4 Supplements That May Help Sleep

Millions of people have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep during the night, causing them to feel fatigued and sluggish throughout the day. Insomnia can disrupt a healthy balance of your hormones leading to poor overall health. While it is sometimes necessary to take prescription medication for chronic sleep problems, it can be helpful to try various herbal, vitamin, or mineral supplements to see if that makes a difference in your sleep. Here are four supplements that may help with sleep.

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that helps to regulate blood pressure and blood sugar, keep bones strong, and maintain a healthy heart. Studies show that supplementing your diet with magnesium complex may relief insomnia. Most experts recommend taking the supplement around 30 minutes before bed and with some food, as taking it alone can cause an upset stomach. Besides supplements, magnesium is found in foods such as dark leafy greens, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fatty fish, and dark chocolate, so include these foods in your overall diet to get enough of this vital mineral.

2. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces naturally in response to darkness. Some cases where melatonin can be beneficial include:

  • People who are traveling across several time zones and experiencing jet lagdue to being on a different sleep schedule than the local time.
  • People who are night shift workers and must sleep when it is light out, going against what the body’s internal clock wants.
  • People with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder. These people have trouble falling asleep before the very early morning hours and therefore need to sleep until the afternoon the next day, potentially interfering with work and other daily activities.

Melatonin supplements come in liquid, capsule, or gummy forms. Supplementation is often used in conjunction with light therapy earlier in the day. While melatonin is generally regarded as safe for short-term use, talk to your doctor if you are considering taking any supplement regularly.

3. Valerian

Valerian supplements are derived from the roots of a tall flowering plant that grows in grasslands. Valerian root contains certain antioxidants that have sedative properties, which help people fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Unlike melatonin, valerian may take a few days for its full sedative benefits to take effect. Beware of certain side effects that come with taking valerian, including:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Upset stomach
  • Heart palpitations
  • Insomnia

As with any supplement, weigh the risks and benefits before taking valerian root.

4. Lavender

The lavender scent is well-known for helping to ease tension and promote relaxation. A lavender essential oil in the form of a spray or released through a steam diffuser can aid in setting up a calming environment for sleeping. This can be especially useful when used in conjunction with other sleep aids.

If lifestyle changes such as abstaining from caffeine late in the day, exercising regularly, and avoiding screens like televisions and smartphones before bed have not worked to help you fall asleep and stay asleep, consider giving one of these supplements a try.