If you care about your health, your looks, and mental well being, then it's imperative that you get proper sleep. You need more than just being in bed; you need proper sleep. That's where Alpha PM will help:
- Fast Acting - Sleep Better Than Ever Your First Night
- Burn Fat While You Sleep
- Wake Up Feeling Energized
- Support Muscle Growth
It is recommended that adults get 7-8 hours of sleep a night and ignoring your body’s natural need for sleep could be seriously limiting your progress.
Breaking Down Sleep
Sleep is not just "sleep." Sleep researchers divide into two types of sleep: REM sleep (when dreams occur) and NREM sleep (non-REM).
NREM sleep is further divided into the following stages:
- Stage 1 makes up just 5-10% of your sleep and is referred to as “light sleep.” In this stage, you remain semi-conscious and are in between wakefulness and sleep. Your brain waves begin to elongate from “alpha” to “theta” waves.
- Stage 2 is the bulk of your sleep and composes up to 55% of your sleep cycle. In this stage you are fully asleep and your brain waves slow down even more.
- Stage 3 is the deepest sleep state you enter during rest and is marked by very elongated brain waves and slowed brain activity. This is why it is also called “short wave sleep,” or SWS. Slow wave sleep makes up just 15-25% of your sleep but, as you’ll learn later, is arguably the most important sleep state for your body composition because most of the restorative benefits of sleep occur in this cycle.
- REM, or Rapid Eye Movement, is the sleep state in which dreams occur. It’s a very distinct stage of sleep from the other three in that brain activity becomes much more active than in the other sleep stages, but the body experiences full paralysis.
You pass through these sleep stages every 90 minutes in a 1 -> 2 -> 3 -> 2 -> REM sequence. If you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep each night, you should be experiencing 4-5 cycles.
Going through a complete sleep cycle ensures that you will pass through Stage 3 sleep, which has a significant affect on your body composition.
Sleep and Muscle Development
Sleep directly affects hormones in your body that contribute to both muscle growth and muscle loss. A recent paper published in Medical Hypotheses groups these hormones into two categories: anabolic hormones (the hormones that promote muscle growth) and catabolic hormones (the hormones that can contribute to muscle loss). Sleep has a profound impact on both of these hormones groups.
ENCOURAGING MUSCLE GROWTH
If you’re trying to increase muscle mass, one of the most important naturally-occurring anabolic hormones available to you is Growth Hormone (GH). Growth hormone, as its name implies, is the hormone that directly contributes to muscle growth. And, as it turns out, the release of GH is tightly linked with sleep.
Remember the stages of sleep, and how Stage 3/SWS was supposed to be important? Research published in The Journal of Pediatrics has shown that 70% of GH is secreted during Stage 3 sleep, and that the total amount of GH released in your body is directly correlated with how much Stage 3 sleep you get.
Also, recall that in each 90-minute sleep cycle, Stage 3 only occurs once. In order to go through 5 complete sleep cycles (and 5 periods of SWS), you would need to be asleep for approximately 7 ½ hours. Any less than that, and you risk not going through a complete sleep cycle, missing out on SWS and having less GH released.
Additionally, a second hormone, testosterone, is also significantly affected by sleep and sleep loss. Testosterone is linked with muscle development and although men naturally produce more testosterone than women, both sexes increase their testosterone production when they exercise. This testosterone boost is needed to encourage muscle development.
Just like with Growth Hormone, testosterone secretion has been linked with SWS. A recent (2015) study found that sleeping around 5 hours or less caused a reduction in testosterone in healthy men of 10-15%.
In sum, a lack of sleep can potentially reduce hormones that contribute to muscle development, inhibiting these changes in body composition. Furthermore, muscles can be affected not only by decreases in muscle-producing hormones, but increases in ones that do the opposite.
STOPPING MUSCLE GROWTH
Sleep, and the lack of sleep, also has a significant effect on the second group of hormones, the catabolic hormones, and specifically a hormone called cortisol.
Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. It’s designed to break down tissue – including muscle tissue – for the purpose of giving the body energy it needs to deal with whatever stressful situation your body has to deal with.
As it turns out, sleep can have an effect on cortisol secretion as well, but if your goal is to increase your muscle mass, it’s not a positive one.
Research has shown that during both restricted sleep and complete sleep deprivation, cortisol levels were elevated the following evening by 37-45%, potentially “accelerat[ing] the development of metabolic and cognitive consequences of glucocorticoid excess.”
In plain speech, because cortisol has a catabolic (muscle-reducing) effect, increased cortisol levels due to lack of sleep can threaten your muscle development. Once you add in the reduced GH and testosterone levels produced by lack of sleep, the overall effect of not sleeping enough can seriously hamper your efforts to gain muscle and increase your Lean Body Mass.
Sleep and Fat Loss
The second component to body composition change - losing fat mass - is also strongly linked to sleep.
Losing fat requires the body to be in a caloric deficit, which means using more energy than your body takes in. This can be accomplished by restricting calories through diet and/or increasing calories used though exercise, and most people usually typically use some combination of the two.
This is sometimes referred to as “calories in/calories out.” Although there are a number of different factors that can affect your ability to accurately keep track of calories going in and out, fundamentally, the basic principle of being in a caloric deficit is sound science and has been shown to be effective in countless weight loss studies time and again.
A lack of sleep makes it harder to lose fat
Irregular sleep throws off your ghrelin/leptin cycles, making you feel hungrier
Sleeping less has been linked to eating more snacks than you would normally, increasing your energy intake
Sleeping less can cause reductions in your Basal Metabolic Rate by as much as 20%, significantly reducing your total energy output
Being tired also reduces spontaneous movements, further reducing your total energy output.
If you’re trying to go through a fitness journey and change your body composition, sufficient sleep is key. Although many people have lifestyles that make getting sufficient sleep difficult, any positive changes you can make to get more sleep is going to have positive changes on your efforts to change your body composition.
Bottom line: when you're trying to make changes in your health and fitness, get the Alpha PM kind of sleep!
L-Theanine is a psychoactive compound, which simply means it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and interact with the chemical mechanisms behind our thoughts and nervous system directly.
Once it enters the body, L-Theanine gets to work by stimulating the production of GABA, a key inhibitory neurotransmitter, responsible for “quieting down” the over-firing processes of neurons and receptors. Much research has already been done connecting GABA to the proper regulation of sleep and wake cycles.
L-Theanine is also known to generate and regulate alpha waves in the brain. Unlike beta waves, these electrical impulses occur in the mind during times of deep relaxation. They also are present at times of intense creativity, which might partially explain why we often get very creative ideas just as we are falling asleep at night.
By increasing alpha wave activity, L-Theanine works to control hyper beta waves which might be keeping us awake and alert when we just want to rest. For this reason, L-Theanine is often included in natural products which seek to boost alpha waves, like Alpha Brain.
Magnesium (oxide / citrate)
Magnesium provides a calming effect that allows for deeper relaxation and better sleep. Magnesium is considered the “antistress” mineral. It is a natural tranquilizer which functions to relax skeletal muscles as well as the smooth muscles of blood vessels and the gastrointestinal tract.
GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)
amma aminobutyric acid (GABA), an amino acid, is the major inhibitory neurotransmitter in your central nervous system (CNS). That is, your body uses GABA to dampen nerve activity in your brain, which leads to feelings of calm and relaxation.
Many anti-anxiety medications and sleeping pills, including alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium), work by increasing the amount of GABA in your brain. Some natural sedative herbs, such as valerian, also work by increasing GABA.
In the U.S., millions of Americans struggle to fall asleep each night, including about 10 percent who suffer from chronic insomnia. This latter condition involves difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, as well as waking up too early in the morning.
It’s thought that maintaining optimal GABA levels may be imperative for restful sleep and avoiding insomnia.
GABA Is Essential for Deep Sleep
In a healthy night’s sleep, you should progress through the following sleep stages (though not necessarily in this order):
- Stage One, when you’re preparing to drift off
- Stage Two, during which your brainwave activity becomes rapid and rhythmic while your body temperature drops and heart rate slows
- Stage Three, when deep slow brain waves emerge (this is a transition from light sleep to deep sleep)
- Stage Four, also known as delta sleep, this is a deep sleep stage
- Stage Five, or rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, is when most dreaming occurs
Stages three and four, including slow-wave sleep (also known as deep sleep), are incredibly important. Slow-wave sleep is a sleep stage associated with reduced levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) and reduced inflammation.
Deep sleep plays a very special role in strengthening immunological memories of previously encountered pathogens in a way similar to psychological long-term memory retention.
This means when you’re well rested with sufficient deep sleep, your immune system is able to mount a much faster and more effective response when an antigen is encountered a second time. The activation of GABA receptors (specifically GABA-A receptor) is known to favor sleep.
On the other hand, low levels of GABA are known to interfere with deep sleep,such that people with low levels may wake easily and often throughout the night, missing out on meaningful amounts of this crucial slow-wave sleep.
Insomniacs May Have Lower Levels of GABA
One reason why people with insomnia struggle to fall asleep may be low GABA levels. Research published in the journal Sleep found average brain GABA levels were nearly 30 percent lower in people with primary insomnia compared to controls.
People with lower levels of GABA were also more likely to wake after falling asleep. According to the researchers, “Our study provides the first evidence of a neurochemical difference in the brains of those with PI [primary insomnia] compared to normal sleeping controls.”
Other research has also shown favorable results using GABA supplementation. In one study, an amino acid preparation containing both GABA and 5-HTP, which your body produces from the amino acid tryptophan, reduced time to fall asleep, increased the duration of sleep and improved sleep quality.
Another study, this one published in 2016, also found sleep-promoting benefits from a combination of GABA and 5-HTP, including improving the time to fall asleep, sleep duration and sleep quality.
The chemical 5-HTP works in your brain and central nervous system by promoting the production of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and thereby may help boost mood and enhance sleep. It seems to work in harmony with GABA.
Natural GABA Improves Sleep
There are different types of GABA in supplement form, including a synthetic variety produced from the industrial solvent pyrrolidinone and other chemicals and a natural form made via fermentation with Lactobacillus hilgardi, a beneficial bacteria also used to make the traditional Korean vegetable dish kimchi.
Recent research showed the natural GABA had various sleep-improving effects. The researchers measured brain waves using electroencephalography (EEG) after participants took 100 milligrams (mg) of natural GABA or placebo.
Those who took GABA fell asleep faster and had longer quality sleep time. They also reported feeling more energized in the morning.
A 2015 study also found GABA produced by fermentation shortened the time it took to fall asleep and also increased non-REM sleep time by 5 percent when taken in combination with Apocynum venetum leaf extract (AVLE).
Can You Increase Your GABA Levels Via Your Diet?
While foods don’t contain GABA, many do contain glutamate/glutamic acid. Your body produces GABA from glutamate, so eating foods rich in this substance may help to optimize your GABA levels.
Foods naturally high in glutamate/glutamic acid include protein-rich, grass-fed meat, pastured eggs and poultry, raw grass-fed cheese and wild-caught fish, along with sea vegetables, ripe tomatoes and mushrooms.
In addition, foods like fermented vegetables and kefir are rich in beneficial bacteria that have a marked impact on your GABA levels.
For instance, the probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus was found to have a marked effect on GABA levels in certain brain regions and lowered the stress-induced hormone corticosterone, resulting in reduced anxiety- and depression-related behavior.
A deficiency in vitamin B6 can lead to diminished GABA synthesis, so be sure your diet includes B6-rich foods such as wild-caught Alaskan salmon, organic grass-fed beef and pastured chicken and chickpeas.
Drinking green tea is another option, as it contains L-theanine, an amino acid that crosses your blood-brain barrier and has psychoactive properties.
Theanine increases levels of GABA (along with serotonin, dopamine and alpha brainwave activity) and may reduce mental and physical stress and produce feelings of relaxation. Oolong tea is also known for its ability to increase GABA.
Beyond diet, exercise is also important. Regular exercise is one of the best cures for insomnia, and one reason why this may be is because it increases GABA. In one study, when animals exercised their brains contained new neurons designed to release GABA.
Phellodendron Root Powder
Phellodendron is used for osteoarthritis, weight loss and obesity, diarrhea, ulcers in the stomach or upper part of the small intestine (peptic ulcers), diabetes, meningitis, pneumonia, eye infections, tuberculosis, and cirrhosis of the liver.
Some people apply phellodendron to the skin for psoriasis, to kill germs, and to reduce redness and swelling.
The secret to how Phellodendron works is that it contains certain chemicals (some unique) that have holistic and medical benefits. One of them, berberine has been shown to lower blood sugar and bad cholesterol, as well as protect the liver from toxicity.
Palmatine, another chemical found in phellodendron, has been shown to reduce Candida growth; in fact, the unique phytonutrients it contains have natural anti-depressant and emotional well being properties. This makes phellodendron useful to take before bed to calm the mind and block out negative thoughts.
Mucuna Pruriens (15%extract) (seed)
Mucuna Pruriens is a natural plant extract that contains L-Dopa which can increase dopamine levels in the brain.
One of the most noticeable mucuna pruriens benefits is improved mood and more motivation. A Mucuna pruriens extract is found in Mucuna L-Dopa 20% from Keter Wellness, an all-natural dietary supplement for improved mental function. Many people refer to velvet bean as the mucuna pruriens depression defender. The ldopa found in the extracts of mucuna is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and convert into dopamine. Dopamine is the “feel good” hormone that we need in order to fight depression and nerve damage.
5-HTP (5 Hydroxytryptophan)
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a naturally occurring substance that comes from the seed pods of Griffonia simplicifolia. In humans, 5-HTP converts directly into serotonin in the brain and has been shown to help with mood, anxiety, and weight loss. Compared to tryptophan, a commonly used supplement to boost serotonin levels, 5-HTP has an increased absorption rate and can cross the blood-brain barrier with great ease.
This supplement comes with a caveat: If you're taking an antidepressant, using 5-HTP at the same time is not a good idea, so talk to your doctor before proceeding. But if you're someone looking to stick to a dietary plan—particularly a low-carb one—this supplement could help.
More Than A Mood Booster
While the benefits of 5-HTP on mood have been well-documented, most people are unaware of the role 5-HTP has on appetite regulation and weight loss.
One landmark study out of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition had 20 obese participants supplement with 900 milligrams of 5-HTP or a placebo daily for 12 weeks.2 For the first six weeks, no dietary guidelines were given, but the subjects kept records of what they ate. During the second half, participants were asked to reduce their calorie intake to just 1200 a day—a level typical of what we could consider "extreme" dieting.
During the first weeks, participants taking 5-HTP voluntarily reduced their calorie intake by a whopping average of 1,347 calories (from 3,233 calories to 1,886). Those given the placebo observed no change in food intake. When asked—but not required—to drop calories during weeks 7-12, the 5-HTP group was able to drop down to 1,276 calories—a further decrease of 610 calories—despite the already large drop seen in the first six weeks. The drop in calories led to a significant decrease in body weight only observed in the 5-HTP group.
What Exactly Is Melatonin? ///
Melatonin is the all-natural nightcap. It's secreted by the pineal gland, a pea-size structure at the center of the brain, as our eyes register the fall of darkness. At night, melatonin is produced to help our bodies regulate our sleep-wake cycles. The amount of melatonin produced by our body seems to lessen as we get older. Scientists believe this may be why young people have less problem sleeping than older people.
Why Take It? ///
Studies suggest that low-dose supplements can hasten sleep and ease jet lag, without the hazards or side effects of prescription sleeping pills. Melatonin may have many other uses and has been reported to make people feel better, strengthen the immune system, and reduce free radicals in the body.
Current research is underway to determine melatonin's effect as an anti-oxidant, immune-modulator in cancer, delayed sleep-phase disorders, and jet lag. Tests are still under way so there is much to still be learned about melatonin and its effects on the human body.
Who Benefits the Most? ///
Travelers and people suffering from mild sleep disorders. According to Newsweek, a typical comment from discussion groups on the Internet is, "Folks, I've tried melatonin and it's great. It has ... restored my sleep cycle, given me lots of energy."
As a dietary supplement take 1 capsule before bed with 8oz of water. Read warnings and use only as directed.