Falling Asleep with Melatonin Supplements

sleepingBack in high school, I used to lie in bed every night until 1 or 2 in the morning, which would result in a long day and daily after school naps. My mind is always racing in the evenings (as I would consider myself a night person), and it’s always a challenge to fall asleep. My first solution was to listen to music, but that just made things worse, as it got me excited and more awake.

When I moved to college, I was having the same problems, but I found that whenever I left my laptop on streaming South Park or some other cartoon, I would fall asleep usually before the episode’s end. This has always been my method for sleeping (I still stream TV on my computer every night), but I still have nights when I’m too wired to even try to go to bed.

Sleep Better Naturally

When I started experimenting with supplements, I found out about all the different things that people take to fall asleep. I don’t have crazy sleeping problems (if you do, you should probably see a doctor instead of trying to self-medicate) so I wanted to stay away from some of the shadier products. Even commercials of couples being able to finally “sleep like a baby” scared me. The idea of taking some foreign substance to fall asleep is a weird thing. That’s until I discovered Melatonin and all of its benefits.

Melatonin

Melatonin is naturally-occurring in the brain, which is always a good thing. It’s what our brain produces/releases when we start to feel tired (as part of our sleep cycle). When I found out melatonin exists in pill form, I bought some to try. Every time I take a pill (5mg), I know that I’ll likely be in bed within the next half-hour. As long as I don’t go for a jog or wash my face, the drowsiness will overcome and dominate me, putting me into a gentle sleep.

Melatonin Dosage

One curious thing about melatonin from what I’ve learned is that less is more. I was reading a lucid-dreaming forum the other day, and someone stated they took 20 melatonin capsules to induce a deep sleep. I’ve never tried taking anything close to that amount, but the smaller the dose, the better off you’ll be. When I take two or three pills, I’m still able to fall asleep, but I find myself much groggier in the morning. When I take half a pill, or just one pill, I sleep the same, but wake up normally. If you decide to try melatonin supplements, you should test this for yourself, and find your “sweet spot”. You can browse around here for more info.

Looking for other sleep supplements? Try GABA or 5-HTP

My Theanine and Caffeine Experience

Great Nootropic Combos

Whenever I’m browsing through various forums and threads on the internet about nootropics, a common question comes up: I’m new to nootropics. What should I take?

There are probably a thousand things you could take to attempt to boost your cognitive abilities, but two combinations are thrown around. Piracetam/Choline, and Caffeine/L-theanine. Most people know what caffeine is – It’s that stuff in your coffee that makes your work day bearable, or that stuff in your preworkout mix that gives you energy in the gym. L-theanine is a little less known, however.

Caffeine’s Downside

A lot of people are sensitive to stimulants. After taking caffeine, they have increased anxiety, feel jittery, and wired. Some people love the hard-hitting effects of caffeine powder (myself included), but others find it uncomfortable and too intense, so they disregard caffeine completely.

Unfortunately for those people, caffeine supplements are potentially one of the most powerful nootropics available in the market, plus it’s cheap as dirt (in bulk form, not “Starbucks coffee” form).

This is Where Theanine Comes in

L-theanine is known to be a calming agent, and is advertised to reduce stress and anxiety. I’ve taken it in isolation before a class presentation and found myself at ease (at least, more ease than usual).

When paired with caffeine, it seems to negate the undesirable side effects, leaving the pure nootropic properties for the user to enjoy. I think it’s a great combination, because it reduces the stimulant qualities of caffeine, which is sometimes a little too extreme for someone looking for a slight brain boost.

Even by itself, L-theanine is a great nootropic to supplement with because it appears to be safe and effective. It’s not as anxiolytic as something a doctor would prescribe, but it helps.

I find myself in a relaxed state whenever I take L-theanine by itself, and it is great for those stressful situations. Like caffeine, L-theanine is fairly cheap so if you don’t like the stimulation you get from coffee, then try pairing it with L-theanine. It’s popular for a reason: it works.

Brain Stimulation as a Powerful Nootropic

deep_brain_stimulation-51e83769c30ec77ae7d8d29324fd8c75e7d10cd7-s6-c10Over this last summer, I worked every day at a children’s summer camp. It was a lot of fun, and gave me a lot of free time to learn about nootropic memory supplements and try them out. Of course, all my coworkers gave me weird looks whenever nootropics came up in conversation, because it’s not a traditional hobby.

Over the course of the summer, I had gone through many different supplements, methods, and trials, and in the end I feel as if I made good progress. Today while I was walking to one of my classes, I realized something. Because I recently changed my major to Math, I’m signed up for 3 math classes, 1 physics class, and an elective. About a month into the new semester, I can already tell that making my brain work and think this hard on a daily basis has proven to be far more successful than any nootropic I tried over the summer.

(Note: nootropics are supplements. They don’t make intelligence out of thin air, they build upon what you already have)

I’m sharper, am able to focus, and best of all, I feel as though my days are productive. The only downside to school as a nootropic is that I’m tired all the time, and crash on the weekends.

Once I get into the swing of things, I will probably start taking nootropics once again for school (Fluid Intelligence, Modafinil, Pramiracetam, and Aniracetam, etc). Then I’ll be superhuman!

Even though this seemed new to me, it’s an old concept. It’s been shown that people maintain healthier brains and have less chance of adverse brain problems into old age if they lead a stimulating lifestyle.

How to Stimulate the Brain

There are countless brain games designed for brain stimulation (Chess, certain simulation video games, Sudoku, etc). The brain is like a muscle. With exercise, it will stay young, healthy, and strong.

Diet, rest, and exercise also maintain the brain, and with all of these combined, you will notice yourself feeling like every day is a good day.

My Attempt to Create the Ultimate Brain Pill: Part 2

love brain

The Idea

In a previous post, I had talked about how I’m always trying to find the combination of nootropics to create my ultimate brain pill. Something that can fit in a capsule, be harmless in the body, and effective is what I set as guidelines, so I set out to find a combination of supplements to achieve this.

The Method

I started out with a small, yet generous caffeine dosage of 200mg. I would have tried DMAA, but I’m still uncertain on how bad the crash is from that. Caffeine already acts as a good ultimate brain pill, but it’s still fun to experiment with other combinations.

I added a moderate dose (30mg) of noopept powder into the mix because it’s always been effective for helping me with focus, motivation, and best of all, the dose hardly fills up any space of a capsule leaving me a lot of room for more.

I look back at my next two ingredients with an amount regret. The first is Modafinil. While crushed up, this also fits into a pill fairly easily, and like caffeine, promotes wakefulness and attentiveness. It’s a good idea to have in a pill, but it’s difficult to obtain and doesn’t mix well with certain other drugs.

My last ingredient is one I don’t plan on using for a long time – Selegiline. It’s a MAO inhibitor, and used to be prescribed for depression. The way I figured it, the inhibition would increase the effects of the caffeine, making the effects longer and stronger, but I was unaware of the implications this particular inhibitor has.

It is an irreversible inhibitor, meaning it completely destroys the enzymes in your brain that metabolize certain chemicals (meaning your brain will not be able to metabolize those chemicals until new enzymes are made, which takes around two weeks). There is such a thing as a “MAOI Diet” because certain foods have chemicals that could be dangerous if not for the MAO enzymes. A safer alternative would have been Hordenine or Yohimbine (both temporary chemicals that act like MAOIs), and I will experiment more with them.

The Result

As of now, I have scrapped the Modafinil and Selegiline stack, and instead, am using Hordenine/Yohimbine and caffeine anhydrous powder to give me energy/focus.

This, along with the noopept powder, results in an indescribable focus that I am really enjoying. I can do work without being distracted by surrounding circumstances, which is new for me, and on top of all of that, I feel as if my cognitive function is actually improving. In the future, I will continue to tweak the design of the pill as I do more research and learn more about certain products, but for now, this will certainly do.

I suggest trying it yourself. It’s always exciting (at least for me) to see how certain supplements reach with each other. Don’t be like me, however, and do your research prior to combining!

Greater focus with Craze

weight-lifting-for-beginnersWhat a Gift!

I received a free sample of DS Craze this weekend because I was curious on its effects inside and out of the gym. The grape flavor was artificial, but the effects were great. Within 30 minutes, I felt energized, focused, and ready to lift some weight.

Back off the Caffeine

One thing I love about Craze is its caffeine content. Many preworkout mixes out there are loaded with caffeine (giving a good result), however this leads to tolerance, which leads to multiple scoops for effectiveness (rather than the recommended 1 scoop) and more product is sold. Craze only has ~80mg of caffeine per scoop, which is roughly what a cup of coffee is. However, you will soon notice that the effects are much more prominent than just a single cup of coffee.

PEA’s Many Forms

It’s strange however: Craze has different forms of Phenylethylamine (PEA).

Taken in any other form, PEA is one of my least favorite experiences and is almost instantly noticeable, but I have yet to feel the same negative effects from Craze. This is most likely due to the many forms PEA takes on in Craze. It’s incredible that a single product can be broken down into so many different forms.

It also might be due to the lack of MAOI (inhibitor) that largely pronounces the effects of PEA — though I am skeptical because if I had to guess, a large percentage of Craze’s “Kinesis Proprietary Blend” is PEA, and it is widely known that when taken alone, PEA is ineffective. It is also known that even with some sort of inhibitor, PEA is very short-lived in the brain which might create a semi-placebo effect in the gym.

In the first 30 minutes, PEA is the most pronounced, but it is also in those same 30 minutes that one is waiting to go to the gym. Probably before you even hit halfway through your gym workout, PEA will have mostly worn off leaving you with the small amount of caffeine and other stimulants in the blend.

Craze as a Nootropic

One of the reasons I wanted to try Craze is because I’ve heard of many people on nootropic forums using Craze as a nootropic. It doesn’t include any racetams or traditional nootropics (except caffeine), but it’s still largely effective for focus. It also includes Creatine (no doubt for the exercise benefits) but Creatine is also shown to be largely effective as a nootropic. I’ll be sure to keep this one for my late-night study sessions and gym workouts.

Piracetam Powder: How to Take Nootropic Powders

Piracetam Powder Taste!

When I first got into the world of nootropics, I was excited. I bought my first container of piracetam powder and was ready to try it out, so I immediately mixed it with a glass of water and started drinking.

What I soon found was a taste only describable as disgustingly bitter. Of course, after about a week of routinely drinking water mixed with piracetam powder, I got used to tossing the product down quickly to avoid the negative taste, but unfortunately, some powders are even beyond that.

Another Issue with Piracetam Powder

Another problem with mixing with water is that a lot of supplements are fat-soluble, pramiracetam being one. This means that no matter how fast you stir, the powder won’t dissolve in your glass.

Sure, you could mix it in with a glass of milk, but just the thought of that makes me gag. Bitter milk should be dumped down the drain, not consumed for brain-enhancement.

My first solution was easy: I went to my local grocery store and bought some powdered Gatorade. While it only partially covered up the taste of some of my powders, it made the taste somewhat bearable. Not too long after that, I realized that I needed a new solution because it was ruining Gatorade for me.

DIY Piracetam Capsules

I did the next logical thing, and bought empty gelatin capsules and a capsule machine. It was cool to be making my own pills, and I figured I could start making my nootropics into pills in bulk quantities. That way, I could use an old jar, and fill it with capsules full of my delicious choline.

Unfortunately, I soon found out that it’s actually very difficult to regulate the amount of powder that goes in each pill. I would basically end up cramming whatever I could into a pill, without knowing how much quantity was in each pill.

Another problem with the capsule approach was that when I needed a lot of powder (4 grams of piracetam uses a lot of pills), I would need to be drinking down a lot of pills, which is never fun.

Nootropics Powder Alternative Options

I read online of some people dumping their weighed-out powder onto little corners of toilet paper, and wrapping it up and swallowing it like a pill.

At first, that sounded disgusting (…because who eats toilet paper?) but curiosity won, and I tried it. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it was going to be, and the process was quick and painless.

Of course, this is a slightly drastic approach, and I soon found that there was a simple solution; a sweetener. Sugar and its many substitutes are often dangerous products, but one without the fear of negative side-effects does exist: Stevia. 3 microscoops of stevia in my supplement mix, and the taste was almost completely masked. What a relief! There is also the option to mix stevia with some citric acid if you prefer a citrus flavor.

I’ll use each of these methods with different powders, because they’re each effective in their own way. It’s a fun challenge to figure out how to stomach the worst tasting thing you’ve ever had.

Caffeine Without the Risks

sciencepress-030812-002-617x416Meet L-Citrulline

For those of you who rely on a cup of coffee in the morning for a boost out of bed, may I present to you an ingredient you might consider adding to your coffee (perhaps not mixed in, but taken alongside)? L-Citrulline, a popular workout ingredient and amino acid, is an essential ingredient to fight off some risks associated with caffeine.

Caffeine’s Side Effects

Caffeine alone acts as a vasoconstrictor (meaning the blood vessels throughout the body are temporarily decreased in diameter) which effects blood pressure. If you are already at risk for high blood pressure, or like to keep an eye on things such as blood pressure, you might know that caffeine has the potential to increase said blood pressure.

I’ve been told by doctors to avoid caffeine before exercising because of the risks of high blood pressure added with exercise. I did a little research, and I am inclined to believe this isn’t much of a risk because exercise intrinsically dilates the blood vessels – eliminating this problem.

Introduce Your Joe to L-Citrulline

But for those of you who do not exercise at work but still wish to ingest that delicious cup of joe, don’t worry; L-Citrulline will act as your vasodilator, keeping your blood pressure down. The two act together as a synergistic boost of energy, without the assumed fear of increased BP. Not only will it ward off that BP increase, but it will provide an essential “focus” level along with the energy increase natural caffeine provides.

Don’t let this talk of blood pressure worry you too much though – part of what comes with a caffeine tolerance is a tolerance towards the vasoconstriction. In other words, you’ll only really notice a significant change in blood pressure with caffeine intake only when you haven’t had caffeine in a long time.

Great, but will it Ruin my Delicious Coffee?

As for flavoring, I’ve found that L-Citrulline is sweet by nature. Perhaps you could try it as a sweetener for your coffee, though I never have and it sounds like it has the potential to be disgusting. My best recommendation is to take the Citrulline separately mixed with water. If you’re the type who doesn’t like the taste of water in the morning, perhaps try putting the Citrulline in your mouth and washing it down with that delicious coffee.