How to get more quality sleep

better sleep strategies

January 20, 2021

There’s a sleep crisis in North America. Dr Oz agrees: We all need more of it. 

In their popular new Brainspanners video series on Facebook, functional medicine expert Bryce Wylde teams with holistic nutritionist Andrea Donsky to discuss hot health topics. An episode all about sleep, including an interview with Mehmet Oz, MD, revealed what things interrupt sleep and what nutrients help to improve it. 

Wylde discusses the pros and cons of using melatonin, as well as L-tryptophan and vitamin B12 to improve sleep. He also dispels some common myths. You may be surprised to learn, for example, that melatonin cannot be used as a jet lag remedy to take before boarding a flight. 

Donsky and Wylde agreed that one of their favorite supplements is theanine. “What you want to look for on a supplement bottle is called Suntheanine,” says Wylde, explaining that Suntheanine is an ingredient found in many different dietary supplement brands. 

Why is L-theanine good for sleep? Much as meditation, theanine induces the brain’s alpha waves. “Your brain loves to be on the alpha wave. It’s sort of that zen moment before you actually fall off into sleep,” explains Wylde. “It’s inducing a relaxed sense of focus and concentration but it’s non-sedating.” 

He adds, “I say it has to be Suntheanine because the makers of Suntheanine have perfected a fermentation process by which pure theanine is extracted.” As a healthcare professional, he also cares about the science backing its safety and effectiveness. “There are more than 90 clinical trials done on Suntheanine showing that it induces attention, alertness, focus, concentration.” Suntheanine has also been shown to improve the sleep in people diagnosed with ADHD

Wylde commented: “Basically what’s happening is that you’re lulling the body into a state of relaxation. So of course, at nighttime you are more able to sleep. I actually prefer Suntheanine over melatonin if I’m traveling to another time zone. This is something that will enhance overall sleep quality. That’s what we need more of, not just more hours clocked on the pillow.” 

Donsky agrees that Suntheanine is “hands down one of the best-kept secrets for improving sleep quality.” Because Suntheanine is non-sedating, you can take it during the day. The optimal dose is around 50 to 150 mg/day. 

Meet the Experts

  • Derek Timm, PhD, RDN

    Derek Timm, PhD, RDN is more than your typical nutrition expert. In addition to being a registered dietitian nutritionist, Timm has earned a PhD in nutrition science. He is also a Monash University FODMAP-trained dietitian with expertise in how a high FODMAP diet impacts the symptoms of IBS.


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