Best Sleep Supplements

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Please share which sleep supplements work best for you.
Thats a big can of worms to open...

Poor sleep can be caused by many different things. It can be occasional or chronic. You have to figure out the root cause, or at least narrow it down to choose the right approach.

I have had sleep issues for years, and they stem from 3 different sources, Anxiety, overuse of stimulants (coffee, tyrosine etc..) and overindulgence in food and alcohol too close to bedtime. The last two are occasional, but I have high anxiety levels. For me, as a daily cure, I take melatonin and L Theanine before bed. L Theanine has similar effects to Xanax, which is my go-to cure for times of chronic insomnia. Xanax stimulates and enhances GABA. GABA is the magic bullet with regards to sleep and quieting anxiety.

So why not take a GABA supplement? This is an arguable subject as there are conflicting theories as to whether GABA can cross the BBB. It is theorized that GABA can cross the BBB through the Vagus Nerve (gut brain axis). Some people swear by it, some will argue that you are wasting your time. The only advice I have for that is to try it for yourself and see.


It is worth mentioning that GABA has long been thought to be unable to cross the blood–brain barrier (BBB) (Kuriyama and Sze, 1971; Roberts, 1974), which raises questions about the mechanisms of action behind its health benefits. However, there are various accounts regarding GABA's BBB permeability. While some researchers argue that only small amounts of GABA cross the BBB (Knudsen et al., 1988; Bassett et al., 1990), with the discovery of GABA-transporter systems in the brain (i.e., passing of solutes by transcytosis, carrier-mediated transport, or simple diffusion of hydrophobic substances), others believe that the substantial amounts of GABA could cross the BBB (Takanaga et al., 2001; Al-Sarraf, 2002; Shyamaladevi et al., 2002). Additionally, as GABA is also present in the enteric nervous system, it has been considered that GABA may act on the peripheral nervous system through the gut-brain axis (Cryan and Dinan, 2012). Although there is some evidence showing that biosynthetic GABA could reach the human brain as evidenced by various EEG responses (Abdou et al., 2006; Yoto et al., 2012), to date, there are no data showing GABA's BBB permeability in humans. Although it has been shown that the blood GABA levels were elevated 30 min after oral GABA intake (Yamatsu et al., 2016), it's not known if oral GABA intake would increase brain GABA concentrations or not.

Other supplements include:
Diphenhydramine
Chamomile
Magnesium (very effective)
L Tryptophan
Glycine
CBD

I hesitate to mention this one as it is highly controversial and also has the potential for misuse, but it promotes fabulous sleep... phenibut. It is a Russian drug that can be purchased as a supplement from various nootropic sites. If anyone ever decides to try this, beware... it is addictive and potentially dangerous if mixed with alcohol. If used occasionally for short periods of time, it is a wonderful sleep aid. Its also very good for social anxiety.

Lack of proper sleep can ruin a persons life. Good luck!
 

Magnesium bioavailability after administration of sucrosomial® magnesium: results of an ex-vivo study and a comparative, double-blinded, cross-over study in healthy subjects​

E Brilli 1, S Khadge, A Fabiano, Y Zambito, T Williams, G Tarantino
Affiliations expand

Abstract​

Objective: We conducted an ex-vivo analysis and a study in healthy subjects to compare magnesium bioavailability after administration of Sucrosomial® magnesium or commercially available preparations of magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide and magnesium bisglycinate.
Materials and methods: In the ex-vivo study we simulated magnesium intestinal absorption after digestion through sections of intestinal mucosa isolated from rats. We compared the absorption of magnesium oxide and Sucrosomial® magnesium at two different concentrations: 32.9 mg/ml and 329 mg/ml. The human study was a single day double-blinded repeated crossover study in healthy subjects. Each subject was administered 350 mg magnesium in different formulations (Sucrosomial® magnesium, magnesium citrate, magnesium oxide or magnesium bisglycinate) after 1 week of washout. We collected blood and urine samples to measure magnesium concentration in blood, urine and red blood cells.
Results: The ex-vivo evaluation showed that magnesium absorption after administration of Sucrosomial® magnesium was faster and with higher rates compared to a standard formulation of magnesium oxide. This finding was further confirmed by the results of the study in healthy subjects, that showed a more evident increase in magnesium concentration after administration of Sucrosomial® magnesium compared to the other formulations. In particular, the increase in magnesium concentration from baseline to 24 h was statistically higher in blood and in urine for Sucrosomial® magnesium compared to magnesium oxide, while in red blood cells Sucrosomial® magnesium had a statistically significant advantage compared to magnesium bisglycinate.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that Sucrosomial® magnesium leads to an increased bioavailability of magnesium compared to other formulations. Further studies are needed to investigate if this advantage turns into more evident clinical efficacy.
 
Avoiding things which cause poor sleep such as blue light exposure in the evenings, stimulants, overtraining and excessive alcohol are the place to start. Low blood sugar episodes (which IIRC cause a cortisol spike) will also cause episodes of waking in the middle of the night and need to be dealt with via eliminating major blood sugar swings in general. Without addressing these, no supplement is likely to be a complete fix. I have heard of CBD products (Delta 8 and 9) being effective for people with chronically disrupted sleep due to occupational disruption (e.g. truck drivers and pilots) however those can cause issues for some people. I believe sunlight actually stimulates melatonin production so that is another in the long list of benefits from brief mid-day sun exposure. Note that commonly prescribed "sleeping pills" can actually make sleep worse by inducing sedation, which then leads to daytime napping which further disrupts actual night-time sleep. You can also look at the list of things in the product "Sleep Breakthrough" for more ideas.
 
Wow! Lots of great stuff here, thanks for sharing. My problem is going back to sleep after the 230am wakeup. I'm pretty careful with alcohol, eat nothing after dinner, very little sugar in my diet, I exercise regularly, but nothing seems to help me sleep. I will try some of the things mentioned that I've never heard of - mag oil, melatonin gummies, magnesium glycinate, plus 50 mg pregnenolone, etc.
 
Wow! Lots of great stuff here, thanks for sharing. My problem is going back to sleep after the 230am wakeup. I'm pretty careful with alcohol, eat nothing after dinner, very little sugar in my diet, I exercise regularly, but nothing seems to help me sleep. I will try some of the things mentioned that I've never heard of - mag oil, melatonin gummies, magnesium glycinate, plus 50 mg pregnenolone, etc.
If you're just waking up then for seemingly no reason, that screams low blood sugar episode, so you might want to focus your research on that. Some people find that spoonful of honey before bed is helpful for that, although that is more of a band-aid that a fix, but it might help to confirm what the issue is. As understand it, if the body thinks blood sugar is getting low, it secretes cortisol and goes into an energized state to release more sugar from glycogen stores. A time restricted feeding window and making sure you are "fat-adapted" are two things to look into for this, although a consult with a doc who specializes in that type of thing would be ideal. I beleive Dr. Craig Koniver in charlston SC is one to consider and there are podcasts with him you can listen to. Ben Greenfield has interviewed him and he talked a lot about cortisol management.
 
The sleep supplements with the most scientific data supporting their use include melatonin, cannabidiol (CBD), valerian, chamomile, and magnesium. Here is a detailed overview of each:

Melatonin​

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in response to darkness, helping regulate the sleep-wake cycle. It is commonly used as a supplement to address sleep disorders such as insomnia and jet lag.
  • Effectiveness: Research shows mixed results. Melatonin is effective for circadian rhythm disorders like jet lag and delayed sleep-wake phase disorder but less so for general insomnia.
  • Safety: Generally safe for short-term use, but long-term safety data is limited. Potential side effects include headache, dizziness, and nausea.

Cannabidiol (CBD)​

CBD is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants. It is used for various health issues, including sleep disorders.
  • Effectiveness: Preliminary studies suggest that CBD may improve sleep quality and reduce sleep latency, but more research is needed to confirm these findings.
  • Safety: Generally considered safe, but potential side effects include fatigue and interactions with other medications.

Valerian​

Valerian is an herb traditionally used to treat insomnia and anxiety.
  • Effectiveness: Studies on valerian's effectiveness for sleep are inconclusive. Some research shows modest benefits, while others show no significant improvement.
  • Safety: Generally safe for short-term use, but long-term safety is unknown. Common side effects include dizziness and gastrointestinal disturbances.

Chamomile​

Chamomile is an herb often used in teas and supplements for its calming effects.
  • Effectiveness: Some studies suggest chamomile may improve sleep quality, particularly in elderly individuals, but more high-quality research is needed.
  • Safety: Generally safe, but can cause allergic reactions in some individuals, especially those allergic to related plants like ragweed.

Magnesium​

Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in many bodily functions, including sleep regulation.
  • Effectiveness: Research indicates that magnesium supplementation can improve sleep quality, particularly in older adults and those with low magnesium levels.
  • Safety: Generally safe when taken within recommended doses. High doses can cause gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea.

Summary​

  • Melatonin: Best for circadian rhythm disorders; mixed results for general insomnia.
  • CBD: Promising but requires more research; generally safe with some side effects.
  • Valerian: Inconclusive evidence; generally safe for short-term use.
  • Chamomile: Some evidence for improved sleep quality; generally safe with potential for allergic reactions.
  • Magnesium: Effective for improving sleep quality in certain populations; generally safe within recommended doses.
Each supplement has varying levels of evidence and safety profiles, so it's important to consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.


Citations:
[1] Supplementing your sleep - Harvard Health
[2] Sleep Quality: A Narrative Review on Nutrition, Stimulants, and Physical Activity as Important Factors
[3] What the Research Says About Popular Sleep Supplements
[4] Natural Sleep Aids: Which Are the Most Effective?
[5] Melatonin: What You Need To Know
[6] MELATONIN: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews
[7] Melatonin
[8] CBD +Power to Sleep - CBD Soft Gel
[9] CBD and sleep: Does CBD work as a sleep aid?
[10] Is CBD a Safe and Effective Sleep Aid?
[11] Office of Dietary Supplements - Valerian
[12] VALERIAN: Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews
[13] Investigation effect of oral chamomilla on sleep quality in elderly people in Isfahan: A randomized control trial
[14] Chamomile Health Benefits & Uses
[15] Magnesium for Sleep? Follow These Tips
[16] Using Magnesium for Better Sleep
[17] The effect of magnesium supplementation on primary insomnia in elderly: A double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial
 
If you're just waking up then for seemingly no reason, that screams low blood sugar episode, so you might want to focus your research on that. Some people find that spoonful of honey before bed is helpful for that, although that is more of a band-aid that a fix, but it might help to confirm what the issue is. As understand it, if the body thinks blood sugar is getting low, it secretes cortisol and goes into an energized state to release more sugar from glycogen stores. A time restricted feeding window and making sure you are "fat-adapted" are two things to look into for this, although a consult with a doc who specializes in that type of thing would be ideal. I beleive Dr. Craig Koniver in charlston SC is one to consider and there are podcasts with him you can listen to. Ben Greenfield has interviewed him and he talked a lot about cortisol management.
Thanks! You might have something here. I'm going to do some research. I do hear the cortisol vibrating in my ears some nights and it always mystifies me. I've tried almost every pill and supplement known to man and nothing really works.
 
Here is a recent post from AMidwesternDoctor on sleep. He doesn't include blood-sugar swings which I think is an underappreciated issue, but a lot of good info here...

 
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