Sleep is essential to staying happy and healthy.
Without frequent, good quality sleep our health and general quality of life quickly deteriorates.
The average person requires between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, although most people don’t get enough. 40% of Americans get just six hours or less per night and even more worryingly, 14% of Americans get less than five hours.
Lack of sleep doesn’t just affect you; it affects the people around you.
Tiredness can often lead to mood swings, snappiness and a generally bad attitude that can annoy your friends, family and work colleagues.
If you’re looking for ways to improve your sleep safely and naturally, you’ve come to the right place.
Here is our advice on how to get better sleep naturally using sleep supplements.
What Is a Sleep Supplement?
When we talk about sleep supplements, we’re primarily talking about natural sleep supplements, as opposed to sleep medication or sleeping pills.
A sleep supplement is any product designed to aid sleep naturally – they don’t contain drugs.
They often contain a blend of natural extracts (from herbs and plants) and vitamins which are thought to help induce and maintain sleep.
Why Take a Sleep Supplement?
Before taking a sleep supplement, it is recommended that you look at your lifestyle habits first.
Recommended advice for best sleep is to avoid stimulants or caffeine from the late afternoon onwards; to get regular exercise; to adapt a regular sleep schedule – trying to go to bed and wake at the same time each day – and to wind down (and avoid tablets/ telephones/ television) for an hour or two before bed.
You may also find Cognitive Behavioral Therapy useful – learning how to replace worries with positive thoughts.
It may also be necessary to identify any underlying causes of poor sleep, such as periodic limb movement disorder or sleep apnea.
If you’ve tried all of that and still struggle with falling and staying asleep, then you may benefit from a natural sleep supplement.
Although there is a wide range of supplements for sleep available on the market, there are a few key ingredients to look for.
They include melatonin, L-theanine, L-tryptophan and Valerian.
Melatonin is basically the sleep molecule.
It’s a hormone released by the pineal gland that tells your body when it’s time to fall asleep.
The body’s sleep cycle can be disrupted by things such as travel (causing jet lag) and the blue light from televisions, computers and telephones, so supplementation is useful.
L-theanine is an amino acid that plays an important role in the sleep cycle; it affects the levels of serotonin, dopamine and cortisol (the stress hormone) within the brain.
By reducing the amount of cortisol present, we feel calmer, relaxed and more willing to sleep.
L-theanine is found in lots of different plants, but it’s abundant in tea leaves.
This is one of the reasons why drinking green tea puts people in a more relaxed state of mind.
A typical cup of tea only contains around 20mg of L-theanine, but many sleep supplements contain 100mg or more.
Multiple studies indicate that taking Valerian root may help you to fall asleep faster and help you sleep better.
There is no established recommended dosage of Valerian, though studies do indicate that it is more effective if taken over a two-week period or more.
L-tryptophan helps to calm the mind before sleep and boost your mind in the daytime.
Taking a sleep supplement can maximize your chances of a deep, undisturbed night of sleep.
Even if you’re too busy to get more hour’s rest than you currently do, taking a supplement may enhance the quality of your sleep – you can wake up feeling refreshed and replenished even though you’re slept for the same amount of time as usual.
Best Sleep Aid Supplements
1. Performance Lab Sleep
Our favorite sleep supplement for, oh, so many reasons.
Performance Lab Sleep is a fairly new sleep supplement, but it’s among the finest additive-free sleep aids money can buy.
It’s a blend of three ingredients; magnesium, Montmorency Tart Cherry and L-tryptophan.
How does it work?
Performance Lab Sleep contains ingredients that help to calm the mind and soothe the nervous system, as well as helping to relax muscles and signaling to the brain that it is time to sleep.
Performance Lab Sleep contains a concentrated form of Montmorency Tart Cherry. It’s more than just a tasty fruit extract; it’s the best natural source of melatonin available. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, you may be suffering from a lack of melatonin.
The more melatonin you have floating around in your bloodstream, the more tired you become, so taking a sleep supplement containing melatonin around 30-60 minutes before bed should help your body realize it’s time to hit the hay.
There are 500mg of Montmorency Tart Cherry in every capsule of Performance Lab Sleep.
Magnesium helps to calm the nervous system, an important stage of preparing to sleep.
This sleep supplement actually contains three different forms of magnesium – Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Taurate and NutriGenesis™ Magnesium.
This increases the chances of the magnesium actually being absorbed and used by the body.
The final ingredient is L-tryptophan, extremely beneficial for sleep, but not always found in sleep supplements. L-tryptophan tackles mood imbalances and stress that can cause issues while we sleep.
It has the benefit of calming sedation at night, and an improved mood during the day.
- Performance Lab Sleep is vegan-friendly.
- Uses a potent and natural form of melatonin.
- This product is also GMO-free, caffeine free, and allergen-friendly, free from gluten and GMP certified. It’s perhaps the most natural looking supplement on the market today. As a result, it should be side effect-free and non-habit forming.
- Uses Plantcaps® capsules to package the supplements – they’re a patented vegan capsule made from pure pullulan. Unlike artificial capsules, Plantcaps® easily dissolve in the stomach, providing rapid yet comfortable absorption.
- The L-tryptophan is produced using an eco-friendly process that transforms vegetables into pure amino acids.
- Consumer reviews have shown time and time again that this product is a great way to help induce sleep.
- We haven’t found any other sleep supplements that are as environmentally conscious as Performance Lab Sleep.
2. Nested Naturals Luna
Nested Naturals Luna is a popular sleep supplement, taken by thousands of people around the world daily.
In fact, it’s so popular Nested Naturals Luna is the #1 bestselling valerian sleep supplement on Amazon.
How does it work?
One of the prominent ingredients in Nested Naturals Luna is valerian extract.
Valerian is a tall flowering plant found across Europe and Asia – the name literally means “to be healthy” and research suggests it can help reduce insomnia.
There are 75mg of valerian extract in every capsule.
The other ingredients included in Nested Naturals Luna are (in no particular order); L-theanine, chamomile extract, passion fruit extract, lemon balm, GABA, hops extract and melatonin.
- GABA (gamma-Aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter that is normally produced by the brain to calm us down. It does this by reducing the frequency of electrical signals around the nervous system. In theory, taking a supplement containing GABA before bed will help your mind and body relax, raising your chances of achieving deep, restful sleep.
- Many of the reviews we’ve found have mentioned great value for money, insomnia relief and of course, excellent quality sleep.
- It has a 4 out of 5 rating on Amazon.com and positive feedback from more than 5,000 customers.
- Contains a mix of numerous ingredients recognized for aiding sleep and for helping to create the right setting for sleep.
- Nested Naturals offers a full refund if you decide the product isn’t right for you.
- This is a non-habit forming and vegan supplement.
- It is also non-GMO, cruelty-free and GMP certified.
3. Physician’s Choice Sleep Aid
Physician’s Choice Sleep Aid is a sleep supplement produced and packaged in the USA with 100% natural ingredients.
It contains the usual supplements; melatonin, chamomile and valerian root.
However, Physician’s Choice Sleep Aid is one of the few products to contain Suntheanine, the purest form of L-theanine.
Suntheanine has been clinically proven to reduce stress and anxiety while enhancing alpha brain waves which are a crucial stage of the sleep cycle.
How does it work?
This sleep supplement contains 5mg of melatonin in every capsule.
Once absorbed through the stomach, the melatonin molecules float through the blood and up to the brain where they instruct it to enter sleep.
If you suffer from insomnia, taking a supplement that contains melatonin is a superb way to enhance your sleep without risking the nasty side effects some medications produce.
Physician’s Choice Sleep Aid contains an active form of vitamin B6 called Pyridoxal-5-phosphate (also known as P-5-P).
This molecule acts as a coenzyme, allowing the body to convert L-tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes positive mood and relaxation.
The 2mg of Pyridoxal-5-phosphate in every capsule will ensure your body has the tools to produce enough serotonin to regulate the sleep cycle, helping your body achieve deep sleep naturally.
The main selling point of this product is its award-winning formula, designed to promote REM sleep.
REM stands for rapid eye movements – it’s a phase of the sleep cycle that only occurs when you’re deep asleep.
A lot of memory, learning and dreaming only occurs during REM which makes it a crucial phase of every night of sleep.
- When looking into sleep supplements, it can be hard to separate fact from fiction. Physician’s Choice Sleep Aid has the backing of a certified neurologist, Dr Ari Magrill.
- They only use naturally sourced ingredients that meet strict allergen safety criteria.
- It’s vegetarian and meets DNA, HPTLC and HPLC compliance tests. This sleep supplement has been tested by independent reviewers and passed a barrage of tests.
In conclusion, we like Nested Naturals Luna as a budget sleep supplement.
We also think Physician’s Choice Sleep Aid is a viable supplement for anyone struggling to sleep.
But we firmly believe Performance Lab Sleep is the best sleep supplement on the market in 2021.
It ticks all of our boxes, passes food safety tests and most important of all, let’s us get a peaceful night of rejuvenating sleep every night.