Sleep plays a vital role in our health and everyday functioning, which is why finding the best supplements for sleep is so important when you're struggling to dose off.
In fact, sleep has been linked to improved learning and decision-making as well as lowering the risk of cardiometabolic diseases. As a result, the importance of sleep is not something to ignore, particularly for your mental and physical well-being.
Therefore, we've put together a list of standout sleep supplements, much like our list of the best multivitamins, based on their price, ingredients, customer reviews, and any other features that make them worth considering if it is difficult for you to get a restful night.
That said, sleep supplements are not a long-term fix due to the risk of dependency. For instance, the NHS usually only prescribes melatonin, one of the most commonly used sleep supplements, for one to four weeks in some cases, but usually recommends various therapeutic pathways first.
For short-term use though, sleep supplements definitely have their place. So, if you're looking for something herbal to help you rest, like these NOW Supplements Valerian Root Capsules, or you're after something in liquid form, like this Natrol Melatonin, we've got you covered right here.
We've also taken the time to answer some of the frequently asked questions about sleep supplements to help you figure out whether they're suitable or even required for you. Before that though, let's get into our list...
Best supplements for sleep
- Carlyle Fast Dissolve Melatonin
- NOW Supplements Valerian Root Capsules
- Natrol Liquid Melatonin
- Natural Rhythm Triple Calm Magnesium
- FGO Organic Lavender Flowers
1. Carlyle Fast Dissolve Melatonin
Best capsule supplement for sleep
Serving: 12mg Melatonin
We kick off our list with these berry-flavoured Carlyle Melatonin capsules which, based on research into melatonin, look to be one of the most effective supplements on the market to help you fall asleep.
For example, one study by Auld et al. found melatonin to be potentially beneficial for treating certain first-degree sleep disorders. Therefore, adding an extra 12mg through these capsules may just help you combat any issues sleeping.
We also like the fact these tablets are designed to dissolve fast, so should come into effect much faster than other supplements. This can be especially handy if you forget to take this supplement around the recommended one to two hours before you go to bed and need something to work fast to avoid you laying awake at night.
We should also point out that these capsules are suitable for vegetarians as well, making them a worthwhile option to consider if you're limited by certain dietary requirements.
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2. NOW Supplements Valerian Root Capsules
Best herbal supplement for sleep
Serving: 1,000mg Valerian Root
We've featured NOW Supplements before in our list of the best taurine supplements as the company looks to be particularly skilled at making great dietary supplements for a relatively inexpensive price.
These valerian root capsules, in particular, look to be a great option to consider for sleep as they deliver 1,000mg of valerian extract per serving.
Valerian root is an herbal alternative to melatonin that has been linked to improvements in sleep quality, latency, and duration in one study by Mandana Saki et al..
So, if you're willing to give valerian supplements a try, we feel these capsules by NOW Supplements are definitely worth considering, especially as you get 250 tablets per container.
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3. Natrol Liquid Melatonin
Best liquid supplement for sleep
Serving: 1mg Melatonin
If you'd rather have a liquid supplement, then this Natrol Melatonin sleep aid might be your answer.
The benefit of taking melatonin in liquid form is that you can add it to your drink of choice and not have to worry about swallowing tablets which we know can be tricky for some.
You also get a little more control over how much melatonin you're consuming. Natrol recommends four drops; however, you can lower this amount if you want to consume less melatonin to start with.
It's also worth mentioning that this supplement is berry-flavoured, so should taste great mixed with water or juice, provided you enjoy the taste of berries of course.
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4. Natural Rhythm Triple Calm Magnesium
Best magnesium supplement for sleep
Serving: 150mg Magnesium
Melatonin and valerian root are two of the most commonly used ingredients in sleep supplements; however, they're not the only two options for you to consider.
Among these alternatives is magnesium, which has been linked to a calming effect that aids in falling asleep. Notably, a study by Arab et al. established a positive correlation between magnesium intake and improved sleep quality, justifying its inclusion in sleep supplements.
If you're considering giving magnesium a try, then Natural Rhythm's Triple Calm Magnesium tablets are a good place to start. These pills offer 150mg of magnesium in a blend that is purportedly quick to absorb, making it gentle on the stomach and fast-acting. Additionally, they are suitable for vegetarians, accommodating a wider range of dietary preferences, thus making them a great pick.
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5. FGO Organic Lavender Flowers
Best lavender supplement for sleep
Concluding our list are FGO Organic Lavender Flowers, versatile in their use for culinary purposes, infusion into warm beverages, or as a soothing aromatic fragrance to aid sleep.
The relaxation benefits of lavender are widely recognised, with research by Lillehei et al. supporting its positive impact on sleep quality, particularly for those with mild insomnia, simply by inhaling its scent before bedtime.
When consuming these flowers, it's essential to note that they contain no GMO ingredients and are certified organic by the USDA. Additionally, since the only ingredient is lavender flowers, they are suitable for vegans, making them an ideal choice for those seeking sleep supplements that allign with their dietary preferences.
So, if you're struggling to find a sleep supplement that suits your needs, give these Lavender Flowers a try.
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Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Getting your head around what supplements to take can be quite tricky at times. Don't worry though because we've answered some of the most frequently asked questions about sleep aids right here.
What do sleep supplements do?
The overall goal of a sleep supplement is to help you fall asleep. However, the way in which a supplement goes about this will depend on its main ingredient.
For example, some supplements use melatonin which, according to the NCCIH, is a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness which helps with timing your sleep. Therefore, increasing your levels of melatonin through supplementation has been linked to decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep and increasing the quality of your sleep thereafter.
There are herbal alternatives though which are said to help you fall asleep, although they're perhaps not as well-researched as melatonin.
Valerian root is one of the most common herbal ingredients used in sleep supplements as there have been some studies, including one meta-analysis of note by Shinjyo et al., which have linked it to promoting sleep and preventing associated disorders.
That said, melatonin is often regarded as the most effective ingredient to help you sleep. This is supported by research from Culpepper et al. which found melatonin demonstrated the most consistent beneficial effects compared to valerian and placebos.
Can you take sleep supplements every day?
It is generally not recommended to take sleep supplements every day without consulting a healthcare professional. While some sleep supplements may be safe for daily use, others can have potential side effects and risks when taken regularly. Additionally, using sleep supplements to address persistent sleep problems without addressing underlying causes may not be effective in the long term.
The NHS, for instance, only prescribes melatonin for up to 13 weeks in severe cases. After that, it recommends making lifestyle changes that can help with your sleep issues as sleep supplements shouldn't be used as an everyday solution.
Are sleep supplements safe?
Generally speaking, most sleep supplements are relatively safe to use if you're opting for something containing melatonin, magnesium, or herbal extracts.
As touched on above though, they are safest when used as a short-term solution. One study by Gögenur et al. mentions the long-term safety of melatonin, for instance, requires further investigation, suggesting that you may experience further problems down the line if used over a long period of time.
There are said to be a few side effects with each ingredient though, with melatonin linked to headaches and dizziness, while one study by Shuen Yap et al. linked lavender supplements to nausea. However, these side effects appear to be relatively uncommon for most people.
Can you combine different sleep supplements?
Combining different sleep supplements is generally not recommended without the guidance of a healthcare professional. While some sleep supplements may be safe to combine, others can interact with each other or with medications you may be taking, leading to potential side effects or reduced efficacy.
Also, certain sleep supplements may contain similar active ingredients or have overlapping effects. Combining them without proper guidance can increase the risk of exceeding safe dosages, potentially leading to adverse effects.
What's more, different people may react differently to various sleep supplements. Combining multiple supplements may amplify the effects and increase the risk of adverse reactions or unwanted side effects.
So, if you're considering combining sleep supplements, it is best to consult a healthcare professional who can assess your specific situation, consider any underlying health conditions or medications you may be taking, and provide guidance on the safest and most effective approach. They can help you determine if combining specific supplements is appropriate for you or suggest alternative strategies for improving your sleep.