A form of amino acid and neurotransmitter whose natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurons to which it binds. Healthy people with insomnia often have reduced levels of GABA in their system.
An amino acid derivative found in green tea, theanine has long been known to trigger the release in the brain of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. GABA activates the major calming neurotransmitters, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, but the body has difficulty absorbing supplements containing synthesized GABA. That is why experts recommend theanine, which the body can easily absorb and, ultimately, use to boost levels of GABA.
A compound derived from the amino acid L-tryptophan, it enhances mood and decreases appetite. 5-HTP acts as a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that is essential for a good night’s sleep. Compared to L-tryptophan, it can better cross the blood-brain barrier, thus increasing serotonin level in the brain. A warning though for those taking antidepressant medications, but overall, relatively safe an as ingredient for supplements.
A hormone from the pineal gland controlling sleep and wake cycles. The hormone causes drowsiness, lowers body temperature, and helps the body put it in sleep mode. Light affects production of melatonin, so going to bed with the TV on or with a smart phone or other gadgets, can dramatically affect it.
Along with contributing to a good night’s sleep, this light, silvery metallic element is an oft-overlooked nutrient that helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes normal blood pressure.
Valerian Root: A flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. The root of the plant has long been used in herbal medicine for a variety of conditions such as sleeping difficulties, digestive complaints, anxiety, and headaches.
Passionflower: A climbing shrub native to the tropical parts of the United States which produces a beautiful, delicate flower that develops into a large, fleshy fruit. It is one of the most valuable and effective herbal anxiety remedies in addition to its usefulness in improving sleep and treating insomnia.
Lemon Balm: Lemon balm is a member of the mint family that is used both as a cooking ingredient and as a herbal medicine. It’s also well known for its ability to promote better sleep. It has been documented as far back as the Dark Ages as a means of relieving anxiety, promoting sleep, a painkiller as well as a cure for indigestion.
Hops: The female flowers from the hop plant have a long history of use in herbal medicine, dating back to at least the 9th century in Europe. Hops are known to lower your body temperature, which brings drowsiness and begins the body’s sleep process. Lowering the core body temperature is an important physiological step toward sleep.
Chamomile: A herb that comes from the daisy-like flowers of the Asteraceae plant family. It has been utilized for centuries, dating back to the ancient Egypt, to treat a number of issues. Today, it is widely used for sleeping to reduce stress and anxiety.