Sometimes a good night’s rest is elusive. Maybe there’s just too much on our plate, or we feel overwhelmed and anxious. That’s when natural nutrients can be helpful to restore our sense of calm, balance our bodies and improve sleep. We checked in with Dr. Marita Schauch, ND and health educator for Natural Factors, to learn about how their Stress-Relax line of supplements can help do just that.
GABA helps relieve anxiety about a stressful event
Pharma GABA helps us produce alpha brain waves (think meditation-like calmness) that ease anxiety and help us focus. Pharma GABA is fast acting too; studies show that GABA reduces anxiety in minutes, so it can be taken right before a stressful event, Dr. Marita says. Made from natural, not synthetic, ingredients, Natural Factors Pharma GABA is uniquely formulated from the helpful bacteria Lactobacillus hilgardii (the same bacteria that ferments vegetables in kimchi), which has been fed with a nutrient-rich broth.
L-Theanine for racing thoughts or fuzzy-thinking
When we’re anxious, our thoughts might be scattered and we can lose concentration. Natural Factors Suntheanine L-Theanine can help us relax while providing greater mental clarity and alertness (students, take note!). This amino acid, found in green tea leaves, works to calm and relax our nervous system by increasing alpha brain waves and decreasing the beta waves that are associated with hyperactivity and nervousness, Dr. Marita tells us. Another benefit? It helps balance the negative effects of too much caffeine.
Melatonin for sleep disorders and jet lag
Melatonin is helpful for getting circadian rhythms back in line when our sleep-wake cycle is disrupted, like when traveling, working night shifts or if you’re simply a “night owl.”
- If you’re traveling across several time zones, Natural Factors Melatonin can help relieve jet lag symptoms. Just make sure to take it close to the target bedtime at the destination.
- Studies show people work late or overnight shifts can fall asleep quicker after work by taking melatonin 30 minutes before going to sleep.
- Teens who describe themselves as night owls may have a condition called Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, meaning they have trouble falling asleep at normal hours (i.e. 10pm–midnight) and then have difficulty waking early for school the next day. Melatonin is one remedy for the problem, researchers tell us, as is bright light therapy.
5-HTP if you’re feeling blue
If you’re feeling sad or out of sorts, try Natural Factors 5-HTP, an amino acid involved in serotonin production that supports emotional wellbeing. Studies show that 5-HTP may work as well as conventional anti-depressant drugs for mild to moderate depression (but be sure to consult a doctor before taking 5-HTP with any anti-depressant drugs). 5-HTP can be used both day and night, says Dr. Marita; take it in the morning to balance your mood throughout the day, and before bedtime to help your body produce serotonin (which is tied into melatonin production).
Magnesium for better sleep, muscle cramps and more
For those with celiac disease or other digestive problems, or if you’re just not getting enough magnesium from food, Natural Factors Magnesium Citrate can help with a wide range of health-related concerns. Dr. Marita says magnesium is linked to heart health, better sleep, low blood pressure, reduced anxiety, relief from PMS and menstrual/muscle cramps and keeping bones healthy. Take at night to assist with sleep, or during the day for anxiety, cramps or muscle-related conditions. It can used on a long-term basis since it helps so many of our body’s functions, she says.
Relax and wake renewed with Tranquil Sleep
Customers rave about Tranquil Sleep’s unique blend of L-Theanine, Melatonin and 5-HTP that eases our body into a relaxed state so that we fall asleep more easily and stay asleep throughout the night—without a groggy feeling in the morning. Taken an hour before bedtime, all three nutrients work synergistically to promote restorative sleep, Dr. Marita tells us. “Melatonin, our sleep hormone, helps to drive a balanced sleep cycle with 5-HTP being a precursor to serotonin which in turn produces melatonin. L-Theanine induces a calm and relaxed nervous system by increasing alpha brain waves (relaxed state) and decreasing beta brain waves (excited state) helping us wind down,” she says.