Why GABA Is Essential For Sleep & How To Get Enough Of It

GABA is the body’s primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, which basically just means it dampens certain signals in the central nervous system to help keep you feeling nice and balanced, mentally and physically.* We get the calming benefits of GABA when it binds to GABA receptors (mainly GABA-A and GABA-B receptors) in the brain.

Science tells us that GABA-A receptors are highly expressed in the thalamus, which is a brain region that’s involved in sleep. This means that GABA enables the body and mind to relax so you can slip into a snooze faster, board-certified sleep specialist Michael J. Breus, Ph.D., previously explained to mbg.*

“When your body produces (GABA), your central nervous system slows down, which makes a person feel more relaxed and, in many cases, sleepy. In fact, most of the current sleep aids support normal GABA levels in the brain,”* Breus says.

In fact, one study in the journal Sleep found that people with trouble falling asleep had GABA levels almost 30% lower than those who did not have trouble sleeping. An additional study from 2018 also showed that participants who took PharmaGABA® (a branded version of GABA that’s been well studied) before bed fell asleep faster and had better-quality sleep after just a week of supplementation.*

It’s no wonder mbg’s vice president of scientific affairs, Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, says the GABA bioactive is like a capsule form of nightly meditative breathwork that will help one ease into a chillaxed slumber.*

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