Sleep Supplement Questions & Answers
Rilax contains two active ingredients:
- Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate, a bioactive peptide extracted from the raw, pure and high quality milk of only the Holstein breed in France. Reared in family-sized farms, these cows do not experience the inhumanity of industrial livestock farming. They live in decent conditions which are compatible with animal welfare. Their natural feedstuff is derived mainly from the farm.
- L-Theanine, an amino-acid derived from green tea leaves (Camellia sinensis). Traditionally, drinking green tea is enjoyed by some Asian cultures and has been known to help with relaxation.
Rilax combines the relaxing properties of two safe ingredients scientifically proven to promote relaxation and restful sleep. A large number of scientific studies has demonstrated the efficacy of these ingredients in inducing sleep and reducing anxiety and stress. They work by calming the nerves and relaxing the muscles.
Because Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate has a high and selective affinity for some receptors in the brain called GABA-A receptors.
It stimulates the activity of Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA), a neuro-transmitter known to inhibit anxiety and the stress response in the brain.
It has no side-effects, is not addictive (non habit forming) and is hypoallergenic.
Unlike benzodiazepines, Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate does not have any toxic effect on the body and does not create any addiction, even at high doses. It therefore acts effectively and naturally.
The amino acid stimulates the mind to produce alpha brain waves, the sign you’re deeply relaxed, and yet allows the brain to remain mentally alert. It also aids in the creation of GABA, gamma amino butyric acid, an inhibitory neurotransmitter responsible for influencing the levels of dopamine and serotonin. L-theanine has also been shown to reduce blood pressure in an animal model of hypertension. Further, it dampens the excitatory effects of caffeine, as measured by EEG and blood pressure.
While green tea has the same ingredients, Rilax products have measured doses of the L- Theanine to accelerate sleep. Additionally, L-theanine does not have the caffeine that is normally in green tea.
At the end of the 80’s, researchers have wondered about the origin of the calm state of babies after drinking milk. They hypothesized that a milk constituent could explain this soothing effect. Through many years of research, they succeeded in identifying a bio-peptide present in milk protein with natural relaxing properties.
No. Alpha S1-casein tryptic hydrolysate is a decapeptide in the milk protein that has been cut out by hydrolysis. You will have to drink a lot of milk to have the same effect as the amount of ASCTH in Rilax.
Rilax will begin to have positive effect on from the very first time it is taken.
However, Rilax does not work like a sleeping pill (drug) that ‘knocks one out’. You will subconsciously feel more calm and relaxed and you can still remain awake if you choose to. That’s why you can also take it during the day to help you counter feelings of anxiety and stress. To fall asleep faster after taking Rilax, you should practise good sleep hygiene and go to bed after about 30 minutes.
A consumer survey conducted in 2011 had the following key findings:
- 74% (3 out of 4) experience better sleep quality within 7 days
- 46% (1 out of 2) experience better sleep quality within 3 days
- 19% (1 out of 5) experience better sleep quality within 1 day (25% are not sure when they first experience results)
93% are satisfied with Rilax
97% would take Rilax again
98% would recommend Rilax to family members & friends
Top 4 benefits experienced are:
- Falling asleep easier and faster
- Sleeping right through or longer and waking up less frequently
- Waking up feeling slept well, refreshed and ready to face the day
- No side effects like groggy feeling or addictiveness
Even at higher doses, Rilax has no sedative effect. People who take it feel more relaxed and sleep better or fall asleep easier at bedtime. One can remain awake and attentive if there is a need to.
In studies, Rilax’s Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate has shown to be physiologically effective about 1 hour after the intake. Nevertheless, a real sensation of wellbeing frequently appears after one week to 15 days. Rilax helps to promote better sleep and reduce stress and anxiety symptoms. The perceived effect may be different from one situation to another, depending on the individual.
We recommend that you allow for a full night’s sleep, which for most adults, is about 7-8 hours. However, Rilax should not prevent you from waking up earlier if necessary.
When your body is getting the sleep it needs, it should take about 15-20 minutes to fall asleep at night and you should be able to wake up easily in the morning.
These states need a medical check-up. Rilax is not a drug but a food supplement that promotes a state of relaxation. Conditions like depression, chronic insomnia, etc may have background medical reasons which need to be assessed by a physician.
Rilax should not be compared with benzodiazepines because it is a food supplement, not a drug and not intended to cure any anxious pathology.
If you are suffering from severe sleeping issues, we recommend seeking advice from a physician or medical professional. However, it is worthwhile to try a natural product such as Rilax. A recent clinical study published in The Open Sleep Journal (2009;2) showed that Rilax’s active ingredient, Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate, helped a majority of participants to fall asleep faster, as well as significantly improve various aspects of sleep disorders. Results indicated improvement in sleep quality after two weeks of supplementation, along with decreases in sleep latency and daytime dysfunction after four weeks of supplementation.
Each person may have different intake schedules, whether in the morning or in the evening, depending on his/her feelings and specific needs.
Directions for Use:
- To promote sleep: 1 capsule a day, before bedtime.
- For general relaxation and to relieve stress: 1 capsule taken during the day
- Chronic stress: 1 capsule a day, before bedtime.
- Acute stress: 2 capsules taken together, before bedtime
Rilax can be taken as needed, or every night. For people with sleep, stress or anxiety issues, you may need to take Rilax continuously for 2 weeks in order for it to begin regulating your sleep quality.
Rilax may be used to help people cope with stress from daily life, without side effects (sedation, disinhibition, tolerance). For people who face high stress levels daily, taking Rilax regularly will help to regulate their stress levels and hence, help to lower the risk of stress-related disorders.
People can adopt their own way of taking Rilax. It can be taken once off to cope with a specific situation e.g. an important exam, a presentation. In this case, it is to be taken at least one hour before the event and the effect begins to decrease about 6 hours after the intake.
Rilax can also be taken as a daily diet to deal with a difficult and stressful period. The benefit appears after a few days. After a two-week or one-month treatment period they can continue depending on the person and its stress level. In this case, it is recommended to consume Rilax prior to bedtime. This recommendation is based on the fact that the lack of sleep, often provoked by stress of the day, increases the stress level. The relaxation provoked by Rilax helps to induce a better sleep, which prepares the person for a better following day. It can help break the vicious circle.
The dosage can be increased for persons with a higher body weight than the average.
The normal dosage is one capsule a day, one hour before bedtime. This dosage can be increased for a person with a higher body weight than the average (upto 70kg), or who is experiencing a situation that causes an additional level of stress.
Depending on the situation, the dosage for Rilax can be varied:
- One capsule per day, taken one hour before sleep is the minimum recommended dose for one month for general sleep issues.
- One capsule per day, taken one hour before the stressful event (facing examination, an important meeting, making a public speech, etc).
- Two capsule per day for two weeks for faster action on your emotional state during a particular stressful period (change of career, moving house, quitting smoking, etc.)
People can adopt their own way of taking Rilax. It can be taken:
- nightly for better sleep
- as and when needed for better sleep
- in a once off intake to cope with a specific immediate need (exam, important meeting…) or a few days before a stressful event to anticipate.
- as a daily diet for several days and can even be used for several weeks during difficult and stressful periods in case of chronic symptoms, depending on the person and the stress level.
Rilax’s ingredients, Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate and L-Theanine both have been extensively researched.
The effectiveness of Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate has been the subject of 7 rigorous clinical studies, conducted between 1999 and 2011 on 394 adult volunteers, all supervised by healthcare professionals. These studies were carried out according to the Clinical Best Practice Directive under the supervision of official ethics committees, and used biological means to confirm the positive impact of Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysateon the body (e.g. blood pressure and heart rate).
The trials were randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled. Clinical studies were made according to Good Clinical Practice Guidelines with official ethical committees.
Tests which have already been validated by the scientific community, for example, Stroop test, Cold pressor test, Spielberger questionnaires, etc were used. They have not been developed specifically for studies on the ingredients.
There are substantial scientific evidence to show that Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate helps to improve sleep quality as well as to decrease and modulate stress symptoms naturally.
A recent clinical study was conducted in Tokyo on 44 Japanese subjects (men and women aged 25-40) with insomnia by a team of scientists from the Sleep Centre, University Hospital of Geneva, Switzerland, the Laboratoire de NeuroSciences Comportementales, France and the Ashikaga Institute of Technology, Japan. The published study in The Open Sleep Journal (2009;2) showed that Alpha S1-Casein helped a majority of participants to fall asleep faster, as well as significantly improve various aspects of sleep disorders. Results indicated:
- Improvement in sleep quality after two weeks of supplementation.
- Decrease in sleep latency after four weeks of supplementation.
- Decrease in daytime dysfunction after four weeks of supplementation
The Proclaim study was performed on 63 stressed women (aged 18 to 61) over 30 days. Alpha S1-Casein was particularly efficient on the subjects who demonstrated the highest initial intensity of symptoms, suggesting that this milk peptide has regulating properties on stress-related disorders. Results:
- A significant greater positive evolution of stress symptoms in 5 different areas was demonstrated in the group taking Alpha S1-Casein vs placebo.
The Necker Hospital study was conducted in Paris among 42 male volunteers (aged 18 to 35) facing acute stress over 2 days. Results:
- During the stroop test, SBP and DBP responses were significantly reduced in the alpha S1-casein group compared to the placebo group.
- After the stress test, blood cortisol level remained stable in the placebo group while it has decreased significantly in the alpha S1-casein group.
The CRSSA study was conducted over 30 days with the recommended dose of 150 mg/day of Lactium® on 52 volunteers in perfect health (25 men and 27 women aged 18 to 40, selected at random). The results following the Stroop test showed:
- a reduction in blood pressure for the group which used Lactium®, the physiological response to stress being an increase in blood pressure.
The study performed at a Military Base in Quebec in 2004 tested the effect of Alpha S1-Casein on ten national and international biathletes who were subjected to 4 weeks of rigorous training. Results showed:
- The mean cortisol (stress hormone) level was significantly lower in the athletes taking Alpha S1-Casein, while it was higher in athletes taking placebo, at week 4 compared to the basal level observed during the first week.
- Alpha S1-Casein can help counter the negative physiological effects caused by the rise of cortisol levels induced by rigorous training and may therefore ensure performance development.
The general picture that emerges from L-theanine research is an anti-stress effect, with the strongest hypothesis being that anti-glutamate receptor activity is the primary driver of this effect.
L-theanine supplementation has been shown to increase brain α-waves (8-10 Hz range) which are associated with reduced stress and anxiety. Beyond relaxation, increased α-waves are associated with selective attention mechanisms and mental alertness. These altered wave functions are said to be evidence that L-theanine has ‘relaxing and attention promoting’ properties. There’s also literature that reports increased theta wave function which is associated with learning and memory.
Some preliminary human studies, typically using doses of L-theanine about 10 to 20 times higher than that in a cup of tea, have suggested possible benefits, such as the following:
In a Japanese study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, college students who took L-theanine experienced less anxiety and had smaller increases in blood pressure when under psychological or physical stress than when they took a placebo.
Similarly, another Japanese study in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found that graduate students who took L-theanine experienced less anxiety (as measured by a questionnaire and by a salivary marker for stress) when they were assigned stressful work in a pharmacy, compared to a placebo.
In a Canadian study in Alternative Medicine Review, L-theanine improved some aspects of sleep quality in boys with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Study 4: L-theanine relieves positive, activation, and anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder: an 8-week, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2-center study.
In a preliminary Israeli study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, L-theanine helped relieve anxiety symptoms and augment antipsychotic treatment in patients (ages 19 to 55) with schizophrenia.
Stressful condition increased the level of sAA that was essentially affected by individual trait anxiety. The low levels of pre-practice sAA and subjective stress in the L-theanine-group suggest that L-theanine intake suppressed initial stress response of students assigned for a long-term commitment of pharmacy practice.
Both Rilax’s ingredients, Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate and L-theanine are both classified as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) by the FDA.
No, Rilax provides a safe way to get a restful night’s sleep without worrying about addiction or after-effects.
Rilax does not have any negative side after-effects, such as grogginess, headaches or lack of mental clarity following a night’s rest. It is formulated to promote relaxation and better sleep.
In particular, Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate does not induce addiction, tolerance, memory loss, disinhibition nor sedation. It does not cause arousal, reactivity or alertness decrease.
Furthermore, no physiological adverse effects were noticed. In particular, neither weight gain nor modification of the ambulatory blood pressure was observed
Alpha S1-Casein Tryptic Hydrolysate modulates blood pressure increase during a stressing situation but not the ambulatory blood pressure (hypertension). Thus, it does not have an anti-hypertensive or hypotensive effect.
Deep sleep can be increased by:
- Having a consistent sleep schedule.
- Increasing total sleeping time.
- Creating a relaxing bedtime routine.
- Avoiding caffeine in the afternoon.
- Listening to pink noise.
- Exercising 20 to 30 minutes a day, but not too near bedtime.
- Natural sleep supplements such as Rilax.
For more information on deep sleep, read our article on ‘How To Get More Deep Sleep?’
Lack of deep sleep can be caused by:
- Stress and anxiety
- Circadian rhythm disorders
- Sleep apnea
- Restless leg syndrome
- Illness and medication
- Lifestyle factors
Practising good sleep hygiene can help you to sleep through the night. These include:
- Staying away from tobacco and alcohol in the evenings.
- Setting your internal clock by going outdoors for at least 15 minutes a day.
- Get regular exercise in the daytime.
- Avoid daytime napping.
- Have a regular sleep schedule and stick to it.
- Have a relaxing bedtime routine to ‘tell’ your body that it’s time to sleep.
- Turn off electronics an hour before bedtime.
- Reserve your bed only for sleep and sex.
- Keep your bedroom cool, dark and quiet.
- If you can’t sleep, do something relaxing until you’re feeling drowsy instead of tossing and turning on your bed.
For more tips on improving sleep hygiene, read ‘What is Sleep Hygiene (+12 Tips to Improve)’.
Reasons you wake up in the middle of the night include:
- You have insomnia.
- You’re in pain.
- You have sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy or restless legs syndrome.
- You have bladder problems and need to pee.
- You’re stressed/anxious.
- Your sleep environment is not sleep conducive.
- You have large meals before bedtime.
- You’re napping in the daytime.
- You’re on medications that contain caffeine or alcohol.
For many people, their sleep cycle starts to enter back into light sleep around 3am. Thus, something that did not disturb you during the other stages might cause you to awaken. Sounds and lights are common reasons that are disrupting your light sleep stages. Adjustments to your bedroom environment can help you to combat this.
This depends on the reason you’re actually waking up. For example, if you’re waking up to go to the bathroom to pee, try drinking less before you go to bed.
If you’re waking up because of noise and light, ensure that your bedroom is dark and quiet. If anxiety is keeping you up, write a to-do list or jot down your thoughts in a journal to put your mind at ease. If you suspect an underlying health issue is the cause of your sleep disturbance, seek advice from your doctor.
The first thing to note is that there is a difference between feeling ‘tired’ and feeling ‘sleepy’. You might be really tired, but in actual fact, not yet ready to sleep. As such, feeling ‘tired’ does not necessarily mean that you are going to fall asleep without any issues.
Additionally, you might be physically tired but your mind is still active. You’re thinking about what happened during the day or the numerous things that you have to do tomorrow.
This can keep your mind racing, making it even harder for you to sleep. Heightened arousal caused by ingesting stimulants such as caffeine in the later afternoon or exercising just before bedtime can make it hard for you to sleep even though you’re tired.
While it’s recommended that you get out of bed if you can’t sleep, it is not recommended to stay up all night. Instead, do a relaxing, low impact activity that might cause you to feel sleepy.
Staying up all night does not only add to the feelings of tiredness but can also affect your circadian clock, making it even harder for you to get back into a regular sleep schedule.
The 3 types of insomnia are transient, acute, and chronic. Transient insomnia is temporary and does not usually last for more than one week. It is brought about by recent stressors. Acute insomnia is also known as ‘adjustment insomnia’ and lasts for less than 3 months. Chronic insomnia refers to long term sleep problems.
Yes, sleeping 2 hours is better than no sleep as it can help to decrease feelings of tiredness. You are likely to feel less tired compared to having stayed up all night. Nonetheless, 2 hours of sleep is not enough and long term sleep deprivation can affect judgement, cognitive ability and increased the risk of sickness.
Adults usually need 7 to 9 hours of solid sleep. Some people who suffer from insomnia may get less than this amount while others still get 7 to 9 hours. This is because insomnia is not defined by the number of hours one sleeps. Insomnia is characterized by problems falling and staying asleep through the night and also sleeping well into the morning (or afternoon) to make up for the hours spent awake at night.
Common causes of insomnia include stress, changes to your circadian clock due to work schedules or travel, poor sleeping habits such as irregular bedtime routines, and eating too much before you go to bed.
Insomnia can also be a result of mental health disorders, medical conditions and medications, other sleep-related disorders and the consumption of stimulating substances such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
Short term use of sleeping pills (only on the advice of your doctor) is generally safe although there may be some side effects. However, long term addiction to sleeping pills may start to show signs of concentration issues, memory impairment, slurred speech, uncoordinated movements and even euphoria.
Foods that may help you to sleep better include poultry such as turkey and chicken, fish, yogurt, kale, whole grains, bananas, honey, nuts, eggs and white rice.
If your inability to sleep well is due to stress, berries, guacamole, organes, chai tea, dark chocolate and asparagus might also help. Find out why these foods help in ‘7 Foods to Calm You Down Fast!’
You should see your doctor if you’re consistently having problems falling and staying asleep, feeling tired when you wake up and struggling with excessive daytime sleepiness.
Here are some things you can do to help you fall asleep as quickly as possible:
- Lower your room temperature.
- Get on a regular sleep schedule and go to bed at the same time every day.
- Expose your body to daylight during the day and make your room dark at night.
- Relax your mind and body with meditation, mindfulness and yoga.
- Don’t watch the clock if you can’t fall asleep.
- Avoid daytime naps.
- Be aware of what you eat and when you eat.
- Put on some relaxing music.
- Try aromatherapy.
- Journal before bed.
- Use a comfortable mattress and pillow.
- Avoid blue light by turning off electronic devices.
The inability to fall asleep can be frustrating especially when you’re tired and you know you have a busy day ahead. Here’s what you can do if you can’t sleep:
- Try not to stress over the fact that you can’t sleep as stress leads to your body being even more awake.
- Try relaxation techniques such as meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing or visualization.
- A quiet, non-stimulating activity can help you to feel drowsy.
- Postpone worrying by jotting down things on paper.
Yes, sleep can help you to fight off and recover from Covid-19. Adequate sleep boosts the immune system. This in turn reduces the risk of contracting the infection and improves your body’s ability to fight the virus if you do catch it. Conversely, lack of sleep can weaken your body’s defence system and affect immune system response.
Some Covid survivors do experience insomnia, along with anxiety and depression. However, insomnia is not listed as a primary Covid-19 symptom by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It could be that this sleep disorder is triggered by pandemic-related stress.
For more on the relationship between Covid-19 and insomnia, read ‘Covid-19 and Insomnia: Tips to Overcome Sleep Issues During the Pandemic’.
While you don’t really need to sleep in a particular position if you have Covid, lying on your stomach or on your side can help get more air into your lungs. However, the best way to get air into your lungs is to get out of bed, stretch, walk around and take deep breaths to avoid air sacs in your lungs shutting down due to extended bed rest. Nonetheless, do remember that you still need ample rest and as such, do not exert yourself.
This depends. Sleep supplements are neither good nor bad. Sleeping pills can cause a myriad of side effects including daytime drowsiness, dizziness, headaches, changes in appetite, gas, heartburn, stomach pain, shaking and general weakness. You might also develop an emotional or physical dependence on it. Nonetheless, it can be of great help for those who are struggling with insomnia and severe anxiety issues. Sleeping pills should only be consumed as advised by your doctor.
Natural sleep supplements are usually on the safer side, especially when taken in the recommended dosage. They have fewer side effects and some do not cause dependence, even with long-term use.
Melatonin can cause several side effects such as drowsiness, headache, dizziness and nausea. As such, it is not advisable to drive or use machinery for four or five hours after taking it.
Less common side effects include mild anxiety, short-lasting depression, abdominal cramps, confusion, irritability and low blood pressure. It can also interact with medications such as anticonvulsants, anticoagulants, diabetes medications, contraceptive drugs and immunosuppressants.
Yes, it is ok to take melatonin every night, but only for a short term and as advised by your doctor. Studies suggest that long-term usage of melatonin may cause side effects and the safety of long term melatonin use still needs to be investigated.
In addition to having good sleep hygiene (as mentioned in No.3), lifestyle changes can also help. Avoid substances that can disrupt your sleep, such as alcohol and caffeine, eat lighter meals at night and exercise in the daytime. You can also try using lavender oil or chamomile tea as well as other natural sleep supplements.
There are numerous natural minerals, herbs and hormones that can help you to sleep. These include melatonin, magnesium, valerian, magnolia bark, jujube, Glycine, L-Theanine and Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate.
For more information on L-Theanine, read ‘L-Theanine: Health Benefits and Cognitive Function’.
For more information on Alpha-s1-casein tryptic hydrolysate, read ‘Lactium® Sleep Aid in Malaysia: Can it Help You With Stress and Sleep Issues?’
Natural sleep aids should not be addictive. This is because they are made from natural substances that your body can process. Many natural sleep aids have not been approved by the FDA.
The inability to get solid sleep can increase one’s vulnerability to developing depression, although it is not a direct cause. Insomnia can also be a symptom of depression.
No lying in bed with eyes closed does not count as sleep. Although resting your eyes can help you to relax, you still need to actually drift off to sleep before your body can reap the benefits of sleeping.
No, 4 hours of sleep is not enough for most people to wake up refreshed and rested. A study on sleep health discovered that people who had 5 hours of sleep for 4 nights in a row had impaired mental performance equivalent to a 0.06 blood alcohol content.