To start our article on GABA, preparatory sleep chemicals, slumber, and sleep supplements, let's first define and explain what GABA is and does.
What is GABA?
GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid and is the neurotransmitter that is activated to put you asleep. In contrast, acetylcholine is a chemical secreted by the hypothalamus that wakes you up.
What are Preparatory Sleep Chemicals?
As we are going through our day, acetylcholine and other chemicals that increase wakefulness decline, and other chemicals like melatonin are on the rise many hours before bedtime in order to prepare your body for sleep. Melatonin helps in what I refer to as the "slumber phase," and GABA helps in the final sleep phase.
Sleep Supplement Examples
There are many supplements that can aid in slumber and sleep. Some of them are Valeria root, grapefruit and grapefruit juice, wine, etc.
Inside Job Vs. Outside Job
First of all, I would like to say that I'm not a doctor. So if you do have a major sleep issue that even supplements can't solve, you may need to see a specialist in this area. Second, always know your own body and level of health and check with your doctor if necessary. With all that said, we will go on to the chemicals in our bodies.
The chemicals in our bodies mentioned at the beginning of this article induce sleep from within our own bodies. In contrast, the supplements outside of our own bodies induce sleep from the outside. What I found through my own experience is that we can overuse even herbal sleep supplements so that our bodies are not relying on our internal chemical signals to get to the wakefulness, slumber, and sleep phases. Some indications that you are overusing sleep supplements are lack of quality of sleep, not being able to fall into sleep as quickly as you use to, low quantity of sleep. The best way to use sleep supplements is in moderation just like any other thing in life. What I found useful was to use a "transitionary schedule" where some days I will use different sleep supplements and other days I would transition slowely into not using supplements at all. Some days I may drink chamomile tea at night and other days just water for example.
How is the quality and quantity of your sleep? Are you taking longer to get to sleep at night because of the overuse of supplements? Do you have a transitionary schedule where you can use sleep supplements some days and allow your body to fall asleep naturally other days? Do you understand overall how GABA, preparatory sleep chemicals, slumber, and sleep supplements work?