A good night’s sleep is incredibly important. Experts believe slumber helps our body repair and balance itself. Next to a healthy diet, quality sleep is the biggest contributor to optimal cognitive function. Without proper sleep the brain does not operate at its full capacity.
Tossing and turning in the bed is hard enough, but what’s worse is how you feel the next day. You will feel depressed, fatigued, and even simple tasks will appear daunting. For some a glass of water or milk will do the trick, whereas those who suffer from sleep deprivation caused by medical conditions need to consult a doctor. The rest can check out these Nootropics that can help you sleep better and feel more energetic the next day.
Best Nootropics for Sleep
Phenibut is the most popular nootropic supplement that’s used as relaxation and sleep promoter. The supplement, which is a form of aminobutyric acid, makes you fall asleep faster and promotes a more restful sleep. Another interesting outcome of using Phenibut is that it induces lucid dreaming, which can be fun, terrifying, relaxing, and an endless source of inspiration.
Phenibut is structurally quite similar to GABA, the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter. Phenibut is derived from the neurotransmitter, but it has a higher BBB than GABA due to the addition of the phenyl ring to its chemical structure.
Experts consider anxiety to be one of the primary causes of insomnia. It is also linked to impatience, irritability, and hypersensitivity. The anxiolytic properties in Phenibut fights anxiety by reducing or inhibiting signals from the Central Nervous System (CNS) during slumber time. By decreasing the higher than normal signals that cause anxiety, Phenibut promotes good night’s sleep.
Ideal Dosage for Sleep: 250 to 300 mg per day
Developed by Hoffmann-La Roche, a Belgian based pharmaceutical company, Aniracetam is used in many European countries to treat cognitive problems and sleep disorders. You don’t need a prescription to buy Aniracetam in the United States.
The mood and cognitive benefits of Aniracetam are because of its influence on the two mood related neurotransmitters – Serotonin and Dopamine. These two endogenous chemicals play a major role in keeping us relaxed and boosting our mood. They also reduce anxiety and fight depression.
The Aniracetam nootropic supplement promotes synaptic communication by boosting AMPA receptor sites. It’s quite well known that a calm and relaxed mind will lead to better quality of sleep.
Ideal Dosage for Sleep: 500 to 750 mg, two times a day
Huperzine-A is an alkaloid derived from Huperzia Serrata plant. It’s used to improve neuroplasticity, enhance memory, and boost cognitive functions. It promotes faster learning and better information retention and recall by developing new synapses and neural pathways.
Huperzine-A provides cognitive benefits by influencing the cholinergic system in the brain. Although the supplement works like a racetam, its mechanism of action is quite different. Huperzine-A does not boost acetylcholine receptors, instead the nootropic increases the level of the neurotransmitter by inhibiting acetylcholinesterase (break down of the acetylcholine).
There is strong evidence to show that Huperzine-A improves the REM sleep by as much as 30%. REM sleep is important for our cognitive health because it stimulates the parts of the brain that are vital for memory and learning. Moreover, it’s during the REM phase of our sleep that new neural connections are formed. In an experiment carried out by NINDS, it was found that rats that were deprived of adequate REM sleep had a shortened life span.
Ideal Dosage for Sleep: 100 to 200 mcg per day
The effect L-Theanine has on sleep is well established through countless scientific studies and experiments. This nootropic is an amino acid that’s found in tea. It’s known to facilitate restful sleep by reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation.
Inside the brain, L-Theanine targets several neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, GABA, Dopamine, and Serotonin. These four neurotransmitters that influence the brain’s reward system and pleasure center are vital for relaxation, sleep, and mood. L-Theanine fights sleep-disrupting anxiety by increasing mental clarity, promoting calmness, and encouraging positive thinking.
Ideal Dosage for Sleep: 200 to 250 mg per day
Kava Kava helps you fall asleep faster by decreasing noradrenaline and stimulating GABA. The herb targets the alertness promoting neurotransmitter noradrenaline (also called norepinephrine) and decreases its activity. Similarly, it increases the activity of the relaxation promoting neurotransmitter GABA.
Kavalactones, the active ingredient in Kava Kava, has a sedating effect on the brain. It interacts with GABA receptors and decreases neuron excitability. The active ingredient of Kava Kava functions a lot like benzodiazepines, which is a common anti-anxiety and sleep inducing medication. Both these substances reduce anxiety by attaching GABA to GABA-A receptors.
Kavalactones also reduces the activity of noradrenaline by decreasing the reuptake of the alertness neurotransmitter. Diminishing the reuptake of the brain chemical can initially lead to increase in the levels of the neurotransmitter, but after a while the overstimulation would lead to reduced receptor response and receptor activity.
Ideal Dosage for Sleep: 250 mg per day