If you’re enlisting the help of collagen for healthier-looking skin and hair, think of it like avocado toast—experts say there’s really no bad time to consume it. Prefer to get your supplement routine out of the way first thing? Add it to your a.m. coffee. Or, if you can’t fathom adding yet another step to your morning routine, you can channel Emmy Rossum and bake it into a post-dinner snack.
But, as it turns out, collagen’s superpowers go beyond beauty. And to experience one of its most surprising benefits, you should seriously consider bumping collagen consumption all the way to the bottom of your daily wellness to-do list.
According to Jenn Randazzo, MS, RD, CLT, collagen is exceptionally rich in a protein called glycine, which has been linked to improvements in sleep. “What the research will currently support is about 3 grams of glycine should be consumed about one hour before going to bed,” says Randazzo, a dietician and senior national training manager at Vital Proteins. “Typically, people will experience that it’s easier for them to fall asleep, but some research has also supported that they feel like their sleep is deeper. So because the quality of sleep improves, people generally report less fatigue the next day.”
While some collagen brands contain that recommended 3g (or 3,000mg) of glycine in a single serving, Randazzo recommends checking out your supplement’s amino acid profile to see exactly how much glycine it contains—that intel should be on the label or available online. Vital Proteins, for instance, shares that glycine, proline, and hydroxyproline make up about 50 percent of the amino acids in their formula. “The amount of collagen can vary depending on the source,” she says, noting that there’s slightly more glycine in marine collagen than in the supplements sourced from cows. You can also find the amino acid at varying levels in whole foods, including meat, fish, spirulina, and soy.
One caveat: I reached out to several sleep specialists to get their thoughts on using collagen as an insomnia aid, and all of them agreed that the data around glycine and sleep isn’t yet robust enough for them to recommend it to patients. So if you’re having serious sleep issues, you should try a more standard remedy—but if you’re already a collagen devotee, it definitely won’t hurt to take it before bed and see what happens. Because in an era when burnout’s becoming an epidemic, any step you can take towards a potentially sounder snooze is worthwhile, no?
This buzzy supplement’s rivaling collagen in the skin-plumping department—but if you’re not into popping pills, these healthy recipes will help get you glowing, too.
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