9 Best Natural Supplements For Sleep

Sleep is one of the most important aspects of good health since it plays an important role in brain and body performance. Your ability to learn, remember, make decisions, and even be creative is improved by getting a good night’s sleep.

In addition, not getting enough sleep has been linked to conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

We are experiencing a low level of quality and quantity of sleep today, with many people experiencing worse sleep.

It is important to remember that good sleep often begins with good sleep practices and habits. For some, however, that is not enough.

Consider trying one or more of the following nine natural sleep-promoting supplements if you have trouble sleeping.

1. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body, which lets your brain know it is bedtime.

It is the time of day that determines this hormone’s cycle of production and release – melatonin is naturally produced in the evening and released in the morning.

Melatonin supplements have become popular as sleeping aids, especially when the melatonin cycle is disturbed, such as when flying late at night.

Furthermore, several studies have found that melatonin promotes longer and better quality sleep during the day. The benefit is particularly significant for shift workers and others who require sleep throughout the day.

In addition, melatonin may help people with sleep disorders improve their quality of sleep. Specifically, people with high levels of melatonin seem to sleep more deeply and fall asleep faster (known as sleep latency).

Although there have been studies that demonstrated melatonin did not positively affect sleep, they are generally few in number. Participants receiving melatonin before sleeping were generally given three to ten milligrams (mg) of this substance.

When taken for short or long periods of time, melatonin supplements seem to be safe for adults.

One of the most prominent melatonin supplements that we have examined is Resurge. Resurge is manufactured in the USA and prepared in an FDA-approved facility. GMP guidelines are followed.

Due to its 8 natural ingredients and lack of artificial ingredients or harmful chemicals, it seems safe for most healthy adults to take.

Resurge also claims to help you shed pounds. Because studies have shown that sleep deprivation is associated with deficiencies of growth hormone and elevated levels of cortisol, both of which contribute to obesity.

However, before making any purchases, you might want to read some Resurge review.

In any case, it’s always best to talk with your doctor before you start taking a supplement, especially if you are taking medications, pregnant or have any health concerns.

2. Valerian root

A native of Asia and Europe, valerian is a herb. Anxiety, depression, and menopause are common conditions treated with its root.

In the United States and in Europe, valerian root is also commonly used in herbal supplements meant to aid sleep.

Studies have produced inconsistent results, however.

The randomized controlled trials on valerian show that it improves the quality of sleep for menopausal women and women suffering from sleep disorders.

It has also been reported in older reviews that taking 300–900 mg of valerian right before sleep may improve sleep quality.

The observed improvements, however, were all subject to individual interpretation. Rather than taking objective measurements of sleep quality, such as brain waves or heart rate during sleep, researchers relied on participants’ perception of sleep quality.

Valerian’s positive health effects have been judged to be negligible by other research studies. It may, for example, result in a slight improvement in sleep latency.

However, valerian root appears to be safe for adults when taken in short-term doses, with minor, infrequent side effects.

While valerian’s efficacy has not been proven scientifically, it may be worth trying for adults. Long-term safe use in pregnant women and lactating women and special populations, however, remains unknown.

3. Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral for brain function and heart health. It plays an important role in hundreds of biological processes in the body.

As well as helping to relax the mind and body, magnesium may help you fall asleep easier.

The relaxing effect of magnesium may be related to its capacity to regulate the production of melatonin. Inducing sleep and muscle relaxation are known benefits of magnesium.

According to one study, magnesium, melatonin, and vitamin B all worked to treat insomnia regardless of the cause.

In addition to increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), magnesium also appears to have calming effects on the brain.

Sleep problems and insomnia may be caused by insufficient magnesium levels in the body, according to studies.

Furthermore, taking magnesium supplements could optimize your quality and quantity of sleep by increasing your magnesium intake.

In one study, 46 participants received a placebo or 500mg of magnesium daily for 8 weeks. Participants who received magnesium reported better sleep quality. A higher level of sleep-regulating hormones such as melatonin and renin was also found in this group.

Participants in another study taking magnesium supplements containing 225 mg slept better than those taking placebos. It is difficult to attribute the effects of the supplement solely to magnesium, as it also contained melatonin and zinc.

As a side note, both studies involved older adults, which could have resulted in lower blood magnesium levels. If individuals are consuming a sufficient amount of magnesium through their diets, these effects may be weaker.

4. Lavender

Lavender can be found on almost every continent. Purple flowers are produced by this plant, and when dried, they can be used for a variety of household purposes.

Furthermore, lavender is known for its soothing scent, which aids in sleeping.

The odor of lavender oil prior to sleeping may help improve sleep, according to several studies. Particularly females and young individuals with mild insomnia seem to be affected by this effect.

Lavender aromatherapy is also effective for improving sleep disturbance symptoms in older people with dementia, according to a small study. There was an increase in total sleep time. There were also fewer people who woke up extremely early (at 3 a.m.) and couldn’t go back to sleep.

In another study, 221 people with anxiety disorder took a lavender oil supplement or a placebo for eight weeks.

The quality and duration of sleep in both groups had improved after the 10-week study ended. The lavender group, however, experienced 14–24% greater effects without experiencing any adverse effects.

The use of lavender aromatherapy is generally considered safe, but its oral ingestion has occasionally been associated with nausea and stomach pain. Oils used as aromatherapy are not meant to be consumed.

Also of note, studies evaluating lavender supplements’ effects on sleep were few and far between. Consequently, it will take more research before a definitive conclusion can be made.

5. Passionflower

Known as Passiflora incarnata or maypop, Passionflower is one of the most popular herbal remedies for insomnia.

Passionflower is native to North America and has been linked to sleep improvement. Aside from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, they are being cultivated all over the world.

In animal studies, Passionflower has been shown to promote sleep. However, in humans, its effects seem to depend on how it is consumed.

The effects of a tea made from passionflower and one made from parsley were compared in human studies.

In the study, participants drank both teas about an hour before bed each night for a week, taking a week’s break between them. Researchers steeped each tea bag for 10 minutes, and took objective measures of sleep quality afterward.

The objective measurements showed no improvement in sleep in the study participants after three weeks.

The subjective rating of their sleep quality after suffering the passionflower tea week, however, was near 5% higher than the subjective rating following the parsley tea week.

Researchers from the University of New Hampshire found that, when compared with a placebo group, those who took passionflower extract experienced significant improvement in sleep parameters over a 2-week period.

According to those parameters, they were:

  • Total sleep time
  • A sleep efficiency metric indicates how much time you spend sleeping rather than lying awake
  • The amount of time spent waking up after falling asleep

Another study compared conventional sleeping pills, 1.2-gram passionflower supplements, and a placebo in 1998. Researchers found no differences between the passionflower supplement and the placebo.

Though more research is needed, it’s generally safe for adults to consume passionflower. Rather than taking passionflower as a supplement, it might offer more benefits if consumed as a tea or extract.

6. Glycine

The nervous system is remarkably dependent upon glycine, a very important amino acid. Studies have shown it may improve sleep as well.

Glycine’s mechanism of action is unknown, but it is thought that the compound lowers body temperature at bedtime, signaling that it is bedtime.

Researchers in one 2006 study administered glycine or a placebo to participants experiencing poor sleep before bedtime.

Those who consumed glycine the following morning were less fatigued. On the following morning, they also reported feeling more energetic, peppier, and clearheaded.

Study participants who experienced poor sleep also benefited from glycine in a 2007 study. During sleep, researchers measured the sleepers’ brain waves, heart rates, and breathing patterns.

The placebo group did not show improved sleep quality compared to participants who took 3 grams of glycine before bedtime. Participants who took glycine supplements also fell asleep faster.

A small study shows that glycine can also keep people from losing cognitive function due to temporary sleep deprivation.

Sleep restriction was imposed on participants for three consecutive nights. The subjects took 3 grams of glycine or 3 grams of placebo every night before sleeping. Participants receiving glycine experienced less fatigue and drowsiness during the day.

In addition to pills, you can also buy glycine as a water-soluble powder. There is no evidence that taking more than 0.8 grams/kg of body weight per day is dangerous, but more research needs to be done. Most participants in sleep studies took 3 grams.

In addition, you can increase your intake of glycine by eating foods that contain the nutrient, including:

  • Animal products such as bone broth, meat, eggs, poultry, and fish
  • Beans
  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Fruits like bananas and kiwis

7–9. Other supplements

Supplements that promote sleep are readily available. But many of them aren’t scientifically proven to work.

Listed below are a few supplements that, although promising, need further scientific investigation before being considered as sleep aids.

  • Tryptophan. The essential amino acid tryptophan may help improve sleep quality by as little as 1 gram per day, according to one study. You may also have an easier time falling asleep with this dosage.
  • Ginkgo biloba. A study found that consuming this natural herb for 240 mg 30-60 minutes before bed can help reduce stress, promote relaxation, and aid in promoting sleep. The results of animal studies are also encouraging.
  • L-theanine. Sleep and relaxation may be improved by taking a supplement containing up to 400 mg of this amino acid daily. Animal studies suggest that combining this amino acid with GABA may be most effective.

The kava plant is also believed to promote sleep, according to some studies. South Pacific islands are the homelands of this plant, and its root is traditionally made into tea. You can also take it as a supplement.

The use of kava, however, is also associated with liver damage, possibly caused by low-quality production practices or adulteration. It has even been banned in a number of countries, including Canada and parts of Europe.

Kava should be used with extra care. Ensure that the supplements you buy are certified by a reliable institution.

Other over-the-counter (OTC) options

There are also OTC sleep aids like diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate. Both are antihistamines.

  • Benadryl and other allergy remedies contain diphenhydramine, which is the active ingredient. Despite its primary use as a sleep aid, diphenhydramine does promote sleep by making the user drowsy. In addition to ZzzQuil, Unisom SleepGels, and Unisom SleepMels, diphenhydramine is also found in these products.
  • The sleep aid Unisom SleepTabs is made up of doxylamine succinate, an active ingredient. Nyquil also contains it. It is also an antihistamine that causes drowsiness like diphenhydramine.

Both ingredients are not strongly supported by evidence as sleep aids. There are some who recommend against using diphenhydramine or doxylamine succinate, while others claim they adversely affect sleep quality.

The drugs may also cause dizziness, confusion, and dry mouth.

Using OTC sleep aids long-term can lead to drug tolerance. The use of anticholinergic drugs, such as antihistamines, can increase your chances of developing dementia over time.

You should only use these sleep aids occasionally if you’re interested in trying them. Using them over a period of two weeks is not recommended.

If you have respiratory problems, high blood pressure, or heart disease then you should not use either of these drugs. A tachycardia, or a rapid heart rate, may follow from a nervous system reaction.

In elderly patients with liver and kidney problems, diphenhydramine is not recommended. It has a higher risk of side effects in these patients.

Risks and precautions

If you’re taking blood thinners or herbs for sleep, you should talk with your doctor first, as there is a possible interaction between the two.

If you are experiencing sleep problems for more than two weeks, be sure to inform your doctor.

The side effects of many OTC sleep aids are minor. However, knowledge is scarce about some of their long-term impacts, so it’s advisable to be cautious.

These are some of the side effects of certain sleep aids. There were only a few reports on these side effects, or they were only observed in high-dose patients:

  • Melatonin: some minor side effects include headaches, nausea, and dizziness
  • Valerian root: nausea, diarrhoea, headaches, and palpitations
  • Magnesium: if taken in high doses, may cause diarrhoea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Lavender: nausea and indigestion
  • Passionflower: occasionally causes dizziness and confusion
  • Glycine: can cause soft stools or abdominal pain, rarely 
  • Tryptophan: nausea, dizziness, tremors, and dry mouth
  • Ginkgo biloba: rare and mild side effects, including diarrhoea, headache, nausea, and rash
  • L-theanine: There are no confirmed or direct side effects from taking L-theanine alone, but diarrhoea and abdominal pain may occur when combined with L-cystine

Before taking such supplements or any other supplements, pregnant or breastfeeding women should consult their doctor. The majority of supplements shouldn’t be consumed since little research has been performed on their safety for this population.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about natural sleep aids

How effective are natural sleep aids?

Certain natural sleep aids, such as melatonin, have been shown to be effective. There is some evidence showing mixed results for herbal supplements like valerian root and passionflower.

There has been anecdotal evidence that some benefits may come from natural sleep aids, but more studies are necessary to be sure.

Do natural sleep aids have a lower risk of side effects than prescription sleep aids?

There are generally fewer side effects associated with natural sleep aids, such as those discussed in this article. The most important thing is to pick a reputable brand with a high-quality product. Herbal supplements are not regulated as drugs by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Furthermore, natural sleep aids are not intended as long-term solutions. Talk to your doctor if you’re frequently having troubles sleeping so that underlying conditions can be ruled out.

Are OTC sleep aids safe?

Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and doxylamine succinate are available over-the-counter. The main purpose of these pills is not to help you sleep. Their effectiveness as sleep aids is uncertain, and they’re likely to cause side effects.

Diphenhydramine is not recommended for older adults, especially those with liver or kidney conditions.

If you regularly take OTC sleep aids, you may become dependent on them. Make sure they are used occasionally and for no more than two weeks at a time. You should consult your physician if you’re regularly having trouble sleeping.

Final Words

All of these are available online in a variety of forms, so you can try them out if you wish.

The importance of a good night’s sleep to overall health is just as great as eating well and doing workouts on a regular basis.

In spite of this, many people find it hard to fall asleep, wake up often, or fail to wake up feeling rested. Maintaining optimal health and wellbeing becomes difficult because of this.

Take time each night to establish healthy sleep habits, such as limiting your caffeine intake before bed and avoiding electronics in the bedroom before sleeping.

You can improve your chances of getting restful sleep by taking the supplements discussed above. They’re most effective, however, when combined with good sleep habits.

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