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Best Supplements to Help You Sleep at Night

Best Supplements to Help You Sleep at Night

For one of my other websites I wrote a general article about How to sleep better and faster when you’re aging. There I listed 10 things I do to improve the quality of my sleep. One of those things is taking a sleep supplement.

Mind you, I don’t take them for a long period of time. I am especially careful with Melatonin. Some say Melatonin should be put on the list of prescription drugs. That’s why I only take them during periods when I am having a hard time sleeping. For instance during the hot summers over here in Spain. 

Most of these supplements have the advantage that they contain a lot of antioxidants. These limit cellular damage, thus slowing down the aging process. That’s a nice bonus, right? 

Sleep supplements that help

Supplements to Help You Sleep

When my father was in the nursing home he was very restless, especially at night. His sleep-wake cycle was mixed up. So they asked my permission to give him sleep medication. But I knew from my evening visits they gave him coffee at 8pm. Contradictory, isn’t it?

If you have trouble sleeping, first look at your evening routine before taking sleep supplements or sleep medication. Lots of people watch TV right before going to bed. Or check their computer or smartphone late at night. 

When your evening routine is set up to ease you into sleep, but you still need some extra help, then these are the best supplements to help you sleep at night.

  • Melatonin
  • Valerian
  • CBD
  • Ashwagandha

Melatonin

A Melatonin supplement is great as a way to regulate the Circadian rhythm, the sleep-wake cycle. That’s why it is often recommended to people with jet lag or who work night shifts. The substance is not foreign to the body, making it a safe remedy, provided it’s not taken for a long time and not in large quantities.

Melatonin is a hormone made by the body itself when it’s getting dark. And is produced less as soon as it gets light again. That’s why it is good to dim the lights as part of your bedtime routine. And why it’s better to have a completely darkened bedroom.

General remarks:

  • It contributes to inducing sleep;
  • It helps fall asleep faster;
  • Relieves jetlag experiences;
  • It helps falling asleep faster, but does not improve sleeping through the night;
  • Use for short periods.

Possible side effects:

  • Feeling aroused;
  • When taken too long it can prevent sleep.

Valerian

The Greeks and Romans already knew about the medicinal quality of Valerian. Just like the medieval people and those from the centuries after. Sometimes the root was used and on other occasions the plant.

Valerian has a calming effect that makes you sleep faster without waking up tired. It is very effective for people who have trouble falling asleep. In addition, it also helps people who wake up often in the middle of the night.

In periods of stress and anxiety, or having restless legs syndrome, Valerian can be very helpful to calm down. A cup of Valerian tea does wonders.

General remarks:

  • Calms the nerves;
  • It helps falling asleep faster;
  • Helpful against waking up in the middle of the night;
  • Improves both quantity and quality of the sleep.

Possible side effects:

  • Feeling bloated;
  • Nausea;
  • Palpitations.

CBD supplement

Cannabidiol (CBD) is extracted from the cannabis plant. Don’t worry, it’s the non-intoxicating variety. You will not get high from taking it.

It is interesting how cannabis has been taken out from the negative atmosphere and is getting more attention nowadays because of its medicinal effect. The herbal shops here in Spain increasingly have ointments and creams with cannabis or rather CBD as an ingredient.

General remarks:

  • Works together with the body, not against it;
  • Can be used both internally and externally;
  • Anti-inflammatory;
  • Contains antioxidants, so it limits cellular damage and slows down the aging process;
  • Pain-killing and antispasmodic;
  • Not psychotropic, so it doesn’t get you high.

Possible side effects:

  • Agitation, diarrhea, palpitations;
  • Be especially careful with chronic complaints, for example rheumatism.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is also called Indian Ginseng in English, where in the Netherlands it is called African herb. I am always intrigued how the same item can have such different names in different languages, aren’t you?

The official plant name is Withania somnifera and is part of the nightshade family, like tomatoes and potatoes. As a medical herb it has been around for over 4,000 years. The English name Indian Ginseng probably originated from the fact that Ashwagandha has been applied as Ayurvedic medicine in India and is used against complaints such as chronic fatigue, stress and insomnia.

General remarks:

  • Helps against stress and anxiety;
  • Boost of immune system;
  • Improves brain health, good for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients;
  • Antioxidant;
  • Improves insulin sensitivity, good for diabetics;
  • Prevents or at least slows the aging process.

Possible side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal complaints;
  • Watch out if you have thyroid problems or autoimmune complaints;
  • Comes from the nightshade family, such as potatoes and tomatoes.

Final Verdict for these 4 sleep supplements

These supplements can help you to get into a rhythm of a good night’s sleep. I cannot emphasize enough to have a smart evening routine as well. There is little chance of becoming addicted, as is the case with sleep medications. However, it is not recommended using them for a long time.

For every supplement: 

  • Follow the instructions on the bottle or in the package leaflet; 
  • If you don’t experience significant improvement within 2 to 4 weeks, then probably the supplement is of no use to you;
  • Choose a brand that is certified;
  • Start with a small dose first;
  • Most claims about supplements are hardly backed up by scientific evidence. So always follow either your doctor’s advice or your own common sense.

Are you a good sleeper? Tell us in the comment box below.

16 thoughts on “Best Supplements to Help You Sleep at Night”

  1. Hi and thanks for sharing this.
    My spouse if having a lot of trouble with sleep these days and I am sure the hot weather and changes in air pressure are not helping. I hope I can avoid taking any kind of sleep medication for as long as possible as so many stories attest to that often being the first step on a slippery road that often does not end well. I agree whole-heartedly with the point that our evening routines are such a critical element in settling down. In fact I usually have some deep and ponderous tome as one of the books I am reading as I do find that certain reading matter is an excellent soporific. 19th century economic theories I find work really well – send me right off to sleep. Right now my wife is working through an array of milder remedies – herbal teas and the like. Hopefully this will work. btw I had never heard of Valerian as a supplement, I thought it was an ancient people in the Game of Thrones saga. We learn something every day. Thanks again for this informative article.
    Best regards
    Andy

    Reply
    • Thanks Andy, and I am sorry to hear your wife has trouble sleeping like me. Good decision not to take medication. The warning ‘don’t drive while taking this medication’ has a reason! And although my target audience for my other website are aging people, your wife can benefit from the methods I explain there as well: How to sleep better and faster when you’re aging

      Reply
  2. Thank you for your informative article, especially the general remarks and possible side effects are very helpful. I didn’t know there are such supplements that can help to sleep. But I’m wondering, will we get used to a supplement after some time and then it doesn’t work anymore? Because I experienced try something, it works, but after some time it is not working anymore. I’m just wondering why this happens.

    Reply
    • A supplement is not addictive like sleep medication, Janet. And yes, you can grow accustomed to it so it helps less. That is the moment to stop for a while. Never rely solely on sleep supplements, but alter your evening routine as well to set you up for good sleep.Good luck 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hi there,

    Thanks for sharing this information in such a clear, easy way to follow. There are certainly some products in this article that are worth a shot. Have you any opinion on teas that are proposed to help with sleep, e.g. pu-erh tea?

    Looking forward to your next post.

    Best wishes,
    Sharon

    Reply
    • Hi Sharon, teas certainly can help. Both teas and natural supplements have herbs that help with sleep. The reason I prefer a supplement nowadays is solely a practical one: most nights I have to get out of bed for the bathroom and that gets worse when drinking a lot of tea in the evening. 🙂

      Reply
  4. I have always been an excellent sleeper, all my life. I could sleep anywhere, even on the floor. I just had to close my eyes and I was gone in less than 2 minutes, but then a few years ago I suddenly had serious trouble sleeping, and I also kept waking up around 2 or 3 am, and unabe to go back to sleep. I spent months with little to no sleep and I was desperate to get some sleep …
    I used valerian and it helped. The Romans certainly had their information right 😉
    I also heard a lot of good about ashwaghanda, I have not tried it yet, but I would love to get some. Can I order it online?
    I have been taking CBD oil for some inflammation, but I did not know that it was also good for sleeping and anti-aging. That is good to know 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Christine, there is so much wisdom from ancient times that we tend to forget nowadays, isn’t there? 🙂
      And yes, you can order Ashwaghanda online. Herb Pharm is a good brand, and Amazon has organic powder, if you prefer that.
      Take care.

      Reply
  5. Wow

    What a great article. I usually have insomnia and I try so many things and they end up not really working. What you have laid here I have never used and it seems to be so natural and will not harm the body.

    I have tried CBD supplement before but never knew it was for sleeping too. Thank you

    Reply
    • Great, Thabo.
      I switch remedies on a regular basis for just that reason – that at some point it is as if my body gets so accustomed to it, it doesn’t seem to work anymore. Good luck sleeping 🙂

      Reply
  6. Hi Hannie,
    I’m a big fan of the CBD for my epilepsy, but as soon as I started taking it my sleep improved as well. I didn’t even realize it, or was looking for it and my mind came more alert too which was great. Ashwaghanda is also another great herb too I know. One thing people do need to consider is their diet. I know for myself if I eat too much sugary things or even drink coffee after about 1pm it can effect my sleep too.
    Thanks. Jeremy 🙂

    Reply
    • You’re so right, Jeremy. Our habits during the day and evening are of great influence on our nights. I quit coffee even before 11 am to not tamper with my sleep. I couldn’t quit completely, but this works for me 🙂

      Reply
  7. For a person that takes melatonin before sleep, I feel like I can understand every word in the part of melatonin on this page. I am cautious about my dose every night, so far I think it’s the best supplement for my sleep issue. And, I also find other alternative here such as CBD supplement, this is good to know.

    Thanks for this useful and helpful article, I think you do provide value for me today.

    Cheers,
    Matt

    Reply
    • Thanks, Matt, and great that Melatonin helps you that well. I like it as well. because it’s of the same substance as our own body makes.
      Take care.

      Reply
  8. Wow! Great learning from the horses mouth.

    I suggest you include recommended safe doses and duration as well as when to seek help or try something else. Also talk about what has been working for you.

    Francis

    Reply
    • I could say I am not a horse, but I suppose it’s a saying 😀 Never heard of it before.
      Thanks, Francis, for the advice, I haven’t included anything about doses or duration, because every brand has its own recommendations.
      So far, for me, Melatonin has worked best for me. 1 capsule a day and no longer than 2 months.

      Reply

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