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Old 06-17-2008, 12:40 PM   #1
Greg Battaglia
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Default Black boxing sleep supplements

I've recently become really interested in improving my sleep. As a college student I think I've done very well in terms of getting good sleep, but it's something I still haven't completely mastered. Due to an erratic schedule I decided to black box a few sensible sleep supplements to see if I gain anything from it.

So far, I've used two supplements. Firstly, I just recently tried ZMA and it's a supplement that I plan to take for the rest of my life. It helps me to fall asleep, improves sleep quality (lots of vivid dreams), and has honestly allowed me to work harder more frequently in the gym.

Another I tried is melatonin. This one works excellently for zonking me out and leaving me feeling rested the next day, but something has me weary of taking any synthetic hormones. I suppose that long-term supplementation with any hormone will down-regulate it. With that in mind, I've been reserving melatonin for rare situations where getting sleep is really tough.

The last one I tried is one by Hyland's Homeopathic. The ingredients are as follows:
1x triple strength passion flower
1x double strength avena sativa
1x double strength humulus lupulus
2x chamomile

The first time I used this I took it in conjunction with ZMA and it zonked me right out. At first I felt nothing as I laid in bed, then suddenly after about 15 minutes it hit me and I was out cold. Strangely, every time (twice) I took it after that it seemed to have no additional effects over the ZMA. Anybody know why this happened?

Anyway, I'm thinking about trying some other stuff like valerian, l-theanine, and tyrosine.

Has anyone else tried homeopathic supplements? This one has me the most intrigued.
There are dreams we’re taught are normal, whether it’s money or success or any of those things, but we shouldn’t believe in those things if they are not important to us. There is an ocean between our real lives and what is expected of us.” -Tim Lambesis
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Old 06-19-2008, 03:16 PM   #2
Chris Longley
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There's a bit in Lights Out about sleep supplements - I know they don't recommend Melatonin for the reason you mentioned about down-regulation. Might be worth a read. I haven't got it to hand at the moment so I can't quote anything... I'll try and post something more tomorrow.

ZMA rules. It's one of the mainstays of the supplements I take.
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Old 06-19-2008, 06:03 PM   #3
Mike ODonnell
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Eat some ice cream an hour before bed.....it's the new miracle sleep and fat loss supplement.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:23 PM   #4
Dave Van Skike
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when/why did "black box" become a verb?
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Old 06-19-2008, 10:47 PM   #5
Derek Weaver
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For my money, ZMA is the only one worth it. Aside from sleep I just feel better when taking it.
And if you don't think kettleball squat cleans are difficult, I say, step up to the med-ball
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Old 06-20-2008, 09:13 AM   #6
Garrett Smith
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The homeopathic sleep supplement you mentioned is interesting in that it uses very typical "insomnia" herbs at low dilutions. Those are basically 1:10 dilutions of the initial full-strength herbal preparations.

Here are some links to read about the potencies:
A Homeopathic Mother Tincture is the undiluted liquid extract of the original source. Salts, minerals and other substances that are solid in their natural state do not have mother tinctures. The least diluted form of such a substance would be a 1X dilution in liquid form.
Homeopathic medicine potency in the U.S.A. is described by a two part, number and letter designation. You will see the potencies referred to as, 12X, 6C, 30C, 10M or 6LM. The number part indicates the number of times the source substance has been homeopathically diluted. The Letter portion indicates the dilution rate. X being the roman numeral 10, is the slowest dilution rate of 1/10 and LM is the fastest dilution rate of 1/50,000.
If it works for you, that's great. If not, save it for another time. Simple as that.
Garrett Smith NMD CSCS BS, aka "Dr. G"
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:43 PM   #7
sarena kopciel
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I have been using this product--Nature's Calm (basically a magnesium product recommended by Dr G which comes in several flavors) and also Rescue Sleep! I am so wiped when I get into bed that I am generally asleep quickly!
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Old 06-22-2008, 02:22 AM   #8
Cal Jones
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I tried taking melatonin on to help me sleep through a flight from US to the UK, and not only did it fail to help me sleep but it made me feel groggy and terrible when I arrived. (Melatonin is prescription only in the UK incidentally). Since then I've avoided it, though right now I'm interested in your study as I got back from the US (again) last week and am still trying to cope with jetlag. Right now my body wants to stay awake until 2am, which isn't ideal when I have to get up for work.
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Old 06-22-2008, 07:45 AM   #9
Gittit Shwartz
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I'm usually "wired but tired" at night and have a hard time getting to sleep. I tried all of this stuff recently:
- GABA - no noticable effect.
- valerian - helps me calm down if I'm not too wired.
- Melatonin - nothing, wide awake. I wonder why? The tablets I take have 3 mg.
- ZMA - if I fall asleep within 15 minutes after taking it, sleep is deeper and more refreshing. If I don't, it will keep me awake for hours. It's funny, because I used to swear by ZMA for sleep.
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Old 06-22-2008, 09:12 AM   #10
Garrett Smith
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Maybe we should talk if you're not sleeping well, sounds like high cortisol at night to me...something I wouldn't expect those supps you listed to help with much.
Garrett Smith NMD CSCS BS, aka "Dr. G"
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