L-theanine and ADHD: A Promising Connection for Improved Focus, Attention and Sleep

L-theanine and ADHD: A Promising Connection for Improved Focus, Attention and Sleep

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a neurodevelopmental condition that affects both children and adults. It is characterized by symptoms such as inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity, which can significantly impact daily functioning and quality of life. Finding effective ways to manage ADHD symptoms is a key area of research, and one promising avenue is the use of L-theanine, a naturally occurring amino acid found in tea leaves. In this article, we will explore the potential benefits of L-theanine for individuals with ADHD and delve into its mechanisms of action.

L-theanine and ADHD: Enhancing Focus and Attention

L-theanine and ADHD - focus and attention

L-theanine, commonly found in green and black tea, has gained attention for its potential cognitive-enhancing effects. It is known to cross the blood-brain barrier and exert several neurochemical effects, including modulation of neurotransmitters and promotion of alpha brain waves. These properties make L-theanine an intriguing candidate for managing ADHD symptoms. Let's take a closer look at how L-theanine may help individuals with ADHD improve their focus and attention.

1. Calming Effect on Hyperactivity

ADHD often manifests as excessive motor activity, making it challenging for individuals to stay still or concentrate on tasks. L-theanine has been reported to have a calming effect on the central nervous system without causing sedation. By promoting a sense of relaxation, it may help reduce hyperactivity and enable individuals to engage in activities that require sustained attention.

2. Increased Alpha Brain Waves

Alpha brain waves are associated with a relaxed but alert state of mind, often observed during states of meditation or deep relaxation. L-theanine has been found to increase alpha wave activity in the brain, which may contribute to improved focus and attention. By enhancing alpha brain waves, L-theanine could potentially counteract the distractibility and impulsivity commonly experienced by individuals with ADHD.

3. Regulation of Neurotransmitters

Neurotransmitters play a crucial role in regulating brain function and influencing behavior. L-theanine has been shown to modulate neurotransmitter levels, particularly dopamine and serotonin, which are involved in attention and mood regulation. By optimizing neurotransmitter balance, L-theanine may help individuals with ADHD achieve better focus and cognitive stability.

L-theanine and ADHD: Improving Sleep

L-theanine and ADHD - Sleep

Sleep disturbances are commonly reported in individuals with ADHD, further exacerbating their symptoms and impairing daily functioning. L-theanine has shown potential in promoting better sleep quality, which can have a positive impact on ADHD management. Here's how L-theanine may help individuals with ADHD achieve a restful night's sleep:

1. Relaxation and Stress Reduction

L-theanine is known for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels. By calming the mind and body, it may help individuals with ADHD unwind and prepare for sleep. Reduced anxiety and stress can contribute to a more peaceful bedtime routine and improved sleep quality.

2. Regulation of Sleep-Wake Cycle

L-theanine influences the release of certain neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle, such as serotonin and GABA. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in promoting a state of relaxation and facilitating the transition from wakefulness to sleep. By modulating their levels, L-theanine may help regulate the sleep-wake cycle and promote a more regular sleep pattern.

3. Increased Melatonin Production

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. L-theanine has been found to increase the production of melatonin, which can support the initiation and maintenance of sleep. By enhancing melatonin levels, L-theanine may help individuals with ADHD fall asleep more easily and experience more restorative sleep throughout the night.

4. Non-Sedating Nature

Unlike certain medications or sleep aids, L-theanine does not induce sedation or grogginess upon waking. This is particularly advantageous for individuals with ADHD, as it allows them to wake up feeling refreshed and alert rather than experiencing residual sedative effects.

One can of Adapt Drinks Relax contains 132mg of L-theanine a much higher does than that is typically found in a cup of tea (approximately 20mg) and makes the perfect relaxing drink later afternoon early evening before getting ready for sleep.


Incorporating L-theanine into the management of ADHD symptoms shows promise in improving focus, attention, and sleep quality. Its ability to calm hyperactivity, increase alpha brain waves, and regulate neurotransmitters make it an intriguing adjunctive option for individuals with ADHD. However, it is crucial to approach L-theanine as a complementary strategy alongside existing treatment approaches. Consulting with a healthcare professional is essential to determine the appropriate dosage and ensure compatibility with other medications. By harnessing the potential benefits of L-theanine, individuals with ADHD may find additional support in their journey towards better focus, attention, and overall well-being.

Studies that have explored the relationship between L-theanine and ADHD

L-theanine and ADHD - Studies

The effects of L-theanine (Suntheanine®) on objective sleep quality in boys with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial - PubMed link

  • Researchers investigated the impact of L-theanine on sleep quality in boys with ADHD.
  • Results showed that L-theanine supplementation significantly improved sleep quality and reduced sleep latency in the participants.
  • Reference: Lyon MR, Kapoor MP, Juneja LR. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2011;7(4):417-421.

L-theanine and Caffeine Improve Sustained Attention, Impulsivity and Cognition in Children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders by Decreasing Mind Wandering - PubMed Link

  • L-theanine, caffeine and their combination seem to improve sustained attention and overall cognitive performance in children with ADHD, possibly via decreasing mind wandering during exertion of attention.
  • Reference: Kahathuduwa C, Wakefield S, West B, Blume J, Mastergeorge A.  Curr Dev Nutr. 2019 Jun 13

Please note that while these studies provide insights into the potential benefits of L-theanine for ADHD, further research is needed to fully understand its effectiveness and establish standardised recommendations.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

L-theanine and ADHD - FAQs

Can L-theanine be used as a standalone treatment for ADHD?

No, L-theanine should not be considered a standalone treatment for ADHD. It can be used as a complementary approach to existing ADHD management strategies, such as medication and behavioral interventions. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional before incorporating L-theanine into an individual's treatment plan.

Are there any side effects associated with L-theanine?

L-theanine is generally well-tolerated and considered safe for most people. However, some individuals may experience mild side effects, such as headaches or gastrointestinal discomfort. It is advisable to start with a lower dose and gradually increase as needed while monitoring for any adverse reactions.

How long does it take for L-theanine to show effects on ADHD symptoms?

The onset and duration of L-theanine's effects may vary among individuals. Some people may experience noticeable improvements in focus and attention shortly after consumption, while others may require more prolonged use to observe significant changes. Patience and consistent use are key when incorporating L-theanine into an ADHD management plan.

Can L-theanine interact with other medications?

L-theanine is generally considered safe to use alongside most medications. However, it is always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, especially if an individual is taking medications for ADHD or any other condition, to ensure there are no potential interactions.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION: all content provided here is of a general nature only and is not a substitute for individualised professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and reliance should not be placed on it. For personalised medical or nutrition advice, please make an appointment with your doctor, dietitian or qualified health care professional.

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