best sleep supplement

Best Sleep Supplements to Buy in 2024

David Tomen
Author:
David Tomen
8 minute read

best sleep supplements to buyThere’s nothing quite like a full deep sleep. And waking refreshed the next day.

In fact, we humans covet sleep so much we’ll try just about anything to help us sleep in 2024.

A recent study showed that 70 million Americans have problems sleeping.[i] Another study at The University of Warwick Medical School in the UK with nearly 50,000 people revealed that 17% of the population were dealing with sleep problems.[ii]

Insomnia has been deemed an ‘epidemic’ by researchers and medical scholars throughout Europe and the Americas.

And when it feels like you are perpetually exhausted from lack of sleep, it’s tempting to ask your doctor for a prescription for something like Ambien® (zolpidem).

best sleep supplementDrugs like zolpidem are GABAA receptor agonists that bind to the α-1 subunit, which is believed to be responsible for the drug’s sedative properties.

Turns out this mechanism of action is very similar to using benzodiazepines (benzos) for sleep. They both cause problems with memory consolidation.[iii]

OTC sleep aids containing the antihistamine diphenhydramine prevent acetylcholine (ACh) action. Low ACh can lead to brain fog, mental confusion, delirium, blurred vision, memory loss and hallucinations.[iv]

And if you try to go ‘natural’, you’ll find most ‘natural’ sleep aids on the market contain synthetic melatonin.

But not only is this form of melatonin not natural, a study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine showed something very alarming.

Researchers found that synthetic melatonin content ranged from -83% to + 478%. Contrary to what was claimed on sleep supplement labels.[v]

If you are as sensitive to melatonin as a supplement as I am, taking a chance on nearly 500% more than what you thought you were getting is a big problem.

But I have good news for you because experienced neurohackers have found other ways to get a great night sleep in 2024.

And all it takes are 3 supplements that are easy and relatively inexpensive to get.

Best Sleep Supplements for 2024

Put together a stack with the following supplements and you’re sure to get the sleep you need. Night after night.

Tart Cherry

Montmorency tart cherry contains the richest natural source of melatonin. Identical to the hormone secreted by the pineal gland in your brain.

top 10 sleeping pills
Tart Cherry

Your pineal gland receives a signal from your hypothalamus in response to your circadian rhythm and environmental clues like light and temperature.[vi]

The problem is this natural process in our modern society can be disrupted by exposure to artificial light from cellphones and tablet screens, medications, medical conditions, stress, food and drink.

And your circadian rhythm can also be disrupted by working the night shift. Or flying to a different time zone.

Supplementing with tart cherry provides melatonin when your natural melatonin is suppressed.

Tart cherry for sleep has been proven in clinical trials as well. For example, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was done with 20 volunteers who consumed tart cherry juice concentrate or a placebo for 7 days.

Sleep quality was recorded along with melatonin metabolites from urine samples.

Melatonin was significantly higher in the tart cherry group compared to no change in the placebo group.

The researchers recorded significant increases in time in bed, total sleep time, and sleep efficiency in the tart cherry volunteers.

And concluded that tart cherry juice does indeed increase natural melatonin. Which in turn improved sleep duration and quality in healthy men and women.[vii]

Tart cherry is also a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. It contains anthocyanins which block COX-1 and COX-2 proinflammatory enzymes.

Several studies show that tart cherry helped reduce muscle damage and pain after strenuous exercise. Offering faster relief from minor aches, stiffness and discomfort.[viii]

Tart cherry extract may help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and help repair your body and brain while you sleep. Feeling refreshed and physically ready to start your day.

Recommended dosage of organic tart cherry juice from concentrate is 4 – 6 ounces (120 – 180 mL), or 500 mg of CherryPURE® which is tart cherry extract in a capsule about 90 minutes before bed.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the 4th most abundant mineral in your body. And a cofactor in more than 600 enzymatic reactions.

best natural sleep supplement

Some of these processes are directly involved in falling asleep and staying asleep. For example, magnesium stimulates GABAA receptors much the same as prescription sleep aid Ambien® (zolpidem).[ix]

This GABA action by magnesium helps block the excitability of NMDA receptors. Calming nerve cell signaling which relaxes muscles and brain activity.

This process also boosts nitric oxide (NO) which helps relax smooth muscle cells. Allowing for easier blood flow and lower blood pressure that precedes sleep.[x]

Magnesium ions control the ion channels required for brain cell signaling. And is critical for the neuroplasticity required for memory consolidation while you sleep.

Magnesium is required for adenosine triphosphate (ATP) synthesis. Which is the main energy source produced by your mitochondria in nearly every cell in your brain and body.[xi] And for the synthesis of DNA and RNA.[xii]

The problem is most people are unaware that they are living with a magnesium deficiency. Which is contributing to sleep and memory problems.[xiii]

Over the last 60 years, the magnesium content in fruit and vegetables has declined by 30%. And a further 80 – 90% of magnesium is lost during food processing.

But the thing is that supplementing with regular magnesium won’t do you much good. Because it’s not very bioavailable. And the high dosage required to elevate your magnesium levels can cause diarrhea.

The best option is to choose the right form of magnesium. Magnesium Bisglycinate is a chelated form of this mineral bound to the amino acid glycine which boosts bioavailability.

Or use Magnesium Taurate which is magnesium bound to the amino acid taurine which inhibits neurotransmission (helping sleep), acts as an antioxidant, assists long-term potentiation, and helps magnesium cross the blood-brain barrier.

And the addition of taurine also aids in the movement of potassium, sodium, and calcium into and out of cells. Which helps alleviate muscle twitches that can keep you awake.

Recommended dosage of magnesium is 100 – 400 mg about 90 minutes before bed.

Sea Buckthorn

Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is a plant native to China and is also found growing in temperate zones throughout the world.

Sea Buckthorn is a natural source of serotonin which goes on the naturally produce the sleep hormone melatonin in your brain. This plant is also rich in flavonoids and other antioxidants, fat- or water-soluble vitamins such as vitamins C and E, β-carotene, and lycopene, phytosterols, amino acids, and minerals.

This natural sleep supplement,  Sea Buckthorn helps your body and brain repair itself during the night, supports natural sleep cycles, and contributes to a more restful night.

L-Tryptophan

Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and precursor to serotoninmelatonin, and Vitamin B3 (niacin) in your body and brain.

Best sleep aid supplementTryptophan is one of the best natural sleep aids available without the unwanted side effects of prescription sleep meds.

You’ll get better results supplementing with Tryptophan as a sleep aid by stacking it with magnesium, and Vitamin B6 because both are required to synthesize serotonin.

Tryptophan converts to 5-HTP, and then with the help of Vitamin B6 (P-5-P) produces serotonin.

The further conversion of serotonin into melatonin requires the presence of SAM-e.

The entire pathway from Tryptophan to 5-HTP to serotonin to melatonin provides a good mood during the day. And a calming influence preparing you for relaxation leading to sleep, and sound sleep all night.

Recommended dosage of L-Tryptophan is 250 mg about 90 minutes before bed.

Best Pre-formulated Sleep Stack for 2024

For years, I used the above individual supplements as my sleep stack taken about 90 minutes before bed.

I’d fall asleep in less than a minute, and sleep through the night. Feeling refreshed the next morning.

best sleep aid redditThen in early 2018, Performance Lab® came out with a sleep stack using the same ingredients. It’s what I now use instead of individual supplements which is less expensive but still works like a charm.

Performance Lab® Sleep contains 100 mg of Magnesium (as Magnesium Bisglycinate, Magnesium Taurate, and NutriGenesis® Magnesium), 500 mg of tart cherry extract (as CherryPURE®), 200 mg of L-Tryptophan, and 100 mg certified organic Sea Buckthorn.

Performance Lab® also uses NutriCaps® vegan-friendly capsules which are made from tapioca. Rather than ‘veggie capsules’ which are actually a type of plastic made from pine or poplar tree pulp.

And there no fillers or additives! Just plain, pure, patented ingredients.

If you are craving a great night’s sleep, I highly recommend this premium stack.

Get Performance Lab® Sleep or

See my complete Performance Lab® Sleep Review or

See my deeper dive into how sleep works, how much sleep you really need, and health problems associated with not getting enough sleep in my post on “Best Nootropics for Sleep”.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] “The National Center on Sleep Disorders Research (NCSDR)” USA National Institute of Health (source)

[ii]  “Global ‘sleeplessness epidemic’ affects an estimated 150 million in developing world” Warwick warwick.ac.uk (source)

[iii] Morgan P.T., Kehne J.H., Sprenger K.J., Malison R.T. “Retrograde effects of triazolam and zolpidem on sleep-dependent motor learning in humans.” Journal of Sleep Research. 2010 Mar;19(1 Pt 2):157-64. (source)

[iv] Fox C., Smith T., Maidment I., Chan W.Y., Bua N., Myint P.K., Boustani M., Kwok C.S., Glover M., Koopmans I., Campbell N. “Effect of medications with anti-cholinergic properties on cognitive function, delirium, physical function and mortality: a systematic review.” Age and ageing. 43 (5): 604–15 (source)

[v] Erland L.A.E., Saxena P.K. “Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content” Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine 2017 Feb 15; 13(2): 275–281. (source)

[vi] Macchi M.M., Bruce J.N. “Human pineal physiology and functional significance of melatonin.” Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology. 2004 Sep-Dec;25(3-4):177-95. (source)

[vii] Howatson G., Bell P.G., Tallent J., Middleton B., McHugh M.P., Ellis J. “Effect of tart cherry juice (Prunus cerasus) on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality.” European Journal of Nutrition. 2012 Dec;51(8):909-16 (source)

[viii] Kuelh K.S., Perrier E.T., Eliot D.L., Chesnutt J.C. “Efficacy of tart cherry juice in reducing muscle pain during running: a randomized controlled trial.” Journal of International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010 May 7;7:17. (source)

[ix] Pigeon W.R., Bishop T.M., Marcus J.A. “Advances in the management of insomnia” F1000 Prime Reports 2014; 6: 48. (source)

[x] De Baaij J.H.F., Hoenderop J.G.J., Bindels R.J.M. “Magnesium in Man: Implications for Health and Disease” Physiological Reviews Vol. 95, No. 1 (source)

[xi] Garfinkel L., Garfinkel D. “Magnesium regulation of the glycolytic pathway and the enzymes involved.” Magnesium. 1985;4(2-3):60-72. (source)

[xii] Grober U., Schmidt J., Kisters K. “Magnesium in Prevention and Therapy” Nutrients. 2015 Sep; 7(9): 8199–8226. (source)

[xiii] Rude R.K., Singer F.R., Gruber H.E. “Skeletal and hormonal effects of magnesium deficiency.” Journal of American College of Nutrition. 2009 Apr;28(2):131-41. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 55 comments

georgiana
September 13, 2022

Hello. I’ve read in the article on 5-HTP that should be balanced with L-tyrosine. Is this the case for the Performance Lab® Sleep? should I combine it with L-tyrosine? If so, what would be the proportion? Would supplements of L-tyrosine create any issue to my thyroid (normal values of T4)? thank you

    David Tomen
    September 13, 2022

    Georgiana, Performance Lab Sleep only contains 250 mg L-Tryptophan. You also get some L-Tryptophan and melatonin from the Tart Cherry ingredient. But it should not be high enough of a dose to upset your serotonin/dopamine balance.

    However, look up what dopamine deficiency feels like. If you start feeling any of those symptoms then you may want to add L-Tyrosine to what you use during the day.

Yida
August 18, 2022

Ps: she also takes vitamin B complex daily.

Laura
April 22, 2022

Hi David, do you have articles about sleepwalking? What can one do to try to understand or fix that?

    David Tomen
    April 23, 2022

    Laura, I don’t have any articles on sleepwalking but great idea! Thanks.

    I suggest you try increasing your Omega-3 levels by using 900 – 1,000 mg DHA in the morning. It will take a while to build up your Omega-3s but it’ll happen with daily use.

    Also 400 mg magnesium, 500 mg L-Tryptophan, 300 mg PharmaGABA, 400 mg Lemon Balm, and 200 mg L-Theanine all about 60 minutes before bed.

Michelle
November 24, 2021

Will magnesium citrate be as effective for sleep as the bisglycinate or taurate forms? I take magnesium citrate nightly for its positive effects on constipation and in hope it will help my chronic insomnia.

    David Tomen
    November 29, 2021

    Michelle, I personally use 400 mg Magnesium Bisglycinate about 60 mins. before bed and it works great. Magnesium Taurate should provide similar benefits.

    Magnesium citrate cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. So, it is used throughout your body except by your brain.

Ariel
April 23, 2021

Hello David, I would like to know how many Mg of Tart Cherry concentrate 50:1, can I consume without it being harmful?

– And the other question is if this version that I attach below is good enough? Thank you for your time.

NOW Foods – Tart Cherry extract

    David Tomen
    April 24, 2021

    Ariel, we do not have any studies that show the safe upper limit for dosage of Tart Cherry extract. You’ll need to ask the manufacturer of the supplement you decide to use.

    The NOW Foods tart cherry you asked about contains the type of “other ingredients” you should avoid because they can be toxic. Choose a pure Tart Cherry extract like they use in the Performance Lab Sleep supplement with nothing else added but the capsule.

    If you want a standalone Tart Cherry supplement I suggest one like this: https://amzn.to/3nfOhh8 because it does not contain any toxic ingredients.

Dennis
April 9, 2021

Hi David,

First of all I want to thank you for your website and the work you put into it, helping people.

My name is Dennis from the Netherlands. I have trouble staying asleep since 2,5 years (it was beginning of my extreme burnout). Stil trying to recover, had 3 major setbacks in the recovery process. Tried a lot for staying asleep: CBD, CBG, Magnesium Taurate, L-Ornithine, Gaba, Valeriaan, L-Theanine or capsules from a brand that contain a mixture (gaba, valeriaan, magnesium and l-theanine). Nothing really works to really sleep through the night.

Currently using during the day: CBD/CBG, Curcumine, Q10, Acetyl-L-Carnitine (couple of days) and a multi. Before going to bed CBG, Magnesium taurate and L-Ornithine

Bought the Performance Lab Sleep capsules. The came today so I’m curious what it does. I see you mentioning al the time to take them about 90 min before bed time but on the label it says 30 min. What is better?

Kind regards,

Dennis

    David Tomen
    April 9, 2021

    Dennis, timing of any sleep supplement depends on your system and how you metabolize these supplements. I take mine 90 mins before bed but you may need to use them 30 mins. before bed.

    Considering your history you may find you need a double dose of this sleep supplement. And you’ll get the most benefit from using it daily for at least a couple of weeks. People share that PL Sleep works best after a couple of weeks of use.

      Dennis
      April 11, 2021

      Thank you very much for you reply David. Much appreciated. I’ll play some with the timing to find what works. So strange, sleep was always my friend up until 3 yrs ago. Now I frequently wake up after 4-5 hours, usually after a dream, Maybe I don’t sleep deep enough (higher cortisol?) and/or my body seems to be reacting more to dreaming because I feel more alert/aroused waking up after a dream. Sometimes unable to fall asleep again sometimes falling asleep only to wake up a few times more (after dreaming again).

        David Tomen
        April 15, 2021

        Dennis, I looked back over what you said above and you mentioned “extreme burnout”. I have learned that extreme and long-term stress reeks havoc in your brain and throughout your system. And essentially hard-wires the pathway between your amygdala and hippocampus.

        To understand what happens go to my PTSD article here: https://nootropicsexpert.com/how-to-naturally-treat-ptsd-caused-by-covid-19/. And scroll down to the section called, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Your Brain:”

        Now, I am NOT saying you have PTSD. But chronic stress is the same no matter how it is caused.

        That’s one explanation. Another is aging and what happens to our brain as we age. Some things can happen that will accelerate that and cause problems. With things like hormones out of whack. Nutrient deficiencies. And others.

        https://nootropicsexpert.com/best-nootropics-for-the-aging-brain/

        I suggest you keep on reading because something here will set a light bulb off in your brain. And you’ll have an “aha” moment.

Mabel
March 6, 2021

Thank you for dedicating your valuable time to help people, you are a miracle person,
In my country I only get ALA from Now foods.

but I’m worried because, it includes both S- and R-forms of lipoic acid. It is not a supplement that is only R-Lipoic Acid as you recommended in other comments, what risks do I face by consuming this version? I am worried about that.

– Also I would also like to know, please, why do I get sleepy when I consume good quality multivitamins?, including Wholefood Multivitamins

– And finally I would like to know how much Milk Thistle to use and how much TUDCA to use for liver problems? Thank you.

    David Tomen
    March 7, 2021

    Mabel, most Alpha Lipoic Acid supplements are offered as S-Lipoic Acid and R-Lipoic Acid because R-Lipoic Acid is highly unstable on its own. There is nothing wrong with taking a combo supplement like that one if that is all you can get. But it also helps to find a supplement that does not contain toxic “other ingredients” like magnesium stearate and silicon dioxide.

    No idea why a high quality Multi makes you sleepy. But if that is the case then take the before bed.

    For Milk Thistle and TUDCA follow the directions on the bottle label. But you’ll experience the most benefit by using them daily and long-term.

Jose
March 2, 2021

Hi David, I would like to know please if the organic tart cherry juice concentrate from “Bulk Supplements” is good enough as the one you recommend, because Performance Lab® Sleep is not available in my country, the product is this: Bulk Supplements Tart Cherry Extract powder

– And the other question please is, In my country I only get Potassium Citrate, what percentage of absorption does it have compared to Potasium Gluconate?, is it just as effective?

    David Tomen
    March 3, 2021

    Jose, Bulk Supplements is a trustworthy company who tests their product. So, I would think their Tart Cherry Extract powder would be effective as a natural way to boost melatonin.

    And Potassium Citrate may my be absorbed as well as Potassium Gluconate but enough will absorb to provide your system with the potassium it needs.

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