Most patients suffering from sleeplessness or insomnia are often recommended to consume black or green tea by the doctors. Basically, green tea and black teas are a lower-caffeine alternative to coffee, and they have a calming effect on the brain. No matter what time of day it is, drinking a cup of tea can be relaxing and soothing. In addition to the soothing qualities, green and black tea also contains some compounds that provide you with great health benefits.
One of those compounds is L-theanine. It’s a compound that crosses the blood-brain barrier very easily and helps in improving the cognitive abilities of the brain. While it is found abundantly in green tea leaves, today you can get L-theanine in supplement form that can help you relax, focus, sleep better. Let’s take a deeper look at L theanine sleep boosting abilities.
What is L-theanine?
L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in tea leaves. Discovered by Japanese scientists in 1949, it is a compound that is very good for the overall growth and development of the human brain. While it is abundantly available in tea, there are certain types of mushrooms that contain this compound as well. Interestingly, L-theanine is the main reason behind umami- the savory and unique taste that green tea has.
How L-theanine works
L-theanine provides relaxation and helps you sleep better by contributing to a number of factors in the brain. Here are those factors:
It boosts GABA levels and other brain calming chemicals – L-theanine helps in elevating the levels of GABA, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain. All these chemicals are neurotransmitters that work to regulate your mood, emotions, alertness, concentration, and sleep as well. Increased levels of these chemicals in the brain makes sure that you relax that helps you sleep better.
L-theanine lowers the levels of excitatory brain chemicals – It’s proven that L-theanine helps in lowering the levels of the excitatory chemicals in the brain. This, in turn, increases the chemicals that promote relaxation and calmness. This is how L-theanine also protects your brain from stress, anxiety, and age-related brain diseases.
It enhances the alpha brain waves – Alpha brain waves are associated with a state of the brain that is known as wakeful relaxation. It’s a state of mind that you experience while meditating, daydreaming, or being creative. L-theanine is seen to trigger the release of these alpha waves that enhance your focus, make your more relaxed, and make you more creative as well.
Benefits of L-theanine:
L-theanine’s ability to lower the stress levels and increase relaxations help you to sleep better. Thanks to the relaxation boost it delivers, people consuming it fall asleep quickly and easily. Studies also state that consuming L-theanine also improves the quality of sleep and that too without acting as a sedative. Also, it also lowers your anxiety levels and promotes relaxation. There is evidence that L-theanine promotes and improves the quality of sleep in children with ADHD. The best part about this is, it does not contain any side effects.
Reduced stress and anxiety
L-theanine is also known as anxiolytic – something that works to reduce anxiety. It promotes stress reduction and relaxation without having any sedative effects on your body, which makes it a great supplement. L-theanine is studied to have positive effects on both mental and physical symptoms of stress, including lowering blood pressure and heart rate.
Enhanced cognitive abilities
If stressed, your body tends to increase the production of certain hormones, like corticosterone and cortisol. These hormones interfere with brain functions and inhibit brain activity, including spatial learning and memory formation. L-theanine helps in lowering the levels of these hormones produces during stress, therefore avoiding the decline in learning and memory. L-theanine is also researched to increase the reaction time and attention span in people who are prone to anxiety.