Let's talk about nootropics for Insomnia – Insomnia can be debilitating and millions of people around the globe struggle with it.
The experience is not always the same for everyone. Typical symptoms include inability to fall asleep or stay asleep throughout the night. As well as waking up far too early in the morning.
Sadly, insomnia affects more than just your sleep. The negative effects bleed into your day to day life. They can cause you to lose focus or concentration easily. Disturb your mood, increase your chances making mistakes or errors in judgements, and of course, cause daytime tiredness.
If you have insomnia, chances are you've tried everything from melatonin to professional grade sleeping aids. Perhaps you've found a solution that works, but if not — then this post is for you.
We've done some digging and discovered 5 nootropics for insomnia which might be the solution you've been looking for.
Let's do this…
Ashwagandha for Insomnia
What is Ashwagandha?
Ashwaganda is cultivated from the yellow root of the ashwagandha plant and is considered an adaptogen. Adaptogens are known to moderate stress levels and boost your immune system. Two essential components to achieving healthy sleep patterns.
But exactly how does ashwaganda help insomnia? First it starts by preventing the overproduction of cortisol — your body's natural stress-inducing hormone. It also helps to lower your blood pressure and create balance in your blood sugar levels.
This plant is rich in antioxidants, which are also beneficial to your body. Most notable its ability to protect your brain cells from free radicals that can have negatively effects memory.
Benefits of Ashwagandha for Insomnia
With regards to insomnia, ashwaganhda helps by reducing the effects of stress, which can negatively impact your ability to fall asleep. And remain in a restful state. It does this by activating GABA receptors that in turn, release calm and peaceful emotions.
Essentially, nootropics for insomnia place your body in a mild state of sedation. Perfect for ensuring a good nights sleep.
Even if you don't have insomnia, this nootropic can be great for you. Other fun benefits of ashwagandha is that it improves your mood, as well as your ability to concentrate. Generally reducing any feelings of stress. Not too shabby for an Ayurvedic remedy!
The recommended daily dose of ashwaganda is between 300-1000 mg. This nootropic should be taken with meals, once or twice daily.
Obviously that dosage range is quite wide, so let's break it down further.
To take ashwagandha for insomnia, the recommended daily dose is 100-200 mg at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime. If you want to use this nootropic for its anxiolytic effects, the recommended dose is 50 mg with food. This should be enough to curb feelings of stress and anxiety, without induce a sleepy state.
Magnesium for Insomnia
What is Magnesium?
Magnesium is a mineral which is essential to the human body because it's a critical electrolyte. Though readily available in some of your favourite foods (bananas, avocados, leafy greens, fish and nuts to name a few), many of us experience magnesium deficiencies.
Magnesium is commonly used to promote restful sleep because of its very calming effect on the body. It works by triggering hundreds of enzyme reactions in the body. These reactions directly impact nerve transmissions, muscle contractions, blood flow, energy, metabolism, and even bone and cellular formation.
For insomnia, this nootropic's greatest function is to bind and stimulate GABA receptors to fight the effects of stress.
Benefits of Magnesium
Magnesium isn't just a nootropics for insomnia. It has many other benefits you might enjoy, including its ability to relieve constipation, reduce muscle soreness and regulate insulin sensitivity.
Interestingly, all of these additional benefits can impact magnesium's positive effect on insomniacs.
The recommended daily dose of magnesium for insomnia is 200-400 mg. It's best to take magnesium with food or you may experience unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects like bloating or diarrhoea.
There are many different forms of magnesium supplements, but the best one for absorption is magnesium citrate. Take your full daily dose with your last meal of the day to enjoy a more peaceful, high quality sleep.
Valerian Root for Insomnia
What is Valerian Root?
Valerian root comes from the valerian plant and has been used as a natural sleep for years. The root from this plant is dried and ground down for its medicinal properties.
Valerian root is one of the common nootropics for insomnia, because it's a natural sedative. Some of the most common side effects of insomnia are the inability to fall asleep quickly and being unable to enjoy a high quality sleep. This nootropic improves the speed at which you can fall asleep and the quality of your sleep. It's even backed by scientific research (1).
Valerian root increases GABA levels in your brain at high enough levels to induce a mild sedative state. Unlike traditional sleep aids, valerian root doesn't leave you with a sleep hangover the next morning. Which is also a nice perk!
Valerian Root Benefits
Beside the obvious insomnia-relieving benefits, valerian root has a whole host of other positive effects. For starters, it can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety that may be causing insomnia in the first place.
This nootropic can help lower blood pressure and therefore improve your overall heart health. It can also ease menstrual cramps thanks to its antispasmodic effects.
Valerian Root Dosage
The recommended daily dosage of Valerian root for insomnia is 250-600 mg in dried powdered form. You can choose to take it once, approximately 1-2 hours before bed or over the course of the day in 3 equal doses. After about two weeks of use you should experience the most benefits from this nootropic.
Valerian root is also available in tea, tincture or fluid extract. Daily doses vary depending on method, but are generally as follows:
- Tea — 2-3 g of dried root in 1 cup boiling water before bed. Let it steep for 5 minutes before drinking
- Tincture — 1-1.5 teaspoon or 4-6 mL
- Fluid extract — 0.5-1 teaspoon or 1-3 mL
Melatonin for Insomnia
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that's responsible for regulating sleep. It's released via the pineal gland when our surroundings become dark. The natural production of this hormone can be effected by many things. Such as exposing ourselves to bright lights during the day, shift work, jet lag and even poor vision.
Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin can help you recover from a disrupted circadian rhythm. It triggers your body to prepare for sleep. Some additional benefits of melatonin include:
- being able to fall asleep quicker
- treating Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD)
- relieving insomnia caused by beta-blockers used by patients with high blood pressure
The recommended daily dose of melatonin is between 500 mcg-5 mg. Start with a lower dose and increase as necessary. You do not have to take this nootropic supplement with food, and it can be found most commonly in pill form.
Note: Taking more melatonin will not make it work faster. It will take anywhere between 30 minutes and 1 hour to kick in.
5-HTP for Insomnia
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP is a serotonergic nootropic found in the African shrub, Griffonia simplicifolia. It increases serotonin levels in your brain, which ultimately leads to improved sleep quality. 5-HTP is a chemical precursor that regulates your body's natural levels of serotonin and melatonin. Creating harmony between these two sleep-affective hormones in your brain.
5-HTP is converted by tryptophan. It then travels through the blood-brain barrier and goes on to create serotonin in the brain. Subsequently, serotonin can be converted into melatonin.
Benefits of 5-HTP
5-HTP has many insomnia-related benefits. It can reduce anxiousness and overexcitement which prevents you from falling asleep at night. It quietens the mind to prepare you for a deeper, more peaceful sleep, and can even help you sleep longer. It also works to reset your circadian rhythm, so your body can prepare itself for sleep on its own again.
Some additional benefits of 5-HTP are its ability to enhance your mood. Suppress your appetite for weight loss, as well as treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, and Fibromyalgia.
Note — This nootropic should NOT be taken if you are taking certain drugs for depression. Speak to your physician before use.
The recommended daily dose of 5-HTP is 50-600 mg taken 45 minutes to 1 hour before bed. You can take this in one dose before bed or during the day in 3 equal doses. As always, it's best to start with the smallest dose first and increase only as necessary.
Insomnia is a crippling disease that affects millions of individuals around the world. If you have been suffering from mild or chronic insomnia, we would definitely recommend trying out these nootropics for insomnia. Whether you're looking to fall asleep faster. Sleep all through the night or achieve a deeper, higher quality of sleep. We believe that at least one of these nootropic supplements could work for you.
Have you been suffering from insomnia or sleep deprivation? If so, what are some additional strategies or nootropics for insomnia you would recommend to fellow sleep-sufferers? Share in the comment section below.
- NCBI — Double blind study of valerian preparation: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2678162