Like so many things in life, we take sleep for granted, just until the sandman skips our room for one night. Suddenly, we’re not ourselves anymore. We feel sluggish, tired, restless, and irritable after a night of poor sleep. These are only the more physical manifestations of sleep deprivation.
So, here is the scoop. Restful sleep is not only good for the body; it’s absolutely necessary for optimal cognitive function and a healthy brain.
We assure you, after today you’ll never complain of poor sleep or insomnia. What do you have to do? Put some of our ideas into practice; nothing more. We’ll explain sleep deprivation and its ill effects on the body. We’ll also look at some of the best Nootropics that can help you sleep faster and improve sleep quality.
Sleep Deprivation: Causes and Negative Effects
The burden of blame for sleep deprivation cannot be shifted on a single factor. Indeed a host of reasons can lead to poor sleep, including causes such as diet, narcolepsy, lifestyle, poor sleep hygiene, stress, sleep apnea, work schedule, insomnia, external stimuli (bright light), excessive sleepiness, and anxiety. Any action, habit, or medical condition that affects our ability to sleep and wake up refreshed can be held responsible for sleep deprivation.
All the above-mentioned factors directly or indirectly affect the brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) that are associated with sleep. Any impact on these neurotransmitters can result in more severe outcomes than just fatigue. Here are short- and long-term negative effects of sleep deprivation:
• Stress, anxiety, and depression
• Mood swings and irritability
• Cardiovascular problems
• Cognitive decline and dementia
• Lack of focus, attention, and concentration
• Memory problems
• Loss of sex drive
• High blood pressure
Best Nootropics for Better Sleep
The list given above isn’t exhaustive. Poor sleep can affect your health and social life in so many ways. We could unfurl a long list of suggestions – eat healthily, avoid TV and handheld electronic gadgets before sleep, exercise, drink hot water or milk, etc. But, for a more permanent solution, you need to improve the neurotransmitter balance in the brain. Here are a few Nootropics that correct neurotransmitter levels to promote better sleep.
The nootropic Phenibut is known for its relaxing effect on the brain. It’s generally used to treat alcoholism, depression, insomnia, fatigue, anxiety, and PTSD. The supplement brings about these benefits by influencing the glutamate receptors and the neurotransmitter GABA, which is known for its relaxing and calming effects. Phenibut is also known to stimulate the production of serotonin and dopamine. Studies show that Phenibut blocks anxiety causing compound Phenethylamine (PEA).
In Russia, Phenibut is regularly prescribed to promote sleep and treat insomnia caused due to various medical disorders. In a study, it was found that the nootropic supplement helped induce sleep in patients with headaches and anxiety. Another study showed that Phenibut improved the sleep quality of alcoholics during the early abstinence period.
Kava, also known as Kava Kava, is an herbal preparation widely believed to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Kavalactones – the active compound in Kava – is responsible for much of the benefits of this herbal remedy. Other than its anxiolytic effect, Kava is also known to reduce pain, prevent neurodegeneration, and lessen the risk of cancer. Kavalactones bring about these benefits by influencing neurotransmitters, particularly GABA. Kava is an herbal compound that is safe and not habit forming, which increases its allure as a natural sleep remedy.
Researchers believe that the sleep-promoting activity of Kava is linked to its anxiolytic effects. Several clinical trials have studied Kava’s ability to cure insomnia. According to a study involving 24 people, the use of kava reduced stress and treated insomnia, whereas the placebo group showed no improvement on both these scales. A similar study established that the herbal remedy was way better than a placebo in reducing anxiety and improving sleep quality.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that is involved in several important functions in the body. Supplementation of Tryptophan is known to enhance cognition, promote sleep, and regulate mood. The supplement delivers these benefits by converting into 5-HTP, which is needed for the synthesis of melatonin and serotonin.
The hormone melatonin is responsible for a healthy immune system, metabolism of nutrients, and maintaining a normal sleep-wake cycle. There is enough scientific evidence to show that adding Tryptophan-rich food to the diet can boost melatonin levels and help improve sleep. According to a study, Tryptophan helped sleep faster and longer. The amino acid also reduced anxiety and depression by stimulating melatonin and serotonin.
Here is something which we take every day, at least those who love tea. That’s right; L-Theanine is an amino acid that’s primarily found in lea leaves. Like the other supplements in this list, L-Theanine promotes relaxation and induces sleep by influencing GABA and other neurotransmitters that calm the brain and body. L-Theanine is typically partnered with caffeine to counter side effects such as hyperactivity and restlessness.
Want to improve sleep quality? Take 200 – 400 mg of L-Theanine supplement regularly. The active ingredients in the supplement relax the body and brain, regulates resting heart rate, and promotes sound sleep.
In a study, a daily dosage of 200 mg of L-Theanine (divided into two doses) was administered to young boys between 8 to 12 years of age. The other group received only a placebo. At the end of the treatment period (six weeks), the boys who were part of the treatment group experienced longer and more restful sleep than the members of the placebo group.
We need at least 6 to 7 hours of sleep every day; anything less than that can affect the body, mind, and social life. The Nootropics mentioned above, taken on their own or as part of a stack, can help you fall asleep as fast as possible, get a good night’s sleep without interruptions, and have a longer, deeper sleep.