Best supplements for sleep

by for the Ageless Team May 23, 2022

Best supplements for sleep

A good night’s sleep is essential to optimal health and general well-being. Yet, according to a YouGov poll, 27% of UK adults only get six hours of sleep a night and 12% get just five hours. This is significantly less than the recommended seven to nine hours per night.

If you only manage to snatch a few hours of sleep each night, you’ll likely feel irritable, lethargic and unfocused. However, if your sleep deprivation continues and becomes a chronic problem, you will be at greater risk of several health complications, including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack, heart failure, stroke, obesity, depression and reduced immune system function.

In most cases, you can improve your sleep quality with regular routines and healthy sleep practices. However, with so much at stake, many people also turn to natural sleep supplements for some extra support.

Compare sleep supplements

 

Price

No. of capsules

No. of daily servings

Active ingredients per capsule or 10g of powder

Key features

Valerian capsules

£22.50

60

30 or 60

Fermented valerian root 300mg (organic)

Vegan
Soil Association certified
No gluten, soy or lactose
Additive free

Ashwagandha capsules

£24.99

60

30

Fermented ashwagandha 300mg (organic)

Vegan
Soil Association certified
No gluten, soy or lactose
Additive free

Cal-M capsules

£13

120

40

Calcium 30.5mg
Magnesium 1.5mg

Vegan
No artificial fillers or binders
No GMOs, sugar, gluten, soy or lactose

Cal-M powder

£11 (100g)
£38 (500g)

 

10
50

Calcium 820mg
Magnesium 63mg

Vegan
No artificial fillers or binders
No GMOs, sugar, gluten, soy or lactose

Night Aid formula capsules

£13

30

30

5-HTP 150mg
Magnesium 10mg
Chamomile 100mg
Reishi 50mg
Ashwagandha 50mg
Hops 50mg
Schisandra 50mg
Organic Maca 50mg
Inositol 25mg
Selenium 55μg
Vitamin B6 1.5mg

Vegan
Approved Kosher
No GMOs, sugar, gluten, soy or lactose

Reishi capsules

£22.99

60

10, 20 or 30

Reishi fruiting body extract 400mg (organic)

Vegan
Soil Association certified
Additive free
No gluten, soy or lactose
DNA tested for heavy metals, pesticides and toxins

What are sleep supplements?

Sleep supplements are beneficial nutrients chosen for their ability to support a good night’s sleep. Other sleep aids, such as sleeping tablets work by sedating you and inducing a state of drowsiness. Most sleep supplements don’t do this; instead, they work by boosting the levels of nutrients and natural substances in your body that help your brain to regulate sleep.

Types of sleep supplements

There are lots of different sleep supplements available. They can provide a range of different substances and work in slightly different ways. This means that some are better suited to some people and situations than others.

Valerian root – This is the root of the valerian (Valeriana Officinalis) plant. It’s native to Europe and Asia and is used to promote sleep and provide a sense of relaxation. Several studies suggest that it can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, sleep quality and the length of time asleep. 

Woman sleeping

Ashwagandha – This is a small shrub found in Southeast Asia. Extracts and powders are made from the roots and used as a health supplement. It has a long history of use in Ayurveda and is now taken for various reasons, including for insomnia. One study found that it significantly improved sleep quality and mental alertness the following morning.

Reishi – Reishi mushrooms are bracket fungus found growing on trees in humid areas around Asia. They’ve been a staple in Eastern medicine for centuries and are now used in many beneficial supplements. The active substances in these mushrooms reduce stress and create a sense of restfulness that prolongs sleep.

Calcium – Calcium is an important mineral involved in many essential functions throughout your body. It plays a vital role in regulating the sleep cycle and contributes to the action of tryptophan, an amino acid that helps ease you into the first stage of sleep.

Magnesium – Magnesium is a mineral crucial to many body functions, including sleep. Having enough magnesium helps your brain relax and regulates melatonin, which guides you through the sleep cycle stages. Also, magnesium deficiency has been found to cause disrupted sleep and insomnia.

5HTP – 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid made in the body from tryptophan. It is used to produce serotonin which can then be converted to the sleep regulating hormone melatonin. 

Melatonin – Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body establish your natural sleep rhythm. Melatonin is classified as a medicine in the UK and can only be accessed with a prescription. However, it’s still available as a supplement in many other places, including Europe and the USA.

Best supplements for sleep

Here is our selection of the best sleep supplements available to buy in the UK:

Organic fermented valerian

Organic fermented valerian

These capsules from Living Nutrition contain 300mg of fermented valerian root. The unique kefir-kombucha fermentation process activates the natural plant substances making them even more effective.

The valerenic acid in valerian root prevents the breakdown of the neurotransmitter, producing relaxing feelings that promote sleep.

These valerian capsules are 100% natural, gluten-free, and suitable for vegans. They’re also completely organic and are certified by the UK Soil Association.

Organic fermented ashwagandha

Organic fermented ashwagandha

Living Nutrition ashwagandha capsules contain 300mg of kefir-kombucha fermented ashwagandha root with a full spectrum of withanolides (naturally occurring steroids).

The unique method activates the natural substances in the root and creates a living food complex of nutrients, enzymes, and beneficial microbes. This provides greater potency and a broader range of results, including the mental clarity required for a great night’s sleep.

This supplement is made with high-quality ashwagandha that has been certified organic by the UK Soil Association. The capsules contain no additives, binders or excipients. They’re also suitable for vegans and have been registered with the Vegan Society. 

Organic reishi

Organic reishi

Manufactured in the UK, these organic Reishi capsules from Mushrooms 4 Life each contain 400mg of fruiting body extract.

By growing the mushrooms on a nature-identical growth medium, the Mushrooms 4 Life experts can enhance the level of nutrients. A dual extraction technique using ethanol and hot water is then used to collect a potent extract from the fruiting body.

Certified as organic by the UK Soil Association, the Reishi extract is contained in a vegetable-cellulose shell. They’re suitable for vegans and are free from fillers, binders, and preservatives. 

Cal-M supplement

Cal-M supplement

G&G Vitamins have combined calcium, magnesium and apple cider vinegar to create their powerful sleep supplement Cal-M. When combined, these ingredients react to create the fast-absorbing acetate forms of calcium and magnesium.

You can choose from convenient capsules or powder that you can add to water or your favourite beverage. 

Both calcium and magnesium promote a state of relaxation and calm, as well as being essential to many of the processes involved in sleep. The capsules and powder are suitable for vegans, have been approved as kosher, and are free from GMO, gluten, lactose and soy.

Night Aid 5-HTP

Night Aid 5-HTP

This exceptional sleep supplement contains a potent blend of eleven herbs, vitamins, and minerals. Each ingredient has been chosen to support your natural cycle and improve the quality of your sleep.

Night aid was designed by nutritionists to be taken before bed to support rest, relaxation and rejuvenation.

These capsules have been made to a high standard with only the best ingredients. They’re kosher, approved as vegan by the vegetarian society, and are free from GMOs, gluten, lactose and soy. 

Additional methods to promote sleep

The most effective way to beat poor quality sleep is to approach the problem from several angles. Food supplements will optimise your diet and give you the best start, but you shouldn’t stop there. The best results will come from a combination of practices, so it’s worth considering which ones will suit your routine and lifestyle.

man relaxing sleeping by water

Hypnosis – Self-hypnosis is an excellent tool to use alongside supplementation. Regular hypnosis sessions will help you calm your mind and organise your thoughts and emotions into a more receptive state for sleep.

Breathing exercises - Deep breathing exercises are a great way to calm your nervous system and prepare you for sleep. In addition, these techniques can improve your natural melatonin production and reduce stress.

Other supplements - You may also like to consider other supplements that complement the effects of those previously listed. For example, you can take B-complex vitamins early in the day to reduce stress and promote an all-day sense of calm. Hemp tea is a tasty drink that is packed with the cannabinoid CBDa and is ideal for taking throughout the day or just before bed.

FAQs on sleep supplements

Here are some of the more frequently asked questions we receive:

Will I feel drowsy the next day? 

Most sleep supplements won’t make you feel drowsy the next day. Instead, they support your natural sleep/wake cycle allowing you to feel ready to sleep in the evening and alert and focused during the day. However, it’s always important to check for any warnings on the label before using any supplement.

How often should I use sleep supplements?

Sleep supplements are designed to be taken at least once every day and some are suitable for taking more frequently. This way, you always get a steady amount of the active ingredients in your system. Each supplement will come with detailed directions on how to use them safely and achieve optimal results. 

How long before bed should I take a sleep supplement? 

Different sleep supplements work in different ways, so should be taken at different times. Some, like Night aid and valerian, work best when taken 1 to 2 hours before bed, but others, including ashwagandha and reishi, should be taken two or three times throughout the day.

Can I take sleep supplements long term?

Most sleep supplements such as valerian, ashwagandha, reishi, Cal-M and Night Aid are designed to be taken regularly. Some natural substances, like valerian and ashwagandha, are generally well-tolerated, but there is no current research to determine their effects in the long term. 

It’s always important to check the label for any warnings or directions before taking any supplement.

Can I buy melatonin in the UK?

In the UK, melatonin is only available on prescription and can’t be bought over the counter.

Should I consult my doctor before taking sleep supplements?

The NHS recommends always checking with your doctor before taking anything for sleep problems. They also suggest visiting your GP if:

  • Changing your sleeping habits has not worked.
  • You have had trouble sleeping for months.
  • Your insomnia is affecting your daily life in a way that makes it hard for you to cope.

Are there any potential side effects of taking sleep supplements?

The ingredients in sleep supplements are chosen because they have a good record of safety and are generally well tolerated. However, they do have various side effects, including dizziness, drowsiness, headache, stomach upset, vivid dreams, dry mouth, nosebleed, bloating, gas, constipation, vomiting, and diarrhoea.

We are not medical professionals and this list of side effects isn’t exhaustive. If you have any concerns or experience any side effects when taking any supplement, you should stop taking it immediately and speak to your doctor.

Best supplements for sleep banner



for the Ageless Team
for the Ageless Team

Author

We are a small but mighty team of experienced natural health researchers. We follow strict selection criteria and test everything we retail: from ground-breaking food supplements to natural skincare products. Our main area of expertise is CBD.


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