A good night of sleep. Waking up refreshed and energized, ready to take on whatever the day may bring. Sounds pretty good, right?
There are countless benefits to getting a full night of rest. On the other hand, there are just as many possible negatives from a poor, restless sleep. Laying in bed and staring at the ceiling, wanting nothing more than to fall asleep but so far from its restful embrace. No matter what time of the night, lying awake can lead to all manner of frustration.
Sleep is complicated. Many factors contribute to the quality of your sleep, almost too many to count. While sleep is unique to everybody, most people share common factors. One of them is the neurotransmitter serotonin and its related compound melatonin. In this article, we are going to examine:
- What is 5-HTP, and how does 5-HTP affect sleep?
- Why is serotonin so important?
5-HTP and its effect on sleep
What is 5-HTP?
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP for short) is an amino acid made in the body. It is created through a reaction in our body that combines several different compounds. L-tryptophan (one of the amino acids involved in the creation of 5-HTP) is not made naturally in our bodies. It is, instead, absorbed from the foods we eat. Fortunately, it can also be consumed in supplement form.
Be it from food or supplement, 5-HTP helps us create serotonin, one of the body’s major hormones. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has an array of uses throughout the human body. The serotonin that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle can improve or worsen a night’s sleep. One of the big benefits of taking a 5-HTP supplement is that it can leverage that influence to lead to a better night’s sleep.
Benefits of using 5-HTP for sleep
A 5-HTP supplement produces serotonin, an essential hormone in the body’s daily journey towards sleep. The extra serotonin aids the body in creating melatonin, which is what will knock you out at night.
The specifics of what brings the body from an energized day into a gradual and peaceful halt at night is a complicated affair. Sometimes the urge to sleep strikes from nowhere, sweeping away all thoughts except for the fastest route to get from where you are to having your head on a pillow. Other times, sleep seems to get further and further away the longer you lay in bed.
Figuring out the happy medium between these two extremes is important in the search for a better night’s sleep. When taking a 5-HTP supplement, the timing is just as important.
Research suggests that 5-HTP can shorten the time it takes to fall asleep as well as lengthen the total time spent asleep. A study examines the effect of using a combination of 5-HTP and GABA, another amino acid, which demonstrated significant increases in the quality of sleep of the participants. This combination has the potential to turn a lousy night’s sleep into a great one.
When to take 5-HTP for sleep
The aforementioned study discovered that taking between 100 and 300 mg 45 minutes before bed ended in the best results. In this study, the active trial group fell asleep 12 minutes faster (19 minutes instead of 31) than before taking the combination of 5-HTP with GABA. This 45 minute time may vary from person to person as well as the effect it has on your sleep.
Why is serotonin so important?
Serotonin is a key hormone that impacts processes spanning the entire body. It is created as a product of the essential amino acid tryptophan. Throughout the day, serotonin regulates mood and feelings of well-being. In a general sense, it helps you stay relaxed and happy.
Serotonin’s role in the sleep cycle is complicated. It functions threefold towards preparing the body for sleep.
- At the beginning of the day, serotonin is released to energize the body and prepare it for activity by sending “get out of bed” signals to the brain. Serotonin accumulates in that area as the day goes on and results in you getting more tired and sleepy. As the night rolls around, the pressure to sleep will get stronger and stronger.
- Serotonin is also essential in the body’s process to create melatonin, a hormone directly responsible for the body’s transition from wakefulness to sleep. Melatonin is the sleep hormone. Darkness prompts the body to begin producing melatonin, assisted by the body’s circadian rhythm.
- Through the regulation of mood, serotonin continues to affect the body’s ability to sleep. Its presence can relax the mind, further aiding you in getting a good night’s sleep.
So, should you take a 5-HTP Supplement?
The answer: it depends! There are many ways to better a night’s sleep. Just as there are many reasons why you might have falling asleep or staying asleep at night, there are also many solutions. If you are interested in adding a supplement to your nightly routine, be sure to check out Dr. Emil Nutrition’s 5-HTP Plus. While starting to take a 5-HTP supplement can provide you with a much better night of rest, it is important to discuss the potential addition of this supplement with your healthcare provider. They can inform you about any interactions this supplement may have with other supplements, herbal remedies, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications. Before trying a 5-HTP supplement, make sure to consult with your doctor to make sure a supplement is right for you.