I recently wrote that sleep is more important than any supplement for recovery, but what should you do when you just can’t sleep?
In this article, I am going to examine some science-backed supplements that I personally use to help me sleep. Before we get into the supplements, let’s look at what getting a bad night’s sleep might be doing to your performance.
Sleep Deprivation and Performance
The most compounding piece of evidence to show how bad sleep deprivation is on performance comes in the shape of this 2000 participant, 143 study meta analysis from Bradley University. Unsurprisingly the study finds that sleep deprivation impairs cognitive and motor skills, but there was one thing that stood out to me that is important for grapplers.
While full-sleep deprivation is bad, the study suggests that partial deprivation is worse, so the few extra hours it takes you to fall asleep while the adrenaline is still coursing through might be extremely detrimental.
A study from the Journal of Sleep Research found that sub-optimal levels of sleep negatively impacts the majority of the hormones that regulate recovery from exercise.
With good sleep being a necessity for grapplers, let’s look at some supplements that might help you sleep/
Supplements For Sleep
When it comes to sleep hacks, I never shut up about melatonin . in my opinion, melatonin is right next to vitamin D3 as a supplement that everyone should take. Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain to signal your body that it’s bed time. Unfortunately the overexposure of external stimuli , such as white light, has dampened this response in some people and it is causing sleep issues.
The science regarding melatonin is pretty resounding. It is proven to significantly lower insomnia with no withdrawal symptomsand in addition to its obvious impact on sleep, studies show it also reduces blood pressure, lowers inflammation and even slightly decreases mortality it some types of cancer.
If you could only buy one supplement to improve sleep, then I would recommend melatonin as it’s the best value for money.
Another supplement I take on a daily basis is magnesium. Like melatonin, magnesium’s benefits aren’t limited just to its ability to make you sleep better, but it is scientifically proven to. what I love about magnesium is its versatility and how after a hard day of training I feel it relax my muscles.
Aside from the sleep benefits, magnesium increases aerobic performance according to this study and in a further study it showed that it has the ability to reduce a bio marker of inflammation.
Magnesium is a cost effective way to improve sleep and if supplements aren’t what you are interested in, it might be worth trying out magnesium bath salts.
Now for the most controversial addition to my supplement list: CBD oil. To be completely honest, the science out there related to using CBD as a sleeping aid is quite sparse and I mainly rely on anecdotal evidence to vouch for its efficacy. Some studies do suggest that it could be used to treat anxiety and others cite that it might work as a relaxant.
Anecdotally I have heard numerous trusted training partners talk about how CBD has changed their lives and improved the quality of their sleep and it is fair to say that there has not been enough money put into researching CBD to know definitively if it works one way or another.
If you do decide to try CBD oil make sure you choose a reputable brand as there are many new brands putting out subpar products at present.Looking for a cheap gi? Check out our best picks for under 100$.
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