Amino Acids to Promote Rest: L-Theanine and 5HTP*

A lack of sleep and rest is connected with various diseases and ailments. If you don’t get enough sleep each night, you’re putting your health and wellness at risk because of the many consequences of not getting enough rest. 

While plenty of sleep aids and medications, including melatonin, you can take to help with sleep, often have unwanted side effects. Instead, you should consider vitamins, minerals, and amino acids such as L-Theanine and 5HTP.

What is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is one of many amino acids that you can find both in nature and food. It was first discovered in the late 1940s by scientists in Japan who were studying tea leaves and the different things contained in them. L-theanine is found mostly in green tea leaves, but you can also find it in black tea leaves. 

The presence of L-Theanine in tea leaves is partially what makes people associate tea with relaxation. You see, L-theanine is an amino acid that’s been shown to cause reduced stress levels and promote sedation and drowsiness, which then causes sleepiness. *

How Does L-Theanine Help With Sleep?

Affects the Neurotransmitters

The first way that L-Theanine helps as a sleep aid is how it affects your neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters get sent throughout your brain and body like little messengers telling you how to feel and what to do. Specific neurotransmitters tell you when to feel sleepy and tired, and L-theanine directly affects these.*

Because L-Theanine activates the neurotransmitters that tell you when to feel sleepy and tired, you won’t be able to sleep as well if you don’t have enough of it in your body.* 

Enhances Brain Waves

The second way that L-Theanine helps you sleep is by enhancing your brain waves, specifically those associated with sleep. While it’s activating the brain waves that cause sleep and weariness, it’s also blocking those that would make you feel excited or awake. This dual effect is instrumental in making L-Theanine regarding brain waves.*

Reduces Stress and Anxiety

Finally, as L-Theanine activates your neurotransmitters and brain waves, it causes you to feel more relaxed and less anxious.*

How to Get L-Theanine Into Your System

Drinking green tea is the best way to get L-Theanine into your system. L-Theanine is very pronounced in green tea leaves, so it’s best to drink whole-leaf tea if L-Theanine is your goal. If you’re not a tea drinker, however, the best way to get L-Theanine into your system is with pills or gummies that are specifically heavy.*

What is 5HTP?

We’ll look at the second amino acid with sleep: 5-Hydroxytryptophan, 5HTP. 5HTP is another amino acid that serves many health purposes, with enhanced sleep being one of them. While the human body naturally produces it, it’s sometimes necessary to supplement what your body produces.* 

The main reason that 5HTP helps you sleep and rest is that it helps your body produce serotonin. Serotonin and melatonin are two of the main hormones that help your body sleep, rest, and relax.*

How Does 5HTP Help With Sleep?

Boosts Serotonin Levels

As we just discussed, the main way that 5HTP helps form healthy sleep habits is by producing serotonin. Serotonin, in turn, puts you in a better mood, helps you relax, and improves the overall health of your body. As you know, people with better physical and mental conditions often sleep better.*

Helps You Feel Fuller

It’s difficult to fall asleep when you’re hungry, but it’s also not good to eat a big meal before you head off to bed. 5HTP is the answer to both problems. It gives your body a feeling of fullness, even though you aren’t full. That way, you can fall asleep feeling content and satisfied but not pay the price of eating a big meal before bedtime.*

Boosts Your Mood and Reduces Pain

5HTP also helps with your mental health, which greatly affects your ability to sleep soundly. The main way it does this is by increasing your serotonin levels, which are huge in reducing depression and improving your mood.* 

Reduces Migraines

Another painful condition that 5HTP may help with is occasional migraines. Migraines are one of the most painful and debilitating things a person can struggle with, making it impossible to fall asleep. 5HTP isn’t an instant fix for migraines, but prolonged use can help.*

Helps You Fall Asleep Quicker and Longer

While 5HTP is instrumental in producing serotonin, it’s also important in producing melatonin. If you know anything about melatonin, it’s one of the most important hormones in helping you fall asleep. 5HTP helps in this respect because excess serotonin can get converted into melatonin.* 

Once again, 5HTP isn’t an instant fix by any means, but it’s a good long-term source of serotonin and melatonin.*

How to Get 5HTP Into Your System

As we said before, 5HTP is produced naturally by the body, but there isn’t always enough of it. So, if you’re worried about your 5HTP levels and want to increase them, here are a few options at your disposal. 

  • Eat more meat such as turkey, chicken, and fish.
  • Increase your nut intake, including, specifically, sunflower seeds.
  • Drink more milk.
  • Eat more starches and veggies such as pumpkin, potatoes, turnips, and collard greens.
  • Seaweed is a big carrier of 5HTP, so eat more sushi.
  • Consider taking a 5HTP supplement.

Final Thoughts

5HTP and L-Theanine aren’t going to turn your world upside down, but they’re a good start. On their own, these amino acids have an effect on your sleep and physical health. However, because of the hormones they produce and how they affect your neurotransmitters and brain waves, L-Theanine and 5HTP are some of the best, natural, long-term sleep aids available. You can’t go wrong by getting more of them into your system.* 

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