ConsumerLab.com uses JavaScript to provide the best possible experience for our content, but your browser has it disabled. Learn how to enable it here.

About ConsumerLab.com

Supplements for Sleep -- woman awake in bed

Answer:

Melatonin, tart cherry juice extract, L-theanine, ashwagandha, saffron, and valerian, may, to varying degrees, improve sleep. In contrast, supplements such as garlic and red yeast rice may make it more difficult to fall asleep, as may vitamin D and CoQ10 when taken in high doses or at nighttime. What you eat can also affect sleep. For details, sign in and read the full answer.

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to all CL Answers and over 1,300 reviews.

Join Now

Join now at www.consumerlab.com/join/

22 Comments

Join the conversation

Glenn21572
December 13, 2020

As a result of reading this Q&A, a few months ago I started drinking 2 ounces of Walmart's organic tart cherry juice (made from concentrate) at night before bedtime. I've definitely noticed an improvement in my sleep. I seem to fall asleep quicker and have less interrupted sleep. A white-noise sound machine I got earlier this year has also helped, as well as not drinking anything (other than that cherry juice) after dinnertime (to reduce trips to bathroom at night).

Cherry juice is worth trying out, especially if you're like me and can't (or won't) take melatonin capsules. My sister, who suffers from bad insomnia, also tried cherry juice and in her case, the cherry juice didn't work. But everyone is different. Disclaimer: I'm not associated with Walmart or cherry producers.

Elizabeth20134
June 7, 2020

Everyone on here who is having trouble sleeping, please try eating 2 kiwi fruits about 2 hours before bed. It's like a miracle, it's cheap and kiwi is good for you anyway! There is some evidence to back this up: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21669584/

There are other studies also. But of course because you can't patent kiwi fruit, there is little monetary incentive to study and publish on this, since you can't make money on it.

But I have struggled with insomnia for 10+ years and the only thing that has worked like a miracle for me is this method. Every time I have done this, I sleep through the night and wake up feeling so refreshed it's insane. I NEVER sleep through the night or wake up feeling refreshed otherwise, ever.

Unfortunately for me, I can't do this all the time because kiwi also contains an enzyme which is what they make meat tenderizer out of, and I have a history of ulcers and a sensitive stomach, so if I take it for more than one 1 or 2 nights my stomach starts to hurt.

But I wanted to spread this message since it's such a miracle cure for insomnia and if you have a normal stomach, you should be able to tolerate it! Happy sleeping, all.

jennifer21286
November 5, 2020

thankyou! I'll try this tonight!

Jill22531
May 3, 2021

Would just one kiwi do it?

jennifer22712
June 6, 2021

thank you! I'll try it.

Sherry19024
January 17, 2020

I have been taking an herbal medicine called Deep Sleep. It really helps my sleep pattern. It claims its safe but would love for Consumer Lab to investigate it.

Martha18819
January 6, 2020

In addition to 390 mg algal-based DHA (with 195 mg EPA - Nordic Naturals brand) helping me to sleep beyond my usual 2.5-3 hrs, I've also found St John's Wort (Perika brand) to help -- it was the only thing that jarred my system out of a 4-day streak of no sleep and the brink of total meltdown. After the SJW, I went 2 weeks sleeping about 5-6 hrs most nights and was thrilled. Then I had to increase the dose from 1 to 1.5 tabs, then to 2 tabs. Unfortunately then the effects seemed to wear off and now I don't notice a big difference whether or not I take it. Melatonin helps to fall asleep but because it peaks pretty quickly (and in opposition to natural melatonin's release curve) I almost always wake up after 3 hours. I tried the sustained 6-hr release melatonin only once and had a horrible migraine the next day, although I did not wake up after 3 hrs as I did with immediate release melatonin. I've been too scared to try it again due to the migraine, but I'm not sure if there's a cause/effect relationship between the controlled release melatonin and the migraine. The other supplement that helped significantly with falling asleep was Eclectic SLEEP drops (valerian and passionflower). Those definitely help me to fall asleep, but again, I typically wake up after 3 hrs, and taking it when I wake up in the night doesn't help me fall back asleep - just gives me a hangover effect the next day. I'm also experimenting with evening primrose oil which seems to have some effect but I haven't figured out exactly what that effect is. L-theanine did nothing for me. Tried pumpkin seeds for the tryptophan but it caused bad upset stomach and GI issues and I didn't notice sleep improvement. Might try it again in a bedtime smoothie - worth a shot -- I don't want to take the risks of EMS with tryptophan supplements in capsule form.

Devereau19101
February 19, 2020

Have you tried any form of magnesium? I have tried both a powder desolved in water, (only about 200mg) and just soaking my hand in warm water with Epsom salt, and it seems to help me stay asleep longer, but it doesn’t seem continue working, so I use it one or two nights, then go off it, then try it again several nights later. This sounds iffy I know, but may be worth a try. The magnesium may also loosen your BM.
I have also heard people say that CBD has helped.
I hope you find something to help, lack of sleep at your level is truly horrible!

Sandra19105
February 19, 2020

Anything I take for sleep actually makes it worse. It seems to have a reverse effect upon me. Perhaps you could try altering your diet e.g. going keto for a couple of weeks. I found it certainly helped my sleep but I can't stick to it long term because it makes me feel tired and a bit unwell. You could also try going very low carb after say breakfast and just have something fatty before bed. Have you looked at the possibility that some foods keep you awake? Good luck!

Richard21580
December 14, 2020

I have the wake up at 3 AM syndrome...been working with several things to help this: use a combo of under the tongue melatonin and a timed release melatonin...which needs to be adjusted to optimize sleep. Also Sleep Essentials by Swanson. Plus avoiding coffee and dark chocolate after 6-7 PM (gaming). If I wake up I can usually tell pretty quickly how likely I can get back to sleep...unlikely...do some emails, etc...likely...half dose of under the tongue melatonin usually does it. I think you need to prioritize things...some say too much melatonin or naps are a no-no...but IMO the main factor is how much sleep you get every 24 hrs...especially deep sleep...I use a Fitbit to measure this.

Carol18468
September 29, 2019

Children taking Omega-3 fish oil, specifically DHA, was found to increase sleep in UK children by about an hour, compared to those taking a corn or canola oil placebo:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4263155/pdfhttps://www.consumerlab.com/jsr0023-0364.pdf
Some sleep specialists are now recommending fish oil for this benefit, on top of the other benefits of fish oil.

Martha18818
January 6, 2020

Thanks for the study link! Looks like the kids were given 600 mg algal DHA. I've been having horrible insomnia for 3 years ever since 3rd trimester of pregnancy. Got worse and worse. I've been taking 390 mg algal DHA myself and noticed a distinct improvement, although I still have bad nights of sleeplessness. At one point I ran out of the DHA and then forgot about taking it. Just recently I restarted it and noticed a marked improvement. My post-menopausal mother has also noticed improvements with algal DHA (we prefer algae-based to avoid mercury).

Jay18102
July 7, 2019

People should be aware that melatonin can cause a gassy diarrhea. Personal experience +
https://www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=26&m=2994343
https://www.apoe4.info/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=4853

Karen16597
March 17, 2018

Accidentally discovered that half a Zyrtec or generic equivalent about 3hrs before bedtime makes me stay asleep or if I do wake up, I fall back asleep fairly quickly. Had started Zyrtec trying to help allergies at night time. Realized after a few days I was sleeping through the night which was rare after I started menopause. It does not make me drowsy like Benadril. I remain alert until I fall asleep. It just helps me STAY asleep. Whole pill was too much for me causing a groggy morning "hangover". Half pill works well without hangover. Been taking evening half-pill for several years with no apparent side effects. Still working finding effective allergy meds or supplements.

Robin18824
January 8, 2020

Dr Daniel Amen has warnings on long term use and brain shrinkage leading to risk for dementia. Look his video up on YouTube if interested

Michael16575
March 14, 2018

I've found that any /all of these help sleep: GABA 2 grams (dissolve in warm water - tasteless), Rhodiola, St. John's Wort 1 capsule 1 hr. before bedtime. Melatonin used to help, but since I started taking B6 (2mg/day), it no longer does. Theanine has no effect on me, day or night.

ConsumerLab.com
March 19, 2018

Hi Michael - Thank you for sharing this. We're not aware of any reason that taking vitamin B6 would make melatonin less effective (some melatonin supplements add vitamin B6 as an ingredient, although the benefit of this is unclear: https://gateofzionministry.org/?big=reviews/melatonin-supplements/melatonin/#timedrelease). Also, you are taking a large dose of GABA, which, taken orally, is not likely to improve sleep (see the same section of the Melatonin Review).

Maria 21406
November 23, 2020

I took 200mg of L-theanine nightly for a couple of months and it helped me stay asleep. Stopped taking it because it quit working. I'm now taking slow release melatonin (1mg) by Natrol and drinking 4 oz of the Yogi Bedtime tea. It looks like I will have to stop taking the melatonin after reading the log effects of it. :( . I have no financial interest on these products.

Ann22047
February 8, 2021

Consumer Labs, what do you mean by "Also, you are taking a large dose of GABA, which, taken orally, is not likely to improve sleep (see the same section of the Melatonin Review)" I can't find anything on GABA in the melatonin review. Could you please be more specific about WHICH section of the melatonin review.

ConsumerLab.com
February 10, 2021

Hi Ann - Please see this paragraph in the ConsumerTips section of the Melatonin Supplements Review https://gateofzionministry.org/?big=reviews/melatonin-supplements/melatonin/#additional-ingredients.

Sydney Gurewitz8059
November 15, 2015

I put a few drops of White Chestnut Flower Essence under my tongue at night, and it seems to help me quiet my busy brain so I can get some sleep. Hope it works for you, too.

James-Henry8055
November 15, 2015

What about kava-kava? Skullcap? Hops?

Join today to unlock all member benefits including full access to CL Answers

Join Now

Join now at www.consumerlab.com/join/