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Is L-theanine Good for Sleep?

Tea goes back at least 5,000 years as medicine and more than 1,000 years as a simple beverage. Although tea can have as much or more caffeine than some coffees, it doesn’t have the same “speedy” effect. Relaxation, revitalization, focus.

Is L-theanine in Green Tea?

Tea relaxation energizes without draining, calms without putting to sleep, and motivates without causing a foggy mental state. The reason is its secret ingredient, L-theanine. One of the other effects of tea relaxation is that it leaves people in a better mood. Knowing that L-theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and positively affect brain chemistry, scientists investigated its mood-modulating effects.

What L-THEANINE Does for your Brain

An amino acid found in tea, and in especially high levels in green tea, L-theanine increases alpha wave activity—the kind of brain waves associated with the most relaxed sleep state. This, in turn, increases the production of serotonin, dopamine, and GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), a trio of neurotransmitters that promote relaxed, positive moods.

L-theanine’s effect on the brain can be visualized on an EEG. Brain waves are actually smoothed out—but not flattened out—by supplemental L-theanine. The body is relaxed, the mind is calmed, but no drowsiness occurs. Research shows that L-theanine neutralizes the speedy, jittery, bad effects of caffeine without reducing its mind-energizing, fat-burning features.

What are the causes of Insomnia?

The most common causes of insomnia are psychological: depression, anxiety, and tension. If psychological factors do not seem to be the cause, various foods, drinks, and medications may be responsible. There are numerous compounds in food and drink (most notable caffeine) that can interfere with normal sleep. There are also over three hundred drugs that interfere with normal sleep.

Will L-Theanine help?

L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea. Clinical studies have shown L-theanine to induce a sense of calm in patients with anxiety. At typical dosages, e.g., 100-200 mg L-theanine does not act as a sedative, but could possibly improve sleep quality. Hence it is a good support agent to melatonin and 5-HTP. At higher single dosages, e.g., 400 mg L-theanine might exert sedative action.

Does L-theanine increase sleep quality?

Researchers in Japan found that falling asleep is one thing; staying asleep and getting quality sleep is another. The researchers gave volunteers 200 mg of L-theanine daily and recorded their sleep patterns on devices worn around their wrists. It was documented that sleep quality, recovery from exhaustion, and refreshed feelings were all enhanced by L-theanine. The L-theanine didn’t cause the subjects to sleep longer, but it did cause them to sleep better. Those taking L-theanine felt like they slept longer than they actually did. The results of those studies have led to L-theanine being patented as a mood enhancer. How it works is not completely understood, but one thing researchers have discovered is that L-theanine changes levels of amino acids affecting serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain.

About the Author: Mark Delano is the Managing Editor and handles all day to day operations for He is a personal fitness trainer, nutritionist and avid mountain biker who also enjoys exploring the trails of Arizona. Besides his everyday duties at HealthyMale, Mark is also a guest columnist for several blogs related to men's health.

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