Beating Insomnia With GABA

Read Time: 2 minutesGABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is the body’s main neurotransmitter for the central nervous system. The body uses GABA to quiet nervous excitement in the brain and nervous system. Sleep studies show that people who suffer from insomnia have GABA levels which are up to 30% lower than those in people who sleep restfully.

The Role GABA Plays in Restful Sleep

What is insomnia?

Insomnia causes an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep at night. This is a complex disorder and can cause a wide range of symptoms including difficulty falling asleep, frequent waking during the night, racing thoughts, waking too early, feeling tired throughout the day, and difficulty concentrating. Insomnia can also cause health problems including aching joints and muscles, forgetfulness, headaches, tension, high stress levels, and a depressed immune system.

What causes insomnia?

The causes of insomnia can vary from person to person. Common causes include drinking too much coffee late at night, stress and anxiety, depression, recent trauma, certain medications, health problems, and an uncomfortable sleeping environment. Over time, insomnia can cause serious health problems such as depression, a compromised immune system, poor concentration, and anxiety.

If there is insufficient GABA in the brain, the neurons fire too often and too rapidly. This can lead to anxiety and insomnia. GABA dampens the transmission of nerve impulses between neurons, which has a calming influence. If GABA is increased, this can prevent insomnia, and lead to more restful sleep and reduced levels of anxiety.

Getting enough GABA

Although people cannot obtain GABA from food, there are two different types of supplemental GABA. One is a synthetic form which is made from chemicals including pyrrolidine, an industrial solvent, the other is made by fermenting the natural probiotic lactobacillus hilgardi. Studies show that the natural form of GABA has a number of sleep-improving effects including helping people fall asleep faster and sleep longer after taking 100 mg of GABA before going to bed. People who suffer from insomnia should talk to a doctor about how GABA can help provide more restful sleep.