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If you’re a high performer, you’re no doubt interested in optimising all aspects of your life: from your diet to your supplements, you’re likely managing your stress and maximising high quality sleep. You care about your cognitive and physical performance. But unfortunately for a large portion of adults, high quality sleep is hard to come by.
In fact, according to a survey by Aviva, more than a third of all people living in the UK suffer with insomnia, and around 25 percent of the population have a maximum of just five hours per night. The government recommends that adults have between seven to nine of high-quality sleep each night in order to function best throughout the day and allow for full physiological and biological repair and restoration during the night. So, it’s safe to say we might have a sleeping issue. This has pushed a third of the UK population to resort to sleeping pills as an attempt to get some shut eye, but prescription sleeping pills are associated with dependency, memory loss and brain fog – not ideal.
It’s a simple fact: if you’re not sleeping well, you’re not performing well. This is why we’ve decided to assess the best natural supplements you can take to improve the quality and duration of your sleep, to perform and feel better in your day to day life. We’re also going to introduce you to the supplement that does it all: Performance Lab Sleep. A product that combines the most effective natural sleep ingredients in a clean, bio-available delivery.
Table of Contents
Why Sleep Is So Important for the Mind and Body
When it comes to how well you sleep, it’s not just the duration that is important; it’s the quality of your sleep and how fast you fall asleep. The quality of your sleep can be measured by the two key stages of sleep: the amount of slow wave sleep (SWS) and the amount of rapid eye movement (REM) you get each night.
SWS occurs when the brain produces slower delta waves, moving you into a deep sleep. During this phase your body is still, and you are the most unresponsive to external stimuli. SWS is the most restorative phase of sleep, your muscles and tissue repair any damage, immune functionality is boosted, and your body is healed and restored from the activities of the day.
REM occurs typically 90 minutes after falling asleep and is characterised by an increase in your brain electrical activity, a similar level to being awake. During this phase, you are dreaming, and your body is paralysed, while your eyes rapidly move. REM sleep is responsible for memory consolidation and cognitive processing of the previous day, which is why you often dream about things that happened that day!
These stages are integral to repair, recovery and memory, and leave you feeling awake and energised in the morning, or in their absence, feeling groggy. Low quality sleep is when you’re not sleeping for long enough to go through multiple cycles of the integral phases of sleep, or you are only sleeping lightly.
If you don’t sleep well, you seriously suffer. A study published in 2009 asked participants to stay awake for 19 hours and found significant declines in their reaction time, attention span, accuracy and memory capacity. According to research, staying up for 17 hours (which equates to waking up at 7am and going to sleep at midnight – pretty common!) mirrors alcohol intoxication in the brain. This cognitive down-regulation can have serious impacts when it comes to your performance at work and socially.
A lack of sleep affects your cognitive performance severely, but that’s not the only thing that suffers. During sleep, your muscles repair and grow. If you are physically active and aren’t getting at least seven hours of sleep per night, your muscles and tissue aren’t able to properly repair and thus, your progress will stall. Even if your training and diet are on point, you will find it difficult to build muscle or strength easily, and your recovery will be slow between sessions.
Studies show that sleep deprivation activates pathways that cause muscle catabolism, meaning the breakdown of muscle tissue to use for energy. Even if gaining muscle isn’t your main goal, your stamina, strength, recovery and endurance will all be drastically affected by a lack of sleep; partially due to the hormonal dysregulation that occurs under such conditions.
What Are the Elements that Disrupt Sleep?
As expected, this question is case dependent. However, there are certain variables that we can alter that disrupt our circadian rhythm and affect how tired we feel before bed and our ability to reach deep sleep. The circadian rhythm is an internal body clock that tells you to wake up or go to sleep, and adjusts your hormones in line with this, spiking cortisol in the morning to wake you up, and melatonin in the evening to make you sleepy.
Watching television, looking at your laptop, phone or tablet before sleep can interfere with your circadian rhythm due to the blue light that they emit. Blue lights trick your body that it’s daytime which prevents the release of melatonin, resulting in feelings of restlessness and disrupted sleep. Getting a pair of blue light glasses on Amazon will block the blue lights so will help your hormones regulate, and you’ll be able to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Noisy environments, hot rooms, caffeine, anxiety and being too busy, are factors that also disrupt your ability to have a long, deep sleep. To ensure you are setting yourself up for a restful night, try to decrease the noise in your bedroom, turn your phone on silent, make the room temperature cool, try meditating before bed, avoid caffeine after lunch and try to leave some time before bed to wind down. These factors will all contribute to the natural release of melatonin, making you feel tired.
Supplements That Can Promote Sleep
Montmorency Tart Cherries
Did you know that montmorency tart cherries provides the richest natural source of melatonin on the planet? This ingredient contains potent quantities of melatonin, a hormone that is naturally released in the evening time to tell us it’s time to go to bed. Studies have shown that tart cherry juice improves sleep quality and duration, as well as providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, without causing any negative side effects.
Melatonin as a supplement is illegal in the UK without a prescription and comes in a slow-release form, often only prescribed to individuals older than 55 suffering with insomnia. The benefit of this ingredient is that it provides a natural form of melatonin which is perfectly safe and legal.
Magnesium is arguably the most common mineral used to improve sleep. Most of us don’t get enough magnesium from our diet and this contributes to the nation’s problem of sleeping. Magnesium plays a plethora of key roles in the body, but in regard to sleep, the most important role of magnesium is to activate GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps to slow down brain electrical activity. Taking a magnesium supplement before bed helps to quieten down the mind.
L-tryptophan is a popular supplement for the variety of benefits it provides. It’s an amino acid that is integral for converting serotonin and melatonin. As mentioned, melatonin helps you to feel tired in the evening, while serotonin plays a role in balancing your mood. Thus, taking l-tryptophan before bed can help you feel calmer, happier and ready for sleep.
This ingredient enhances feelings of calmness and restfulness. L-theanine can be sourced from green tea and is the compound in green tea responsible for making it a soothing, calming drink. It does this by increasing alpha brain waves, a brain wave frequency that promotes restfulness.
The Solution: The Ready-Made Night-time Stack
Performance Lab Sleep
That may sound like a lot of different supplements to take before sleep. Right? We have your cure. Performance Lab Sleep provides all the above sleep enhancing ingredients in a pill, ready to take for a great night’s sleep. Combining these ingredients together enhances the effect of each ingredient, helping your mind to quieten and feelings of calmness to wash over you before you lay your head down on the pillow.
Performance Lab are a brand that pride themselves on the highest quality, most bio-available supplements, as well as the most effective combination of ingredients. Stacking this supplement with others in the Performance Lab range can help to further magnify the benefits, such as Performance Lab Energy; take this in the morning after a restful night’s sleep and you’ll be ready to go! If you struggle to get a full night of sleep, try adding these supplements into your nightly routine and see how your daytime performance improves.
Performance Lab Sleep is one of the cleanest supplements around too. It’s 100% vegan (including the capsules); GMO-free; is also free of soy, gluten and other allergens and is made in an FDA-approved lab to Good Manufacturing Practices standards.
A pill that helps to quieten your mind ahead of sleep, deliver natural safe levels of melatonin and soothe your nervous system all in one… helping you to fall asleep quicker and wake up more refreshed. There’s no wonder Performance Lab Sleep is our favourite all-natural sleep supplement on the market today.
PAIRS WELL WITH: Performance Lab Whole-Food Multivitamins (for men or women)
Enjoy optimum night-time rejuvenation and a healthy daytime by pairing Performance Lab Sleep with the line’s Whole-Food Multivitamins for men or women. With more than 17 vitamins and minerals at more than 100% RDA, this multivitamin makes an ideal base for any supplement. Made using the same natural co-factors, enzymes and nutrients found in nature, this multivitamin is highly bio-available, 100% vegan-friendly, allergen free and natural.