If you were like me, sleeping through the night sounds like a lovely dream. At one point I was waking up every 2-3 hours to nursing our 4th child. On the rare occasion that she slept for more than 3 hours, it was highly likely that one of our other 3 children woke up in the middle of the night and needed me to help them get back to sleep.
Sleep was seriously evading me and I was paying for it during the day. I was irritable (well more than normal), fatigued, and certainly not able to focus on what needed to be done at work or at home. Once she did start sleeping through the night I found that my racing thoughts were the culprit of my poor-quality sleep.
Ways to Improve Sleep
This led me to look into some ways to help improve this process. I did all the usual things, no caffeine after a certain time, turning off screens at least an hour before bed, and trying mindfulness and meditation. While these things definitely helped I still wasn’t sleeping as well as I thought I could. Being that I’m a Registered Dietitian and a science nerd, I wanted to find a way to improve my sleep but also help my body with the almost constant state of stress and anxiety I was feeling. All of this led me straight to my new friend Phosphatidylserine. Let me tell you about her.
What is Phosphatidylserine
Phosphatidylserine is a phospholipid. It is a building block for the formation of cell membranes throughout the body. Phosphatidylserine is synthesized from Phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidylethanolamine (1). It has been theorized to promote mood regulation in recent studies (2). Phosphatidylserine can also help promote healthy levels of the stress hormone (cortisol). Yes, please! Once I realized what a little gem this was I invested in my first bottle.
It is also intimately involved in the release, binding, and activity of those feel-good neurotransmitters, dopamine, and serotonin (3). Another win for my anxious brain.
I will say that I was taking it for about 2 months before I started to notice a positive difference.
It is estimated that most people get about 130 mg/d from their diet. Our bodies can only absorb 300-800mg/d and supplementing further our bodies will just flush out the rest.
The positive side effects of taking a phosphatidylserine supplement are the potential for improved sleep and decreased cortisol levels. Some people do experience nausea or insomnia when dosing is too high. Everyone’s body and genetics are different so it’s encouraged to discuss with your doctor before starting a supplement.
Choosing the best brand
Remember the vitamin and supplement world is not as closely regulated as medications are so be mindful of the company you purchase from. If you aren’t sure ask a trusted Registered Dietitian or Herbalist who specializes in it.
Wishing you many nights of peaceful sleep!
- Kim HY, Huang BX, Spector AA. Phosphatidylserine in the brain: metabolism and function. Prog Lipid Res. 2014 Oct;56:1-18. doi: 10.1016/j.plipres.2014.06.002. Epub 2014 Jun 30. PMID: 24992464; PMCID: PMC4258547.
- Komori T. The Effects of Phosphatidylserine and Omega-3 Fatty Acid-Containing Supplement on Late Life Depression. Ment Illn. 2015 Apr 1;7(1):5647. doi: 10.4081/mi.2015.5647. PMID: 26266022; PMCID: PMC4508628.
- Ma X, Li X, Wang W, Zhang M, Yang B, Miao Z. Phosphatidylserine, inflammation, and central nervous system diseases. Front Aging Neurosci. 2022 Aug 3;14:975176. doi: 10.3389/fnagi.2022.975176. PMID: 35992593; PMCID: PMC9382310.