For people who aren’t getting enough of it, restful sleep can be elusive and hard to come by. After a few nights of tossing and turning or waking up groggy, you might be willing to trade just about anything for some restful shuteye. Our bodies crave restful sleep and it's vitally important for our health and wellbeing that we get it.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, stay asleep or get truly restful sleep, it’s time to start considering supplements for sleep. Thankfully, there are no shortage of natural supplements you can explore—instead of turning to prescription sleep aids and other chemicals that can have adverse effects on the body.
Here’s a look at six powerful sleep supplements and how they help condition your body for more restful, natural sleep.
- CBD: It’s a common misconception that CBD makes you sleepy. In reality, CBD calms your nerves and quells your anxieties, allowing you to relax and fall asleep easier. As a bonus, this relaxation also helps induce more restful sleep. People who use CBD before bed report waking feeling more refreshed, ready to start their day. How much CBD should you take before bed? Most people ingest 15-20mg about 30 minutes before bed—although 25-30mg may be more effective for people with higher BMI.
- Melatonin: Melatonin is something your body naturally produces when it’s time to go to bed. It’s part of your natural circadian rhythm and it’s what makes you drowsy when the sun goes down. If your body isn’t making enough, you might need to supplement with melatonin. Most people sleep better after taking 5-10mg about 30 minutes before bed. Anything above this range could cause grogginess in the morning. While melatonin supplements are recognized as safe, some people do report bad dreams after taking too much melatonin.
- Valerian root: Asian cultures have used valerian root to aid in sleep for thousands of years. It’s a powerful sleep aid that may aid in reducing insomnia, helping individuals fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for longer. Despite its longstanding use as a traditional sleep aid, there’s very little recent science on valerian root aside from a study performed in 2010, which confirmed the efficacy of the herb as a sleep aid. For best results, take 300-900mg up to 30 minutes before bed.
- L-theanine: Derived from tea leaves, L-theanine is a natural amino acid that’s proven to promote general relaxation. It boosts serotonin and dopamine, and can give you a relaxing, calm feeling before you settle in for sleep. Many people use L-theanine in conjunction with their morning coffee as a way to boost focus; however, up to 400mg of L-theanine in the evening could help you get to sleep and wake up feeling rested the next day.
- Magnesium: Magnesium plays a role in regulating melatonin, which makes it an important supplement building block for better sleep. Beyond that, magnesium has sleep-inducing properties of its own. It can help regulate the heart and brain function, promoting gentle relaxation and general calm. Insufficient levels of magnesium have been attributed to poor sleep quality, which makes this supplement a must-add to your nighttime stack—500mg should do the trick.
- Glycine: Our bodies synthesize glycine naturally and we consume it through food—although that might not be enough for you depending on your diet. It’s not immediately clear how glycine contributes to better sleep, but there’s no shortage of science linking the two together. For those looking to explore the benefits of glycine for sleep, 3000mg daily can produce noticeable results—such as a regular sleep cycle, more consistent heart rate during sleep and less morning fatigue after sleep.
There are a lot of factors that could contribute to your lack of restful sleep. Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest—which is why so many of these supplements for sleep induce calmness. The ability to shed stress before bed and feel better before sleep is what leads to good, regenerative sleep. From CBD to L-theanine, mental calm is a crucial part of allowing your body to rest.
Not all these supplements have the same effect on every person, which makes it smart to try one or two at a time, for a couple of weeks at a time. Through trial and error, you’re bound to find a nighttime stack that brings you the restful sleep you’ve been missing and the feeling of clarity you’ve been craving after a night of uninterrupted shuteye.