7 Supplements for Better Sleep

Having trouble catching some z's? The simple solution could be in your medicine cabinet.

November 11, 2014

Sleep: It's something most of us value but don't get nearly enough of. While people generally equate "good sleep" with getting eight consecutive hours, a University of California–San Diego paper on sleep research and aging reviewed date from 1.1 million people and determined that there is no statistically significant reason to sleep longer than 6½ hours per night. In fact, the people in the research who slept 6½ hours a night lived longer than the ones who slept eight!

Not to panic, getting eight hours a night won't kill you. However, it does bring into focus what's really important: your sleep quality. A lack of the right kind of sleep can increase your risk of heart disease and cancer and even raise your risk of death. (These sleep mistakes can even lead to weight gain.)


If you're having trouble sleeping through the night, there are some supplements you can take to help you slip off to Dreamland without feeling super groggy the next day. Here are some 7 supplements that'll better the quality of your sleep, adapted from The Bulletproof Diet.

Recommended dosage: 600 to 800 milligrams (mg) daily
Magnesium is used in more than 300 enzymatic processes, which means that low magnesium means low cellular energy. Plus, having enough makes the body more resilient to stress.

Recommended dosage: 400 mg potassium citrate
Known to help with nighttime leg cramps, potassium also keeps the heart beating rhythmically. Translation: Be careful NOT to megadose; start with 100 to 200 mg, and work your way up from there.

Recommended dosage: 100 mg
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, and it's known to reduce stress and causes relaxation.

Recommended dosage: 500 to 1,000 mg
"This relaxing amino acid helps the body eliminate ammonia in the gut, and excess ammonia causes feelings of stress," author Dave Asprey explains in The Bulletproof Diet. "Ammonia is a cellular toxin, and eliminating it can improve your long- and short-term memories."

Recommended dosage: 500 mg
Commonly associated with that stupor after Thanksgiving dinner, L-tryptophan is used to treat insomnia as well as anxiety and depression (among other things). Asprey notes to take caution with amounts when using this supplement, as too much of it can cause inflammation.

Mores: 5 Natural Sleep Aids

Recommended dosage: 2 to 3 mg
A potent hormone and antioxidant that the body is supposed to produce on its own if you're snoozing in real darkness and get enough sleep, supplementing it daily is shied away from. Antiaging researchers generally believe you should maintain your body's natural hormone production as much as possible, and with that said, Asprey suggests limiting use of a supplement to only one to two days per week.


Vitamin D
Recommended dosage: Heavily based on weight, roughly 4,000 International Units per day for adults
Some sleep disorders are tied to vitamin D deficiency, which hurts the amount of sleep you get, the quality of your sleep, and your mood upon waking up. Since most of us work indoors, wear clothes, and use sunscreen (not bad things, let us tell you!), those modern life realities take away from our inherent vitamin D synthesis. Asprey cautions how important it is to take this vitamin in the morning for better sleep quality at night.