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Healthy Sleep Formula

Six individually beneficial dietary supplements which
combine to powerfully promote healthy sleep.

Phosphatidylserine @ Swanson   GABA @ Amazon   Theanine @ Amazon   Glycine @ Amazon   Magnesium Taurine @ Amazon   Melatonin @ Amazon

Take one of each before bedtime and (get back to) sleep through the night.

Recent Formula Changes
Seriphos Enerphos Phosphatidylserine – I was using Swanson Vitamins' expensive 300mg “triple strength” phosphatidylserine (PS) when I first began working toward this formula (see the role of each ingredient below). It worked. But at 63 cents each, just for the PS, it was an expensive solution. While searching for a lower cost equally effective alternative, I discovered Seriphos. It provided an equivalent amount of serine phosphate raw material for just 20 cents. But then in the spring of 2016, just as this formula was first getting off the ground, Interplexus, the long running producer of Seriphos, reformulated their supplement to deliver just 40mg of phosphatidylserine. This rendered it ineffective for our purposes. Looking for a Seriphos alternative, I had high hopes that Enerphos, a related offering designed and produced by the chemist who invented the original Seriphos, might have worked it its place. But my own subsequent testing and a handful of early adopters have determined that, unfortunately, Enerphos it is not effective for this application.

Phosphatidylserine is too expensive to remain a practical solution in the long run (especially if two might be needed!), but the HSF critically requires a source of serine phosphate and PS is all we have for the moment. I am working to find an alternative.

Jun 10th, 2016 Update: I returned to testing phosphatidylserine before I wrote the above. The phosphatidylserine appears to be more effective than either Seriphos or Enerphos. If you are one the people for whom the original Seriphos-based formula was ineffective, you may wish to grab a bottle of this 300mg Swanson Vitamins phosphatidylserine and give it another try.
If you already have some Enerphos:
  • It's worthwhile to give it a try. Although Enerphos has turned out to have a much weaker effect that the original Seriphos, experimenters are reporting that it works for them. (It hasn't worked for me and others.) So it may be sufficient for some people whose metabolisms require a smaller kick.
  • If Enerphos by itself is insufficient, so that you need phosphatidylserine, there is some reason (as yet unproven) to believe that Enerphos might be helpful when taken alongside the phosphatidylserine to increase the level of phosphatidylserine which reaches your general circulation. See details in the Phosphatidylserine section below.
Do you have the original or changed Seriphos? Several people who ordered their Seriphos during the Seriphos reformulation period have wondered which Seriphos they have received. Please see this image which shows the different labels of both bottles.

Taurine is back: Taurine contributes so strongly to the formula's success, and offers such significant health value aside from aiding sleep, that it has permanently returned to the HSF. Those who began using it and reporting its diuretic effect (increased nocturnal urination) have observed that this only occurred while their bodies were adjusting to the taurine. (And I have a strategy for eliminating that inconvenience too.) Therefore, taurine has rejoined the formula.

L-Theanine changed: If you have been experimenting with an earlier version of the Healthy Sleep Formula, using the previously recommended Now Foods, or any other, l-theanine, you must obtain the Source Naturals l-theanine tablet which is now recommended and which dramatically improves this formula's power. See the discussion of l-theanine, below, for additional information.

Steve Gibson's Healthy Sleep Formula (HSF)
Bedtime use of the six common dietary supplements shown above has successfully resolved chronic long-term insomnia for many people who have tried it. Because we are all different, no single solution will work for everyone. And some people have reported, with great disappointment, “it didn't do anything.” But a significant majority of people are reporting the first non-prescription relief of their insomnia—ever.

Though its development focus has been to resolve premature waking, which is clinically termed either “wake after sleep onset” (WASO) or “sleep maintenance insomnia” (SMI), The Formula may also be taken 60 minutes before bed to assist with “sleep initiation insomnia” (SII). You might also try just taking one extra l-theanine tablet 60 minutes before bed since that will tend to facilitate the more immediate functioning of the whole formula later.

Wait . . . I need to take SIX pills?!?!


Yes . . . and perhaps a few more:
This is a very gentle formula. Five of its six ingredients are already present in everyone. The remaining ingredient (l-theanine) is the most abundant amino acid in green tea. Each ingredient plays a distinct role and interacts synergistically with several others. With the exception of removing melatonin (see below) all attempts to simplify or reduce the formula have failed, whereas this six-pack has worked with very high reliability in many different people. Mounting evidence suggests that if you will give it a try just once you'll likely be sold.

Note that this formula is not designed or expected to prevent mid-sleep awakening due to bladder urgency, acid reflux, or other nocturnal disturbances. It was designed to make those awakenings brief and to allow its user to return quickly to sleep.

This six-supplement “cocktail” or “stack” is called the Healthy Sleep Formula (HSF) because its ingredients would individually promote health (stress reduction, reduced blood pressure, neural protection, cognitive and memory improvement) even if their combined effect wasn't also to induce sound sleep, which is also extremely healthful.

“One of each” is the minimum strength for this formula. Experimentation with higher dosages may be needed if one of each is insufficient. In that case you should jump to two of each except for the melatonin, since 1mg of time-release melatonin should always be sufficient. People who are unfamiliar with dietary supplementation may be unaware that dosages are largely arbitrary. (Note how round all of the dose numbers are, below.) With the exception of the melatonin, you may be very free with larger dosages of any or all components of this formula. They are benign in any reasonable quantity.

You might find that one-of-each works initially while you are in sleep debt, but that two-of-each-except-melatonin may be required to keep you asleep all night once you are fully caught up on sleep. This is expected.

You may not need the melatonin: The Formula's low (1mg) dose of melatonin serves as a “sleep catalyst” which is all that's needed once the other amino acids and the serine phosphate have deeply calmed your brain and body. Our brain's endogenous melatonin production falls off rapidly as we age, but at varying rates and degrees. (Our pineal gland, which synthesizes our brain's melatonin, residing in the deep center of our brain, actually calcifies as we age!) If you don't need melatonin because your brain is making its own, it's better to let it do that for as long as it will. So try the whole formula for a week or two, then choose a night when you can afford for it to fail and omit the melatonin to determine whether it's necessary. If not, then by all means skip it.

Melatonin is a hormone . . . but don't be overly frightened
Denizens of the Internet (and, sadly, many “trained” medical professionals) are misinformed about hormone supplementation because they assume that all hormones are the same. A neurotransmitter is a molecule that affects immediately-adjacent cells almost instantaneously through their close proximity. A hormone is simply a molecule that affects cell behavior, usually at great distance, and therefore much more slowly, and it is typically distributed through our circulating blood. There is nothing else spooky about hormones. They are simply system-wide messengers-at-a-distance.

This is not to suggest that hormones need not be treated with understanding and respect. And in some cases high dose supplementation for an extended time can cause our bodies own production of that hormone to down-regulate and to eventually lead to a loss of hormone-producing tissue mass. This has been seen with testosterone replacement therapy. But the hormone is simply the messenger. Don't blame the messenger. It is our body's response to a specific hormone that matters, not that the communication is by hormone. For example, supplementation of the adrenal hormone pregnenolone, which is the master precursor to our suite of sex hormones, has been shown to revitalize our adrenal glands and increase our body's own pregnenolone production.

I have searched long and hard for any study, or even anecdotal evidence that supplementing with melatonin might hamper our natural production. But no such proof, however thin, exists. The deservedly respected website has this to say on the subject: “Taking melatonin is not associated with negative feedback (when taking supplementation causes your body to produce less of a hormone). It is also not addictive, and is not toxic.

So, if you test your true need for melatonin by experimentally omitting it, and find that you need it, your pineal gland is already no longer making enough. So supplementing becomes a no-lose decision!

The HSF Ingredients  (with Amazon & Swanson purchase links)
Please see the ingredient-by-ingredient details below for the functional role of each of the formula's ingredients. The following provides a purchasing and brief overview.

SupplementStrengthCount$ PriceOnline Retailer
Phosphatidylserine300 mg3018.99Buy / Swanson
GABA750 mg1008.99Buy /  Amazon
L-Theanine200 mg6016.95Buy /  Amazon
Glycine1000 mg1008.71Buy /  Amazon
Taurine1000 mg1007.79Buy /  Amazon
Melatonin1 mg906.28Buy /  Amazon
These (Amazon) prices are the best I've found in the U.S. (The prices shown above may be low since Amazon's web sales system appears to automatically raise prices on popular items.) Canadian residents may wish to compare with the Canadian web presence of iHerb (  iHerb is a terrific company and until Amazon got into the supplement business they were our go-to source. But in the U.S., Amazon almost always has lower prices.

eVitamins is another web supplier with a large international presence. Select your country in the upper left and see how they compare.

The sale of melatonin, being a hormone, is regulated more tightly in some countries. A UK resident recommended Vitamin Grocer as a good UK-based supplier of the proper Natrol melatonin.

The links here are affiliate-free. I would feel uncomfortable receiving any sort of kickback from these recommendations. If using these simple supplements helps experimenters to sleep, as they are proving to for many, that's all the reward I seek.

Pleasant Dreams!

Healthy Sleep Formula:

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Last Edit: Jul 04, 2016 at 19:01 (2,900.67 days ago)Viewed 3 times per day