Everyone knows that getting a proper night’s sleep is one of the most important factors in maintaining good health. Without sufficient rest for the mind and body, your quality of life can quickly degrade. Millions of people suffer from a lack of sleep. According to the Sleep Health Foundation, one out of three people have at least mild insomnia.
If your lack of sleep can be traced back to poor habits, making some basic lifestyle choices will usually resolve the issue. A few tips include:
1. Keep your room as dark as possible during sleeping hours
2. Stay cool—researchers currently recommend keeping your bedroom between 63-67 degrees
3. Don’t consume caffeine after noon
4. Don’t consume alcohol (or at least don’t consume it within 2 hours of sleep)
5. Make sure you are getting enough protein and magnesium
6. Limit screen time at least an hour before bed
7. Get plenty of sunshine during the day to stimulate your circadian rhythms.
8. Exercise earlier in the day. Late-day exercise can overstimulate the body.
9. Practice shutting off your mind with guided meditation, reading, or even sleep hypnosis
10. Use white noise or soothing music to calm and block out distracting sounds
If you have tried these tips without success, you may have a more serious sleep issue. For that, we recommend trying some homeopathic sleep aids and herbs for sleep. Understandably, doing research on natural sleep remedies can be time consuming and frustrating. There is so much information to comb through. To remain in good health, we are already forced to make intentional decisions about exercise, what and what not to eat, and more. Healthy choices require mindfulness and awareness about what is right for your body. If you are already overtired, that task may prove to be overwhelming.
Fortunately, we have done some extensive research into the best natural sleep aid supplements on the market. In the next part of this article, we will breakdown 10 natural sleep aids for you, explaining why they can help. We’ve also taken even more of the guesswork out of it by providing our top recommendations for the best sleep aid supplement brands we have found.
Magnesium is crucial to overall health and is essential for the proper functioning of our brain, heart, muscles, and bones. As one of the most plentiful minerals in nature, it is found in many foods, including whole grains, green leafy vegetables, almonds, and more. Yet not everyone consumes these regularly or in the amounts necessary to supply the body with enough magnesium to run properly. As a result, there are millions of people suffering from a deficiency in this vital mineral.
Among other conditions, not getting enough of this naturally-occurring compound is closely related to insomnia and sleeping disorders. We’ve listed it right at the top of the best natural sleep supplements for an excellent reason. Numerous studies confirm that magnesium is imperative to a good night’s sleep. By interacting with your central nervous system and melatonin levels, it helps to naturally relax and unwind the mind and body, preparing them for rest.
Magnesium deficiency has been implicated in restless leg syndrome (RLS), a condition characterized by a nearly uncontrollable urge to move your legs. It can be particularly troublesome at bedtime, just when you are trying to drift off to sleep. Magnesium supplementation has been shown to reduce the symptoms of RLS.
Additionally, your mental wellness can also be affected by a lack of magnesium, which may explain why insomnia often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety and depressive disorders.
Fortunately, supplementing with this common mineral is safe and easy on your wallet. Further, this simple addition to your daily regimen could make a remarkable difference in the quality of your sleep. Below is our favorite pick to help bring your body back into balance for better rest.
Nobi Nutrition High Absorption Magnesium Complex
Nobi Nutrition’s magnesium supplement is considered one of the highest quality choices on the market. It contains 500 mg of pure magnesium in an easy-to-swallow capsule and is entirely vegan with no binders or preservatives. It is manufactured in a GMP certified facility and is consistently well-reviewed. If you want to start with a pure and potent magnesium product, Nobi Nutrition offers a top-of-the-line option. It also comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
Except for iron, zinc is the most abundant trace metal present in the human body. It is an important factor in male fertility and prostate health as well as cognitive functioning, wound healing, immunity, and a proper sense of taste and smell. In the brain, it plays a crucial role in neural plasticity, neurogenesis, and memory, which is why researchers now believe it is a determining factor in getting a deeper and more restful night’s sleep.
Unlike magnesium, zinc is not likely to help your body wind down for bedtime. Instead, it works as a deep sleep supplement by increasing the overall quality and efficiency of your sleep cycle. It consolidates memory and restores the body’s physical functioning to optimal levels. In short, zinc helps you to sleep deeper and wake up feeling more refreshed. If you feel like you have no problem falling asleep, but you sleep fitfully through the night or can’t remain in a state of deep and restorative REM sleep, a lack of zinc could potentially explain this issue.
Zinc Citrate by Pure Encapsulations
Pure Encapsulations is one of the leading manufacturers of pure and hypoallergenic health supplements. Trusted for three decades, they use the highest-quality ingredients designed to deliver measurable and predictable results. Their Zinc citrate formulation is gluten-free, non-GMO, and contains 180 capsules with 30 mg of Zinc per serving. This is easily one of the purest zinc products on the market.
Perhaps the most well-known health supplement for sleep issues, melatonin has been recommended for years for those who have trouble falling asleep. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body, and its primary function is regulating circadian rhythms. When it gets dark, we begin to naturally produce more of this hormone, signaling to the body that it is time for bed. Alternatively, when it is light out, our production of melatonin decreases, and our bodies prepare for wakefulness.
Our ancestors likely had less of an issue with melatonin than we do in our modern society. They went to bed when it got dark and woke when it was light out. In a society that never sleeps, and particularly for those whose occupations have them working nights and sleeping during the daylight hours, melatonin’s basic function is often derailed. As one of the safest and best natural sleep aids available, this supplement is often all it takes to bring the body back into a healthy sleep/wake cycle.
Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Tablets
Natrol’s fast-dissolve melatonin tablets make taking melatonin at bedtime a simple task. Made in a GMP certified facility in Chatsworth, California, these vegan and non-GMO tablets contain 5 mg of melatonin each. No water is needed to take them, as they dissolve quickly on the tongue. The pleasant strawberry flavor makes them a favorite among kids as well.
4. GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid)
GABA is an important amino acid that acts as a neurotransmitter. Its function is to block certain impulses between the brain and the nervous system, and when it attaches to its corresponding receptors, it is known to produce a calming effect. For those who have insomnia related to anxiety and nighttime fearfulness, GABA may be beneficial in dampening these responses.
Researchers have concluded that GABA may be highly effective in treating anxiety disorders. Although more research is necessary, those who take it for anxiety-related insomnia have found it to be quite useful. It is naturally produced within the body, however, taking it as a supplement may reduce sleeplessness.
Thorne Research – PharmaGABA-100
The GABA from Thorne Research is created using a fermentation process that utilizes Lactobacillus hilgardii. It is thought that this beneficial bacteria makes GABA more bioavailable in the body. Sourced from the highest-quality ingredients, it is free from allergens like eggs, nuts, soy, dairy, yeast, shellfish, or fish. Each vegan capsule contains 100 mg of pure GABA.
Vitamin B6 is not naturally produced in the body, so it must be obtained through the diet. Getting enough of this essential vitamin is dependent mainly on a well-rounded diet rich in lean protein, dairy, and nutrient-rich whole grains and vegetables. Even among those who make healthy dietary choices, B6 deficiencies are common. For individuals who follow a vegan or vegetarian diet, supplementing with B6 may be necessary.
The role of this fundamental vitamin in the body is extensive. Research indicates that it may promote eye health, prevent cancer, reduce the risk of heart disease, assist in hemoglobin production, reduce inflammation, and boost mood and brain function. For pregnant women suffering from acute morning sickness, B6 injections are a common remedy. However, when it comes to sleep, this powerhouse is pretty significant.
One of its primary functions is to convert an important amino acid—tryptophan— into the neurotransmitter serotonin, a chemical vital to a good night’s rest. If you have ever eaten a big turkey dinner and been compelled to sleep, you can thank this chemical reaction for your drowsiness. Although many nutritionists claim to have debunked this myth, the legendary “Thanksgiving nap” is a phenomenon that lives on–at least anecdotally. Since eating turkey every night is probably not practical, taking a high-quality natural sleep aid like the B6 supplement below may be just the thing to lull you to dreamland.
Pure Encapsulations P5P 50 Activated Vitamin B6
Pure Encapsulations makes our list again with its hypoallergenic P5P 50 Activated Vitamin B6.
P5P stands for “pyridoxal 5 phosphate”, an essential metabolite of pyridoxine that is the predominant form of plasma B6. Each serving contains 50 mg of activated B6 and is entirely free from magnesium stearate, gluten, hydrogenated fat, artificial sweeteners and colors, and GMOs. There are 60 capsules in each bottle.
6. Valerian Root
Valerian root was written about by Hippocrates and first prescribed by the Greek physician Galenus somewhere between the first two centuries of recorded time. To say it is one of the most ancient remedies for sleeplessness known to man would be a vast understatement. While it is hard to imagine that people living in the Roman empire in 140 AD had insomnia, it appears that this malady has been around since antiquity.
As a supplement, valerian root is sourced from the flowering valerian plant native to Asia and parts of Europe. It is generally referred to as an herb. Curiously, while this healing plant medicine has been used for thousands of years, mainstream medicine has been slow to accept its efficacy. although it has a relatively high safety profile with few reported side effects.
Among natural health enthusiasts, valerian is widely used as an anti-anxiety remedy that some find as effective as traditionally prescribed benzodiazepines; one of our own staff writers swears by its ability to calm acute anxiety and panic attacks. Among those who take it for sleep, most say it works as a remarkable sedative that relaxes the central nervous system without the hangover effect of prescription sleep aids.
As is common among herbal remedies, the source and quality of products can vary widely. If anxiety and restlessness are your main sleeping issues, we suggest going with a carefully researched and reputable valerian root supplier Oregon’s Wild Harvest.
Oregon’s Wild Harvest Valerian
Grown organically on Oregon’s Wild Harvest farm, this top-rated valerian root contains 450 mg per capsule. It is freshly milled and processed in small batches for optimum freshness and is third-party lab tested for purity. Made with love in Redmond, Oregon, the capsules contain only gelatin and valerian.
When researchers first discovered L-Theanine in 1949, this vital amino acid didn’t necessarily need the endorsement of the scientific community to prove its many therapeutic benefits to the public. Found in both green tea and certain species of mushrooms, it has been utilized throughout the ages to help with restful sleep.
Chemically speaking, L-Theanine increases levels of serotonin, GABA, and dopamine in the brain. In this way, it acts as an adaptogen compound—providing focus and clarity when it is needed, yet relaxation and a sense of calm when it is time for the mind and body to wind down. This quality makes it one of the best sleep supplements you can find.
Fortunately for the skeptics among us, five brilliant analysts from the College of Health Science at Korea University in Seoul recently published a remarkably in-depth study on the benefits of L-Theanine just this year. Their research was both thorough and conclusive. Green tea supplements are highly effective for both insomnia and anxiety. Here’s a look at our favorite L-Theanine product:
NOW Foods 200 Mg L-Theanine Capsules
These 200 mg L-Theanine Capsules from NOW foods are manufactured in a GMP facility and is vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and kosher. We love that the product also contains Inositol, which is a naturally-occurring B vitamin that helps balance serotonin and dopamine in the brain. The inclusion of this ingredient gives the formulation a little something extra when it comes to restfulness.
For hard-core insomniacs, the suggestion to drink a cup of chamomile tea as a sleep aid to promote restfulness is probably insulting. Grocery stores across North America routinely stock and market this ho-hum product as a sleep aid in the form of tea bags in boxes that cleverly illustrate teddy bears donning sleeping caps and lounging on cute little beds. While this marketing ploy might work for the uninitiated, those who know the torture of sleep deprivation are not fooled. They have already tried this with dismal results.
True chamomile is not a tea at all, but rather an herb. As with some of the other remedies on our list, it is an ancient plant medicine that has been used over the centuries for inflammation, allergies, menstrual disorders, pain, gastrointestinal issues, and yes— insomnia.
In 2010, the well-known physician and author Sanjay Gupta and two of his colleagues—Janmejai K Srivastava and Eswar Shankar— published a thorough report on the plant that outlined its many therapeutic qualities. Among their findings, they concluded that chamomile’s sedative effects might be due to a flavonoid called apigenin which binds itself with benzodiazepine receptors in the human brain. Chamomile is a restful sleep supplement that could make all the difference.
Herb Pharm Certified Organic Chamomile Liquid Extract
Herb Pharm’s chamomile extract is grown and extracted on their own Southern Oregon farms and comes in your choice of a 1 oz or 4 oz dropper bottle. While chamomile tablets are also helpful, the bioavailability of the extract is superior. Organically grown, it is extracted using pure can alcohol and undergoes High-Performance Thin Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) analysis to test for purity and potency. Safe and gentle enough even for children, it is one of the best sleep supplements you will find online.
9. Mucuna Pruriens
If you have never heard of Mucuna Pruriens, you’re not alone. This relatively obscure REM sleep supplement is sourced from a climbing vine called Kapikachhu but is more commonly known as “Velvet Bean” and is known to be one of the best sleep aids on the market.
This powerful ayurvedic remedy for insomnia is also known to help regulate the body’s fight or flight response and contribute to overall sexual health in both men and women. Not surprisingly, Mucuna Pruriens also seems to play a role in better sleep. Whether this is due to better sex or not remains to be seen.
The plant has historically been used in Arabic, Indian, and Asian cultures to treat everything from poisonous snake bites to Parkinson’s disease and has only recently been introduced to Western civilization. In 2012, four prominent researchers undertook a more in-depth study on Mucuna Prurien’s relation to sleeplessness. They concluded that the vine is closely related to slow-wave sleep and is likely beneficial in improving the overall quality of sleep. Our research has uncovered the following recommendation for the highest-quality Mucuna Pruriens:
Nature Bell 1000 mg Mucuna Pruriens Capsules
Nature Bell’s Mucuna Pruriens contains no GMOs, artificial colors or flavorings, and is soy and gluten-free. Made in California at a registered facility, it is third-party lab tested for purity and potency. One of the best natural sleep aid supplements available, it is also a natural libido booster. Each bottle contains 200 capsules.
Most people have not heard about L-Ornithine. It is an amino acid primarily associated with removing urine from the body. While this might sound a little odd, consider the fact that without this essential compound, your liver would be shot.
L-Ornithine shows immense promise as a supplement to help sleep. While it is considered a non-essential amino acid, It has the remarkable ability to convert to citrulline, proline, glutamate, and creatine—all vital to maintaining wellness and promoting healthy sleep.
L-Ornithine acts as one of the best natural sleep aids by reducing cortisol levels, reducing overall fatigue associated with insomnia, and helping to quell anxiety. While this essential amino acid is generally found in sufficient amounts in the body, some people do experience a deficiency. People with injuries, chronic conditions, and women who are pregnant may be low on L-Ornithine. We suggest the following top-quality L-Ornithine supplements below.
L-Ornithine HCL Powder by Bulk Supplements
Bulk Supplements offers their L-Ornithine HCL powder is a variety of sizes depending on your needs. Lab-tested and guaranteed, it comes sealed in a foil pouch for your convenience and dissolves easily in your favorite beverage. Free of sugar, soy, dairy, yeast, gluten, corn, and additives, it is manufactured to GMP standards. The recommended serving size is 800 mg.
Getting your sleep issues under control might be the most important step you can take towards better health. Being well rested will lower stress hormones, help you feel calmer, and provide you with more focus, energy, and drive. With one or more of these top-rated sleep supplements, you can be on your way to a great night’s sleep in no time.