Didn’t sleep well? This supplement could give you a boost

Forget coffee, there’s a new supplement to give you a boost when you’re tired.

A large dose of the supplement creatine might provide a cognitive boost to people who are sleep deprived, according to a recent study.

The researchers, who published their work in Scientific Reports, hope that the information could be used to help individuals who have to perform at high cognitive levels even when they’re sleep deprived — doctors, military personnel, and night-shift workers, for example. 

A scoop of creatine might help give your brain a boost when you’re extra tired, according to a new study. Pixel-Shot – stock.adobe.com

Creatine is already popular within fitness circles for its ability to provide energy and aid in athletic performance and endurance. Other studies have also shown that the supplement might help build muscle or recover faster.

Combined with resistance training, creatine has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress throughout the body; and may even help guard against anxiety and depression. 

 And while it’s typically safe at normal doses, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have diabetes, liver disease or kidney disease, should not take the supplement, according to Cleveland Clinic

This study adds to a growing body of evidence that indicates creatine may also have cognitive benefits for people as well. 

In the study, which was conducted with just 15 participants, researchers provided either a single high dose of creatine or a placebo. People were kept up overnight — to ensure they were sleep deprived — and asked to complete cognitive tasks at various points before taking the placebo or creatine and then several times throughout the night. 

Researchers kept participants up overnight and found that their performance improved on cognitive tests after they were given creatine. Dragana Gordic – stock.adobe.com

About three hours after taking the creatine, scientists noticed that people seemed to get a brain boost. That benefit peaked at about four hours, but lasted as long as nine hours, reported Medical News Today.

“Particularly, [creatine] has shown promise in improving cognition among older adults, as well as in cases of mild brain trauma and sleep deprivation,” Dr. Marco Machado, from Itaperuna University in Brazil told Medical News Today. (Machado was not directly involved in this study, although he has done similar research.)

Creatine is already used widely in fitness circles because it can help with muscle growth and recovery. Miljan ýivkoviÃâ¡ – stock.adobe.com

The body naturally makes its own creatine, producing around 1 gram per day. Creatine is found in meat and fish, and in regularly consuming those foods, most people eat about a gram per day as well.

When supplementing, people can take 3 to 5 grams per day in a maintenance phase, or may take up to 20 grams per day (split into four separate doses) if they’re in a more active or loading phase, according to studies.