With the current pace of life, more and more people say that the day is too short. It is impossible to hide that sleep takes a significant part of the day, and many people shorten it to work with all the responsibilities. Unfortunately, this usually involves a worse condition on the next day. What can we do to temporarily shorten sleep without deterioration of regeneration?
At the outset, of course, it should be mentioned that the level of satisfaction with sleep is one of the determinants of health. When we sleep badly and do not experience night regeneration, it means that something in our health does not play and we need to come to the cause by doing a package of tests, including hormonal ones. However, until we determine the cause, we can help with a few tricks. Some of them are worth using chronically to improve the quality of sleep permanently, while others are only ad hoc when the situation requires it. These can be both dietetic and lifestyle treatments as well as supplementation. Let's first look at the long-term methods.
Reducing exposure to blue light
The presence of light and its color is crucial for regulating the circadian rhythm, maintaining its proper course is necessary for good sleep. The body is tuned to sleep when it ceases to be exposed to daylight, which is why we feel more drowsy in the evening when it gets dark. However, the development of civilization has meant that we can expose our eyes to bright light at any time, which we usually do while working on a computer until late or by browsing on the phone what's new with our Facebook friends just before falling asleep. According to the researchers, exposure to bright light disturbs melatonin production even more than drinking coffee in the evening! It obviously upsets the circadian rhythm and reduces the quality of sleep, and melatonin is the most important light in blue. The way that to some extent allows us to improve sleep without sacrifices is to block the blue colors of light through appropriate applications, for example f.lux on a computer with Windows or Twilight on Android phones. Another option is special glasses.
Proper temperature in the sleeping room
Exposure to different temperatures may affect the sleep parameters, the sensation of arousal and the work of the cardiovascular system. It turns out, however, that heat more than cold disturbs the REM phase and slow wave sleep phase. Interestingly, it is very important whether we are sleeping or half-naked, and whether we are sleeping uncovered or under cover. Clothes and/or quilts or blankets stabilize the temperature more and reduce the impact of temperature on sleep disorders, which affects both cold and heat . It is worth to take care of the temperature of the room in which we sleep, so that it would be comfortable for us - neither too high nor too low.
Last meal of the day
A certain hormone is associated with sleep - melatonin. It is produced from serotonin, which in turn is dependent on the availability of tryptophan in the brain. Tryptophan is delivered to the brain with the help of certain transporters that also transport other amino acids, including tyrosine and BCAA, which makes them compete. An interesting solution to improve the transport of tryptophan to the brain is the intake of a carbohydrate-rich meal that will cause a significant discharge of insulin from pancreatic cells. Insulin helps to distribute BCAA and tyrosine to the peripheral tissues that need it, while lowering their concentration in the blood. Thanks to this, tryptophan gains greater access to the transporter. In conclusion, meals rich in carbohydrates increase the amount of tryptophan in the brain. This, in turn, contributes to a more efficient synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, thus facilitating falling asleep. Based on this information, a high-carbohydrate evening meal may give potential benefits to sleep quality.
Now it's time to review supplements that improve the quality of sleep and/or reduce the negative effects of its shortage, or solution in a nutshell.
Although they are mostly used only as pre-workout support, their less-known property is to improve the quality of sleep. This is due to several actions. Most often, we refer to arginine and citrulline, which increase the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Due to the vasodilating effect, the blood circulation (including cerebral circulation) improves and the cells are more efficiently supplied with nutrients, especially in people who have problems with blood circulation. Thanks to this, they can regenerate faster.
Certain data also indicate the possibility of a short-term increase in growth hormone after the oral ingestion of arginine. Growth hormone effectively increases the efficiency of sleep and allows you to shorten its time without much damage at the level of regeneration, although reports on the importance of arginine supplementation for growth hormone are mixed and should focus more on other aspects of its activity, this leaving more as a curiosity.
Arginine, in addition to the conversion to nitric oxide, can also metabolise to neuroactive agmatine. This also raises the level of nitric oxide in the blood vessels by stimulating eNOS activity, however, it can lower the level of neuronal and inducible nitric oxide, which is also positive, because the excess of NO in neurons is harmful. Agmatine also has the ability to inhibit NMDA receptors, which reduces the excitability of the nervous system induced by glutamate. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter typically stimulant, and inhibition of its activity allows you to calm down and better feel of GABA. The role of nitric oxide produced from arginine has been confirmed in a rat study. The supply of arginine in the dark phase of the diurnal cycle resulted in a lower frequency of awakenings and stimulation of deep sleep during the first 4 hours after falling asleep.
Staying on the subject of nitric oxide, it turns out that the increase in NO produced by nNOS and iNOS causes the increase in slow-wave (deep) sleep and the improvement of night regeneration. The use of an inhibitor of these two forms of nitric oxide synthase degraded the quality of sleep. Inducible and neuronal forms of oxide increase, among others, during a long lack of sleep, which is why sleep after a long break is so intense.
In conclusion, arginine and/or citrulline can effectively support sleep quality and night-time regeneration, which is also frequently reported in user relationships. Agmatine also has a certain potential, but it is better supplemented with citrulline / arginine than solitary in order to gain NMDA inhibitory activity without unduly inhibiting iNOS and nNOS.
However, watch out for large, one-off doses of arginine, because it can affect the activity of the gut, and their excessive growth can be associated more with intense but unpleasant sensations that will surely delay your sleep.
A very interesting supplement, gaining a lot of fans due to its high effectiveness in supporting relaxation, stress reduction and cognitive functions. As it turns out, in certain situations it can also effectively support sleep. Scientists argue that theanine intensifies alpha waves in the brain, which are most intense during relaxation and meditation . A single dose of 200 mg of l-theanine also shows anxiolytic activity in people who are struggling with anxiety. The improvement is visible already after 30 minutes from the adoption . Many people have trouble sleeping through tormenting unpleasant thoughts and anxiety in the evening, especially in such situations it is worth considering reaching for theanine.
While studying the effects of theanine administered to boys with hyperactivity, some sleep parameters improved, with no negative effects at relatively high doses - 400 mg of l-theanine daily.
The daily cycle is closely related to the regulation of melatonin production. In normal conditions it is produced in the evening and at night, and its level falls in the morning, after which we wake up. Melatonin production is disturbed in certain situations, such as too long exposure to light of blue color, taking caffeine, etc. Its synthesis also decreases with age10. Reviewing scientific publications, one can find information on the effect of melatonin supplementation on sleep quality and improvement of functioning in the morning, while discontinuation of treatment after 3 weeks of using 2 mg prolonged-release melatonin daily did not cause adverse effects. It has also been shown that older people benefit more from using melatonin than young people10.
However, remember that more does not mean better. The dose corresponding to the physiological amount of melatonin in humans is only 300 mcg and this amount effectively improves the quality of sleep in people who struggled with problems in this field. The smaller but also noticeable improvement even gave a symbolic dose of 100 mcg. Higher amounts, of the order of 3 mg (i.e. the most frequently used in supplementation) also supported the ALE sleep, additionally maintaining elevated levels even during the following day, which worsens general functioning. The maximum melatonin increase is noted at about 45-50min after admission10, so when we decide to supplement with melatonin, it is best to take it for about 40-60 minutes before the planned sleep. The dose at which we should aim at the beginning is 500 mcg, maximum 1 mg and increase only in the case of low efficiency.
Sometimes, as an alternative to melatonin, 5-HTP is used, which is supposed to first raise the level of serotonin and then melatonin. 5-HTP can be effective in promoting sleep, but it should be taken into account the variability of its action depending on the conditions in which we take this supplement. Well, in experiments on mice it was found that only 5-HTP taken when darkness falls results in deep sleep improvement, while when it is clearly able to promote the increase in activity. Dosage is also important because low doses may also have a paradoxical effect. Melatonin, however, is a more reliable choice than 5-HTP, in general terms.
This element is known for its relaxing and calming effects, so it's no wonder that it is included in this list. Magnesium is an element that blocks the flow of other ions in NMDA receptors, and thus participates in regulating the excitability of neurons. In addition to the inhibition of glutamate, it also has a positive effect on the activity of GABA (A) receptors, and GABA is the main neurotransmitter that inhibits the nervous system. Magnesium supplementation is helpful in regulating sleep in the case of people with deficiencies of this mineral, and this applies to a large part of society and especially in the elderly. It has been shown that magnesium supplementation in older people may improve the endocrine parameters determining the quality of sleep. The study found an effect on the reduction of stressful cortisol and a positive effect on renin and aldosterone. An improvement in slow-wave sleep was also noted .
READ MORE ---->Which Magnesium schould you choose? The best forms of magnesium!<----
This ayurvedic herb is known for its anxiolytic, relaxing and social properties. Part of their effects is due to the potentiation of the action of GABA (A)  receptors, and it is on these receptors that there are many potent hypnotics, such as zolpidem, zopiclone, nitrazepam, estazolam. The use of Ashwagandha can improve the quality of sleep, which can also be seen in the numerous reports of users on the web. Returning to the subject of problems falling asleep by stressful thoughts in the evening, Ashwagandha has a well-documented stress-reducing effect. In a 60-day study using Ashwagandha, there was a 27.9% decrease in cortisol in the study group, compared to 7.9% in the placebo group. Many parameters indicating resistance to stress and quality of life have also improved . So Ashwagandha can be considered as a way to improve sleep and support in many other aspects of health.
This agent belongs to the heavier artillery and should only be used in demanding cases, only temporarily (!). The use of phenibut unfortunately continually has a number of negative consequences. However, as it is an agonist of GABA receptors, particularly subtype B and a PEA (phenethylamine) antagonist , it can inhibit the nervous system, reduce stress, relax muscles, cause sedation and make us sleep faster. Phenomena can be reached, for example, when sleep makes it difficult for us to think about a situation that is emotionally engaging and which has happened earlier or when we are disturbed by excessive excitability after drinking coffee too late.
This supplement is mainly aimed at supporting the work of mitochondria, improving energy management, however, it has many additional beneficial effects, including the regulation of the daily cycle. In the study with the use of PQQ at a dose of
20 mg per day there was an improvement in the quality of sleep and several other parameters after only 4 weeks, however, the full effect was obtained at the end of an 8-week trial. Not only the better sleep quality but also the improved speed of falling asleep, improved cortisol response in the morning, improved appetite and subjectively better quality of life were reported . It is definitely a worthy supplement when you want to improve our sleep in the long term.
It is an amino acid that is also a neurotransmitter. In addition to GABA, it is one of the major inhibitors in the brain. This supplement improves the quality of sleep even when used temporarily, in the amount of 3 g taken in the evening. Interestingly, apart from the improvement in the quality of sleep observed both in the subject's subjective relations and in the polysomnographic study, reduced drowsiness and improvement of cognitive functions were found on the following day . The day after taking glycine, there was less fatigue, more vitality and more clear thinking . This makes glycine a great choice
for people who complain about their sensations in the morning and for ad hoc use the day before an important event, for example before an exam or a job interview. It can also be helpful in situations when we want to sleep faster after a few days in which we neglected sleep .
This herb with a mysterious name is quite unknown, however, because of the interesting mechanism of action and effectiveness demonstrated in scientific publications, the Muscle Zone store as one of the few (the only one on the Polish market!) Introduced it to the offer in the form of the Doctor's Best - Calm with Zembrin supplement. Zembrin is the patent name of the 21 extract from this plant. Its mechanism of action is based on the inhibition of serotonin reuptake and inhibition of PDE-426 enzymes, thanks to which it acts as an anti-anxiety, anti-depressant and pro-cognitive. This is a unique package of activities. Both the effect on the PDE-4 cascade → cAMP → CREB and interaction with the serotoninergic system improve the quality of sleep, as demonstrated in the studies. A 3-week treatment with 25 mg Zembrin once a day resulted in reduced anxiety,
improved well-being and, of course, better sleep quality compared to the placebo group, which was noticed even in people who had no particular problems before in this matter. By affecting the body of the amygdala in the brain, even the temporary use of Sceletium Tortuosum results in anxiolytic and better emotional control. It is definitely worth paying attention to this unique supplement.
Sleep deficiencies result in an increase in type 4 phosphodiesterases and a concurrent decrease in cAMP, which impairs synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus. It is a mechanism that degrades memory and weakens cognitive functions. Bearing in mind that sleep is usually missing due to the large amount of work, sacrificing cognitive functions by reducing sleep is not optimal for us. Forskolin is one of the most popular cAMP raising agents, and it does this by interacting with adenosine  receptors - a factor that inhibits the activity of the nervous system. The use of forskolin may not directly affect the quality of sleep, but it may be useful to reduce disturbing consequences of insufficient amount of night rest.
Many of us struggle with insufficient sleep or poor quality of sleep, which may result from both certain medical conditions, as well as excessive work and lack of time to rest. In the above text we quote a rich package of ways to improve the parameters related to sleep. Of these, we can choose a package that supports sleep in the long term, of course, we should also take care of the right conditions and make sure that we do not miss this dream every day. However, it is not uncommon for a lifestyle to compel us to shorten the sleep, which usually affects the quality of life, and this can be counteracted by using appropriate supplementation.
Long-term support may include, for example, magnesium, Ashwagandha, Sceletium Tortuosum, or PQQ. For immediate support we have a choice of phenibut, melatonin, glycine, theanine and nitric oxide boosters, and the choice among them may vary depending on the needs in a given situation. In the case of sporadic episodes of sleep deprivation, it is possible to use forskolin in an adjunctive way to prevent excessive decline of cognition.
As you can see, we have at our disposal a very rich arsenal of funds and enormous possibilities of personalizing supplementation, so as to precisely meet the needs of each person. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657156/
  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18036082