Nutraceuticals: Secret of a Healthy and Restful Sleep
A good night’s sleep is the foundation of a productive day and a healthy lifestyle. But adults around the world report experiencing at least one symptom of insomnia. And as a result, many rely on some form of sleep aid – prescription medication, over-the-counter drugs, or alcohol – to help them fall and stay asleep. Unfortunately, many commonly available sleep aids have side effects – daytime sleepiness, blurred vision, or dry mouth – and are not recommended for long-term use. This leaves a significant gap in the sleep aid market and presents an opportunity for introducing natural sleep aid alternatives, safe for daily consumption.
Academician and decorated nutraceutical industry veteran Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH (AHG) highlights three of his favorite nutraceutical alternatives to the commonly used sleep aids in his insightful and informative article published in Nutraceutical World.
Gene starts by discussing two common sleep alternatives – melatonin and valerian root. Both of these sleep alternatives have strong clinical studies behind them that promote their efficacy. But clinical studies have also documented side effects for both. For example, some of the common side effects of melatonin are daytime drowsiness, dizziness, and headache. And headache, mental dullness, excitability, uneasiness, gastrointestinal discomfort, and cardiac disturbances are some commonly reported side effects of valerian.
Nutraceuticals like GABA, Apocynum venetum, and glycine, on the other hand, have different action mechanisms than melatonin and valerian and can help create an effective sleep formula with minimal side effects. GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) is the primary neurotransmitter responsible for sedative and anti-anxiety effects. And Apocynum venetum is a traditional Chinese herbal remedy for soothing nerves and insomnia. Used together or individually, these two nutraceuticals have stress-reducing, sleep-promoting, and mood-enhancing effects. With GABA’s relaxing, stress-reducing, and anxiety-diminishing qualities and Apocynum venetum’s anxiety-improving and insomnia-reducing qualities, a daily intake of the two nutraceuticals is deemed safe and appropriate for better-quality sleep.
Another nutraceutical alternative for common sleep aids is glycine. This non-essential amino acid that plays an important role in the brain’s biochemistry and aids in lowering and maintaining core body temperature during sleep. As a result, taking glycine supplements before bed has been proven to lead to a significant improvement in subjective sleep quality in individuals suffering from insomnia. It also has a positive impact on daytime sleepiness and cognitive function. Various studies have also shown a subjective and objective improvement in sleep quality after taking glycine supplements.
In the end, Gene concludes that although difficulty getting restful sleep is common, nutraceuticals like GABA, Apocynum venetum, and glycine can promote healthy and restful sleep through carefully formulated sleep formulas. And with their different working mechanisms, they can address the problem from different angles for a wholesome solution.
Want to know more about how nutraceuticals can facilitate restful sleep or review the evidence supporting the efficacy of nutraceuticals? Read this insightful article – published by Nutraceuticals World in October 2022 – on nutraceuticals’ use to promote healthy and restful sleep.