It is self-evident that sleep is important but the cost of sleepless nights goes far beyond feeling grouchy the next day.
Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions, including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – and it shortens your life expectancy.
It is therefore imperative to make sure you get the recommended amount of sleep each night to ensure a long and healthy life.
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If you are suffering from sleep deprivation and are stumped for a solution, research increasingly suggests the answer may lie in making simple lifestyle tweaks.
One simple change you can make is to take supplements, and one supplement that has been touted for its sleep-inducing benefits is glycine.
Glycine is an amino acid that plays an important role in the nervous system, and recent studies show it may also help improve sleep.
While it is not exactly clear how the supplement improves the sleep-cycle, it is thought to act in part by lowering body temperature at bedtime, signalling that it’s time to sleep.
In one study, participants suffering from poor sleep consumed three grams of glycine or a placebo immediately before bedtime.
Those in the glycine group reported feeling less fatigued the next morning. They also said their liveliness, peppiness and clear-headedness were higher the next morning.
Another study investigated the effects of glycine in participants suffering from poor sleep.
Researchers took measurements of their brain waves, heart rate and breathing while they slept.
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Participants who took three grams of glycine before bedtime showed improved objective measures of sleep quality compared to the placebo and glycine supplements also helped participants fall asleep faster.
Glycine can also be found in a number of foods such as bone broth, meat, eggs, poultry, fish, beans, spinach, kale, cabbage and fruits like bananas and kiwis.
One potential explanation lies in glycine’s ability to stimulate and inhibit cells in the brain and central nervous system, affecting cognition, mood, appetite and digestion, immune function, pain perception, and sleep, according to the Sleep Doctor.
Glycine is also involved in the production of other biochemicals that influence these body functions, the website says.
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“In particular, glycine helps the body make serotonin, a hormone and neurotransmitter that has significant effects on sleep and mood,” adds the health body.
Other ways to promote sleep
One simple self-help tip is to keep regular sleeping hours, says the NHS.
This programmes the brain and internal body clock to get used to a set routine.
“Most adults need between six and nine hours of sleep every night. By working out what time you need to wake up, you can set a regular bedtime schedule,” explains the health site.
You should also make sure your bedroom is sleep-friendly to promote a good night’s sleep.
The NHS explains: “Your bedroom should be a relaxing environment. Experts claim there’s a strong association in people’s minds between sleep and the bedroom.”
However, as the health site notes, certain things weaken that association, such as TVs and other electronic gadgets, light, noise, and a bad mattress or bed.
“Keep your bedroom just for sleep and sex (or masturbation). Unlike most vigorous physical activity, sex makes us sleepy. This has evolved in humans over thousands of years,” it advises.
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