So you’re having trouble sleeping. You may be thinking about asking your doctor for a prescription sleep aid or picking up an over the counter sleeping pill. Unfortunately, these are some of the worst possible options you could take. In the short-term, they will ruin the quality of your sleep, even if you feel like they’re helping you fall asleep faster and sleep more hours. Long-term, this inferior sleep quality will cause serious health problems.
So what can you do instead? Well, one recent solution which science has discovered involves a little molecule called 5-HTP. Along with other things like a good diet, more exercise, and healthful sleep hygiene practices, getting more 5-HTP into your body can help reduce the time it takes you to fall asleep while improving your overall sleep quality. You can start trying to get more 5-HTP by incorporating more protein into your diet. You may also want to invest in a 5-HTP supplement. If you really want to cover all your bases, you can combine the two. In this post, we’re going to elaborate on the importance of 5-HTP as well as how you can get more of it.
5-HTP and Its Mechanism of Action
Explaining exactly what 5-HTP does in the body can get a little convoluted. But we encourage you to bear with us. 5-HTP has a lot of utility and is capable of multitasking in ways that most other compounds cannot. 5-HTP is a type of building block which, when combined with other proteins, fatty acids, and similar nutrients, can construct some very important neurotransmitters. There’s another word four neurotransmitters that you’ve probably already heard before: endorphins. As the iconic movie Legally Blonde once put it: “Endorphins make you happy”. And happy people don’t have trouble sleeping. They just don’t.
To be fair to the science of it, not all neurotransmitters make you happy. We are oversimplifying it a little bit to make it easier to understand. But 5-HTP counteracts those transmitters that don’t make you happy by creating more of the ones that do: melatonin and serotonin. Most people these days do have a decent amount of knowledge about serotonin. It’s the endorphin that so many antidepressant prescriptions are (allegedly) designed to boost in our brains. When you have more serotonin in your brain, you feel happier and less stressed out. When you experience an elevated mood more frequently and you have less stress in your life, it’ll be easier to fall asleep and get a higher quality of sleep each night.
Melatonin, the sleep hormone of which 5-HTP is a precursor, also helps you fall asleep and increases the quality of your rest. Melatonin is supposed to be released at night after the sun goes down and the darkness comes. But the double edged sword of modern technology means that we are constantly exposed to things that inhibit our body’s ability to produce melatonin. Putting more 5-HTP into your body can help with this problem by giving your body the building blocks it needs to produce enough melatonin. You can also follow better sleep hygiene habits so that you can trigger melatonin production more easily and efficiently.
What You Need to Do to Get More 5-HTP
There are a couple of different methods you can use if you feel like you are not getting enough 5-HTP in your body. The good news is that all of them are perfectly natural. They also don’t have any known reported side effects. But there are some other facets of your life which can make it a little challenging to get the 5-HTP you need.
5-HTP is most abundant in protein – specifically, animal protein and animal-derived protein products. So if you are vegan or vegetarian and you’re concerned about your 5-HTP intake, you might be fighting an uphill battle. 5-HTP comes from amino acids, and amino acids come from protein. But not all amino acids are created equal. And certain types of protein have greater amounts of the amino acids that your body needs to build 5-HTP than others. This is why so many vegans and vegetarians struggle to produce the amount of 5-HTP they need to stay healthy.
At the same time, even if you don’t adhere to a strict diet, it can be difficult to estimate how much 5-HTP you’re getting from the food you eat. It’s not like our food labels go into detail about the amino acids which exist in the proteins we eat. And even if they did, it’s hard to measure or predict how much 5-HTP your body will produce from those amino acids without some sort of medical test. Supplementing with 5-HTP is an easier way to keep track of the quantity of htp in your system. They are relatively inexpensive, and they’re easy to take. They’ve been available for quite a while, and there are a lot of people who swear by them. But that begs the next question…
What Is the Best Way to Supplement With 5-HTP?
If you’re going to go the supplement route, you have two choices: you can supplement with 5-HTP only, or you could take a supplement which includes 5-HTP. A supplement which contains only 5-HTP can have some benefits. It may be less expensive than a more complex supplement with many different ingredients. If your system is very sensitive to supplementation, it may be less risky to stick with a one-ingredient 5-HTP supplement. And you will know right away whether or not 5-HTP actually helps you sleep since there will be no other variables involved.
On the other hand, taking a sleep supplement like Avinol PM (which incorporates 5-HTP into its formula) has many upsides, too. One of the reasons supplementing with 5-HTP alone may not work is due to a lack of synergy. Avinol PM contains the ingredients it does because scientific research says they work well together to boost each individual compound’s positive effect. Secondly, if you tried to buy each ingredient separately, it would be much more expensive than purchasing them all at the same time by ordering a supply of Avinol PM. So yes, 5-HTP can help you with your sleep problems – either by itself, or as an essential part of a complete natural sleep aid formula.