help you sleep: lowering your body temperature signals to your body and brain that it’s bedtime.
Glycine also plays a role in generating creatine, which is a molecule in the muscles and the brain. While typically associated with fitness buffs, athletes, muscle recovery, mass, and strength, researchers also study creatine in association with neurodegenerative conditions, aging, heart disease, and sleep. Creatine’s ability to increase the energy available to the brain reduces the need for sleep, helping you feel more energized when you wake up.
Inositol is a naturally occurring sugar in your brain and other tissues, which helps to mediate communication between cells, responding to hormones, neurotransmitters, and growth factors to regulate insulin response, mood, and cognition. Inositol links to melatonin production, depressive disorders, and sleep in adolescents and pregnant women, making it an interesting area for future sleep supplement studies.
L-theanine is an amino acid in green tea and mushrooms that can help boost mood, improve cognition, and promote relaxation. These properties can also help you sleep, especially in combination with other elements. Studies show that combining L-theanine with GABA, a neurotransmitter, and magnesium, can improve sleep quality.
Melatonin is a hormone produced in the human brain that regulates sleep. As one of the most well-known sleep supplements, it helps balance your circadian rhythm, which tells you when to sleep and wake up. Melatonin is also the substance responsible for the advice to turn off your devices, as exposure to light before bed can suppress melatonin production. Insufficient melatonin production can disrupt the body’s sleep-wake cycle, making it difficult to fall asleep. Supplementing with melatonin can help people fall asleep faster.
How to find the best sleep supplement
If you have trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about possible underlying medical conditions and ensure sleep supplements won’t conflict with any medications you’re taking. Once you’re in the clear, do some research to find the best sleep supplement for you.
Tony Robbins’ Peak Rest supplement is a sophisticated formula containing all of the above ingredients and more. It helps you fall asleep, relieve stress, optimize your circadian rhythm, and revitalize your brain to feel more focused on the day ahead.* You are truly living at your peak state when you approach each day with vitality and energy.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.