Theanine reduces anxiety and improves sleep

A very helpful supplement for people with ADHD

Theanine boosts dopamine and focus, whilst improving sleep and calming anxiety without sedation or side-effects. Exactly where many adults with ADHD need help.

Calming yet stimulating

Theanine is an active ingredient in tea, particularly green tea. By boosting GABA, theanine exerts a moderating influence on caffeine, resulting in mental stimulation without the usual physical, “jittery” side-effects of coffee. Taken alone, Theanine is both stimulating and calming at the same time. It binds to glutamate receptors, blocks the reuptake of glutamine & glutamate, and increases dopamine, GABA, and glycine levels in the brain. There are many small-scale studies supporting the benefits of focus and attention, see here, here and here. Studies are plentiful on the effects on it reducing anxiety too, like this one and this.

Better sleep

Most adults with ADHD have sleep issues, whether being too awake at night or from poor, interrupted sleep. Lack of quality sleep affects focus, motivation, intelligence, and interest – seriously compounding many ADHD symptoms. Fortunately if taken shortly before sleep, Theanine has a gentle soporific, sleepy effect and promotes deeper sleep.

In a randomised, double-blind l-theanine trial in 2011, 98 ADHD boys aged 8 to 12, were evaluated for theanine’s sleep effects. Half the boys took two doses of 200mg Theanine, one in the morning and one after school for six weeks, the other half were given placebos. At the start and end of the trial, their sleep was assessed with wrist devices and parents completed sleep questionnaires. The boys who took theanine had significantly higher sleep percentage and sleep efficiency scores, combined with less time awake after they fell asleep. The theanine was well tolerated with no significant adverse events. This is my personal experience as well.

Do your own research, experiment with caution

As with all supplements and medications for ADHD, do your research. Even with the standard ADHD medications, like Ritalin and dexamfetamine, medical science cannot yet determine which drug will work best for you and at what dosage. So as always, experiment with caution, try small doses to start and monitor the effects over a period of time. If you are on other medications or have any doubts at all, talk over theanine with your doctor, because I am certainly not a doctor myself. Theanine appears to be extremely non-toxic.

Theanine protects against my anxiety

My personal experience, taking theanine 400mg daily for the last year, is that my anxiety brought upon by my Irritable Bowel is kept at very manageable levels. Theanine brings me a sense of quiet and calm without tiredness. I find it easier to concentrate and combined with my strong morning coffee, it helps me start the day without feeling on edge. L-theanine is available widely and is quite inexpensive, I buy mine from Amazon. As a bonus, I sleep better. Maybe theanine could help your ADHD symptoms too?
ADHD Coach, Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis

Andrew Lewis is an ADHD Coach, writer and founder of SimplyWellbeing. He has over 15,000 hours and 18 years of experience in coaching over 500 ADHD executives, ADHD business professionals and ADHD creatives. Andrew ran a major ADHD support group and an ADHD diagnostic clinic for a while. He is an ADHD specialist backed with business expertise from a twenty years career in software, from roles in programming, through marketing, sales and to running a few software start-ups. His ADHD insight is personal, with decades understanding his own ADHD experience and in bringing up his ADHD daughter. He has published his writing primarily via this website, with interactive ADHD courses in development.

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