Often overlooked and probs underrated, a little amino acid called glycine is finally getting some credit for boosting bedtime.

Finding sleep aids is easy — they flood supplement aisles and pop up left and right on our social feeds. If you’re into more of a natural alternative, want to skip out on drowsiness that melatonin may bring, or simply don’t have a taste for sleepy tea, you may want to learn more about glycine.

Glycine is an amino acid that your body whips up on its own. While it does plenty of work and has a slew of possible health benefits, sleep is one area where it’s quietly nailing it, and we wanna talk about it.

Let’s take a look at how glycine may help you get some more satisfying slumber.

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Photography by Makingultimate Xiao/Stocksy United

Our bodies use glycine on the daily in a variety of ways. It helps your body:

  • produce protein
  • keep bones strong
  • regulate hormones
  • regulate metabolism
  • maintain healthy digestion

As if it doesn’t have a long enough to-do list, the mighty little amino acid is also a big help in keeping our brains healthy and supporting healthy sleep too.

How does glycine manage to help with something as precious as sleep? Well, it’s a neurotransmitter, a science-y term for “chemical messenger.”

Glycine is the excitatory and inhibitory type of neurotransmitter, so it can multitask by telling the nervous system to act up or wind down. More specifically, glycine plays a big part in producing serotonin, a known to promote good mood and sleep.

So when we say glycine may offer better sleep, what do we mean exactly? Check out what (limited) research tells us about the benefits of glycine for sleep.

May boost sleep quality

REM moments are key to good sleep. You know, the kind where your head hits the pillow and stays there til morning. A 2015 animal study suggests that glycine can increase time in REM by helping the rats fall asleep faster. However, the study involved glycine injections into the brain, which is very different that taking oral glycine.

Lowers body temperature for easier sleep

Body temperature has a big hand in our sleep quality. For example, hot sleepers may notice falling asleep is pretty tricky.

This is where glycine swoops in, lowering core body temperature. This means a faster time getting to sleep and more time spent in sweet dreamland.

May lower symptoms of insomnia

Insomnia doesn’t just effect your sleep, it can also lower your quality of life in general.

One older study looked at glycine’s effect on daytime sleepiness and fatigue, which insomnia peeps will recognize as a symptom. Researchers found that glycine improves sleep quality not just for people experiencing light insomnia but also for people who have just occasional sleep restrictions.

If you opt to take glycine for sleep, the good news is you don’t need to take too much.

Keep your dose around 3–5 grams (g). Research shows that just 3 g of glycine before you hit the hay might boosts sleep quality and lowers sleepiness and fatigue you may feel throughout the day.

Glycine is super easy to find, and it’s available in pills, capsules, liquids, and powders. If you opt for powder, you can add it to a protein shake.

It’s also suggested you get about 2 g of glycine from your diet on the daily. Thankfully, glycine can be found in lots of foods including:

Now it’s time for the fine print. Peeps usually have a fine time taking glycine overall, but side effects are still possible.

Here’s what to keep an eye out for:

You’ll also need to consider other supplements or meds you may already be taking because glycine can interact with them. One example is Clozapine, a brand-name treatment for schizophrenia. Glycine may lower the medication’s effectiveness.

PSA: Breastfeeding or pregnant peeps should skip taking glycine supplements altogether. Because there aren’t enough studies to show its effects on babies, you shouldn’t take glycine if you’re preggo or nursing. But, pregnant peeps and those who are breastfeeding should still try to hit the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) via their diet.

Poor sleep is no joke. Lack of sleep has loads of potential causes such as:

If you have a hard time falling asleep or staying asleep, you should talk to a health care provider. Also let them know if you experience chronic fatigue or feel irritable on the reg.

Glycine is a naturally-occurring amino acid that’s known to promote better sleep. Adding it to your routine — via your diet or in a supplement — might help you get the ZZZs you’ve been dreaming of. Just be sure to check with your health care provider before making any major changes to your diet or supplement regime.