Natural Sleep Supplements That Really Work
Sleep doesn’t always come easy for everyone. I’ve struggled with my sleep ever since I was 12 years old. And I know I’m not alone. I talk to so many others who also deal with sleepless nights. So I wanted to tell you about the natural sleep supplements that are my go to when I can’t seem to get the rest I need.
Now before we jump into it I just want to make it clear that this list is only going to include natural sleep supplements. Just like the title says. If you’re looking for a general list of sleep tips or remedies check out my post called Sleep Better: 10 Tips to Help You Fall Asleep, Stay Asleep & Wake Up Feeling Awesome. There you will find my absolute tried and true sleep tips that go well beyond taking a supplement.
What’s so bad about prescription sleeping pills?
Prescription sleeping pills have the potential to cause harmful side effects. Some of which include increased risk of cancer, memory loss, increased risk of Alzheimer’s and they can also be habit forming. Read this article to learn more.
Even over the counter sleep aids such as Tylenol PM’s can be dangerous. You can check out this article to learn all about the terrible side effects. Not to mention the way they make you feel the next day. I used to take Tylenol PM’s all the time as a teenager and I would always wake up feeling so tired and groggy the next day.
Natural Alternatives to Sleeping Pills
If you’ve been taking sleeping pills (prescribed or otc) or have been considering it, I highly suggest you try some of the natural sleep supplements listed below.
8 Natural Sleep Supplements That Really Work
Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the brain. It tells your body when to sleep and when to wake up. You can buy melatonin in pill form. I’ve had amazing results with melatonin. This is the one I buy.
If you decide to try it, here are a few tips.
- Start small. Only take half a milligram to start with and work your way up in .5mg increments until you find the dose that works for you.
- I used to take melatonin for years and I only ever needed between 1 and 3mg. I would caution using more than 5mg per night. If 5mg isn’t enough I would suggest trying another supplement on this list.
- Take the melatonin 20 minutes before your preferred bedtime. When you start to get tired, allow yourself to fall asleep. I know that sounds strange but some people will take it too early and they’re not quite ready for bed when the melatonin begins to kick in. Or they might be watching a tv show and don’t want to fall asleep yet because they want to finish the show. With melatonin you have a short window where it starts to kick in and you begin to feel drowsy and you need to let the melatonin do its thing. If you don’t, that feeling will pass and you will have missed your opportunity for a good nights rest.
- Don’t take melatonin every night. The more you take melatonin the less melatonin your brain will produce naturally. We don’t want that. So only take melatonin when you absolutely have to.
Magnesium is one of seven essential macro minerals. Your body needs a lot of it. Many people are deficient in magnesium. There is an amazing book called The Magnesium Miracle that I highly suggest you read if you want to learn more about the benefits of magnesium.
Sleep issues are a major sign of a magnesium deficiency. My absolute favorite magnesium supplement is MagMind. I take it every single night and I even give it to my teen boys. Not only does it help you relax and fall asleep but it also helps you to wake up feeling clear headed and alert. I think the reason it works so well is because it contains magnesium l-threonate which is the only form of magnesium that has been shown to readily cross the blood-brain barrier. I’ve taken other magnesium supplements and MagMind is the best one I’ve ever tried. I can’t go without it! It has also helped my son with his ADD but I’ll save that for another post.
A B-6 deficiency could be the cause of your sleep issues. B-6 converts the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin which is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate levels of melatonin. B-6 can also help to alleviate anxiety which can trigger sleep problems. This is the B-6 supplement I use.
5-HTP is a compound made naturally in the body. It is created as a by-product of the amino acid L-tryptophan. 5-HTP helps the body produce serotinin. I first discovered 5-HTP through the book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross (I love this book. It literally changed my life!). If you decide to try 5-HTP I recommend you read The Mood Cure because the author has a lot of information about 5-htp and proper dosing.
I started taking 5-HTP to improve my mood (which it did) but it also greatly improved my sleep. This is the only 5-HTP supplement I use and recommend. I’ve tried several others but for some reason this is the only one that works for me. In my experience it doesn’t necessarily make you feel drowsy but it just makes you feel relaxed and calm. Like everything is right in the world. If you decide to try it out here are a few tips.
- Read The Mood Cure like I mentioned above.
- Start out with 50mg and see how you feel. If you don’t notice any difference whatsoever increase dose by 50mg. You should feel results within 20-30 minutes.
- If you start to feel worse. For example, more anxious, moody, irritable, angry, discontinue use immediately.
5-HTP helps you sleep by increasing serotonin which helps you feel calmer, less anxious, less stressed and just more at peace. But symptoms of too much serotonin are the same as not enough that is why I urge you to stop taking 5-htp if you notice the opposite effect occurring. 5-htp does not work for everyone.
CBD oil might be all the rage right now but that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about hemp oil. Hemp oil is not the same as CBD oil. CBD oil uses the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant, which contain a higher concentration of cannabidiol. Hemp oil comes from the small seeds of the Cannabis sativa plant. It does not contain THC or CBD. Hemp oil is amazing for your skin, your hair, your brain, your heart and so much more. You can click here to learn more about it.
Hemp oil can reduce anxiety, which can be helpful in reducing sleep difficulties and improving sleep quality. I take about a tablespoon every night before bed.
I use the Nutiva organic, cold-pressed, unrefined hemp seed oil. You can get 24 ounces for under $13! Check out all the amazing reviews on Amazon. This stuff is awesome!
L-theanine is a compound that occurs naturally in green tea. You can also purchase it in supplement form. It is an amino acid that the body does not naturally produce. L-theanine can have a significant impact on your sleep and mood.
L-theanine is similar to 5-HTP in the way it impacts sleep. In my experience, it doesn’t really make you drowsy but it helps to calm you down and eliminate anxiety. I usually take it on an empty stomach in the morning. Shortly after taking it I’ll have a cup of coffee which can increase the effects of L-theanine.
L-theanine has been a game changer for me. I’m so glad someone told me about this awesome supplement. I take it in the morning because it helps to increase my focus and alertness. It also decreases my anxiety and helps me feel calm. I notice when I take L-theanine in the morning it helps me sleep better at night. This is my favorite L-theanine supplement.
I’ve noticed if I take it too many days in a row, it starts to lose its effect and I start to feel yucky. So I only take 200mg one day a week. Your experience may vary. You can read this article to learn more about L-theanine.
GABA is both a chemical produced within the body and also a supplement that’s made for ingestion. GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid. It is an amino acid produced in the brain. GABA can help relieve stress and anxiety, promote a balanced mood, and help with sleep. A recent study showed that a combination of GABA and 5-HTP may together improve sleep quality and increase sleep time.
To be honest, I don’t have a whole lot of experience with GABA. It was suggested to me when I was suffering terribly from insomnia a few years ago. But I ended up finding relief from 5-HTP so I never tried it. But I did my research and felt it would be helpful to add to this list. I’m a huge fan of NOW supplements so I feel confident in recommending their GABA to you if you want to give it a try.
Tryptophan is an amino acid that increases serotonin which increases melatonin. Tryptophan can also help decrease symptoms of anxiety and depression. The Mood Cure also has quite a bit of information regarding this supplement and proper dosage. I use Source Naturals L-Tryptophan. You can buy it on Amazon!
Natural Sleep Supplements Conclusion
There are many natural sleep aids available that contain a variety of different ingredients like this one. It contains L-theanine, melatonin, GABA and other natural ingredients. I chose not to put these type of supplements on this list. I personally haven’t had a very good experience with them. I think they have too many active ingredients. I’ve used some that have helped me sleep. But the next morning I woke up super tired and groggy.
Other times Ive taken them and they have had the opposite effect and kept me awake all night. And because they contained so many ingredients its difficult trying to figure out which ingredient caused that reaction. I hope that makes sense!
I recommend trying one supplement at a time and seeing how it works for you.
And one last thing, I am not a doctor and I’m only sharing the supplements that have worked for me.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I would be more than happy to help!