I bundled all three of these together because they are not the ideal choices, due to the fact that they're not natural herbal preparations like the previous three. These are isolated chemicals, and they can be helpful if intently monitored and used with caution.
5-HTP is a neurotransmitter precursor to serotonin. In our bodies, as you well know from previous chapters, serotonin gets converted into melatonin (the get-good-sleep hormone). In a study compiled by the University of Maryland Medical Center, people who took 5-HTP went to sleep quicker and slept more deeply than those who took a placebo. Researchers recommend 200 to 400 milligrams at night to stimulate serotonin, but it may take 6 to 12 weeks to be fully effective.
More: How to Become a Morning Person
GABA is an important neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. In fact, it is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Therefore, it blocks the action of excitatory brain chemicals. Some people swear by the sedating effects of GABA to help manage stress. If GABA is of interest to you, 500 milligrams in the evening is a good place to start. Also, consider looking into the GABA precursors picamilon and phenibut.
L-tryptophan is actually the precursor to 5-HTP. Although you can't get 5-HTP in food, there are several foods that are rich in tryptophan, like turkey, chicken, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, collard greens, and sea veggies. Although these foods can be part of a healthy diet, the trace amounts of tryptophan found in them may not be enough to get the effects you're look- ing for. L-tryptophan is a simple over-the-counter supplement you can use in addition to what you get from your diet. It can ideally be taken 90 minutes before bed.
More: Here's Why You Don't Sleep Well Away From Home
These, like all other supplements, will influence people differently. One supplement might be a miracle for one person that helps them reestablish their sleeping cycle, while for someone else it may cause them to have crazy dreams or even feel groggier in the morning. Bottom line: It's unique to you whether something is going to be helpful or not. This goes for food, supplements, and even exercise. You have to experiment to find out what is the most intelligent, safest, and most effective long-term choice for you.