What Is 5-HTP? How Can It Help You Sleep?

5-htp-for-sleep-supplement

 

There are plenty of reasons why we’re not getting the best sleep anymore nowadays. Doctors and other healthcare professionals tell you to get plenty of sleep, but that’s not as easy as it sounds. In the real world, it’s difficult to fall asleep. What’s worse, during nights where we actually need to get some sleep due to responsibilities the next day are the nights where we end up tossing and turning from stress and anxiety. Stress and anxiety aren’t the only culprits behind a lack of sleep, let’s take a look at a quick list of reasons you’re having a hard time going to bed.

What Is Causing My Lack Of Sleep?

We already know that stress and anxiety can cause a lack of sleep, but did you know alcohol, and other fluids in general, can interrupt you in the middle of the night? Even if you do get to bed, the urge to urinate because of the fluids you consume will not only wake you up if you finally went to bed, but it can cause you to stay awake after that point.

Some medications can really hinder your ability to sleep. If you’re taking some over-the-counter medication, then you need to look at the packaging to ensure it doesn’t contain any caffeine. Caffeine can keep you up longer than intended and isn’t recommended to take hours before bedtime. Other medications that can affect your ability to sleep are blood pressure medications, certain antidepressants, and decongestants.

Believe it or not, the temperature of the room has an effect on your ability to fall asleep. This is especially true if you’re the type of person who takes showers before bed. Despite how nice a shower beforehand sounds it actually heats your body up to the point where it can affect your ability to fall asleep. The reason behind this is your body has a hard time going to and falling asleep for any temperature above 74 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider trying to cool down your room in any way you can through an air conditioner, fan, or just cracking a window open.

One of the overlooked causes of insomnia is eating heavy meals too close to bedtime. You might think this is odd, that food can cause insomnia, seeing as a good Thanksgiving dinner can put you in a food coma. However, larger meals can keep you awake as your body needs to allocate energy in order to digest instead of resting for the night.

Other issues can keep you awake, such as using your phone or tablet before bed, exercising too close to bedtime, or suffering from a medical condition. With all these issues that can keep you awake, what can help you get to sleep? Let’s take a look at an amino acid called 5-HTP for the answer.

What Is 5-HTP?

5-HTP is short for 5-Hydroxytryptophan. As mentioned before, it is an amino acid, and your body produces this naturally. Think of it as the amino acid that helps your body produce serotonin. When you’re not getting enough serotonin, then you can suffer from health issues such as anxiety, weight gain, depression, and other issues. It’s these reasons alone why 5-HTP has become popular when it comes to natural supplements. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of 5-HTP.

What Are The Benefits of 5-HTP

When you’re finally losing weight and feel as if you can keep it off, your body produces hormones that tell you that it’s hungry even when it really isn’t. That’s what makes weight loss so difficult for some. A study was done to show that those who take 5-HTP consume fewer calories which results in weight loss.

As mentioned before, since 5-HTP increases serotonin, then it can have a beneficial effect on your mood. This can greatly reduce your anxiety and depression. In fact, 5-HTP is a great alternative for those who don’t want traditional pharmaceutical drug treatment for generalized anxiety. Many don’t want to take these drugs for anxiety due to how severe some of the side effects can be.

Of course, the best reason to take 5-HTP is to help you get to sleep. There are pharmaceutical pills you can take to help you get to sleep, but they can have some severe side effects and cause some serious issues. Since 5-HTP plays a direct role in the production of serotonin, it also plays a role in the production of melatonin as well. The serotonin reduces the issues that cause you to be restless such as stress and anxiety and increase melatonin to get you to sleep. There’s relatively no downside, but let’s take a look at some side effects of 5-HTP.

What Are The Side Effects of 5-HTP

Fortunately, there are not many side effects of 5-HTP and even fewer are serious. There is the potential that 5-HTP can spike serotonin to the point where you can develop serious heart issues or blood abnormalities. However, these cases are very rare, so it’s best to talk to your doctor before adding any new supplements to your routine. Fortunately, doesn’t do much other than potentially cause drowsiness or minor digestive issues. However, the risks are not as bad as pharmaceutical sleeping pills. When you talk to your doctor, talk about the side effects. If they clear you, then write down any side effects that you experience and make sure it’s still safe for you to take. If it is, then you have one of the more effective supplements available that can help you sleep.

How Can I Incorporate 5-HTP Into Your Diet

Since 5-HTP is used for weight loss, mood, and sleep, there are a few suggestions when taking this supplement. If you’re taking it to manage your weight, then you’ll want to take the recommended dose of 5-HTP half an hour before your meal. If you’re taking 5-HTP to improve your mood and reduce your anxiety, then you’ll want to take a smaller dose with your meals. Like any supplement, it could take a little time for you to get accustomed to it. For sleep, you should take it half an hour to an hour before bed.

5-HTP is an effective and natural way for you to get some sleep. It can also have benefits in other aspects of your life, so make sure you speak with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns before starting it.

References:

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9705024

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleeping-when-it-blistering-hot

https://europepmc.org/article/med/9727088

https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2466/pms.1987.64.1.44