When people first get into nootropics, they’re mind immediately searches for substances that improve mental performance right now. Often times, they’re looking for a healthier alternative to, say, Adderall, a cognitive enhancer that may significantly supercharge cognition without risk of abuse and all that.
The main thing is: Nootropic newcomers often look for enhancement supplements, yet they often overlook the importance of recovery supplements.
This is an important distinction as it’s unlikely that much enhancement will happen at all if your daily cognitive levels are well below your usual healthy baseline. If anything, enhancement under these conditions will probably just raise your mental performance to somewhere right below that baseline, which you may otherwise achieve with proper rest.
In other words, what we often overlook as a legitimate mental performance strategy is sleep. Healthy, adequate sleep to rest our tired overworked brains and replenish our depleted muscles.
And so it’s my belief that before looking into the best nootropics for mental performance enhancement, you should first look into the best natural sleep aid supplements for mental relaxation.
You might be surprised by how useful sleep pills are to your daily productivity, especially when you realize exactly how much sleep your brain and body need.
There’s this pernicious myth that to achieve success one needs to postpone sleep. This “sleep when you’re dead” mentality is one often promoted by certain on-brand entrepreneur types, and, to be honest, I think these entrepreneurs recommend sleep deprivation as a means to slow down their would-be competitors.
If I had to guess, these seemingly robotic, never-sleep, never-eat entrepreneur types probably get a fair amount of sleep and eat a fair amount of healthy foods. Even Jeff Bezos, richest guy in the world, admitted to making sleep one of his highest priorities.
Sleep is the key to success. But how much sleep exactly?
By age group, the average amounts of sleep we need are:
Meaning that, for most of us, we need a minimum of seven hours nightly. Anything less than that on a frequent basis may significantly impact our acute performance and long-term health.
A little over a third of the U.S. adult population seems to receive less than seven hours of sleep per night. Roughly 37% of 20-39 year-olds report short sleep duration. For 40-59 year-olds, that number jumps up to 40%.
After one night of poor sleep, we might experience:
Which is all temporarily annoying, easily corrected by a good night’s sleep or two. But ongoing, these temporary setbacks may explode into serious health conditions.
We need sleep to repair muscle tissue, consolidate memory, replenish and restore neurochemical pathways, etc., and so when we fail to sleep, many of our biological structures begin to atrophy and deteriorate.
Metabolic issues arise, weight becomes unmanageable, and chronic stress may lead to adrenal failure. In general, risk of injury and death increases.
This isn’t a fun spot to be in, even if it’s a result of having too much fun – i.e., staying up late partying and drinking. Chronically poor sleep may ironically make it more difficult to fall asleep at night as the correlative rise in stress keeps the mind up at night anxiously worrying.
Poor sleep leads to stress leads to poor sleep, back and forth, back and forth. Sleep aid pills may disrupt this cycle.
If you’re staying up late to party and drink and have a good time, odds are you don’t have any troubles falling asleep. You’re just not going to bed at a decent hour.
In this case, after all those hours of boozing, any additional melatonin would be unnecessary.
Rather it’s when you want to fall asleep but can’t for whatever reason – be it basic stubbornness or too much evening anxiety – that a sleep pills becomes increasingly advantageous.
While some people do have clinical cases of, say, insomnia, which may require hard-hitting sleeping pills as prescribed by a physician, most of us mild insomniacs can achieve better sleep simply by making healthier daily lifestyle decisions (e.g., exercise more, waking up earlier) and supplementing a natural sleep pills.
I’ve found the Performance Lab Sleep pills particularly great at helping me overcome my late-night stubbornness to get my bed in butt and sleeping within minutes. I’ll cover this sleep aid stack in-depth below.
To identify a GOOD sleep supplement from a BAD one, look for the following:
For all supplements, be they sleep aids or fat burners, also look for “proprietary blends,” which obscure the individual ingredient dosages beneath a catch-all dosage.
In simple terms, a proprietary blend is when companies don’t show the individual dosages of each ingredient. Instead, you’ll be provided with an overall amount of all ingredients – which isn’t great.
Avoid proprietary blends. They’re unnecessary and tend to hide ineffective ingredient dosages.
With all of what makes a GOOD sleep pills in mind, let’s now turn to Performance Lab Sleep. It’s our best natural sleep pill this year.
In general, I’m really impressed with the Performance Lab line of supplements: they each deliver all-natural ingredients, supply premium and potent herbal extracts, and they avoid the use of proprietary blends and harsh additives. And Performance Lab Sleep is no exception here.
Occasionally, Performance Lab Sleep is out of stock on the Performance Lab website, which leads me to believe that the secret is out on this formula. It’s truly one of the best when it comes to improving sleep quality without decreasing morning alertness and energy. This is thanks to the stack’s minimally effective dosage design: the formula only supplies a modest amount of melatonin, enough to fall asleep but not so much that you’re left with a soggy, foggy brain in the morning.
To see how this supplement works, let’s dive deeper into the formula to see what its ingredients are up to.
Performance Lab Sleep could get away with supplying only one ingredient – melatonin – and you’d likely achieve better sleep with that one ingredient alone. However, combined with the other two – L-tryptophan and magnesium – Performance Lab’s melatonin content may go even further in helping you sleep better and wake up the next morning in a better mood.
The richest natural source of melatonin: Montmorency tart cherry. And Performance Lab Sleep supplies Montmorency tart cherry in a unique, patented extract form called CherryPURE®, a cherry powder concentrated to a 50:1 potency.
Here’s the deal: prior to sleepy-time, melatonin activity ramps up, allowing the brain to relax and fall asleep, but if you fail to sleep and wake at consistent hours, your brain struggles to consistently release melatonin during bedtime. Which further contributes to an inconsistent sleep-wake cycle.
Supplementary melatonin helps with this by:
No worries about the usual melatonin headache and grog either. This is one of the major perks of Performance Lab’s cherry extracted melatonin, which is cleaner and more reliable than the usual synthetic melatonin found in other sleep pills.
You eat a huge turkey dinner and now you’re sleepy. You know why that is? Rumor has it that its turkey’s high concentration of the amino acid L-tryptophan… however, that’s just a rumor – in fact, it’s the sheer volume of food that’s causing sleepiness. After all, a huge enchilada dinner will likely leave you full and sleepy as well.
But the rumor isn’t without reason: L-tryptophan is a critical amino acid involved in relaxation, sleep, and emotional wellbeing. This is due to L-tryptophan’s involvement in the following neurochemical pathways:
Whereas melatonin is a sleep promoter, L-tryptophan is more a sleep supporter, thanks to the amino’s precursor status to other important sleep-related chemicals. Not to mention the amino’s well-documents effects on mood, which explain why Performance Lab Sleep also leaves the user feeling emotionally ready to go in the morning.
Outside of the nootropic community, magnesium is a widely unappreciated health mineral, especially among sweaty athletes, bodybuilders, exercisers, etc. who fail to realize how much mineral loss comes with sweating.
As a co-factor in hundreds of enzymatic pathways, magnesium is key to maintaining general health and wellbeing. However, where sleep is concerned, supplementary magnesium seems to help improve sleep quality by:
Highly active health enthusiasts who feel drained by the end of the day, yet still cannot fall asleep, may be deficient in magnesium. Supplementing magnesium in an easy-to-absorb, bio-available form, such as Performance Lab’s BioGenesis™ enhanced magnesium, may go a long way in procuring better, deeper sleep.
Many supplements tout having an all-natural formula yet fail to mention the non-vegan additives involved in the capsules containing their formulas. Performance Lab Sleep’s formula is vegan inside and out, thanks to the product’s use of Plantcaps®, a vegan capsule constructed out of fermented tapioca.
All natural, vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, colorant-free – none of the usual junk additives are found in this supplement.
It’s all about authenticity these days. In fact, in the internet age, we seem to be craving authenticity so much these days that we’ve finally gotten past the whole hipster thing, which, as we now know, was an inauthentic form of authenticity. Which is worse than straight-up authenticity.
Hopefully, this means we’ve moved beyond inauthentic (synthetic) melatonin as well.
At the least, Performance Lab Sleep has moved beyond – if not completely around – synthetic melatonin, instead opting for the real stuff: natural melatonin extract from tart cherry. I already mentioned the sleep benefits of this compound, but the particular advantages of this ingredient, Montmorency tart cherry extract, includes the following:
What I’ve noticed with other sleep aid pills that use synthetic melatonin is how they sometimes work, sometimes don’t work, and sometimes give me a headache the next morning. The unpredictability here is itself an unnecessary stressor that, frankly, I don’t need in my life.
Performance Lab Sleep’s natural melatonin helps me sleep with every serving, and I have no fear of a foggy head the next morning. The results are predictably great.
An effective sleep aid pill works immediately after taking the first serving. No need to “pre-load” any of the ingredients or wait for the effects to “build up” before you begin to notice results. Simply pop a serving and – boom – you’re asleep!
This isn’t to say that falling asleep is a 100% for sure thing with a sleep pill. To get the most out of a sleep supplement, I recommend also addressing the following:
On that last point, it’s important to remember that sleep is earned. One of the best ways to get better sleep is to have a reason for better sleep – e.g., muscle repair, recovery, and replenishment.
Combining an active day with a sleep pill works best to maximize your overnight muscle gains and fat loss, resulting in an even greater potential for a more active, energized day tomorrow.
Prior to sleep, of course, or roughly 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. The directions on the label suggest you “Take 2 to 4 capsules, 45-60 minutes before sleep.”
Again, the idea here is to support a healthy, consistent sleep-wake cycle, so ideally you should be taking Performance Lab Sleep around the same time each night you use it. Usually, two capsules work for me, but there have been a few desperate moments where I’ve gone the full four capsules. In either case, I never woke up feeling groggy or tired.
Daily and consistently. Use your first bottle to help settle into a consistent sleep routine.
It’s okay to use this supplement daily, too, as, unlike heavier, prescription-based sleep pills, these pills are non-addictive. So, you won’t feel like you absolutely NEED one to fall asleep after having taken Performance Lab Sleep nightly for, say, 30 consecutive days.
This is one huge advantage of Performance Lab Sleep’s “minimally effective dosage” design, particularly when it comes to its melatonin content.
Another advantage of the “minimally effective dosage” design: low risk of negative ingredient interactions. Performance Lab Sleep is an incredibly safe, well-tolerated sleep aid supplement that shouldn’t cause any concern when it comes to stacking with other health supplements.
In fact, Performance Lab sleep pills all seem to stack well together. If you’re looking to further improve your mental and physical performance, I recommend stacking Performance Lab Sleep with the following:
Cognitive enhancement doesn’t exactly work without a solid cognitive base. The same applies to physical performance enhancement. When you’re running on low fuel and energy, the supplements you’re taking don’t have much to work with that’s even worth enhancing.
To get the most out of my other supplements I’ve turned to Performance Lab Sleep to help refuel and restock my brain and body every night. What I’ve been pleasantly surprised to discover is exactly how great I feel after a night of sleep with this stack.
Deep sleep is incredible. After a night of deep, deep sleep you wake up feeling like you somehow concentrated ten hours’ worth of restoration in only seven to eight hours of sleep. This is how Performance Lab Sleep feels, making it one of my favorite supplements overall.