It is often thought that the main ingredient in Wired is Caffeine, we would be lying to ourselves if L-Theanine wasn't viewed as just as crucial to the trio of ingredients.
A seemingly dormant amino acid that does not make up a regular part of the human diet, L-Theanine is found in small quantities in green and black tea. It can be summed up as a relaxing agent without the sedative effects, perfect for taking the edge off a stimulant such as caffeine. Structurally, L-Theanine is similar to the neurotransmitters GABA and Glutamate but possesses one key property that allows it to be supplemented, it has the ability to cross the blood brain barrier.
Once L-Theanine reaches the brain, it has been shown to increase the production of alpha waves within the brain in otherwise healthy persons. Alpha waves are associated with an alert but relaxed state, the other brain wave types include Gamma, Theta, Beta and Delta waves, more information can be found here. Some interesting research exists out there showing that Theta stimluation was able to induce a hypnotic state in 80% of subjects. Personally I find taking 200mg half an hour before bed helps to sooth the mind to sleep.
An increasing problem with modern society is the 24 hour work culture and the never ending notifications of our smartphones. Sleep disorders are more prevalent than ever before, L-Theanine can help ease the mind and allow you to fall asleep naturally without acting as a sedative. As a side note, the presence of blue light in LCD screens has been shown to disrupt melatonin production and thus your natural sleep cycle. Filters such as f.lux can be downloaded on Windows/MAC/Smartphones which filters out the blue light automatically once the sun starts setting, your eyes and sleep will thank you. iPhone has this feature built in now with Night Shift.
L-Theanine's ability to complement Caffeine was the reason we chose it for Wired. Although many Nootropics exist out there such as Aniracetam, Noopept and SEMAX to name a few, the amount of solid studies performed on healthy humans is almost non existent. While those who take Wired understand the benefits of including L-Theanine with their Caffeine dosage, examine.com nicely sums up the combination of effects. "The usage of caffeine in isolation (150mg) is able to improve perceptions of fatigue, rapid visual information processing (RVIP), and reaction time while adding 250mg L-Theanine to this preserved those benefits while improving alertness and improving reaction time further and reducing ratings of headache (which increased in caffeine control). Reaction time (as well as the ability to switch between tasks) has been improved with combination therapy at lower doses (50mg caffeine and 100mg L-Theanine) with this study also noting an improvement in attention via less interference with distracting stimuli."
For those with mild sleep issues/anxiety, L-Theanine supplementation by itself could be worth a punt.