GABA Promotes Sleep

Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) is an important amino acid found in the brain that inhibits the activity of nerve cells. Increased GABA levels in the brain cause relaxation, reduce anxiety and influence growth hormone production. A study from Pharma Foods International in Japan found that a supplement containing 100 milligrams of GABA promoted deep sleep and reduced sleep latency— the early period of sleep. Mental arousal to exercise, stress and sexual activity triggers the release of a brain chemical called dopamine, which makes people feel good and psyches them up. The GABA system that limits stimulation from dopamine acts as a brake on mental arousal and promotes sleep and relaxation. Excessive stress leads to an increase in dopamine receptors and interferes with the GABA system, which hurts with sleep quality. (Food Science and Biotechnology, 25: 547-551, 2016)

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