Supplements for improving sleep

Having a good night sleep is the most important factor when trying to improve your productivity and focus during the day. A lack of sleep has a significant negative effect on human functioning by decreasing productivity, reducing both short-term and long-term memory as well as worsening overall mood. [1]

Some supplements have shown to reliably improve one's sleep. In this article, we focus on natural substances that have little to no negative side-effects and can be safely consumed on a regular basis to improve sleep. Although, there exist many more substances that may help one to fall asleep (such as alcohol), these substances do not contribute to the overall sleep quality and can be harmful to one's health. Therefore, such substances will not be mentioned here.


L-theanine is a popular substance that has been proven to reduce anxiety and calm you down. Theanine is an organic compound primarily found in plant and fungal species that has a similar structure to the amino acids glutamate and glutamine. Its chemical name is L-γ-glutamylethylamide in which the L refers to the specific orientation of the molecule. When speaking about theanine it is generally referring to L-theanine, the form in which it is naturally most found. Besides reducing anxiety, L-theanine also has a special interaction with caffeine that may reduce wakefulness induced by caffeine.

Taking 200-400mg of L-theanine roughly 45 minutes before bedtime should help you fall asleep better.


Research has shown that magnesium may help you fall asleep quicker and keep you sleeping for longer periods of time[6]. However, supplementing with magnesium only helps if you're deficient in magnesium which may not be the case if you have a healthy diet. If you believe you might not get enough magnesium from your diet, we recommend supplementing with at least 200mg of magnesium Bisglycinate before bedtime to increase your sleep quality.


Apigenin is a naturally occurring compound found in many plants, such as; celery, celeriac, chamomile and parsley.[10] Apigenin has been shown to have a muscle-relaxing and sedative effect.[4, 5] This substance is often consumed through chamomile tea, but can also be purchased in capsules. A good dosage for apigenin is 50mg before bedtime.


Ashwagandha, known scientifically as withania somnifera, is a plant in the nightshade family that grows in various parts of the world.[8] It has been used traditionally in India as a medicine. The somnifera part of the latin name for the plant means "sleep-inducing" and the name ashwagandha is a combination of the Sanskrit words ashva and gandha, horse and smell. Both reflect on the properties of the herb, which supposedly has calming properties and smells like a horse.[9] Ashwagandha has been shown to reduce cortisol, and therefore stress, levels [2, 3]. Stress is a common factor that prevents people from falling asleep. If you feel stressed at night, taking ashwagandha could calm you down and help you fall asleep quicker.


Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces in response to your circadian rhythm. Melatonin can be supplemented if your sleeping schedule is irregular because of night shifts or a jetlag.

If you have a steady sleeping schedule then supplementing melatonin will not help you fall asleep, and we don't recommend taking melatonin.


Supplementing 2-3g of glycine before bedtime has been shown to improve the sleep quality and reduce fatigue[7]. This effect could possibly be explained by the fact that glycine decreases the core body temperature which plays an important role in sleep. Furthermore, glycine increases serotonin levels which play an important role in sleep.

Related articles


  1. [1] Pilcher, J. J., & Huffcutt, A. I. (1996). Effects of sleep deprivation on performance: a meta-analysis. Sleep, 19(4), 318-326.
  2. [2] Pratte, M. A., Nanavati, K. B., Young, V., & Morley, C. P. (2014). An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 20(12), 901–908.
  3. [3] Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. Indian journal of psychological medicine, 34(3), 255–262.
  4. [4] Salehi, B., Venditti, A., Sharifi-Rad, M., Kręgiel, D., Sharifi-Rad, J., Durazzo, A., Lucarini, M., Santini, A., Souto, E. B., Novellino, E., Antolak, H., Azzini, E., Setzer, W. N., & Martins, N. (2019). The Therapeutic Potential of Apigenin. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(6), 1305.
  5. [5] Shakeri, F., & Boskabady, M. H. (2015). A review of the relaxant effect of various medicinal plants on tracheal smooth muscle, their possible mechanism(s) and potency. Journal of ethnopharmacology, 175, 528–548.
  6. [6] Forrest H. Nielsen, F. H. Nielsen, Luann K. Johnson, L. K. Johnson, & Huawei Zeng, H. Zeng. (0000). Magnesium supplementation improves indicators of low magnesium status and inflammatory stress in adults older than 51 years with poor quality sleep. Magnesium Research, 23, 158-168. doi: 10.1684/mrh.2010.0220
  7. [7] Bannai, M., & Kawai, N. (2012). New therapeutic strategy for amino acid medicine: glycine improves the quality of sleep. Journal of pharmacological sciences, 118(2), 145-148.
  8. [8] Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal GRIN-Global. (1985, July 11). United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved December 30, 2021
  9. [9] Ganzera, M., Choudhary, M., & Khan, I. (2003). Quantitative HPLC analysis of withanolides in Withania somnifera. Fitoterapia, 74(1–2), 68–76.
  10. [10] Shankar, E., Goel, A., Gupta, K., & Gupta, S. (2017). Plant Flavone Apigenin: an Emerging Anticancer Agent. Current Pharmacology Reports, 3(6), 423–446.