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L-Theanine and Sleep

All About L-Theanine

L-Theanine is a compound found in green tea, black tea, and a specific type of mushroom called the penny bun. It’s classified as a non-essential amino acid, meaning your body does not produce the compound naturally. In addition, L-Theanine’s non-essential status implies that you can maintain optimal physical health without it. 

However, while L-Theanine is not a necessary compound to get in your daily diet, it can still be highly beneficial. It’s known for its calming effect on the mind, as well as for providing a boost of focus and mental energy. 

The compound has long been touted as a sleep aid, with many people opting to drink a cup of tea containing the amino acid as part of their nighttime routines. However, while tea may contain L-Theanine and indeed be a relaxing drink to enjoy, tea is also often caffeinated. 

Supplements, on the other hand, do not contain caffeine, which makes them an ideal source of L-Theanine around bedtime. We’ll discuss the relationship between L-Theanine and caffeine more in this post.

In this article, we’ll also explore the impact of L-Theanine on sleep. If you’re struggling with sleep problems, L-Theanine is an ingredient worth knowing about – and you’re about to find out why. In addition, we’ll discuss other important information related to L-Theanine supplements, including dosage recommendations, potential side effects, and more. 

Let’s get started!

First Off: What Causes Sleep Trouble?

For many people, their sleep troubles are nearly a nightly struggle, making it difficult to get much-needed rest and stay alert and focused during the day. Before we dive further into the connection between L-Theanine and sleep, let’s first briefly explore some of the primary causes of insomnia.

Sleeplessness can be triggered by a number of factors, including stress, late-night snacking, too much screen time before bed, an inconsistent sleeping and waking schedule, and more. These factors can all disrupt your body’s circadian rhythm, making it harder to fall asleep when you need to. They can also interfere with your quality of sleep – this means that with insomnia, you may not feel fully rested even after several hours of sleep.

So, how can L-Theanine help you get the sleep you need if you’re struggling with catching your ZZZs? Let’s find out.

L-Theanine May Help You Relax 

The primary reason to take L-Theanine is because of its potential to impact the levels of serotonin and dopamine in your brain, (which influence mood, sleep, emotion, and cortisol), helping the body deal with stress. 

Many people report that taking an L-Theanine supplement helps them to feel calm and serene. L-theanine administration can enhance alpha brain waves, which are associated with a state of "wakeful relaxation"*. It’s speculated that the source of L-Theanine’s calming effects is its potential impact on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in your brain. GABA is an amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter, signaling to your nervous system to calm down when it’s in a state of stress. It binds to glutamate receptors and blocks glutamate as well as increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). 

Increased GABA activity has been linked with feelings of calm, better sleep, and lower stress*. The connection between L-Theanine and GABA makes the compound an excellent supplement to add to your bedtime routine – it can be a source of much-needed peace and calm in the hours before bed.

If you’re using L-Theanine to help you wind down at night, it’s best to take the supplement between 30 minutes and an hour before your bedtime. This gives the compound time to calm and ease your mind before you start trying to fall asleep.

L-Theanine and GABA Together for Better Sleep

One study found that the combination of GABA and L-Theanine helped subjects fall asleep faster, get more REM sleep, and sleep longer. This makes these two supplements an excellent combination for before bed.

The best way to get L-Theanine and GABA, along with a variety of other calming ingredients, is to take R3SET’s Unwind capsules every night before bed. Our signature Unwind formula contains GABA and L-Theanine, along with valerian root, chamomile, passionflower, Relora®, and a number of other soothing natural aids for sleep enhancement.

Common Symptoms From Lack of Sleep 

Having an inadequate duration of sleep can contribute to many health issues. Some common symptoms of insufficient sleep are:

  • Headaches 
  • Irritability 
  • Mood swings
  • Shorter attention span

L-Theanine from Tea vs. Supplements 

While L-Theanine is present in green and black tea, you may want to monitor your intake of these popular drinks if you struggle with falling asleep at night. While tea tends to contain lower levels of caffeine than coffee, it still has enough of the stimulant to interfere with your bedtime ritual. If caffeine tends to affect you, it’s best to limit your caffeine intake (tea included) to the first half of the day. To get a dose of L-Theanine in the evening, opt instead for taking the compound in the form of a supplement.

If you do enjoy a calming cup of tea as part of your bedtime ritual, opt for chamomile! In addition to being one of the soothing ingredients in R3SET’s Unwind capsules, chamomile also makes for a delicious cup of nighttime tea. The natural ingredient, like L-Theanine, interacts positively with GABA activity in your brain, making it a fantastic sleep aid. Chamomile tea has been relied on for centuries to help calm a racing mind when it’s time for bed. It’s a tried-and-true way to relax before hitting the pillow for a good night’s sleep.

What’s the Optimal Dosage of L-Theanine?

L-Theanine supplements tend to contain between 100 and 400 mg of the amino acid. In contrast, a cup of green or black tea typically only contains 20-40 mg of L-theanine. 

Doses of L-Theanine up to 400 mg are considered safe, but it’s best to keep your intake below this level – anything higher puts you at risk of some uncomfortable side effects. 

However, L-Theanine is approved as generally safe by the FDA, and the side effects that you might experience from a dose that is too high are more troublesome than dangerous. Nevertheless, it’s always best to talk to your doctor if you have concerns about potential side effects or dosages for L-Theanine.

In addition, it’s important to note that L-Theanine may interact with some medications. Since the supplement may lower your blood pressure, it’s best to first consult your doctor if you’re taking a prescribed medication for high blood pressure. In addition, pregnant or nursing women should also consult their doctors before taking L-Theanine supplements. Tea, on the other hand, contains much lower levels of L-Theanine, so it’s generally considered safe for most people.

Finally, it’s best to consult your child’s pediatrician before giving supplements to them if they are under the age of 18. 

Conclusion 

So, is L-Theanine a good sleep aid? The answer is yes! 

Because of its natural calming effects, L-Theanine can have a significant impact on your ability to fall asleep quickly and sleep deeply*. The amino acid can be especially helpful when combined with GABA and other natural calming supplements.  

With R3SET’s Unwind capsules, you can set yourself up with a strong defense against insomnia and nighttime restlessness. Our signature formula includes L-Theanine, along with other calming ingredients such as chamomile, valerian, passion flower, lemon balm, and more. 

To learn more about R3SET’s naturally soothing active botanical ingredients, make sure to visit our blog. There, you’ll find plenty of helpful information about the science of stress relief, the causes of stress, and healthy habits to form for a calmer, happier life. 

*  *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease

 

Sources:

Insomnia - Symptoms and causes

GABA and l-theanine mixture decreases sleep latency and improves NREM sleep

The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent

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