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What Are the Most Effective Natural Sleep Aids?

what is the most effective natural sleep aid

There are some natural sleep supplements to help you get enough sleep overnights. But, what is the most effective natural sleep aid?

This post helps you to find what the best natural sleep aid is in the market.

Here’s a list of best over the counter sleep aids to help you improve your sleep quality at night.

1. Valerian Root

The effects of a valerian supplement on sleep

Valerian is an herbal substance derived from the roots of the plant called Valeriana officinalis.

Valeriana officinalis is commonly used for medicinal reasons such as the treatment of insomnia and anxiety.

Valerian is used as an effective natural sleep aid in different countries.

Some studies show that valerian has a therapeutic effect on sleep.

valerian extracts have GABA-like activity and are taken for their sedative effects.

The effects of a valerian supplement on sleep have been studied in adults with insomnia.

These studies show that valerian may have psychological effects such as,

  • Decreased sleep latency
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Decreased awakenings

But, you shouldn’t take valerian supplements before doing anything that needs your attention like driving. It may reduce your ability to think or react. 

Also, you can’t use valerian with the below list to avoid drowsiness.

The evidence of studies says that valerian may increase sleep quality without having side effects.

According to drugs.com the common side effects of valerian might be,

  • Headache
  • Thinking difficulties
  • Dry mouth
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling nervous or excited
  • Weird dreams
  • Drowsiness during the day

2. Melatonin Sleep Aid

Melatonin is viewed as an effective natural sleep aid

Melatonin is a sleep hormone produced by your pineal gland and released at night in response to darkness.

Melatonin is viewed as an effective natural sleep aid for having restful sleep. 

Your body can form melatonin from an amino acid called tryptophan.

Melatonin is responsible for controlling your sleep and wake cycles. 

Sleep supplements containing melatonin are effective natural sleep aids that are well tolerated and have no clear side effects.

Melatonin can adjust your circadian rhythms, and improve the quality of your sleep at night.

A study says that melatonin reduces sleep onset latency. It also increases your entire sleep time and improves sleep quality. 

So, melatonin tablets can help too,

  • Minimize jet lag
  • Regulate your sleep cycles
  • Deal with sleep disorders caused by shift-work schedules
  • Treat sleep disorders such as restless sleep
  • Reduce general insomnia symptoms

Taking melatonin supplements is quite safe. Side effects of this sleep aid are rare. 

But it may cause some undesirable effects such as,

  • Feeling confused or drowsy during the day
  • Headache
  • Depressive state
  • Loss of appetite

Besides, you should not take melatonin supplements with these medications,

  • Fluvoxamine
  • Other sedative drugs
  • Blood-thinner medicines

3. Magnesium

Magnesium is an over-the-counter supplement for sleeping

Another natural sleeping aid supplement is magnesium.

Magnesium (Mg) is commonly found in over-the-counter supplements for sleeping.

Magnesium is one of the most important minerals that have lots of health benefits.

Your body needs magnesium to work right.

Also, magnesium is essential for your bone health.

Besides, your brain, heart, and muscles need magnesium to work well. 

Taking a magnesium supplement can help you sleep better.

There are different forms of magnesium supplements such as,

  • Magnesium oxide
  • Magnesium citrate
  • Magnesium chloride

Magnesium also can improve your sleep quality.

It may also help you to reduce stress and anxiety.

4. Lavender

Lavender is a natural remedy to improve sleep

Lavender as a sleep aid was used for sleep disorders like insomnia in the past.

Lavender was recommended as a natural remedy to cure insomnia and improve sleep efficiency.

Applying lavender oil to your skin may help you calm and sleep better.

Studies on the effectiveness of lavender odor on quality of sleep say that lavender can improve sleep quality in fifteen healthy students.

Another study on the effect of lavender aromatherapy in midlife women with insomnia shows an improvement in the quality of their sleep.

One more study on ten people shows that the aroma of Lavandula angustifolia can be effective for the treatment of mild insomnia.

Sleep Aid #5. Passion flower

Passion flower used as an over-the-counter sedative

Passion flower was used as an over-the-counter sedative and sleep aid in the United States.

Passion flowers can be effective for anxiety also.

Researchers say that the extraction of passion flowers or tea before going to bed may increase your total sleep time. That means it may improve sleep quality in a person with insomnia. 

But it does not help to get to sleep quicker. It also doesn’t have any effect on reducing awakenings at night.

Here are some user reviews for Passion flower on the drugs.com.

6. Glycine

Glycine is an amino acid that your body needs to create proteins. It has several potential health benefits such as may improve a person’s sleep quality.

Taking glycine before going to bed may help you have healthy sleep.

Studies show that taking glycine (3 g) before going to bed may reduce daytime sleepiness

So, glycine may be an over-the-counter option to prescription sleeping pills.

7. Tryptophan

L-tryptophan is an amino acid. It plays an important role in the human body. For example, It balances nitrogen in adults.

Potential health benefits of Tryptophan are:

  • Supporting healthy sleep
  • Relieving anxiety and depression

But, tryptophan supplements can have serious health risks for some people. 

You should talk with a doctor before tryptophan for problems with sleeping. 

8. L-theanine (5-HTP)

Theanine is an amino acid that is found in tea and some mushrooms.

Researches show that L-theanine may help you to get a good night’s sleep.

Studies show that taking L-theanine at bedtime can improve sleep in a person with depression.

9. L-tryptophan

L-tryptophan is one of eight critical amino acids. Your body can’t produce L-tryptophan and must get it through the diet.

Tryptophan may be used as a natural sleep aid for the treatment of sleep disorders. 

Taking L-tryptophan may help fall asleep faster. It might as well improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.

10. Goji Berry

goji berries improves sleep quality

One of the health benefits of Goji Berries is getting better sleep.

They are also good sources of:

11. lemon balm

lemon balm is another effective natural sleep aid

Lemon balm is another effective natural sleep aid. It comes from the mint family. 

Taking lemon balm daily for two weeks can improve sleep in a person with insomnia. 

Studies show that taking lemon balm along with other sleep support ingredients can boost sleep quality and reduce anxiety. 

Other potential health benefits of lemon balm are:

  • Reducing anxiety
  • Lowering stress
  • Helping with insomnia

12. Ashwagandha root extract | Sleep Supplements

Clinical studies show that Ashwagandha root extract,

  • Improves sexual performances in both men and women
  • Helps to decrease and control stress and anxiety
  • Improves memory and cognition

It is one the herbal supplements that can increase your muscle strength and size, and boost muscle recovery.

A study shows that Ashwagandha extract has natural sedative properties. It is well tolerated and improves sleep latency in people with insomnia. The suggested dose in this study is 300 mg twice daily. 

Ashwagandha extract could be a potential natural sleep remedy for insomnia and anxiety.

13. Ginkgo biloba

ginkgo biloba sleep supplements

There are studies that show consuming Ginkgo biloba around one hour before bed may help to:

  • Lower your stress
  • Boost sleep
  • Improve relaxation

14. Magnolia bark

Magnolia bark can help to ease anxiety and increase GABA activity.

Magnolia bark can increase the duration of both NREM sleep and REM sleep.

It also may help you fall asleep faster.

It is an effective natural sleep aid if your sleep difficulties are related to stress.

What is the Best Natural Sleep Aid?

Sleep Support Plus is one of the most effective natural sleep aids in the market.

It is a premium quality blend of traditional and modern and extracts such as Valerian, St John’s Wort, 5-HTP, and Melatonin.

Also, This supplement contains vitamin B6, calcium, and magnesium to help you have a fantastic sleep overnight.

The most effective natural sleep aid over the counter

Here are the ingredients:

1. Melatonin

In the darkness, your brain produces a hormone called Melatonin that helps you fall asleep.

The light, on the other side, prevents melatonin production.

The supplement contains Melatonin can help you with jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, and some other sleep problems.[1]

2. Goji Berry

Goji berry helps you reduce stress, fatigue, and improve the quality of sleep.

A study for two weeks of oral consumption of Goji berry shows a significant increase in energy level, quality of sleep, ease of awakening, ability to focus on activities, calmness, and feelings of happiness.[2]

3. Valerian

Studies tell that Valerian may increase the quality of your sleep and help with anxiety disorders.[3,4]

4. Chamomile

A trial on older adults tells that chamomile extract can significantly increase sleep quality.[5]

5. Tryptophan

L-Tryptophan is a crucial amino acid that quickly turns into serotonin. It essential for the creation of slow-wave sleep.[6]

6. Lemon Balm

A study on 50 to 60-year-old women tells that Valerian/lemon balm may help reduce signs of sleep trouble during menopause.[7]

What is the Strongest Natural Sedative?

According to the Journal of Basic and Clinical PATHOPHYSIOLOGY, the most effective natural sedatives are as follows:

  • Borage
  • Lavender
  • Valerian
  • Saffron
  • Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)
  • Hypericum
  • passionflower
  • Humulus lupulus or hops

These herbs have tranquilizing effects. That means they can reduce anxiety and stress and promote healthy sleep.

What to Drink to Sleep Faster?

Here is a list of what you can drink before bedtime to sleep faster.

1. Chamomile Tea

Chamomile is one of the medicinal herbs known to mankind. 

Its dried flowers have many medicinal properties. 

Chamomile tea has been traditionally used to treat insomnia. It causes sedation and has calming effects. 

Chamomile is a mild tranquilizer. Drinking this tea may help you fall into a deep sleep. 

Chamomile is commonly useful for, 

  • Fever
  • Inflammation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Menstrual disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Ulcers
  • Wounds
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Rheumatic pain
  • Hemorrhoids

2. Warm Milk

Drinking a warm glass of milk may help you sleep better.

3. Tart Cherry Juice

Tart cherry juice may help you sleep better. Tart cherries contain a considerable amount of melatonin.

Studies say that tart cherry juice has effects on sleep by increasing melatonin levels in your body.

This juice may also increase the sleep amounts and help with insomnia.

4. Other Drinks That Can Be Effective Natural Sleep Aids Are:

  • Ashwagandha tea
  • Valerian tea
  • Peppermint tea
  • Banana-almond smoothie

Related Readings

Best Sleeping Pills Over The Counter [Based On Nutritional Values & Reviews]

Deep Sleep: Stages and How Much Should Get


  1. Melatonin: What You Need To Know. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know
  2. Amagase, H., & Nance, D. M. (2008). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, clinical study of the general effects of a standardized Lycium barbarum (Goji) Juice, GoChi. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 14(4), 403–412. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2008.0004
  3. Nunes, A., & Sousa, M. (2011). Utilização da valeriana nas perturbações de ansiedade e do sono: qual a melhor evidência? [Use of valerian in anxiety and sleep disorders: what is the best evidence?]. Acta medica portuguesa, 24 Suppl 4, 961–966.
  4. Bent, S., Padula, A., Moore, D., Patterson, M., & Mehling, W. (2006). Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American journal of medicine, 119(12), 1005–1012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.amjmed.2006.02.026
  5. Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mousavi, S. N. (2017). The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial. Complementary therapies in medicine, 35, 109–114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2017.09.010
  6. George, C. F., Millar, T. W., Hanly, P. J., & Kryger, M. H. (1989). The effect of L-tryptophan on daytime sleep latency in normals: correlation with blood levels. Sleep, 12(4), 345–353. https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/12.4.345
  7. Taavoni, S., Nazem Ekbatani, N., & Haghani, H. (2013). Valerian/lemon balm use for sleep disorders during menopause. Complementary therapies in clinical practice, 19(4), 193–196. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctcp.2013.07.002
  8. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/drinks-that-help-you-sleep
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2995283/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17682659/
  11. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/valerian
  12. https://www.drugs.com/slideshow/melatonin-worth-losing-sleep-over–1228
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6827862/
  14. Daniel J. Buysse, Shachi Tyagi, in Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (Sixth Edition), 2017