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Doctors and researchers disagree on the appropriate consumption of animal protein, the necessity of vitamin supplementation, and the best forms of exercise, but they all pretty much agree on two points:
- Deep, high-quality sleep is super important for optimal wellness.
- Too much stress can have a negative impact on overall health.
I do a decent job of managing my stress levels (most of the time!), but I’ve always struggled with #1: sleep!
Since childhood, I’ve been the person who goes to bed early-ish but spends 30 minutes to an hour (ugh!) falling asleep.
Once asleep, I’d usually wake up several times each night. Then, I’d always experience difficulty falling back asleep.
To put it mildly, sleep and I haven’t always gotten along.
Determined to improve the quality/quantity of each slumber, I’ve experimented with numerous aides: melatonin, CBD oil, Ashwagandha, magnesium, lavender essential oil…I’ve tried it all!
After years of trial + error, I finally discovered the holy grail for incredible sleep: L-theanine!
I’ve been taking 400mg of L-theanine each night for about a month, and I’ve never slept so deeply in my life!
Each morning, I wake up feeling refreshed and excited to tackle the day. I keep waiting for someone to wake me from this best-sleep-I’ve-ever-had dream!
Ready to learn all about this incredible amino acid?? Great, because I can’t wait to tell you about it!
What is L-theanine?
L-theanine is a unique amino acid found in mushrooms and tea:
Green tea has been used worldwide for centuries and is very much appreciated for its taste and relaxing properties. After the discovery that theanine, an amino acid, was the main component of green tea leaves responsible for the relaxing effect, many studies have investigated the properties of this molecule. L-theanine is the main bioavailable form present in tea, and represents around 50% of total free amino acids in tea. In mammals, L-theanine can cross the blood brain barrier, in a dose-dependent manner, in the first hour after administration and remains in the plasma and brain for a few hours. It can now be synthesised or extracted from tea and can be used as an oral dietary supplement for humans or animals.
Generally, there are about 20mg of L-theanine in a cup of tea.
Therefore, drinking tea may promote sleep and relaxation, but more concentrated, therapeutic doses of L-theanine (200-400mg) are necessary to unlock its truly miraculous properties.
There have been no confirmed or direct side effects of taking L-theanine, so it’s likely safe to consume in supplement form and/or tea.
Another bonus: The body doesn’t develop an immunity/resistance to L-theanine like it does to melatonin!
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L-theanine Benefits: Better Sleep, Relaxation & Focus
Numerous studies detail L-theanine’s ability to promote sleep and relaxation.
A 2017 study suggests that “chronic (8-week) L-theanine administration is safe and has multiple beneficial effects on depressive symptoms, anxiety, sleep disturbance and cognitive impairments in patients with MDD [major depressive disorder].”
A 2011 study demonstrates that “400 mg daily of L-theanine is safe and effective in improving some aspects of sleep quality in boys diagnosed with ADHD. Since sleep problems are a common co-morbidity associated with ADHD, and because disturbed sleep may be linked etiologically to this disorder, L-theanine may represent a safe and important adjunctive therapy in childhood ADHD.”
A 2015 study proposes that L-theanine “is effective in ameliorating positive symptoms and sleep quality in schizophrenia.”
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study from 2016 further supports the anti-stress effects of L-theanine.
When taken in conjunction with caffeine, a 2013 study indicates, “The combination of moderate levels of L-theanine and caffeine significantly improved accuracy during task switching and self-reported alertness and reduced self-reported tiredness . . . The present results suggest that 97 mg of L-theanine in combination with 40 mg of caffeine helps to focus attention during a demanding cognitive task.”
As with any supplement, it’s important to buy high-quality L-theanine.
My favorite brand is Pure Encapsulations, which you can find on Amazon:
I like this brand because each capsule contains 200mg of L-theanine, so it’s easy to experiment with taking 200-400mg (1 or 2 capsules).
Also, Pure Encapsulations supplements are free from wheat, gluten, egg, peanuts, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners and colors, and other unnecessary additives.
Bottom line: L-theanine has truly revolutionized my sleep! I wake up feeling alert, refreshed, and ready to take on the day. If you’re a not-so-great sleeper (like me!), L-theanine may be the miraculous solution to your slumber woes!
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