The key to success is consistent sleep, not constant stimulation.
Everyone loves sleeping, but no one enjoys having to go to sleep.
At the waning hours of the day, stubbornness overrides sleepiness as we start racing the sun to get our day’s work done.
After all, there are only so many hours in the day to exercise, eat, work, meditate, socialize, learn French, practice guitar, do cartwheels, and wrestle alligators—and still get enough sleep.
However, the fact remains that failing to achieve adequate sleep per night is one of the most common ways to derail your successful, active lifestyle altogether. Given that you’re here trying to learn more about the most effective natural sleep aid, odds are you’re feeling somewhat strung out and sleep deprived yourself.
Well, you’re not alone.
- In the 2017 National Social Survey in Australia, roughly half (42%) of the study’s 1,265 participants were considered to have suboptimal sleep.
Globally, the widespread problem of sleep deprivation is serious enough to have considerably “serious public health implications,” as described by another group of researchers in 2019, especially given that suboptimal sleep has been linked to 7 of the 15 leading causes of death in the U.S.
For athletes and bodybuilders, getting poor sleep adds another set of problems to the mix, including:
- Poor Energy Metabolism
- Weak Muscle Gains
- Greater Muscle Catabolism (Breakdown)
- Low Mood and Motivation
- Emotional Instability
- Impaired Cognitive and Physical Performance
Failing to get adequate sleep per night accrues a “sleep debt” that gradually weakens our overall fitness and contributes to a low-performance mindset.
Fortunately, there are a few easy ways to get better sleep and optimize your fitness health, one of which includes taking an effective, all-natural sleep supplement. Which is incredibly important since sleep experts as Nick Littlehales mention that sleep is crucial to athletes’ performance and recovery,
In this guide, we cover all the best sleep aids you can buy, including the Best All-in-One Sleep Supplement: Performance Lab® Sleep, a cherry-powered sleep booster that encourages quicker, deeper sleep in service of a brighter, more energized morning.
Here are the full details:
Best Sleep Aid Supplement:
Performance Lab® Sleep
Get the best night’s sleep of your life every night with Performance Lab® Sleep, a natural, cherry-powered sleep booster designed to optimize overnight recovery and repair without compromising your next-morning performance and vitality. Quite the opposite, in fact: Performance Lab® Sleep will leave you feeling more refreshed and energized than ever.
Performance Lab® Sleep works by:
- Supplying natural melatonin to encourage pre-sleep drowsiness minus the next-morning grogginess associated with synthetic melatonin.
- Enhancing overnight cell renewal and joint support with anthocyanin antioxidants, a unique class of compounds that help repair damaged tissues.
- Blocking sleep-disruptive muscle twitches, spasms, aches, and involuntary limb movements with absorbable magnesium forms.
- Stabilizing nighttime circadian rhythm against the unnatural exposure to late-night electronic screens and irregular blue-lighting patterns.
Taken consistently, Performance Lab® Sleep is an incredibly useful tool that athletes, professional and recreational, can use to stabilize their sleep-wake cycle for a healthier, more consistent circadian rhythm.
Performance Lab® Sleep Formula Analysis
- CherryPURE® Whole Montmorency Tart Cherry, 500 mg
- TryptoPure® L-Tryptophan, 250 mg
- Magnesium+ (as Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Taurate, and NutriGenesis® Magnesium), 100 mg
Performance Lab® Sleep stacks all the best over-the-counter sleep aids in an ultramodern NutriCaps® formula designed to promote nighttime recovery and daytime performance.
Getting better sleep with a sleep supplement is actually pretty easy: just load up on a hefty amount of synthetic melatonin and—voila!—you’re now bedtime-ready. For the past few decades, this has been the go-to-strategy for many sleep supplement manufacturers.
Except there’s a problem with this one-dimensional strategy: it improves sleep at the cost of daytime performance.
By only supplying a megadose of synthetic melatonin, these over-the-counter sleep supplements tend to over-sedate and outstay their welcome come morning time, which is why melatonin is often associated with morning grogginess and daytime headaches.
Thankfully, with the standardized concentration of natural melatonin supplied by Performance Lab® Sleep’s CherryPURE®, a far superior sleep aid to synthetic melatonin, you may achieve both deeper sleep and a more energized morning wake-up.
CherryPURE® uniquely benefits bodybuilders and athletes by providing natural melatonin with tart cherry fruit antioxidants that offer additional joint- and muscle-soothing benefits.
Combined with TryptoPure®, a pure L-tryptophan form that promotes sleep- and mood-supportive serotonin activity, and NutriGenesis® Magnesium, a nature-identical trace mineral that helps replenish exercise-related magnesium depletion, CherryPURE®’s melatonin activity effectively lulls the mind asleep for the rest of Performance Lab®’s formula to better mend the body.
THE RESULT: better sleep quality and nighttime regeneration for an all-around boost on exercise recovery, anabolic gains, and performance.
Stack with Performance Lab® SPORT Protein
Supplying the only brown rice protein patented for enhancing athletic performance, Performance Lab® SPORT Protein is the cleanest, greenest, and tastiest (using all-natural flavors, sweeteners, and thickeners) protein powder that money can buy.
Though the Supplement Facts are simple, offering the revolutionary Oryzatein® organic whole brown rice grain protein and Himalayan pink salt, the benefits of SPORT Protein are plentiful:
- Enhanced anabolic muscle and strength gains
- Healthier muscle recovery and nourishment
- Natural appetite control and weight management support
And, yes: better sleep quality
In addition to improved skeletal muscle growth and recovery, the benefits of pre-sleep protein ingestion also include improved sleep quality, as measured by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index.
Taking a protein powder after working out is a common-sense strategy for getting those gains. However, what’s often overlooked are the advantages of taking protein right before sleep.
By stacking Performance Lab® Sleep with SPORT Protein, you may further enhance the overnight recovery benefits of cherry-sourced melatonin and antioxidants with a clean source of plant-based, probiotic-enhanced protein.
Taken post-exercise and pre-sleep, Performance Lab® SPORT Protein may help meet your exercising body’s heightened protein and sleep needs for a more robust boost on muscle growth and exercise performance.
SUPPLEMENT FACTS: Protein (from Oryzatein® – Certified Organic Brown Rice [Oryza sativa] Protein Concentrate), Himalayan Pink Salt, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Phosphorus, Magnesium, Manganese
Get the Best Deal on Performance Lab® SPORT Protein Here.
To learn more about how Performance Lab® Sleep’s formula can help you achieve better, deeper sleep, jump to the 3 Best Sleep Aids for Bodybuilding section below.
Or continue reading to better understanding the importance of sleep to athletic performance, including a few useful tips you can adopt to encourage a healthier, more consistent circadian rhythm.
Always Feeling Tired? Get a (Circadian) Rhythm
On the importance of sleep to an active, healthy lifestyle, Johnny Cash sings, “Get a rhythm when you get the blues.”
Okay, perhaps Cash wasn’t specifically singing about the circadian rhythm, nor necessarily the “blues” in a strictly emotional sense, but, even so, he offers pretty solid health advice here: if you’re always feeling down and tired, odds are your circadian rhythm is off.
But what is the circadian rhythm exactly?
- CIRCADIAN RHYTHM is the body’s internal, physiological processes that regulate the sleep-wake cycle (i.e., when you fall asleep, when you wake up) per every 24-hour span, roughly speaking.
Though anchored by the sleep-wake cycle, the circadian rhythm can refer to physical, mental, and even behavioral changes that follow a daily rhythmic cycle.
Circadian rhythm, sleep, and metabolism are all closely interrelated, so much so that a disruption in the circadian rhythm due to poor and/or inconsistent sleep habits may detrimentally impact your metabolic health, leaving you feeling always tired, always down—like the gravity around your body has been cranked up a few notches.
Because a healthy circadian rhythm consists of a consistent bedtime and wake-up time, one of the easiest ways to derail your circadian rhythm is to not only get a poor amount of sleep but to sleep at an inconsistent hour.
Why are we talking about circadian rhythm? Well, it’s something that a top natural sleep aid should be able to help get back on track; Let’s Visit Asia mention that they use a sleep supplement to “cure” jet lag after flying long distances.
However, before diving into how you may better improve your sleep consistency (and, in turn, your circadian rhythm), let’s first address the more basic how much issue here:
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Too little sleep is no good, but so, too, is getting too much sleep. Really, getting an “optimal” amount of sleep per night requires for you to hit a Goldilocks sleep “sweet spot”—a threshold of sleep duration that varies by age.
According to the National Sleep Foundation in the US, the recommended sleep durations per night adhere to the following age groups:
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5 years): 10-13 hours
- Children (6-13 years): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17 years): 8-10 hours
- Young Adults (18-15 years): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64 years): 7-9 hours
- Older Adults (>65 years): 7-8 hours
Typically, as we age, we require fewer hours of sleep per nights. And, yet, many of us in adulthood fail to get adequate sleep.
For the average adult, anywhere between 7-9 hours of sleep per night is ideal.
Lifestyle Tips on How to Get Better Sleep
Excluding the most obvious tip (which is: get more exercise), the best ways to get better sleep essentially involve adhering to a more consistent sleep-wake schedule and living in a more naturally lit day-and-night environment.
Which all sounds abstractly nice, but here’s how you pursue these goals in more practical terms:
1) Wake Up at the Same Time Every Morning
You can set an alarm clock to wake you up in the morning, but you can’t set an alarm to force you to fall asleep. Just because you’re go to bed doesn’t mean you’re going to immediately fall asleep. This is what makes tirelessly tossing-and-turning at night so frustrating—it’s as if your brain is actively resisting your mind’s plans.
Because the circadian rhythm largely determines when you’re ready to fall asleep, the unpredictability of sleep only worsens when you go to bed at inconsistent hours.
However, by setting a consistent wake-up time in the morning, you can at least establish some consistency around the “wake” portion of your sleep-wake cycle. In general, adopting a morning-type orientation (i.e., becoming a “morning person”) is more conducive to healthy sleep habits than being a supposed “night owl.” While this might mean you have to endure a sleep-deprived day or two, as your brain and body adjusts to this forced wake-up, the gradual consistency of waking up at the same time will leak into a more consistent bedtime—especially if you adopt this next lifestyle tip.
2) Limit Nighttime Exposure to Electronic Screens
In a natural setting, our circadian rhythm is in sync with solar light. When the sun is up, our circadian rhythm prioritizes “wakeful” biological processes. And when the sun goes down, the circadian rhythm triggers the pineal gland’s release of melatonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for our pre-sleep feelings of drowsiness.
Specifically, what the circadian rhythm is responding to in solar light is blue light, a visible light that’s also emitted from our electronic screens—e.g., our TV screens, computer screens, phones, tablets, etc.
You see where we’re going here.
Because we’re often staring at our TVs and phones in the evening, even while we’re in bed scrolling through our Instagram and Twitter feeds, the unnatural evening exposure to non-solar blue light blocks the brain’s natural secretion of melatonin. Not to mention that excess blue exposure prevents the brain from fully falling asleep, even while your body falls asleep, and can induce significant photoreceptor (eye) damage.
SWITCH TO WARM LIGHT: Fortunately, many phones and tablets do offer a timed “warm” light setting that lowers your screen’s blue-to-warm light ratio, emitting a more sleep-friendly amber-like glow. If you really want to limit your blue-light exposure, without having to sacrifice your screen-time, you can even wear amber lenses at night, which tend to be affordable and effective at filtering blue light. Even clinical research suggests that “Amber lenses represent a safe, affordable, and easily implemented therapeutic intervention for insomnia symptoms.”
3) Take a Natural Sleep Supplement
Wake up at the same time every morning, limit your nighttime exposure to electronic screens—both of these tips assist with establishing a more concrete sleep-wake cycle, with the former addressing the “wake” portion and the latter addressing the “sleep” portion (as well as the ocular aspect of health and fitness, considering blue light’s depredatory effects on vision).
But if you’re looking for a more powerful approach to getting better sleep, one that may help you get better sleep tonight at no cost to tomorrow’s performance and productivity levels, consider adding a natural sleep supplement to your daily supplement stack.
No doubt, limiting your exposure to blue light is easier said than done. This may even seem nigh-on impossible if you’re living with roommates or a significant other—or with anyone really. Given how much of our culture is now channeled through the electronically lit portals in our living rooms, to totally avoid blue light is a daunting task.
However, a natural sleep aid, ideally one that supplies natural melatonin at a minimally effective dose, may help replenish your brain’s sleepy-time neurochemicals with predictable timing. Though we can’t set a “bedtime alarm clock” in the same way we can set an alarm in the morning to wake us up, we can reliably encourage our brains and bodies to fall asleep on schedule with the use of a natural sleep aid supplement.
The 3 Best Sleep Aids for Bodybuilding
Melatonin takes the cake, as far as the best sleep aids go. However, you don’t want just any ol’ melatonin—nor do you want any ol’ sleep supplement that only supplies melatonin, especially synthetic melatonin.
With that in mind, here are the 3 Best Sleep Aids used by Performance Lab® Sleep, the best all-in-one sleep stack, to support bodybuilding and athletic health. Enjoy.
#1) Montmorency Tart Cherries
Montmorency tart cherry is the richest source of natural melatonin, as well as anthocyanin antioxidants, making this cherry a far superior choice over synthetic melatonin.
Tart cherry juice is often recommended for a number of health benefits, such as:
- Lower oxidative stress (free radicals)
- Reduced joint pain and inflammation
- Increased neuroprotection
- Stronger immune system
- Modest reductions in blood pressure
And more. However, some of the most exciting benefits of drinking tart cherry juice come as indirect advantages of the cherry’s melatonin-related bio-benefits.
Melatonin naturally regulates the circadian rhythm and encourages pre-sleep drowsiness in service of a consistent, healthy sleep schedule.
As such, Montmorency tart cherry melatonin supports sleep quality and all-around healthier sleep patterns by:[12,13]
- Promoting the sleep-related biological processes otherwise triggered by nighttime darkness to induce quicker, smoother sleep onset.
- Combatting the disruptions in melatonin activity attributed to excess exposure to electronic-emitted blue light in the evening.
- Stabilizing the circadian rhythm around a more controllable, consistent, and predictable nighttime sleep schedule.
Simply put, melatonin works.
However, it works best when delivered in a natural format, such as a tart cherry extract, at a minimally effective dosage. This is where a lot of melatonin supplements screw up. Not only do they use inferior, synthetic forms of melatonin that tend to vary in potency and bioavailability, but they also supply way too much melatonin—typically dosing their melatonin at 3 mg or more.
According to research performed by a group of MIT researchers, the optimal melatonin dosage is much more modest: 0.3 mg, a small amount that helps with sleep onset without disrupting daytime performance. Even in terms of sleep quality, 0.3 mg was found to be more effective than the brain-bludgeoning dose of 3 mg.
What’s more, tart cherry’s anthocyanin content provides additional strength and joint support to high-intensity resistance training athletes.
In a 2014 study performed at Texas A&M University, a group of researchers observed the effects of tart cherry supplementation on muscle catabolism (breakdown) and soreness following intense lower body resistance exercise (i.e., back squats). The results demonstrated significant improvements in pain perception and antioxidant response, suggesting that “supplementation with a powdered tart cherry product surrounding an intense resistance event reduces pain perception in addition to hepatic and catabolic stress in the post-exercise period.”
Best Montmorency Tart Cherries for Sleep: CherryPURE®
CherryPURE® is a freeze-dried Montmorency tart cherry powder extract concentrated into a powerful 50:1 standardized extract. As one of the most effective herbal supplements for sleep quality, muscle recovery, and anabolic growth, CherryPURE® is much more than a sleep supplement, amounting to something more like an overnight performance enhancer. Packed with natural melatonin and anthocyanin antioxidants, CherryPURE® is a safe, healthy, and effective tool for achieving faster, deeper sleep without any habit-forming side effects or next-morning grogginess.
A serotonergic precursor to the neurotransmitter 5-HTP, L-tryptophan is an effective sleep booster against the insomniac effects of stress and mood imbalance.
Stress isn’t only a mind and muscle killer but also a sleep killer. What’s worse, sleep deprivation contributes to excess stress levels, which in turn further promote poor sleep quality, resulting in a downward stress-sleep cycle that can bottom out with a severe metabolic shutdown, sort of like going bankrupt on your “sleep debt.”
Fortunately, L-tryptophan may help combat the sleep-disruptive effects of stress. As an amino acid involved in the serotonergic pathway, L-tryptophan contributes to the bio-activities of:
- Serotonin – by first converting into 5-HTP, which then in turn converts into serotonin, the well-known neurochemical associated with positive mood, impulse control, relaxation, emotional wellbeing, and healthy sleep.
- Melatonin – in the gut, L-tryptophan converts into melatonin while also promoting the pineal gland’s natural production and secretion of melatonin.
The L-Tryptophan Pathway: L-Tryptophan à 5-HTP à Serotonin à Melatonin; a sequence of conversions that overall contribute to better mood and sleep.
In addition to promoting sleep quality, L-tryptophan’s serotonergic benefits also seem to promote physical performance in a combination of aerobic and anaerobic exercise.
As group of researchers from the University of Barcelona, Spain observed in a 2010 study on the effects of L-tryptophan supplementation on team sport-like exercise, L-tryptophan seemed to improve various measures of power output. The researcher’s conclusion: “in some types of exercises, modification of the serotonergic system may improve physical performance.”
Taken as a sleep aid, L-tryptophan benefits both nighttime sleep quality and daytime performance.
Best L-Tryptophan for Sleep: TryptoPure®
Manufactured by Ajinomoto®, a world leader in amino acid supplementation, TryptoPure® is a purified L-tryptophan form made using Ferment-A-Pure, a patented, eco-friendly fermentation process that converts non-GMO, gluten-free vegetable carbohydrates into clean amino acids. As a 99% pure, highly bioavailable form of L-tryptophan, TryptoPure® is an excellent choice for supporting sleep and exercise performance.
Involved in over 300 vital bio-pathways, magnesium is a key mineral required to block over-excited neural and neuromuscular activities during sleep.
Though generally common, magnesium-deficiency is particular problem among mineral-sweating athletes. If you’re doing the whole exercise thing correctly, you’re sweating—and if you’re sweating, you’re depleting your trace minerals, such as magnesium.
This is why post-exercise rehydration involves not only replenishing your water levels but also your electrolyte (trace mineral) levels, which help the body sustain water.
However, with magnesium deficiency, the problems extend beyond dehydration into noticeable issues in sleep quality and neuromuscular relaxation.
In the neuromuscular junction, the point at which nervous tissue meets muscle tissue, magnesium helps calm excitable nerve impulses to block muscle spasms and involuntary twitches.
Due to magnesium’s importance to muscle relaxation, magnesium deficiency has been associated with poor sleep and frequent nighttime awakenings.
Conversely, magnesium supplementation has been associated with improvements in sleep efficiency, sleep duration, and sleep onset, as well as insomnia and early morning awakening. With that in mind, increasing your magnesium intake may help:
- Reduce sleep-disruptive muscle spasms, cramps, and twitches
- Relax vascular smooth muscle for a pre-sleep blood pressure drop
- Calm overexcited neuronal activity in the brain
And even optimize free and total testosterone levels, as shown in a study on 4-week magnesium supplementation among tae kwon do athletes. For these reasons, Magnesium is also considered to be in the Best Vegan Multivitamin UK.
As part of the famous ZMA (Zinc + Magnesium + B6) sports nutrition trio, magnesium is a key mineral for improving sleep quality and athletic performance. Supplementing magnesium is a smart move, considering the low absorption rates of many dietary magnesium forms.
Best Magnesium for Sleep: NutriGenesis® Magnesium
To counteract the poor absorption rates of inferior magnesium forms, NutriGenesis® Magnesium is complexed with natural cofactors, such as probiotics, fibers, enzymes, and more, that assist with the bioavailability of this sleep-supportive mineral. Supplied in a clean, vegan, eco-friendly ingredient form, NutriGenesis® Magnesium has been bioengineered to maximize absorption and bioavailability, giving you the most bang for your buck in terms of dosage requirement.
Performance Lab® Sleep Supplies an All-in-One Stack of the Best Sleep Aids
Lifting heavy weights, running long distances, sprinting at record speeds—the “exercise” components of a healthy, active lifestyle often get the most attention, as they are the sexiest and most exciting aspects of health and fitness. However, what’s often overlooked are the equally important “sleep” and “recovery” components of a healthy, active lifestyle.
In other words, the necessary inactive aspects of health and fitness.
In our go-go world of faster speed internet, faster technological progress, faster transportation, etc., the value of rest—of sitting still for one damn, anxiety-free moment—is at an all-time high. And, fortunately, with a sleep aid stack like Performance Lab® Sleep, the opportunity to sit still for one damn moment every night is now available to you.
Funny enough, with the nighttime benefits of this sleep- and recovery-boosting formula, you may actually go farther and faster in your daytime work than ever before. It’s all about balance here: work hard, play hard, sleep hard.
If you feel your day-and-night cycle is out of balance, take Performance Lab® Sleep to get back into a healthy circadian rhythm and back into the game.
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