The Neurotransmitter That Can Enhance Your Sleep Instantly

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a non-protein amino acid that acts as the brain’s main inhibitory neurotransmitter (via Verywell Health). Generally speaking, neurotransmitters are chemical messengers used by the nervous system to help neurons communicate with one another. Inhibitory neurotransmitters, however, work to block these transmissions by reducing the activity of neurons in the brain. According to Verywell Health, GABA blocks the transmission of certain signals in the brain to help regulate your mood, reducing stress, fear, and anxiety.

As a result, GABA can play an important role in mental health. While proper GABA activity can help regulate your stress response and balance your mood, low GABA activity can be associated with mood disorders, like anxiety and depression. This is most likely because GABA works in conjunction with other neurotransmitters, like serotonin, and people who have depression and anxiety often have low levels of serotonin. Just as GABA neurotransmitters can affect our mood, they may also have an impact on our quality of sleep.

GABA may increase REM sleep

Dish full of supplements

According to MindBodyGreen, research has shown that GABA may help you fall asleep quicker and increase your REM sleep. A 2015 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology found that GABA supplements reduced participants’ sleep latency, the time it takes you to fall asleep, by 5.3 minutes. Another 2016 study published in the journal Food Science and Biotechnology found that participants who took GABA supplements spent more time in REM sleep than those who were given a placebo.

If you’re interested in taking GABA supplements to potentially help improve your sleep, you should look for ones from a reputable company and with high-quality ingredients. Experts recommend starting off with a dosage of 100 milligrams, taking it around one to two hours before bed, per MindBodyGreen. However, there may be some possible side effects. “GABA is usually well tolerated, but some have reported fatigue, leg discomfort, difficulty focusing, weight gain, and constipation,” integrative neurologist Dr. Ilene Ruhoy (via MindBodyGreen). That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you’re on blood pressure medication. As it turns out, GABA supplements may slightly lower your blood pressure.

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Authors at GlobalIdeas
Authors at GlobalIdeas

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