In partnership with Terra Origin, I'm sharing 5 simple ways to improve your sleep as well as how sleep impacts your mental health. Read on to learn more about how the BRAIN FOOD L-Tryptophan plays a role in your sleep and learn more about the connection between this essential amino acid and mood here.
Sleep’s Role in Boosting your Mood
You’ve likely experienced firsthand how sleep affects your mood. After a sleepless night you may be more susceptible to stress, have difficulty concentrating and feel irritable.Studies have shown that even partial sleep deprivation has a significant effect on mood. Subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad, and mentally exhausted. When the subjects resumed normal sleep, they reported a dramatic improvement in mood (source).
Additionally, people with insomnia are 10 times as likely to have clinical depression and 17 times as likely to have clinical anxiety (source).
L-Tryptophan Role in Melatonin Production
The BRAIN FOOD L-tryptophan also plays a vital role in sleep. In addition to being an important essential amino acid that is a precursor to the brain neurotransmitter serotonin, which regulates mood, it also regulates the sleep hormone melatonin. Read more about tryptophan here.
After absorbing L-tryptophan from food or supplements, our bodies convert it to 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), and then to serotonin, melatonin, and vitamin B6 (source). Melatonin's main job in the body is to regulate sleep-wake cycles. We produce more melatonin when it’s dark out to prepare for sleep.
Low-levels of tryptophan can reduce both serotonin and melatonin production and can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and poor memory and concentration. Read about how to increase your tryptophan intake here.
In addition to increasing your tryptophan intake, here are five simple ways to improve your sleep. Try one or two from this list and see how you feel.
5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep
Sleep During Optimal Hours
In Ayurveda, the optimal sleep hours are to fall asleep around 10:00 PM and wake before or around 6:00 AM. Ayurveda recommends going to sleep by or around 10:00 PM—during Kapha time. The Kapha dosha has slow, stable and dull qualities, which are ideal for falling asleep. After 10:00 PM, we enter the Pitta time of day. Pitta’s qualities are hot, sharp, light and intense, none of which are ideal for falling asleep. If you feel tired around 10:00 PM but wired by 12:00 AM this could be why. You should also aim to wake by 6:00 AM. Between 2:00 AM and 6:00 AM is the Vata time of day—which has light and mobile qualities—making it easier to wake up. After 6:00 AM we enter the Kapha time of day again, making it more difficult to wake. If you feel tired and sluggish waking around 7:00 AM or 8:00 AM— even after a good night’s sleep—
your sleep cycle maybe off.
Prime Your Bedroom for Sleep
A quiet, dark, cool and relaxing environment can help promote a good night’s sleep. A few tips for achieving this environment: use blackout shades or an eye mask to block light, keep the temperature cool between 60-75°F with a fan that can also act to cancel noise, and turn on a diffusor filled with sleep promoting essential oils such as lavender, vanilla, and jasmine.
Natural Sleep Aid
Good sleep often starts with good sleep practices and habits; however, some nights
require a little extra help to get a good night’s sleep. If you’re experiencing consistent and prolonged bouts of sleepless nights, it is incredibly important to see a medical professional, but for the occasional sleepless night, consider trying Terra Origin Healthy Sleep supplement.
This Ayurvedic inspired supplement contains 150-mg of tryptophan, melatonin as well as calming herbs such as chamomile, valerian root extract and passionflower. Pair this supplement with a sleep promoting elixir such as the recipe included below in this post.
Establish a Soothing Evening Ritual
A pre-bedtime evening ritual routine helps transition your body from waking time to sleep time and lowers cortisol levels. An hour before bed, turn off your phone, take an Epsom salt bath, read a book, or meditate. The key is to avoid stressful, stimulating activities.
Drink a Nighttime Elixir
Drinking a nighttime elixir like the recipe below is another great way to reduce anxiety and promote a restful night’s sleep. This elixir includes reishi mushroom, which may help reduce stress, improve sleep, and lessen fatigue, as well as calming chamomile. Drink an hour before bed or sip while taking your Epsom salt bath.
Upgrade your nightly ritual with this zen inducing reishi chamomile elixir. It contains calming chamomile and reishi and just a hint of sweetness to help you wind down after a long day.
1 cup of water
1/2 tsp reishi
½ cup of hemp milk
1 tsp coconut sugar
Bring water to a boil
Pour water into a cup and steep tea for 5-10 minutes
Place hemp milk in a sauce pan and heat on low until warm (be mindful not to burn)
Place warmed hemp milk and the rest of the ingredients besides the tea into a high spend blender; blend until well combined
Remove tea bags from cup and pour hemp milk mixture over tea
Keywords: elixir, medicinal mushroom, reshi, tea
Thank You Terra Origin for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. As always, opinions are my own.
An important message The entire Brain Food Series is designed to be a guide, to share educational information that empowers you in your own wellness journey. The information in this series in not designed to take the place of a medical doctor and nor is this series designed for you to act on every single topic I share each month. Some topics may be more relevant for you than others. Lastly, the field of nutrition and nutritional psychiatry are a rapidly evolving fields, with research updated frequently. All information is intended to motivate readers to make their own nutrition and health decisions after consulting with their health care provider. Readers should consult a doctor before making any health changes, especially any changes related to a specific diagnosis or condition. No information on this site should be relied upon to determine diet, make a medical diagnosis, or determine treatment for a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. No information on this site should be used to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition.