I wasn’t actually planning on writing this article, as I hoped this information was already out there to benefit myself.
But to my disappointment, it wasn’t.
So to find the truth to this question, I decided to be the guinea pig of my own little experiment.
For 2 weeks straight, I’d taken 200mg of L-Theanine every single day.
(To ensure this was a fair experiment, I stopped taking all of my other supplements.)
On Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, I’d take 200mg in the morning alongside my fresh ground coffee.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, I’d take 200mg in the evening around 1 hour before going to sleep.
For me, this 2 week period was enough to notice the effects of L-Theanine, and how it made me feel in the morning and evening…
…and my conclusion pretty much matched my prediction:
The best time of day to take L-Theanine depends on the desired effects you want from it.
Some people are better suited to taking L-Theanine in the morning, whereas others are better off taking it in the evening.
This is based off both my experience as well as solid science to back it up.
So hopefully by the end of this article, you’ll know exactly which camp you’re in.
Team morning, or team evening?
Reasons To Take L-Theanine In The Morning
1. L-Theanine Helps Reduce Caffeine Jitters
I’d be lying if I said my favourite time of day was anything other than that first sip of a warm, aromatic coffee.
The one which makes you go “Mmm” in delight.
But what I really can’t stand about coffee is its unpredictability.
Some days it makes feel in the zone, helping me focus and making me more alert.
Whereas other days, this caffeine kick can be overwhelming.
Jitters, headaches, anxiety are just a few of the effects of too much caffeine.
And it sucks.
I’d say roughly half of the coffee I drink gives me the desired effects, whereas the other half makes me feel really on edge.
But since taking L-Theanine alongside my morning coffee, I have only noticed the desired effects being amplified with no signs of too much caffeine!
2. L-Theanine Improves Cognitive Function
You may be thinking: How on earth can the positive effects of coffee be amplified, whilst the nasty side effects are gone? Surely it’s the caffeine that makes you feel alert and focused?
Well it turns out L-Theanine acts as a nootropic – a fancy way of saying a “smart drug”.
(Before you panic at the word “drug”, L-Theanine is 100% legal.)
It works as a nootropic by amplifying your Alpha brain waves, which are responsible for heightened creativity.
So by taking L-Theanine in the morning, you’ll be able to get more done in the office during the day, finish your essay on time or beat the world record for solving a rubix cube.
(Okay… maybe not the last one.)
3. L-Theanine Helps Reduce Anxiety
If you’re unfortunate enough to suffer from anxiety, then chances are, you’ve heard of Xanax and Valium.
But for those who don’t know, these are the drugs given to help relieve anxiety symptoms.
Unfortunately, like many prescription drugs, they have a lot of unwanted nasty side effects, including dizziness, nausea and drowsiness.
Both Valium and Xanax are effective at treating anxiety by increasing a chemical in the brain called Gamma-Aminobutryic acid aka GABA.
What’s great about L-Theanine is that it also increases GABA, without the nasty side effects of prescription drugs.
Whilst I don’t suffer from anxiety myself, taking L-Theanine in the morning would be one of my first lines of defence against the mental disorder.
Disclaimer: My personal preference is to always seek “Natural” ways of treatment before going down the medical route. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend you do the same.
Reasons To Take L-Theanine In The Evening
By now, you may have already made your mind up and decided that L-Theanine is a perfect addition to your morning routine.
But for those who are still in on the fence, this section of the article covers the benefits of taking L-Theanine in the evening.
1. L-Theanine Helps Improve Sleep
The regular Vitalized Future readers will know by now just how much good quality sleep means to me (and should mean to you).
For the last 6 months, my sleep quality has been amazing, and I credit this to supplementing with Phosphatidylserine (PS) and Holy Basil, as well as decreasing my use of screens before bed.
So when I started this experiment (and hence stopped supplementing with PS and Holy Basil), I was a little bit nervous to say the least.
Swapping the tried and tested PS and Holy Basil for the unknown L-Theanine was a risky move…
…but I’m so glad I tried it.
My sleep quality was as good as ever, and giving my body a rest from other supplements probably done me the world of good.
This stuff will help you sleep better if you take it in the evening.
I judge my sleep quality on the following 2 variables:
- How deep my sleep is
- How fast I’m able to fall asleep
L-theanine seems to improve sleep in both of these ways.
First, it helps you fall asleep faster by calming your mind, lowering anxiety and hence reducing overthinking.
Then, it helps you enter a deep state of sleep by increasing alpha brain waves.
By reading this article, you now have all the information you need to decide whether you’re best suited to taking L-Theanine in the morning or evening.
I’m sure some of you are thinking: Can I not take it in both the morning and evening? so I’ll quickly give my 2 cents’ worth now…
Taking it in both the morning and evening will result in you taking more L-Theanine in a 24 hour period.
Whilst you’re very unlikely to take too much, the fact that you’re taking more will increase your tolerance to it.
This means you’ll need to take more and more to feel the intended effects.
So for this reason, I personally wouldn’t take L-Theanine in both the morning and the evening.
As for myself?
I’m in team morning!
Thanks for sticking to the end and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
You might also find these articles interesting…
- What is The Best Time To Take Ashwagandha?
- Should You Take Ginkgo Biloba At Night Or Morning?
- What’s The Best Time Of Day To Take Magnesium Citrate?
- What’s The Best Time Of Day To Take Phosphatidylserine?
I’ve been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I’ve gained 30 pounds of muscle, written hundreds of articles, and reviewed dozens of fitness supplements. As for my educational background, I’m a currently studying for my Active IQ Level 3 Diploma in Personal Training.
Tuesday 11th of January 2022
This was very helpful - Thank you :)! Could you tell me if L-Theanin made you "sleepy" or did it just enhance your sleep (and the ability to fall into sleep). I'm a shift worker and I'm currently trying to figure out whats the optimal way to use supplements when having night shifts.
Friday 11th of March 2022
Glad you liked it Felix. It definitely made me more relaxed at night time, so you could say it made me "sleepy".
Sunday 17th of October 2021
Thank you for your review! My doctor just prescribed L-Theanine for my anxiety, and I wasn't sure when would be the best time to take it. So I just googled it and your review came up, and I'm glad I read it!
Wednesday 20th of October 2021
Glad you liked it!
Tuesday 1st of September 2020
Hi Robb, This is what I wanted to know! But of course there is always that one person who wants to take L-Theanine in the afternoon... So, was wondering if your very specific experiment gave you any indications of whether taking it in the afternoon might make a person sleepy?
Tuesday 1st of September 2020
Hi Addie, Thanks for your comment - that's a great question!
It's a tough one to answer since: (a) I've never took it in the afternoon (b) You're biologically different to me
I don't think there's any harm in trying though. If you're not usually tired in the afternoon, I'd have thought it'd make you feel calm, rather than sleepy.
Regardless, I guess the only way to find out is to bite the bullet and try it for yourself.
Wednesday 19th of August 2020
Just wondering if you could take 1 pill in the morning and 1 pill in the evening, would you still benefit with the cognitive function during the day and the sleep at night? Each pill contains 225mg of L-Theanine.
Thursday 20th of August 2020
There's no harm in trying it and seeing if it works for you :)
But as advised in the article, the more L-Theanine you take the higher your tolerance will be.
Thursday 30th of July 2020
Hi, I take l-Theanine and can second it's anti anxiety benefits. However you made an error in your experiment, one which many people do. You wanted to use a clean plate and stop taking all of your supplements and only taking l-Theanine. However, by doing so you introduced many changes to your body that now interfere with the experiment more than if you had continued taking them.
Thursday 30th of July 2020
That's an interesting angle to look at the experiment, but doing it that way means you can't tell if it's the l-theanine working or the other supplements.