In order to lucid dream (or just take care of your health in general), you have to be able to fall asleep.
While normally, I’d suggest sleep aids as a last resort/ Some of them can be habit-forming, and it’s important to let your body fall asleep naturally.
Pro tip: Check out my articles on how to fall asleep faster and how to get better sleep first before doing anything else. They’ll give you a good background on getting better quality sleep, before you start playing with supplements.
Sleep is important, and we should all get bette sleep.
Unfortunately, for some of us, this is easier said than done.
Modern life launches stress-inducing stimuli at us constantly. Maybe you have kids who keep you up late or a roommate who won’t stop partying. Or maybe you just have insomnia. Whatever your reason, it’s okay to get a little help sometimes. But ONLY if it’s natural.
That’s why I’ve put together a list of the best sleep supplements of 2019 for you to try out tonight.
- Tart Cherry Juice
But before we get to the details, let’s talk a little bit more about how not all sleep is created equal.
The different stages of sleep
Sleep takes place in cycles and stages, and hitting these at the right time is key to sleep quality (and lucid dreaming). If you don’t want to read this bit, I actually made a neat video talking about the sleep stages and cycles:
- Stage One: At this point, you’re just falling asleep. Your brain is firing out alpha and theta waves as you drift off for the night, making you feel groggy with eyes shut. It only lasts for a brief period, about 5-7 minutes, but it plays a huge role in lucid dreaming (see the wake back-to-bed method)
- Stage Two: This stage is still a pretty light sleep. However, sleep spindles start to appear, characterizing it as a different phase. It only lasts about 20-30 minutes, but you’re definitely starting some recovery processes.
- Stages Three and Four: The difference between these two stages is small, so I’m just going to group them in to one. Basically, this is when your muscles relax fully, your body stops responding to stimuli, and slow, delta waves appear. Here’s where your body does most of its repair overnight.
- REM Sleep: The big stage for dreaming – REM sleep. It comes about 90 minutes in to sleep, and occurs at the end of every sleep cycle. Your brain explodes with activity, and it’s almost as if you’re awake. If it sounds like a space for lucid dreaming, you might be onto something. It’s also important to consolidating memory and processing.
Which supplements should you take to sleep?
All of these stages are important, and some supplements help you fall asleep, while others help you stay that way. Let’s talk about what you can take to access each stage, maximize your sleep, and practice lucid dreaming.
Commonly known as “the sleep hormone,” melatonin comes in at number one.
The human body has a natural regulatory sleep/wake cycle known as your circadian rhythm. And what controls this cycle?
Well, lots of things, really, such as light, temperature, and other environmental cues. But those directly relate to melatonin production, the primary culprit of sleep onset.
Within your brain lies a gland responsible for maintaining homeostasis within the body – the hypothalamus. This gland secretes melatonin in response to environmental input, such as darkness during the night. More melatonin = more drowsiness, and thus sleep.
Adding supplemental melatonin is a safe, natural way to enhance your sleep. Especially if you work odd hours, are constantly flooded with light, or suffer other environmental stressors. For most, 3-5 mg before bed is sufficient.
Glycine is a non-essential amino acid, which means we don’t usually need to get it from dietary sources.
However, supplementing with a little extra aids sleep. A few Japanese studies have shown shorter sleep onset and better subjective sleep scores when they gave study participants glycine.
Other studies on rodents show that glycine dilates your blood vessels and can lower core temperature. As lower temperatures trigger that biological clock to sleep, this might be one of the ways it works. Another suggested mechanism is its effect on serotonin release, which tends to yield better sleep.
3: Montmorency Cherries
One of my personal favorites on here – a real food.
Montmorency tart cherries are, first and foremost, chock full of antioxidants. Their natural flavonoids help reduce inflammation, which automatically contributes to better sleep quality.
Even more, these tiny superfoods actually contain melatonin. That’s right. You get the benefits of melatonin without having to buy synthetic. My personal favorite way to use this sleep supplement is through tart cherry juice. Pour some cold juice in to a wine glass, and you’ve got a healthy, bed-time treat disguised as a nightcap.
Tryptophan is another amino acid, albeit essential, which means you have to get it from your diet. L-tryptophan converts to 5-HTP within your brain, a chemical critical to serotonin production AND lucid dreaming.
(The broader community is convinced the movie Inception is primarily driven by 5-HTP. See my article on lucid dreaming supplements to learn more.)
5-HTP is then converted to serotonin within your brain, a calming, mood-stabilizing hormone.
Supplementing with tryptophan attacks stress and mood imbalances, guiding you into the relaxed state you need to fall asleep. Science has shown that just a 250 mg dose of tryptophan reduces sleep onset, and can contribute to sleep maintenance in those with chronic insomnia.
Magnesium, a mineral that helps a variety of bioactivities, is another great natural sleep supplement. Magnesium acts as a cofactor in muscle relaxation, reduced blood pressure, and calming excitatory nervous systems. Research has linked chronic sleep disturbance to magnesium deficiency.
Even more, magnesium is an important element in the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. Without it, your dietary tryptophan is just hanging around, not turning in to your relaxation chemicals and igniting sleep.
So what’s the best sleep supplement in 2019?
Why do you have to choose just one? It is 2019, after all.
Performance Lab Sleep acts as a pre-made “stack” for all of your natural, sleep supplement needs. First and foremost, their products are made to be exactly like the nutrients you get from food, just more potent and effective. That means no additives, no synthetics, and no concern for dependency.
They use a trademarked method of creating nutrients called BioGenesis.
Within a lab, they grow these nutrients within single-celled organism, extract them, and test them over and over again for purity.
It’s a pretty fantastic way to harness advanced technology, and we’re in to it.
Moreover, this stack packs all of the sleep supplements mentioned above into one pill. They’ve got Montmorency cherry extract for melatonin and antioxidants.
They combine magnesium and glycine in to Magnesium Bisglycinate, calming your nervous system and stimulating serotonin in one. They even add 250 mg of tryptophan, the exact dosage recommended by scientists to induce sleep.
In conclusion – if you’re looking to save some money and get all of your needs in one place, head over to Performance Lab’s website. Grab some of their sleep supplement to start sleeping better tonight.