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Taking a sleep supplement is an easy way to help treat your insomnia (and other sleep disturbances).
The supplements on this list consist of herbs, hormones, vitamins, and minerals that help your body wind down and prepare for a good night of sleep. We’ve reviewed and ranked the top 5 supplements that are available in capsule form, which we believe is the easiest way to get the nutrients you need to fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The best supplements for sleep are:
#1. Ashwagandha KSM-66
Ashwagandha KSM-66 is a supplement that most people haven’t heard of. It’s commonly used to relieve stress and anxiety, but new research shows that it is great for something else: curing insomnia.
A double-blind study conducted in 2019 showed that Ashwagandha KSM-66 improved the following metrics: sleep onset latency, total sleep time, wake after sleep onset, total time in bed, sleep efficiency, the Pittsburgh sleep quality index, subjective sleep quality assessment and mental alertness on rising. All of this on top of the stress and anxiety-relieving effects that the herb is known for.
Most of the other supplements on this list are widely known, but Ashwagandha KSM-66 is something that only people who stay on top of the latest sleep research (that’s us!) will be aware of. We highly recommend it, especially if you’ve tried all of the most popular solutions without results.
Check price | Best all-natural sleep aid
Melatonin is an interesting supplement. It’s a substance that your body naturally produces in your pineal gland. Melatonin is closely tied to your circadian rhythm – your body naturally starts producing it at nighttime and stops producing it when the sun comes up.
You can naturally regulate your melatonin production by making sure that you expose yourself to daylight during the day and by making sure that you avoid looking at artifical blue light – like computer screens – in the evening.
A lot of us have issues with naturally producing melatonin since we work in offices during the day and stare at TV screens in the evening. Fortunately you can take melatonin supplements to make up for it.
Melatonin can help you with insomnia and can also help relieve delayed sleep phase disorder – a condition that makes it hard to fall asleep before 2 a.m. and makes it hard to get up in the morning.
Check price | Best supplement for relaxation
L-Theanine is a supplement derived from green tea that makes you feel calm, focused, and relaxed. If you find is hard to fall asleep when your mind is racing a million-miles-per-minute, L-Theanine can help.
This amino acid was first found in tea leaves by Japanese scientists in 1949. L-Theanine works by boosts GABA and other calming brain chemicals while reducing the excitatory brain chemicals that can keep you lying in bed awake all night.
L-Theanine also enhances alpha brain waves, giving you deeper REM sleep. Remember that REM sleep is most important in helping your body recover and is the phase most associated with helping you feel alert during the day.
#4. Vitamin B-6
Check price | Best vitamin for sleep
Vitamin B-6 is an important precursor to tryptophan and dopamine; both of which rely on the vitamin for synthesis.
Tryptophan is a substance that is extremely important for regulating your mood and sleep since it plays a role in serotonin and melatonin production. This gives Vitamin B-6 an important role as an indirect sleep aid.
If you don’t obtain an adequate amount of B6 in your diet you’ll limit the amount of serotonin in your body, which can lead to insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns.
Check price | Best mineral for sleep
Magnesium works on a chemical level by activating your parasympathetic nervous system, the system that is responsible for helping you feel calm and relaxed.
The mineral also plays an important role in regulating your melatonin, the hormone that is responsible for your sleep-wake cycle. It also binds to your GABA receptors, which helps quiet down nerve activity. This is critical in helping your body wind down for sleep. GABA is the same neurotransmitter that is affected by prescription sleep drugs like Ambien.
Studies in mice have shown that having an inadequate amount of Magnesium is associated with insomnia and other sleep problems.
What about CBD?
We definitely recommend that you try CBD for treating your sleeping problems.
CBD is one of the main cannabinoids present in both hemp and marijuana plants. It’s non-psychoactive – unlike THC – which means that you won’t get high. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the part of the plant that makes you feel calm and relaxed, a perfect mindset to be in right before you go to bed.
CBD works by alleviating the anxiety and pain that is keeping you up at night. If your mind is normally swirling with thoughts the exact second you lay down to go to bed then taking a dose of CBD can help calm you down. Once you’ve quieted your mind you’ll find that it’s much easier to drift off to sleep.
The pain-relieving benefits of CBD also play a role in helping you fall asleep. If you suffer from chronic pain – especially in your joints – then you know that it can be extremely difficult to fall asleep, especially when you’re laying in bed with nothing else to think about. CBD has been shown to play a critical role in relieving chronic pain. Taking it – along with making sure that you’re using a mattress with pain-relieving properties – can help reduce the pain that keeps you up at night.
We didn’t include any CBD products on this list because we already have separate lists for the best CBD products. Here are links to our favorites:
Do I need to take a supplement? Can’t I get these nutrients from food?
You never actually need to take one of these supplements. Magnesium and Vitamin B6 can be found in common foods that are part of a balanced diet. You can find magnesium in dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, and tofu. Vitamin B6 is present in fish, chicken, sweet potatoes, and bananas.
Since it can be hard to make sure you’re eating a completely balanced diet – especially if you don’t cook – then you can make sure you’re getting the right amount of these important vitamins and minerals by taking an OTC (over-the-counter) sleep aid.
L-Theanine is derived from tea leaves. If you regularly drink green or black tea then you’re most likely already getting an adequate amount of the substance. If you’re more of a coffee drinker – or if you don’t drink any type of caffeinated beverage – then you likely don’t get enough L-Theanine in your system. In that case you should consider supplementing it with a capsule like the one we reviewed above.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces. You don’t get it from food but rather from exposing yourself to daylight when the sun is up and by reducing your exposure to artificial sources of blue light – like your cell phone or computer screen – when the sun is down. Since that’s unrealistic for a lot of people in our modern society, you can take melatonin gummies or capsules to supplement what you’re body isn’t producing naturally.
Ashwagandha is an herb that grows natively in Africa, South America, and the Middle East. It’s extremely rare that it’s found in the modern diet, which means that if you want to enjoy the benefits you’re going to have to supplement it. We recommend taking the more potent KSM-66 version because it’s the one that seems to have the best insomnia-relieving benefits according to recent research.
If you want to learn more about the role of supplementation in in your sleep health we ranked the best sleep books that we think you should read. Take a look and learn more about how sleep is one of the most important aspects of your overall health.