How adaptogens have become the latest superfood supplement for better sleep
Adaptogens are said to help the body adapt to daily stresses on the body, mind and spirit
For many, lockdown life has disrupted our systems and wrought havoc on our routines. A routine that was, just a few short months ago, bookended by daily commutes, and client events or office drinks. For me, it’s meant staying up later at night with anxious thoughts about the future, which are only fuelled by scrolling through ominous news articles and social media feeds, and waking up later without the threat of being late to the office.
The concept of ‘day pyjamas’ and ‘night pyjamas’ - heralded early on in the slew of memes which just about propped up the national sense of humour as coronavirus rampaged through the country - was by no means merely a comical invention: it was a very real sartorial reality.
I use the past tense here as, for many of us, life has regained some semblance of normality with the reopening of many offices, restaurants, and international borders. With the easing of lockdown and the resumption of certain aspects of our ‘old’ life, it has also become easier to reflect on the positives that may have emerged from this otherwise rather dark time. The necessary slowing down of the pace of life, and the newfound time to invest in our wellbeing and relationships, are shimmering silver linings.
For me, part of this investment has involved making a renewed commitment to my physical and mental health, and in particular an element of this which I have struggled with for years and which the current pandemic has only exacerbated: my sleep.
After trying every trick in the book - from yoga and meditation, sound-based sleep apps and herbal sleep-inducing teas, I continued to be stuck in a cycle of insomnia that kept me wide awake when the world was asleep, and exhausted (read: grumpy, lethargic and downright useless) in the daytime. Desperate for a solution, I delved into the research on adaptogens: super functional foods, plants and herbs that help the body to 'adapt' to various mental and physical stresses in the body, providing powerful preventative and protective qualities for the brain and our physical health.
The expert team of nutritionists and ex-athletes at Motion Nutrition recommended their cognitive-enhancing supplements (nootropics) – Power Up and Unplug – which are infused with some of the most powerful adaptogens including Lion's mane mushroom, which supports stress recovery and long-term brain health, Korean Panax Ginseng, a root with anti-fatigue and stress reduction effects, and Bacopa Monnieri, a herb that promotes the most profound and restorative stage of sleep.
The effects of this supplement duo, taken morning and night, were felt within just a few days: sleep came more quickly and easily than it had for months, without any grogginess the following morning. To the contrary, I felt energised and rejuvenated, sharper and more alert.
So, as we await to see how the coming months unfold, I for one certainly plan to bolster my defences as much as possible. After all, whilst we may feel we have little control over the turbulent tides of unsettling global events, we do have ownership over our own bodies and minds, and taking good care of ourselves has the power not only to make us physically healthier, but to transform our entire perspective. And for me - and I do believe I am not alone in this - that begins with a good night’s sleep.