10 Best Natural Sleep Aids Tested and Compared
Even after a hardcore workout that tires the body, many find it hard to fall asleep. Getting an active mind to quiet down takes time. And no one wants to be tossing and turning and calculating how many hours of sleep they will now get if they were to just fall asleep. Not enough and poor quality sleep can be very negative on a person’s health. This includes muscle loss for athletes, as well as risk for obesity and heart disease. That’s where taking the best natural sleep aids comes in.
Natural sleep aids consists of herbs, amino acids and hormones like melatonin that are designed to help the consumer fall asleep faster and have a better quality of sleep. They contain non-habit forming ingredients that are safe to consume and have no side effects. That makes them a better alternative to those combating insomnia or restless nights.
When going the natural route, the best options should include high quality ingredients that consists of a blend that actually works.
- NoctuRest Advanced Sleep Supplement
- Fast Acting & Effective
- Natrol Melatonin Tablets
- Good for Occasional Use
- Vegan Friendly
10 Best Natural Sleep Aids
NoctuRest Advanced Sleep Supplement
This natural sleep aid features a blend of eight calming ingredients that includes: 3mg of melatonin, 50mg of theanine, 20mg of magnesium citrate and 1.23mL of the company’s proprietary blend that consists of Valerian root, passion flow, lemon balm, hops and chamomile. This combination supports healthy sleep patterns, “turns off” an active mind, increase sleep depth and regulate sleep.
Other ingredients include vegetable glycerin, raspberry flavoring and purified water. As a result, this is a vegetarian and vegan-friendly options.
NoctuRest has ingredients that are backed by scientific research to work for relaxing the body and mind to induce slumber. The ingredients are potent because of the company’s cold-extraction process that provides the most bioavailable form of the ingredients as possible. Plus adding magnesium with the herbs results in an effective blend that absorbs in the body.
The formula is then presented in a liquid form for maximum and fast absorption. Studies found that the body uses 98 percent of the liquid extract compared to anywhere between 39 and 53 percent of a capsule. It’s recommend to take 1/4 a tsp (one full dropper) of the liquid 30 minutes before bedtime. Those who take this sleep aid praise it for helping them fall asleep faster and have better quality sleep.
There is no negative side effected related to NoctuRest. This is in part because of its natural and high quality ingredients that is regulated and GMP complaint to ensure the best for consumers. It also doesn’t include 5-HTP, the neurotransmitter that boots serotonin, but this doesn’t work well for everyone. Thankfully, no irritability or grogginess happens when taking this sleep aid.
- Effective formula that works well
- Fast-acting liquid
- Flavor tastes good without an aftertaste
- A bit more expensive than other products
Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Tablets
When it comes to its main ingredient, Natrol’s natural sleep aid contains nothing else but melatonin. This makes it an ideal option for those who want to bring on sleep in a healthy way without trying other herbs. Other ingredients in this option includes cellulose gum, soy polysaccharides, dextrose, modified food starch, beetroot extract and magnesium stearate. It does contain wheat and soy, but not peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, fish or eggs. There is also no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives.
Theses tablets are available in 1mg, 3mg, 5mg and 10mg melatonin options. That makes it much stronger than others that only include the typical 3mg. It still won’t immediately knock out the user, but rather help to bring on peaceful sleep. With that said, the melatonin comes in fast dissolving tablets that results in a faster absorption rate. It can be taken without water and taken 20 minutes before bed. Those who take this natural sleep aid have seen great results, even using for their children at a lower dosage or when cut in half (always consult a doctor first).
Some need a bit more time (30-45 mins) to feel relaxed and tend to have better success taking it for a new nights and a few night without it.
There are no related side effects from taking this sleep aid. However, if grogginess were to occur the next morning, lower the dosage. 10 mg is a lot of melatonin for the average sleeper, so this dosage is better suited for the real insomniac.
- Works well for occasional sleeplessness
- Fast dissolving tablets have a quick absorption rate
- Available in multiple dosage options
- Very sweet taste, too sweet for some
DRIFTOFF includes many of the best natural remedies for combating restlessness including Valerian root extract (150mg), GABA (100mg), L-tryptophan (100mg), chamomile (100mg), lemon balm (100mg), passion flower (100mg), hops (100mg), and melatonin (2mg).
It also features a vegetable capsule, rice flower and vegetable magnesium stearate. It has no gluten, soy, eggs or milk, making it great option for both vegetarians and vegans.
The company Zhou Nutrition is a reputable name in the supplement game, and DRIFTOFF has a blend of natural ingredients that are proven to help bring on sleepiness. And while it has less grams of melatonin than other options, the combination of ingredients doesn’t make this a less valuable supplement at all. Those who take this sleep aid report to having better quality sleep. Keep in mind that it is not designed to cure insomnia, but rather help induce a restful state for those who need to let go of the days stressors and get a good night’s sleep.
It’s recommended to take two capsules with a 8 oz glass of water 20-30 minutes before bedtime. It does take more than one night to feel the results, but it will help to regulate sleep.
There are no side effects caused by this natural sleep aid. There is no “sleep hangover” the next morning, making it an option for those who want to be well rested and wake up feeling refreshed.
- Effective formula at inducing a relaxing state
- No grogginess the next morning
- Only a monthly supply per bottle
Peak Life Somnapure
This option includes melatonin, valerian extract, hops extract, lemon balm, chamomile flower, and passion flower. What makes it stand out is its inclusion of L-theanine, an animo acid that has relaxing effects by boosting alpha-wave activity. This further eases and soothes the mind so that the body can follow suit and fall asleep.
The company claims that this product addresses all aspects of sleep to help the consumer fall asleep, stay asleep in a restful state and wake up feeling refreshed. It’s directed to take two tablets 30 minutes to an hour before bed, and to do so nightly to see results. Those who use this natural sleep aid find positive results, helping them to reduce sleep issues after a cumulative among of time. It helps to get users to sleep and be in a deep sleep, but if they do happen to be woken up, can fall back asleep easily. Just don’t expect to instantly knockout if the consumer drank multiple cups of coffee throughout the day.
There are no harmful side effects with this natural sleep aid.
- Helps regulate sleep patterns when taken consistently
- Features L-Theainin to further bring on sleep
- Smells and tastes bad
- Doesn’t come with many capsules; runs out quickly
Dream Water Sleep Powder
Dream Water contains three ingredients: 5 hydroxytryptophan, melatonin, and GABA. The 5-HTP helps to promote sleepiness by stimulating melatonin production. On top of that, the added melatonin helps to regulate sleep, and the GABA neurotransmitters reduces anxiety related to insomnia or an active mind.
Studies have shown that 5-HTP does help speed up the time it takes to fall asleep. This combo of ingredients is an all natural way to promote sleep and get that deep and restful shut eye needed. This option also has a faster absorption rate since it is a powder form. It’s easy to consume, with or without water (or beverage of choice), and is recommended to take 30 minutes before bed.
Some experience a “sleep hangover” with this option, which basically means feeling a little groggy after waking up. However, many stated the tiredness is minimal. It can bring on the dream state so get ready for sweet dreams.
- Effective sleep aid
- Promotes relaxed state with reduced anxiety
- Fast acting powder for quick absorption rate
- Can have slight sleep hangover
- Taste might be too sweet for some
Iron Brothers Comatose Sleep Formula
Iron Brothers’ formal consists of Valerian root extract (150mg), Gaba (100mg), L-tryptophan (100mg), passion flower (100mg), chamomile extract (100mg), lemon balm extract (50mg), hops (50mg), melatonin powder (5mg) and bioperine (per 2 capsule serving).
These are all in a vegetable capsule that includes Organiflow organic brown rice concentrate.
The supplement is made in the U.S. in a FDA and cGMP certified facility, so the consumer can trust the product is safe and meets standards. There is no proprietary mystery blend, so with full transparency the consumer gets what they see.
This sleep aid is for those who love to workout and need to sleep needed to be well rested to have the energy to power through the next gym session. That’s why it includes a high dosage of Valerian root, as well as Bioperien to help maximize absorption to help the consumer fall asleep faster. It’s suggested to take two capsules with water 30 minutes before bedtime. Those who consume this natural sleep aid swear by how well it works for them. It does a great job at keeping restless sleepers in their REM cycle.
There are no reported side effects associated with this natural sleep aid. However, it does contain GABA, which some say causes them to be groggy the morning after.
- Very effective at helping consumers sleep deeply without side effects
- Transparent ingredient list
- Contains Gaba, which can cause next day drowsiness for some
Legion’s key ingredients in this sleep aid include melatonin (5 mg) and lemon balm (1200 mg). It also contains glycine (3g), an amino acid and neurotransmitter that reduces the time it takes to sleep, reduces fatigue and improves sleep quality, and rutaecarpine (100mg) molecule found in the Evodia rutaecarpa plant used to reduce the amount of caffeine in the body. This makes it a great option for the coffee addict.
This product has no artificial sweeteners, no artificial food dyes and no “label stuffing” ingredients. It does contain stevia extract.
Legion claims that its blend consists “clinically effective dosages” that is proved to work based on published scientific research. It is a powder, with consumers recommended to mix one scoop with 8-10 oz of water about 30-45 minutes before bedtime. Instead of needing to consistently consume it every night to regulate sleep better, you only need to take it up to three times a week. This prevents the body from building a tolerance to it, so that it can really work on the nights where a good sleep is important like as before a big work meeting.
This product does not include Valerian root, skullcap or kava, which tend to have slight withdrawal symptoms in sleep aids. As a result there is no side effects besides having a better night’s sleep.
- Promotes a deep sleep
- It’s vegetarian-friendly
- Pricey for a natural sleep aid
- Don’t need to take every night to feel results
Key Nutrients Lights Out
Key Nutrients natural sleep aid is Naturopath approved, made with all-natural and non-habit forming ingredients. This includes melatonin, Valerian, passionflower, chamomile and lemon balm. Along with these herbs, Lights Out includes the naturally produced amino acid GABA and 5HTP (hydroxy L-trypotophan), another amino acid that increases serotonin levels for a good night’s sleep. It also includes vitamin B6, which aids in the metabolic process of absorbing these amino acids.
The supplement is made using only the high quality, non-GMO, raw ingredients that is tested for 3rd party regulators. This option is manufactured in the U.S. at an FDA registered NSF & GMP certified facility.
It’s suggested total two capsules of Lights Out 20-30 minutes before bed. The addition of vitamin B6 aids in absorbing the amino acids of the supplement so that the consumer can fall and stay asleep. While there is just 3mg of melatonin, the other ingredients like lemon balm helps to relax the body while the passion flower promotes a deep sleep. Those who take anxiety medication have also said to see results with taken this natural sleep aid.
There is no side effects associated with this aid, including no drowsiness the morning after taking.
- Great at regulating sleep cycle
- All natural, non-GMO products
- Includes vitamin B6 for faster absorption of amino acids
- Kind of pricey for a supplement
Nature's Bounty Melatonin
Consumers can rest assured that they are consuming nothing but melatonin with this option. This makes it great for those who don’t like the tiredness caused by GABA, and not up for trying other herbal supplements. There is 3mg of melatonin per tablet.
Other ingredients include mannitol, vegetable stearic, natural cherry flavor, beet juice color, magic acid, and vegetable magnesium stearate. It does contain sucralose for those who don't want added sugar. However, it has no lactose, soy, gluten or fish, making it vegetarian-friendly.
This is a good option for the occasional restlessness or when jet lagged or consumed too much caffeine. Since it only contain melatonin, it’s not the most potent of the options out there, but will work fine for those who don’t normally use sleep aids. It comes in a dissolvable tablet which aids in faster absorption as well as a capsule.
There are no effects experienced here that are related to those caused by sleeping pills. Consumers can just expect to get a good night’s sleep without waking up in the middle of the night. Some experience more vivid dreams, mostly likely caused by entering the deep stage of the REM cycle.
- Melatonin is only sleep aid related ingredient
- Fast dissolving tablets for quick absorption rate
- Features sucralose
- Not as strong as other options for those used to sleep aids
NOW Foods Sleep
This vegetarian and vegan option includes Valerian root extract (600mg), hops (300mg), passionflower (200mg) and GABA (200mg) to promote a restful state. The Valerian and hops are used to help ease the mind, whereas the neurotransmitter GABA further aids in relaxing the nervous system.
Other ingredients include cellulose for the capsule and silica. This is also a non-GMO option that is GMP assured.
This combo of ingredients helps the consumer to fall asleep and stay in a deep sleep. While this is a reputable supplement brand, expect to consistently take these capsules before really feeling results. Many find more peaceful sleep after taking for at least a week. These are capsules, so it is absorbed it the body more slowly opposed to powder, liquid or dissolving options. That’s why it’s best to take it an hour before bedtime. Keep it mind it won’t knock you out, only help to fully relax the body and mind to bring on sleep.
Because of its natural, quality ingredients many do not suffer from any side effects. With that said, it does feature GABA which cause some people in general feel that “sleep hangover.” However, those who took it said this product causes little to no grogginess the next morning.
- Not as harsh as a sedative, but helps to stay in a deep sleep
- Vegan, vegetarian and non-GMO
- Affordable price
- Valerian root causes odor of capsules
- Takes consistent use to feel results
The Criteria We Used for Our Evaluation
Having all natural ingredients isn’t enough to make it stand out in a sea of other natural sleep aids. And while its effectiveness is extremely important, it isn’t the only deciding factor as to why consumers should buy it. We did all the research so that you can avoid spending hours looking up safe and reliable supplements and instead get some more of that much desired shut eye.
To find which natural sleep aids are the best we used a set list of criteria that is detailed below.
Ingredients: The ingredient list is among the most important things to look at in these sleep aids. It’s a necessity that it contains all natural ingredients that are safe for consumption and have been proven to work in clinically based studies. There are two kinds of ingredients typically found in natural sleep aids: herbs and neurotransmitters (which are further detailed in the next section). The most popular ingredient is melatonin.
Effectiveness: The combination and inclusion of certain ingredients relates to how potent it is. How well does this sleep aid work? It’s also important to read instructions to consume the natural sleep aid supplement properly in order for it to work when it’s time for bed. How soon does the consumer need to take the aid before bedtime? Some options need to be taken every night to see real results, but others only need to be taken on that particular night.
Value: Overall, is this product worth buying? Does its price tag justify its cost? Some supplements can be pricey, but if it works extremely well, than this is a fair trade.
Other Important Factors to Consider
Keep in mind that everyone reacts and responds to supplements in different ways. What dosage works for some may not work well (might be too potent and results in headaches or next day sleepiness, or not strong enough) for others. This also depends on why the sleep aid is being taken. An insomniac might need a high dose. However, those looking to overcome jet lag or strive for a better night’s sleep before a big day will find these aids to be great remedies.
Prescription and OTC Sleep Aids vs. Natural Sleep Aids
Not sleeping well should not go untreated. Poor sleep not only results it feeling less alert, less focused and sluggish the next day, but it also has more harmful health consequences. Regular poor sleep increases the chance of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. It can even increase muscle loss for those dieting.
That doesn’t mean running to the doctor for a prescription or to the drug store for an over-the-counter option is the best solution. Taking sleeping pills can increase the risk of becoming dependent on them. Sedative pills, both benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines, can cause memory problems, hallucinations, sleep walking, weight gain, and side effects as serious as suicidal thoughts. Other more common side effects include dry month, dizziness, lack or focus and rebound insomnia.
Natural supplements are a great alternative since they don’t contain any addicting ingredients. Going the natural route reduces dependency and other negative side effects. In fact there are close to no side effects from natural sleep aids—although some experience a sleep hangover. However, some remedies like chamomile can cause side effects for those with an allergy for when mixed with other medications.
With that said, the common list of ingredients found in natural sleep aids is detailed below.
- Melatonin: This is the most common ingredients and most known sleep aid. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain that helps regulate your sleep and wake cycles.
- Valerian Root: This is a natural medicinal herb that was described by Hippocrates as being a remedy for insomnia. The natural sedative calms the nerve cells in the brain by blocking receptors to “turn off” the brain.
- Chamomile: This flower is used as a medicinal herb as early as in ancient Egypt and Rome. It has calming effects on the nervous system, as well as soothes the digestive system.
- Passion Flower: This flower also treats sleeplessness by reducing anxiety.
- Lemon Balm: Another calming herb, lemon balm’s leave have a smell that has a soothing effect to help fight restlessness and reduce anxiety.
- Hops: Many no hops as being found in beer, but studies found that it also increases sleep time.
- GABA: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally produced amino acid that calms nervousness and anxiety by blocking neurotransmission in the brain. Those with insomnia tend to have reduce levels of GABA.
- 5-HTP: Hydroxy L-tryptophan or 5-HTP is another naturally-occurring amino acid that increases the production of serotonin. 5-HTP is converted from the amino acid tryptophan, which is what’s found in turkey that makes those who eat is sleepy. Combined with GABA, this is a powerful combo to combat restlessness.
- L-theanine: This is another amino acid, this time found in tea leaves. It boots GABA as well as serotonin and dopamine to induce calming effects in the brain.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is sometimes includes in natural sleep aids to aid in the metabolism of amino acids and neurotransmitters, such as GABA, serotonin, and tryptophan.
Always read the recommended instructions before consuming these sleep aids. It’s never a smart idea to take more than the recommended daily dose. Never consume with other sleeping pills or alcohol. Never take a sleeping aid then drive or operate machinery. Also, consult with a doctor prior to purchasing to see if it will clash with other medications.
Other Natural Sleep Aids
Even the best natural sleep aids might not be enough for some. It’s best to limit caffeine intake during the day if experiencing a hard time falling asleep at night. Exercise can also promote healthy sleep cycles, so try to get in that workout for at least 30 minutes, four times a week. Practice mindful breathing and meditation to unwind and stay off of phones and other electronics before bed.
Q: Are natural sleep aids safe?
A: Yes, these supplements are safe since they are non-habit forming and contain no drugs. But consult with doctor beforehand. Read ingredients to make sure there is no allergies to any of the herbs.
Q: What is in natural sleep aids?
A: This varies among brands, but generally it includes natural herbs and neurotransmitters that help bring on a restful state of being.
Q: What is the strongest natural sleep aid?
A: This also varies among consumers. Look for an option with a higher melatonin mg per serving, or a combination of ingredients to maximize results.
Q: What natural sleep aid can you take while pregnant?
A: Consult your doctor if considering taking a natural sleep aid when pregnant. Some may not recommend taking herbal supplements, but generally, melatonin is safe to use.
Q: What is the best non-addictive sleep aid?
A: Any of the options on this list work well as a sleep aid, and contain no addicting ingredients.
Q: What is the best natural sleep aid for anxiety?
A: All of the options on this list feature ingredients that have been found to reduce anxiety and restlessness.
- Why lack of sleep is bad for your health, Health Organization Website, ,
- Do Sleep Aids Really Work?, Health Website, ,
- Insufficient sleep undermines dietary efforts to reduce adiposity, Health Organization Website, Apr 05, 2011 ,
- Sleeping Pills & Natural Sleep Aids, Health Website, ,
- What is L-theanine and how does it affect your sleep?, News Website, Oct 05, 2017 ,
- An Evidence - Based Systematic Review of Dream Water, Health Organization, ,