Top Five Sleep Supplements
A ranking of the five most popular supplements taken to aid sleep, based on sales volume and popularity.
Most experts recommended this herb to reduce the amount of time it takes to nod off. According to the NIH, no single compound in valerian has been identified as the active agent. However, the NIH reports that valerian seems to have sedative properties, and it may increase the amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a compound in the brain that prevents the transmission of nerve impulses. Valerian seems to be especially effective when combined with hops, according to a 2007 study. Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, recommends using Enzymatic Therapy’s Alluna product.
A compound derived from the amino acid L-tryptophan, the supplement also is used to enhance mood and decrease appetite. Laurie Steelsmith, a licensed naturopathic physician, does not recommended 5-HTP for those on antidepressant medications. Steelsmith says that 5-HTP acts as a precursor to serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter that is essential for a good night’s sleep. “It is better than L-tryptophan because 5-HTP can cross the blood-brain barrier and thus increase serotonin in the brain.” A small 2009 study of 18 people found that those who took a product combining 5-HTP and GABA needed less time to fall asleep, slept longer and reported improved sleep quality. NOW Foods’ new vegan 5-HTP 200 mg product also contains other relaxation aids: glycine, taurine and inositol.
A hormone that regulates the normal sleep/wake cycle, “melatonin can be used in supplement form as an occasional sleep aid, and is especially effective against jet lag,” Dr. Andrew Weil, founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, says. According to research, the body naturally produces melatonin after the sun goes down, letting us know it’s time to fall asleep. Supplemental melatonin assists with this process. When combined with light therapy, melatonin helps minimize nighttime restlessness in elderly dementia patients, according to a 2008 study.(View all Melatonin products.)
Along with contributing to a good night’s sleep, this light, silvery metallic element is an oft-overlooked nutrient that helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm steady, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. Magnesium also helps regulate blood sugar levels, and promotes normal blood pressure, according to the NIH. Lack of magnesium inhibits nerve cell communication, which leads to cell excitability. The result: a stressed and nervous person. Several older studies show that magnesium can improve sleep quality and reduce nocturnal awakenings. Natural Vitality, makers of the water-soluble powdered magnesium supplement Natural Calm, have recently released Osteo Calm, which is a liquid magnesium-calcium product intended for bone health support.
An amino acid derivative found in green tea, theanine has long been known to trigger the release in the brain of gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA. GABA activates the major calming neurotransmitters, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety, but the body has difficulty absorbing supplements containing synthesized GABA. That's why experts recommend theanine, which the body can easily absorb and, ultimately, use to boost levels of GABA. We don't recommend doses above 600 mg without physician oversight.
is formulated with 3 parts magnesium to 2 parts calcium, which will prevent a surplus of calcium robbing the body's vital magnesium supply and avoid the symptoms associated with depleted levels of magnesium. This superior formulation includes potassium, boron, and vitamin D for better absorption of these key minerals, building strong bones, regulating hormones, and more. You can't buy a better calcium-magnesium product.
Hylands Calms Forté
When stress keeps you awake, Calms Forté can naturally ease you into sleep. It's been safely helping minds and people rest for over 50 years.
• Relieves stress & relaxes with chamomile.
• Contains no sedatives, you won't have any.
• Gentle on the body & non-habit-forming.
• Safe to use with other medicines – Calms Forté's natural ingredients won't interact with any other medication.
Bell Master Herbalist Snoring and Sleep Apnea Eze
• Promotes blissful, tranquil relaxation.
• Gently induces onset of sleep.
• Supports healthy, regular sleep patterns.
• Natural and not habit forming.
• Contains bioactive compounds that help with occasional sleeplessness.
Blends the sleep-inducing powers of melatonin with MSM. Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) is an organic sulphur that is included in our formula to help you wake up refreshed without feeling groggy. It also contains soothing, sedating natural herbs like chamomile and passionflower that have been prized for centuries.
This calming supplement gently eases away occasional tension and stress, promoting that magical tranquility that precedes a great night’s sleep!