Without enough sleep your body doesn’t recovery optimally from training. Outside of that, lack of sleep or more accurately, poor quality sleep can result in any of the following:
- Bad moods
- Slower reaction time
- Inability to think quickly and problem solve
- Poor insulin sensitivity and glucose control
- Increased sugar cravings (not good with poor insulin sensitivity)
- Likelihood to eat more calories
- Impaired metabolism
- Elevated cortisol
- Lower testosterone in men
- Slower recovery
- Stunt protein synthesis
- Inflammation build up
- Digestive issues
Sleep is a vital part of our homeostasis or circadian rhythm, which influences the ability of glands and cells in our bodies to produce hormones and neurotransmitters so that our bodies work smoothly. When we don’t sleep well enough, the rhythm is altered, inflammation goes up, our hormones become disrupted, and our nutrients are not effectively absorbed.
Here are some supplements that combat insomnia and may improve your quality of sleep:
The part of the brain responsible for sleep has a large concentration of vitamin D3 receptors. If vitamin D levels are deficient, the entire sleep-wake cycle can become disrupted. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common, especially in the more southern parts of the Australian community. Vitamin D also plays a role in many other hormonal processes, metabolism, reproductive system, digestion, and cardiovascular health.
Magnesium is famously known its calming effects on the central nervous system, decreasing inflammation and stress on the body. My personal preference is to supplement with Trilogy’s GABAMag in the late afternoon and evening as my day unwinds.
Tart Cherry Juice:
Although not a supplement, tart cherry juice contains high levels of phytochemical that raise melatonin (the hormone in your body that induces sleep). Studies show it can significantly enhance sleep quality in addition to reducing inflammation and accelerating recovery from exercise.
Note: Choose a pure tart cherry juice without sugar or other additives. The best quality and high concentrated forms are available as supplements online or in natural food stores.
5- Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP):
5-HTP is used to synthesise both melatonin and serotonin (the brain chemical that elevates mood and has a calming effect on the brain). Because of its promotion of feel good hormones, it is recommended for those people suffering from high stress, anxiety, depression, high cortisol, and even night terrors.
Taurine raises the neurotransmitter GABA. This neurotransmitter has a calming effect on the nervous system and allows the brain to shut itself off. For those people who having anxiety or racing thoughts at night time preventing you from sleeping, taurine may be a good choice.
Taurine is only available from seafood, red meat, and eggs and is easily depleted with stress and intense exercise. Therefore, vegetarians are at higher risk of taurine deficiency. Recommended doses are generally between 1 and 3 grams before bedtime.
Doses of 2 to 10 grams, 60 minutes before bed have shown to have a relaxation effect and promote better sleep especially when combined with magnesium. Inositol is a form of sugar that is found in citrus fruits and nuts. However, don’t be concerned about the sugar as it contains negligible calories. It works by activating the serotonin and orexin pathways in the brain that much like taurine, quietens mental chatter.