We all know that sleep is essential for improving body composition, staying mentally strong and leading generally healthier and happier lives!
Unfortunately, we are surrounded by stimuli that wreak havoc with our sleep-wake cycles, leading to unwanted side effects such as poor sleep and therefore fat gain, overeating, reduced gym performance and even increased disease risk.
Luckily, along with some smart lifestyle alterations, there are a few key supplements or natural ingredients to help you optimize your sleep (and therefore many other aspects of your physique and life).
In this article, I’ll discuss some of the main ingredients / supplements you should consume to help you optimize sleep.
Magnesium To Help You Relax
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential to the body, meaning that in order to have optimal levels, you’ll need to consume it through your diet.
Unfortunately, many people are deficient in magnesium due to a lack of consumption of foods that contain high amounts of the mineral such as nuts and leafy greens.
One study revealed that when subjects regularly ingested magnesium, they observed ease with falling asleep and an improved ability to stay asleep (4).
Magnesium at night is great because it covers 2 bases. Firstly, it provides the key mineral that is needed for over 200 processes in the body but also, it has been shown to aid in relaxation, setting you up for the perfect night’s sleep.
L-Theanine For Relaxation, Reduced Anxiety & Sleep Quality
Theanine is actually one of my favorite supplements included as it acts as a potent relaxant.
Originating from green tea, Theanine has only recently come into the limelight due to its sedative effects, especially when taken alongside caffeine. However, it also can play a primary role in helping you relax when attempting to fall asleep, which is a major factor with insomnia.
Studies have indicated that Theanine effectively increases feelings of relaxation, reduces anxiety and actually improves sleep quality (5, 6, 7).
If like many, you use pre-workouts, drink coffee or take caffeine then L-theanine is key to knock out this stimulation at night when it’s time to bring it down and relax.
Finally, if you are training hard, busy with work, family and life, L-theanine is going to help keep cortisol down, aiding in recovery and general health.
Mucuna Pruriens Increases the Key Sleep Hormone Dopamine
Mucuna Pruriens, otherwise known as velvet bean is actually a precursor to the key neurotransmitter called dopamine.
Usually associated with pleasure and reward, dopamine actually plays a primary role in sleep. In fact, research has indicated that neurons in the brain that produce dopamine play a primary role in sleep and wakefulness in addition to promoting healthy deep ‘dream sleep’ (8).
One study actually showed that supplementing with mucuna was able to reliably increase dopamine in healthy individuals (9).
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) To Aid In Serotonin
5-HTP is a supplement that is often used for the purpose of attempting to treat depression and aiding in sleep at night.
This is because 5-HTP is actually a precursor to serotonin; it is a widely held view that low levels of this neurotransmitter are a primary cause of depression.
In fact, serotonin is actually an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning that it causes cells in the brain to relax. This is turn may be beneficial when trying to fall asleep.
Time and again, 5-HTP supplementation has been shown to reliably increase levels of serotonin, making it a promising ingredient for your night-time sleep aid (10, 11, 12).
Melatonin – The Ultimate Research Proven Sleep Aid
Melatonin is easily the most important ingredient in the world of sleep-related supplements.
Primarily produced by the pineal gland, melatonin is a master regulator of your circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Ensuring proper secretion of this hormone and having an optimized circadian rhythm is essential for sleep and even ensuring proper energy levels during waking hours.
Unfortunately, melatonin production is largely regulated by light and darkness, with the latter being associated with sleep. Even worse, a misaligned circadian rhythm can lead to issues such as insulin resistance and markers of inflammation (13).
In fact, photoreceptors in our eyes are highly sensitive to different spectrums of light, in particular the blue spectrum which is largely emitted from LED screens on televisions, computers and smartphones.
To paint a picture of how serious this is, one study showed an almost 100% depletion in melatonin secretion after exposure to blue light. As a result, this can cause the inability to sleep and stay asleep (14).
Fortunately, studies have shown that supplementation of melatonin can reliably and efficiently increase levels of melatonin, potentially helping to offset reductions brought on by light.
Additionally, there is very strong evidence that supplementation of melatonin is effective in reducing insomnia and allowing you to benefit from restful sleep.
Best of all, there is no evidence that supplementing with melatonin will lead to dependency, meaning using this supplement will not reduce your body’s natural production of the hormone.
How And Why Sleep Eazy Was Formulated
Sleep Eazy was formulated to help you sleep. However, I went to great lengths to determine the optimal ingredients and dosages of those ingredients to ensure that not only the quality of your sleep will improve, but also in order for you to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep. Quality unbroken night’s sleep is essential for health, cell repair and help in maintaining optimal weight.
It is also important to note, I was reporting on, and recommending, all of these ingredients individually for close to 5 years before ever forming CAPLABS or the Sleep Eazy product. They work and thousands of clients, members and myself use these supplements as needed to optimize sleep.
Remember, over 3 million people regularly experience symptoms of insomnia. Even worse, chronic lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance, consistent stress, weight gain, fatigue and even depression (1, 2, 3).
When it comes to fat loss & your physique, sleep is often the missing link, yet is overlooked or forgotten about in preference to exercise and diet, which are still key of course.
As a result and in order to help people optimize sleep and improve their general results during a transformation or diet, I formulated Sleep Eazy. The specific ingredients have numerous studies supporting their use to help you get to sleep quickly, to stay asleep and to help optimize your sleep wake cycle.
How To Take Sleep Eazy Effectively
Considering the nature of this supplement being geared towards improving sleep, I suggest taking 1-2 capsules of Sleep Eazy roughly 30-45 minutes prior to bedtime.
It’s important to note that melatonin is a very strong and effective sleep aid, therefore I recommend starting with 1 tablet to assess your tolerance to melatonin.
- (2016, October 15). Retrieved June 16, 2017, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/home/ovc-20256955
- Benca, R. M., & Peterson, M. J. (2008). Insomnia and depression. Sleep medicine, 9, S3-S9.
- Spiegel, K., Knutson, K., Leproult, R., Tasali, E., & Van Cauter, E. (2005). Sleep loss: a novel risk factor for insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes. Journal of applied physiology, 99(5), 2008-2019.
- Abbasi, B., Kimiagar, M., Sadeghniiat, K., Shirazi, M. M., Hedayati, M., & Rashidkhani, B. (2012). The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: a double blind placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 17(12).
- Lu, K., Gray, M. A., Oliver, C., Liley, D. T., Harrison, B. J., Bartholomeusz, C. F., … & Nathan, P. J. (2004). The acute effects of L‐theanine in comparison with alprazolam on anticipatory anxiety in humans. Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental, 19(7), 457-465.
- Ritsner, M. S., Miodownik, C., Ratner, Y., Shleifer, T., Mar, M., Pintov, L., & Lerner, V. (2011). L-theanine relieves positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-center study. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 72(1), 34.
- Kimura, K., Ozeki, M., Juneja, L. R., & Ohira, H. (2007). L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biological psychology, 74(1), 39-45.
- Khanday, M. A., Yadav, R. K., & Mallick, B. N. (2016). Dopamine in REM Sleep Regulation. In Dopamine and Sleep (pp. 1-17). Springer International Publishing.
- Shukla, K. K., Mahdi, A. A., Ahmad, M. K., Shankhwar, S. N., Rajender, S., & Jaiswar, S. P. (2009). Mucuna pruriens improves male fertility by its action on the hypothalamus–pituitary–gonadal axis. Fertility and sterility, 92(6), 1934-1940.
- Birdsall, T. C. (1998). 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor. Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic, 3(4), 271-280.
- Smith, S. A., Carr, F. P., & Pogson, C. I. (1980). The metabolism of L-tryptophan by isolated rat liver cells. Quantification of the relative importance of, and the effect of nutritional status on, the individual pathways of tryptophan metabolism. Biochemical Journal, 192(2), 673-686.
- Green, A. R., Aronson, J. K., Curzon, G., & Woods, H. F. (1980). Metabolism of an oral tryptophan load. I: Effects of dose and pretreatment with tryptophan. British journal of clinical pharmacology, 10(6), 603-610.
- Leproult, R., Holmbäck, U., & Van Cauter, E. (2014). Circadian misalignment augments markers of insulin resistance and inflammation, independently of sleep loss. Diabetes, 63(6), 1860-1869.
- Gooley, J. J., Chamberlain, K., Smith, K. A., Khalsa, S. B. S., Rajaratnam, S. M. W., Van Reen, E., … Lockley, S. W. (2011). Exposure to room light before bedtime suppresses melatonin onset and shortens melatonin duration in humans. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 96(3), E463–472.