Top 3 Supplements for A Better Night of Sleep
Written by Calvin Sun
Most of us can agree that getting a good night’s rest is critical for proper recovery. Quality of sleep affects growth hormone levels, muscle growth, cognitive function, mental focus, body composition, insulin sensitivity, and your ability to recover from injury.
While stimulants like caffeine can help you get through the day, just about everyone can agree that nothing replaces a good night of sleep. It’s about more than just staying awake during the day. Poor sleep can cause issues like brain fog, increased fatigue, and decrease your rate of recovery from training.
In previous blog posts, we have discussed the stages of sleep, how to track your sleep quality, whether or not you should nap, as well as the impact of sleep on body composition. However, I recently received several requests for supplement recommendations to improve sleep quality. Before you go out and buy anything, I would recommend experimenting with reducing your caffeine intake at later times in the day, picking a consistent bedtime, and avoiding any devices with bright screens before bed. Assuming you are doing those things, here are a few supplements that seem to work quite well for enhancing sleep quality.
Glycine is an amino acid that also acts as a neurotransmitter. Multiple studies have found that a dose of about 3 grams before bed can improve sleep quality, cognitive function, as well as reduce daytime fatigue [1,2,3]. I recommend taking 3 grams of a quality glycine supplement or about 10 grams of a good collagen supplement before you go to sleep (collagen is approximately 30% glycine so you’ll get about 3 grams of glycine from 10 grams of collagen protein).
Magnesium is a co-factor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions throughout the body. Common symptoms of deficiency include muscle cramps, weakness, insomnia, loss of appetite, restlessness, irritability, sugar cravings, fatigue and high blood pressure . I recommend taking 300-400 milligrams of a quality magnesium supplement like Calm Magnesium if you prefer a powder or Thorne Research’s Magnesium Citrate product if you prefer capsules.
- Yogi Bedtime Tea
This product was recently recommended to me and I find that it really does help with calming the mind and body before bed to improve sleep quality. The main ingredients include California poppy, chamomile, and the amino acid L-theanine which have all been found to be beneficial for reducing stress, increasing relaxation, and improving sleep [4,5,6]. I purchase it online at Amazon though you can also find it in many local health food stores.
A Simple Protocol
About 30-60 minutes before bedtime, I recommend taking the following:
- 3 grams of glycine OR 10 grams of collagen protein
- 300-400 milligrams of magnesium (either capsules or powder)
- 1 serving of bedtime tea
This simple combination seems to work quite well for my clients who have asked about a supplementation protocol to help them improve their quality of sleep. Most report sleeping through the night, waking without feeling groggy, improved recovery from exercise, as well as sharper cognitive function throughout the day. Try it out and let us know how it works for you!
- Yamadera W, Inagawa K, Chiba S, Bannai M, Takahashi M, Nakayama K. Glycine ingestion improves subjective sleep quality in human volunteers, correlating with polysomnographic changes. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. Volume 5, Issue 2, pages 126–131, April 2007
- Inagawa K, Hiraoka T, Kohda T, Yamadera W, and Takahashi M. Subjective effects of glycine ingestion before bedtime on sleep quality. Sleep and Biological Rhythms. Volume 4, Issue 1, pages 75–77, February 2006.
- Halson, S. Sleep in Elite Athletes and Nutritional Interventions to Enhance Sleep. Sports Med. 2014; 44(Suppl 1): 13–23. 2014 May 3.
- Rude, R. Magnesium Deficiency: A Cause of Heterogenous Disease in Humans. Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. Volume 13, Issue 4, pages 749–758, April 1998.
- Rolland A , Fleurentin J , Lanhers MC , Younos C , Misslin R , Mortier F , Pelt JM. Behavioural effects of the American traditional plant Eschscholzia californica: sedative and anxiolytic properties. Planta Med. 1991 Jun;57(3):212-6.
- Sarris, J; Panossian, A; Schweitzer, I; Stough, C; Scholey, A (December 2011). “Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety, and insomnia: a review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence”. European neuropsychopharmacology 21 (12): 841–860.
7. Kimura, Kenta; Ozeki, Makoto; Juneja, Lekh Raj; Ohira, Hideki (2007). “L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses”. Biological Psychology 74 (1): 39–45.