I know you want to know what is the best all natural sleep aid, but before we jump into that let’s see what are the alternatives…
Off the top of my head, the most fun sleep enhancers are:
– booze (not tequila, though),
– kava kava,
– and Ambien…
And they’re especially fun if you don’t actually sleep after consuming them.
Because I suppose it’s fun to feel loopy and anxiety-free and, really, just kind of innocently dumb for a while.
However, it’s addictively fun for many – with exception to perhaps kava – and thus it’s not exactly good for you. And what’s worse: the most common substance on that list, booze, allows for deep, snoring sleep at the cost of health and muscle gains.
Not that I think anyone here seriously resorts to booze as a sort of healthy sleep aid supplement, but all of this does emphasize the need for healthy, natural sleep aids.
A supplement that not only naturally improves healthy sleep but does so towards the benefit of our muscle gains, physical and mental performance, and overall longevity.
It’s amazing how much our daily work pays off when we achieve better sleep. Even the most dedicated bodybuilder during the day needs full nighttime of rest for any of those bodybuilding workouts to count.
Likewise, the academic’s studying amounts to squat without sleep.
To understand the full value of sleep enhancement, we need to first go over the all-too-common condition of sleep deprivation.
The Epidemic of Our Generation… Sleep Deprivation
The college student-athlete is perhaps the perfect, representative case study of sleep deprivation.
Here’s a person that expends an inordinate amount of energy through sport, thereby increasing their energy and rest demands, and who fails to achieve adequate sleep because …well, this is college and there’s partying to be had.
This is obviously not good for obvious reasons: under sleep deprivation, both the student-athletes athletic prowess and academic performance suffer, despite all of the time spent in practice and in the library during the daytime.
For everyone – athletes, academics, and beyond – sleep deprivation negatively impacts:
- Anabolic muscle gains
- Catabolic fat loss
- Memory consolidation
- Stress management
- Sexual health
- Facial complexion
- Other signs of aging
In fact, as an interrogation technique, prolonged sleep deprivation is employed as a form of torture, attacking the deep biological structures of the mind and body. What at first begins as a decrease in energy and concentration eventually morphs into disorientation, hallucinations, and severe withdrawal.
For the average sleep-deprived citizen, a lack of sleep usually amounts to not getting enough sleep per night, yet still getting some sleep. So, far from the “torture scale” described above.
Even so, a constant lack of nightly sleep builds up over time, contributing to a number of mental and physical health issues, as well as an overall lack of realized potential.
And when you realize your unrealized potential – and worse, the fact that you could have done something about it, such as sleep – that’s when depression and apathy really start to ruin your life.
Tips on How to Achieve Better Sleep
For many, this isn’t simply a matter of go to sleep earlier. Sure, that’s a major component. But even for those who desperately want better sleep, yet stubbornly find reasons not to sleep, there are techniques that may help make an earlier bedtime more appealing and rewarding, such as:
1) Wake up at the same time every day
Doesn’t matter what time you go to bed, just make sure you wake up at the same time every day.
If you’re thinking, “Yea, but if I go to bed at 4 a.m. and my wake-up call is at 7 a.m., I’ll be tired!” …yes, that’s sort of the point. The tiredness is a motivator to get your ass to sleep at a decent hour relative to consistent wake-up time.
Also, in terms of daytime productivity, starting the day consistently at the same hour naturally helps you schedule and organize your days better. It allows you to better predict the timeline of your day-to-day and thus organizes your to-do’s (and to-don’t’s) within that timeline. The opposite is instability and unpredictability, a shaky foundation upon which nothing can be built.
Ultimately, this practice forces your night-self to respect your day-self. (After all, if you lack such self-respect, how can you expect respect from others?)
2) Stay active, even aimlessly active, during the daytime
Physical exhaustion, psychological fulfillment – these are the existential benefits of a hard day’s work done.
In health and exercise magazines, there’s much emphasis on the physical, bodily, and even mental benefits of an active lifestyle. And much of this is common sense at this point: you work hard, you sleep hard – and the disciplined effort affords you a sort of “play hard” freedom in the interim.
But it goes deeper than that: a stagnant, unengaged lifestyle rots us to our core, so much so that when we go to bed we either sleeplessly toss around commiserating on our unfulfilled goals and ambitions or we stifle the commiseration by resorting to booze and drugs – i.e., the “sleep enhancing” substances listed in this article’s intro.
Even if you’re aimlessly active, eventually you’ll stumble upon something that you do find fulfilling and worth the total expenditure of your energy. After which you may go to bed physically exhausted and existentially fulfilled, amped to fall asleep and wake up well-rested for the next day.
3) Take a natural sleep aid supplement
Finally, we’re arriving at what you came here to read…
Following up the last tip, it may sound like a cop-out to resort to a sleep aid supplement for better sleep. In fact, once you’ve achieved a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle, a natural sleep aid is the opposite of a cop-out.
I love to exercise and I love to write, and it’s this latter love that funks up my sleep.
My writing involves everything from my freelance work to my personal essays to reading/researching topics to write about, and I find it incredibly difficult to pull myself away from my work to get to fall asleep.
And even when I lay in bed, I’m churning over writing ideas.
So, a sleep aid supplement is often necessary just for me to shut my mind up long enough to fall asleep and wake up at my appointed, consistent hour – to be well-rested enough to act on all of the writing ideas and workout goals in my head.
But it’s important that I take a natural sleep supplement rather than anything that will leave me feeling hungover or groggy in this morning.
And The Best Sleep Aid Supplement Is…
The best sleep aid supplement I’ve tried is hands down Performance Lab Sleep.
If you want to fall asleep right now, you take melatonin right now. This seems to be the go-to-sleep aid supplement for besting mild insomnia. However, most sleep aid supplements supply cheap, synthetic stuff.
Performance Lab Sleep substitutes the usual melatonin with naturally sourced cherry extract for more reliable, less groggy sleep enhancement – in addition to a couple of other ingredients that are great for sleep and emotional wellbeing.
The ingredients Break Down:
1) Montmorency Tart Cherry (as CherryPURE®)
Here it is the melatonin, supplied as CherryPURE®, a 50:1 concentrated ratio extracted from tart cherries, a rich, natural source of melatonin. I absolutely did not know that tart cherries were the richest source of natural melatonin before checking out this supplement, nor was I aware of the differences between natural vs. synthetic melatonin.
Generally speaking, synthetic melatonin varies in its actual bio-active melatonin content, whereas natural melatonin, especially this CherryPURE® extract, delivers a more reliable concentration.
To me, this explains why certain melatonin servings don’t seem to do much for me in terms of sleep while other times the same melatonin supplement may completely wipe me out and leave me feeling funky and groggy in the morning.
This extract provides a cleaner, more stable experience, and it does so with a minimum effective dosage. You really only want the minimum requirement for sleep when it comes to melatonin supplementation, as too much induces the morning funk and grog.
By optimizing our sleep/wake cycle, melatonin helps us:
- Achieve deeper sleep faster and easier.
- Maintain healthy, consistent sleep patterns.
- Override sleep disruptions caused by late-night exposure to blue light-emitting electronic devices (e.g., phones, computer screens, TV, etc.)
In addition to melatonin, this cherry extract also supplies anthocyanin antioxidants, which help with oxidative stress reduction and inflammation modulation in joints.
2) L-Tryptophan (as TryptoPure®)
High stress equals no sleep. If stress and a lousy mood are interrupting your sleep, L-tryptophan, as TryptoPure®, may help.
Stress-induced insomnia is somewhat of a downward spiral: a bad mood (so to speak) disrupts sleep, which contributes to daytime tiredness and irritability, which negatively affects daytime productivity, which contributes to a bad mood, and so on.
As a serotonergic amino acid, L-tryptophan helps disrupt this disruptive cycle by converting to 5-HTP, a precursor brain chemical to serotonin, which we need for a positive mood, feelings of wellbeing, and healthy sleep.
In fact, L-tryptophan and melatonin seem to work together, given their shared activities within the serotonergic pathway: L-tryptophan improves serotonin activity, which stimulates natural production of melatonin.
While Performance Lab Sleep may achieve better sleep simply with melatonin alone, this L-tryptophan is a smart addition for its simultaneous promotion of mood-related brain activity and sleep-supportive brain chemicals. The result is calm relaxation during the nighttime and brighter, cheerful mood in the daytime.
3) Magnesium (as BioGenesis™)
You need Magnesium for damn near everything. As a cofactor mineral involved in hundreds of bio-pathways, magnesium, directly and indirectly, assists with sleep by:
- Relaxing excitable neurons and neurotransmissions.
- Promoting muscle relaxation prior to sleep.
- Relaxing smooth muscles to lower blood pressure prior to sleep.
- Inhibiting the neuromuscular junction to stop muscle twitches.
Ever get muscle twitches? Often this is a sign of magnesium deficiency, a common condition among mineral-sweating athletes (and, really, the population at large, but especially athletes).
When we sweat, we lose magnesium. When we booze, we lose magnesium. So, the drinking gym-rat is in particular need of extra magnesium intake.
Standard, plain magnesium typically supplies a 30-40% bioavailability rating. By supplying three high-absorption magnesium forms – Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Taurate, BioGenesis™ – Performance Lab Sleep not only hits a greater concentration of magnesium bio-activity but provides a greater variety of magnesium-related health benefits.
The Next-Morning Follow Up
Better sleep contributes to better daytime energy and thinking. Yet, for even better daytime cognitive performance results, Performance Lab Mind has your back (er, brain).
The four ingredients supplied by this nootropic formula include:
- Citicoline (as Cognizin®)
- Phosphatidylserine (as Sharp-PS® Green)
- N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract
Altogether, these ingredients enhance cellular energy production for improved mental focus and energy, as well as neuronal repair and regeneration, in addition to catecholaminergic neurotransmitter enhancement (via N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine) for improved distraction-free attention and cerebral circulation (via Maritime Pine Bark Extract) for enhanced delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
For such a simple stack, these daily cognitive enhancers go a long way for mental performance and cognitive recovery. And they feel good, too, which is pretty groovy.
Physical performance, mental composure, existential fulfillment – much rides on a good night of sleep. And while, yes, there are those freaks out there who can operate on very little sleep, seemingly on motivation and momentum alone, even they find a way to cat-nap when they find the downtime.
In other words, I don’t entirely buy the whole “no sleep equals more success” mindset.
Of course, it’s smart to seek supplementary help to catch those Zzz’s; however, to maintain a healthy, daytime mindset, you’ll want a smart, healthy sleep aid supplement to naturally boost your sleep quality. And Performance Lab Sleep, optionally followed by Performance Lab Mind, may help you sustain a well-rested mindset for an active, successful lifestyle.