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How to supplement hack your sleep
For some supplement hack your sleep, using the food tricks and eliminating caffeine and stimulants closer to bed time is enough to get a great night’s sleep. However, if you find yourself really needing a supercharge, there are some supplements that will work wonders for you by either helping you fall asleep or keeping you in a deeper sleep.
Always check your supplements to verify their compatibility with medications that you may be taking, as some vitamins and minerals have been known to reduce the effect of some medications, such as birth control pills. There are a number of great herbs and supplements that can help you get a great night’s sleep.
Here are some that I’ve found support me the best and that don’t leave me feeling groggy in the morning. Getting a great night’s sleep is great, but if you wake up feeling foggy, it defeats the purpose.
1. Zinc to supplement hack your sleep
Zinc is an important supplement hack your sleep for male and female fertility and thereby for libido, as zinc deficiency can lead to lower testosterone levels. Both men and women need balanced testosterone levels for optimal hormonal support.
Zinc can support testosterone production by putting you into a deeper sleep, which also improves recovery dramatically for athletes, as zinc is one of the first minerals to get depleted in gym-goers and athletes.
Dosage: It is normally best taken at a dosage of 25mg per day with magnesium (see below) and vitamin B6 (ZMA) – about 30 minutes before bed on an empty stomach.
Nowadays, nearly everyone is magnesium deficient. Refined/processed foods are stripped off their mineral, vitamin and fibre content. These are antinutrient foods because they actually steal magnesium in order to be metabolised. When consumed, if not supplemented with magnesium, we become increasingly deficient.
Are you tense and tight or crave chocolate? Anything that makes you tense or tight could be potentially due to a magnesium deficiency, which is one reason why you may crave chocolate at night-time or when stressed. Chocolate is one of the highest food sources of magnesium.
The case of consuming chocolate is a catch twenty-two though. Even though it has magnesium, chocolate also has sugar. Every molecule of sugar you consume pulls over 50
times the amount of magnesium out of the body.
Dosage Try taking 600–800mg a day 30 minutes before bed. However, be careful, as too much too soon can give you a stomach upset. When you get the correct dosage, due to its mild effect on your central nervous system, you
can find that you are much more relaxed going to bed.
An inhibitory neurotransmitter, your brain uses GABA to shut itself down. It can dramatically calm you down when taken on an empty stomach. I normally take it 60 minutes after my meal. GABA is great at bed time, but can also be used during the day if you’re highly stressed or dealing with anxiety.
Dosage: Start with 500mg before bed. This dosage can go as high as 2,500mg (incrementing the dose). GABA has also been shown to raise human growth hormone (HGH) in the higher end of dosage.
Also sold as 5HTP, L-tryptophan is normally talked about after Christmas or thanksgiving dinner, as turkey is particularly high in this amino acid. L-tryptophan can allow your brain to release serotonin (one of our brains happy
hormones), which can help you unwind before bed.
Dosage: Start with 500mg a night.
I’ve always been a massive fan of the ZMA, GABA and 5HTP combination, which always allows my body and brain to unwind at the right time, get into a deeper sleep and does not leave me groggy in the morning. There is one other great supplement that can be included for shorter periods of time, especially for the first few weeks of any new program in order to get your body into a good sleeping routine. That supplement is melatonin.
5. Melatonin to supplement hack your sleep
It is a potent hormone and antioxidant that your body is supposed to produce on its own if you get natural darkness (from the sun going down each day) and enough sleep. When I struggled with sleep in my mid-twenties, I was getting neither, and a lot of people with sleep issues are the same.
There is a risk of your body stopping the production of melatonin if you supplement with it, so I only recommend using it for short periods, not more than 4 weeks at a time, and then taking at least four to eight weeks off. Your body naturally regulates its production of hormones based on how much of those hormones are present in the body. Therefore, if you supplement with melatonin, your body will naturally produce less melatonin.
Dosage Melatonin supplements can range from 300– 3,000mg. I tend to stay on the lower end with 300– 500mg if I use it for an extended period (4 weeks) or use the high end 3,000 mg for 2 or 3 days if I need to recover from jet lag.
Keep this as a tool in your arsenal, but don’t have it as a staple as with ZMA, GABA and 5HTP
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