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11% of Americans report insufficient sleep every night, and an estimated 50 million Americans suffer from regular sleep issues, including sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
Although there are many sleep supplements available in pharmacies, many physicians prefer to recommend more natural sleep remedies and herbal supplements. Here we look at the best natural sleep supplements to consider before bedtime.
Best All-Natural Sleep Aids
Before we dive into our sleep supplement recommendations, it’s important to understand the common ingredients in herbal remedy products that help you fall asleep.
Ah, melatonin. You can’t research good sleep without being repeatedly told about melatonin and how great it is for you. Melatonin is a hormone which is naturally produced by your body, rising and falling throughout the day according to sunlight. Melatonin can be taken in supplement form, and it has been shown to boost sleep quality and time, especially if you’re suffering with jet lag or you work night shifts.
2. Valerian Root
Valerian root is often called “nature’s Valium” due to its relaxing and sleep-inducing properties. It is hence known as one of the best herbs for sleep. Valerian root increases gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain, helping to produce long-lasting low-anxiety sleep. It also contains antioxidants called hesperidin and linarin which appear to have sleep benefits too. (1)
Chamomile tea, if brewed at the right temperature, is often used as an all natural sleep aid. Chamomile contains an antioxidant called apigenin which tells your brain to reduce anxiety and prepare for sleep time. Chamomile is often regarded as a mild sedative due to its promotion of healthy sleep.
4. CBD oil
CBD oil usually comes from hemp plants and it is generally considered to have relaxing and sleep-inducing properties. According to Dr. Sarah Brewer, a medical director from Healthspan, "[CBD oil] is particularly helpful for people whose sleep problems are due to anxiety. Anecdotally, ever since I started taking CBD at night I have enjoyed really deep sleep and also feel more relaxed."
Magnesium is essential for keeping your body healthy, but it also has a role to play in relaxation too. Proper magnesium levels are shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, making it easier for people with a “racing mind” to fall asleep at night.
6. Passion Flower
There is some evidence to suggest that passion flower can have benefits for healthy sleep, with some animals studies showing significantly increased deep sleep and reduced REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. More testing needs to be done on humans with passion flower, though. (2)
My grandma’s house always used to stink of lavender, but now it makes sense. Apparently, smelling lavender oil for 30 minutes before bed can improve sleep quality, especially in young women and elderly people. One study found that the lavender sleepers achieved 14-24% better sleep than the control group.
Glycine is a neurotransmitter and amino acid which is known for improving sleep quality. This is because glycine helps the body to produce serotonin, a hormone which plays a key role in regulating proper sleep. Along with melatonin, serotonin is one of the most important hormones for reducing the risk of sleep disorders.
Our Top Natural Sleep Supplements (2020 Updated)
OUR #1 RATED
Performance Lab Sleep
OUR #2 RATED
Powher Down Sleep
OUR #3 RATED
Healthycell Rem Sleep
OUR #4 RATED
CBDPure Oil Drops
OUR #5 RATED
Vitamonk Quad Magnesium
1. Performance Lab Sleep (Editor's Choice)
These natural sleep supplements from Performance Lab supply you with a natural form of melatonin sourced from Montmorency tart cherry, in addition to 100mg of magnesium.
This mixture is thought to help reduce stress and anxiety, making it much easier to fall asleep. It also contains 250 mg of l-tryptophan (don’t ask me how to pronounce that) which supports the body’s production of both melatonin and serotonin.
More importantly, than all the mumbo-jumbo is the fact that these really work. It’s a pure and straightforward formula that had me drifting comfortably into the land of nod and staying there.
You can learn more about this sleep supplement by watching this video review:
These are our top pick because in our opinion they offer the best guarantee of a good night’s sleep.
2. Powher Down Sleep
Powher is a brand that's been on my radar for a while now due to their fat burner and pre-workout supplements.
They've now added Powher Down, which is a sleep supplement designed specifically for women and is formulated to provide swift transitions into a deep and relaxing sleep.
As with their other products, the ingredients are simple but with proven research and track records of providing results.
It's super easy to use, works well, and is made by a company that you can trust. Buy two or more of their products and take advantage of their free shipping - UK and US only.
Providing a hefty serving of melatonin which is naturally occurring in the body and rises during sleep it has been shown to reduce the time it takes to go to sleep and is EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) approved.
3. HealthyCell REM Sleep
HealthyCell's REM Sleep, which contains a combination of calming herbs, amino acids, and melatonin, not only aids in improving sleep quality but also your performance the following day.
Its formulation of melatonin, 5HTP, GABA, and L-tryptophan may help you achieve brain creativity-boosting REM sleep.
I like that this product comes in a MICROGEL™ form, which offers a more natural way to supplement the diet by eliminating synthetic binding glues, fillers, and coatings; things that are found commonly in supplements.
It also comes in a great natural black cherry flavor.
A friend tried this product and they reported experiencing deep sleep immediately and that they also felt completely energized to face the day ahead of them.
4. CBD Pure Hemp Oil Drops
More research is needed into the benefits of CBD oil, but it is commonly thought that cannabidiol has calming properties which reduce everyday anxiety and improve sleep.
These new drops from CBDPure contain 60 x 0.5 dropper doses per bottle and the CBD is extracted from non-GMO agricultural hemp plants which contain tiny (<0.3%) amounts of THC.
In other words, you won’t be stoned before bedtime… but you should sleep better. I’ve been taking CBD for about 12 months now, and I personally have noticed better sleep and a more chilled-out attitude to life. It’s been nice.
I'd still prefer other sleep aid in capsule form though. I've been used to taking my supplements in capsule so there's that.
5. Vitamonk Quad Magnesium
This product is based entirely around magnesium, featuring 4 different bioavailable forms of magnesium that help you to fall asleep and reduce the effects of stress on your body.
Up to 50% of Americans don't get enough magnesium in their diet naturally, so supplementing your diet with the mineral could be a good idea regardless of your quality of sleep.
My friend tried this product after suffering from insomnia and disturbed sleep. It took a few days before she noticed the effects, but soon she gradually drifted into a deep sleep pattern again and felt better for it.
I'd still recommend this supplement for you to try. Let me know in the comments of your experience.
6. Dr Emil Nutrition EZ Doze
This sleep aid is packed with valerian root, melatonin, chamomile, St John’s Wort and magnesium, providing you with a hard-hitting cocktail of herbs to naturally relax your body and gracefully send you sinking into your pillow.
According to the manufacturer, the ingredients in this supplement are designed to be non-groggy. It’s therefore great for jet lag or shift work issues.
I tried this after flying from the US to the UK (from west to east – the worse direction for jetlag) when I wanted to sleep at night on UK time. Within 2 days or so, I was running on British time like everyone else.
Let me know if this sleep aid works for you in the comment section. I'll wait for your feedback!
7. Dreamrite Natural Sleep Aid
Remember that list of natural sleep aids that we talked about earlier on? Well you’re gonna find many of those minerals, vitamins, hormones, and amino acids in these supplements from Dreamrite.
These non-habit-forming sleeping supplements contain melatonin, passion flower, valerian root, lemon balm, chamomile, GABA, magnesium, hops, l-theanine and a whole lot more.
If you’re prone to waking up in the middle of the night, these pills are ideal for falling back to sleep in no time. They’re also designed to be non-addictive, which is a sigh of relief.
I don’t like putting anything potentially addictive or habit-forming into my body.
8. Sleep Well Herbal Sleep Aid
The company behind these natural sleeping pills is called “Vali”, which sounds a bit like “Valium”, so I guess they’re into the whole relaxation thing.
These sleep supplements contain non-habit-forming ingredients such as melatonin, lemon balm, chamomile, deodorized valerian, and l-theanine.
According to the manufacturer, these tablets work naturally with your body to optimize your sleep cycle, helping you to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.
The capsules smell kind of weird though but if you're not nitpicky, you would do alright.
I didn’t notice any grogginess with these, which is a nice added bonus. There’s nothing worse than waking up and feeling like the undead.
What Is The Safest Natural Sleep Aid?
Safe natural sleep supplements include products such as chamomile and valerian root, which are commonly used in teas and herbal sleep remedies for people with insomnia and other sleep disorders.
However, the FDA does not regulate natural sleep aids, so it’s best to ensure that you’re buying natural sleeping pills from a reputable and trustworthy manufacturer.
One of the keys to good sleep is establishing a routine—make sure you have a wind-down schedule before going to bed. There are many potential treatment options for sleep issues, so ask your doctor and if needed, ask for a referral to see a sleep medicine physician.
Dr. Susheel Patil
Clinical Director at Johns Hopkins Medicine
What Is The Most Effective Natural Sleep Aid?
The most effective natural sleep aid is probably melatonin, which is commonly found in natural herbal sleeping tablets. Melatonin supplements are particularly good for treating jet lag and daytime sleep due to shift work, as they help to adjust your body’s sleep rhythm and make it easier to sleep in the daytime if necessary. (3)
Are Sleeping Pills Bad For You?
Regular sleeping pills are bad for you if taken for too long – most sleeping pills are prescribed for no longer than 1 week due to the fear of addiction and possible adverse side effects.
On the other hand, herbal and natural sleeping supplements tend to be safer for you if taken properly. Still, you should always try to adjust your lifestyle and habits before turning to pills for sleep problems.
If you're not sure if you should take sleeping pills, I highly recommend that you seek medical advice. It's better to be sure than following your own medication and subsequently suffering its side effects.
Any supplement must be taken moderately and as prescribed by a physician. Don't forget that!
What Is The Strongest OTC Sleeping Pill?
Diphenhydramine pills (such as Benadryl) are some of the strongest sleeping pills that you can get without a prescription. (4) Although these antihistamines are designed primarily to reduce hay fever and allergy symptoms, they can have a sedative effect if taken before bed.
If you’re looking for a more natural alternative, I would have to recommend supplements containing melatonin, chamomile, magnesium, or valerian root.
Why Bodybuilders Should Consider Taking Sleep Aids
Bodybuilders should consider taking sleep aids because they need effective and healthy sleep in order to rest their muscles and grow. Good sleep leads to improved muscle recovery.
During the non-REM stage of sleep (known as “deep sleep”), your pituitary gland sends oxygen, nutrients, and growth hormones to your muscles, leading to improved gains. (5)
Poor sleep leads to a deficiency of growth hormone, which can reduce overall muscle mass and lead to reduced exercise capacity.
As a result, bodybuilders who don’t get enough sleep are jeopardizing their chances of achieving the muscle mass they desire. Bodybuilders ideally require 7-9 hours of good-quality sleep every night.
How Can I Reduce Anxiety Before Bed?
There is a cruel link between anxiety and sleeplessness, often resulting in a viscous circle effect. (6) For example, your worries keep you awake at night, you realize how late it is, and then you become anxious about not falling asleep quickly enough.
Relaxation and anxiety reduction are essential before going to bed, as a “racing mind” can easily keep you up at night and prevent you from falling asleep.
Those looking to find a solution should consider changing their bedtime habits and lifestyle, perhaps seeking counselling or reducing the causes of anxiety in their everyday life.
However, you might also consider taking supplements such as CBD oil which are believed to reduce anxiety and help with sleep.
How Can I Stop Waking Up In The Middle Of The Night?
The best way to stop waking up in the middle of the night is to practice good sleep hygiene and establish a regular bedtime routine which helps you to wind down and prepare for rest.
For example, avoid looking at phone screens or TV screens before you go to bed, as the artificial lights can stimulate your brain and “trick” your body into thinking it’s daytime.
Furthermore, you should avoid consuming caffeine or alcohol in the evening and you should ideally make sure that your smartphone is on the other side of the room, removing temptation to use it. (7)
If you’re still waking up in the middle of the night, try some herbal sleeping remedies like chamomile, melatonin, valerian root, and magnesium.
My Recommended Sleep Supplement Is...
Ironically, I’m quite sleepy as I’ve been writing this, so writing about counting sheep for the past few hours hasn’t exactly made me any more energetic.
Alas, there are lots of sleeping pills on the market, but artificial sleeping pills have been found to dramatically increase your risk of death if taken for too long, so I would advise avoiding them if possible.
Instead, why not try a more natural solution like Performance Lab Sleep to tackle your insomnia? It’s herbal, affordable, and packed with a strong source of melatonin. Its l-tryptophan content even helps to produce serotonin too, so you can be sleepy, relaxed and generally happier all around. Sounds good to good to be true, what’s your favorite all natural sleep aid to help you fall asleep?
Performance Lab Sleep
Best Natural Sleep Supplement
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