In part three, we’re discussing l-theanine, another “sleep set up” herb much like ashwagandha.
Also known as: the Anti-Jitter Herb, the Great Relaxant, the Anti-Wired Herb, Caffeine’s Best Friend and the Focus herb
Main effects: takes the edge off stimulants, reduces jitter, steadies “nerves”, relaxant without sedation, increases focus, alpha wave brain state
Additional effects: increased sleep quality in stressed individuals, reduced anxiety, reduced hyperactivity, weight loss
Lifestyle considerations: weight training, yoga, meditation, rhythmic breathing, walking (or any cardio), reduction in stimulant use (aka caffeine).
Additional interesting info: found in green tea, why it’s hard to get caffeine jitters from drinking green tea, is synergistic with Ashwagandha
With L-theanine, much like ashwagandha, we’re using it primarily to set the stage for higher quality, deeper sleep. Although both do have their own effects on sleep itself, their major effects come from basically normalizing you from the stresses of the day and reducing any hyperactivity while l-theanine itself “lines up your brain” so that it has an easier time “slipping into sleep”
(also, l-theanine is synergistic with Ashwagandha as far as reducing anxiety)
You’ll find l-theanine naturally in green tea and when paired with caffeine during the day, increases focus and relaxation without sedation, so much like ashwagandha, can be used during the day as well.
The largest physical benefit you’ll see from l-theanine at night is to reduce any “wired” effects from going wide open all day and/or the wired effects of any stimulants taken during the day. It also helps this wired feeling most people get when dieting or in a caloric deficit.
For our purposes of getting into restorative deep sleep…
As you start to fade off into light sleep (stage 1) your brain starts producing more alpha waves. Alpha waves are associated with relaxation. In fact, brain waves from a relaxed and awake stage are extremely similar to brain waves at the beginning of stage one sleep.
L-theanine, when taken, puts the body in this relaxed yet awake stage – which essentially helps “line up your brain” to move into stage one sleep faster. It’s like a “greased slide” moving you from relaxed and awake to relaxed and asleep.
This is called brain entrainment. Maybe you’ve heard of this.
So, after taking l-theanine, within 30 minutes generally, your brain is in the “alpha” state and all it takes to actually get to sleep from this point is your brain starting to produce more and more theta waves…
… which is what 2 of the other ingredients, melatonin and hydroxytryptophan do.
Sounds like crazy science fiction doesn’t it? Lol
In layman’s terms, it’s probably easiest to think of it like this:
L-theanine lines up your brain and puts it at “level 1”, which allows the other sleep inducing ingredients to have less work to do GETTING YOU TO SLEEP (as you can “slip into sleep”) and can use more of their effects GETTING YOU INTO DEEPER SLEEP.
In order to first get to sleep, your body first has to work to shed off the “noise of life”, which takes quite a bit of effort as “noisy life” creates noisy brain waves. However, if we can OVERWRITE the noisy brain waves with alpha brain waves, we are able to slide into the first stage of sleep much quicker.
I’ll admit, explaining all the brainwave stuff is a tad challenging as a surface level intro; however, you can Google around if you’re really interested in way more info on this topic.
And, yes..there’s more to come!