Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve probably heard of ‘smart drugs’, ‘brain enhancers’ or ‘nootropics’; think of Bradley Cooper in the film Limitless.
"Nootropics are a broad category of cognitive-enhancing supplements which include a range of compounds to improve memory, focus, creativity, and motivation. The rough translation of ‘nootropic’ comes from the Greek for “to bend or shape the mind,” say the experts at BrainExcell.
From Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to competitive athletes, nootropics are hitting the mainstream, but did you know they can also enhance our sleep?
Natalia Bojanic, Mindfulness Expert & Co-Founder of Form Nutrition, said: “Sleeping is an invaluable activity for human beings, owing to its impacts upon our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. This is easily demonstrated in the absence of sleep, at which point mental health issues surface, emotional irritability increases, and the immune system significantly underperforms. Conversely, adequate sleep is attributed with promoting cardiovascular health, lowering blood pressure and balancing insulin levels. It is then no surprise that the World Health Organisation recommends at least 8 hours of sleep each night.”
Natalia believes that popping nootropics could actually help boost sleep and enhance alertness - especially in this horribly muggy weather, naturally.
Natalia maintains that taking a nootropic when you wake up will stop you from feeling exhausted when waking up in the heat.
"form's Boost is a nootropic centred around the innovative and synergistic pairing of Caffeine, perhaps the world’s best-known stimulant, with the calming amino acid L-Theanine. It’s like a strong cup of coffee without the jitters. Interestingly, the combination occurs naturally in matcha green tea so perhaps no surprise that was the drink of the Samurais before battle, she explains.
"Multiple studies have shown this balanced combination can significantly improve attention and alertness and even reduce the negative effects that people intolerant to caffeine can experience such as headaches."
There's also a nootropic designed especially for bedtime, which promises to help you nod off peacefully. "Taking a ZZZZs nootropic sleep supplement before bed can help you drift off," says Natalie. "It contains 5-HTP and the minerals Magnesium and Zinc, both of which are proven to promote deeper, higher quality sleep, as well as calming amino acid to help relaxation and improve sleep quality."
The little-known 5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness. Because of this role in creating serotonin, 5-HTP is also indirectly involved in producing melatonin, a hormone critical for sleep. Melatonin helps the body’s bio clock stay in sync and regulates daily sleep-wake cycles. Regular sleep-wake cycles are the foundation for restful and rejuvenating sleep. Research also suggests that 5-HTP may help shorten sleep onset time and increase sleep duration.