10 Best Natural Sleep Aids Tested and Compared
Natural sleep aids consist 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 consist of a blend that actually works.
- NoctuRest Advanced
- Natrol Melatonin
- Peak Life Somnapure
- Key Nutrients Lights Out
- Dream Water
- Legion Lunar
- NOW Foods Sleep
- Iron Brothers Comatose
- Nature's Bounty Melatonin
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
10 Best Natural Sleep Aids
Effective formula at inducing a relaxing state
No grogginess the next morning
Only a monthly supply per bottle
This option combines Eastern herbal traditions with modern research to bring consumers a soothing sleep formula. It consists of valerian root and melatonin, as well as chamomile and tryptophan, GABA and hops for a super blend of ingredients to help the consumer drift off to sleep. The herbal complex eases restlessness, calms the body and mind and helps the consumer all asleep fast so that they can wake up feeling refreshed. It is vegetarian-friendly, non-GMO and non-habit forming.Read more
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 flour, 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 a 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 day's stressors and get a good night’s sleep.
It’s recommended to take two capsules with an 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.
2. NoctuRest Advanced
Effective formula that works well
Flavor tastes good without an aftertaste
A bit more expensive than other products
With 100% natural ingredients, this option is made in the U.S. in an FDA registered facility to ensure quality and safety. Its formula features a blend of both nutrients and herbs that works well together to naturally calm the body and get the consumer to get restful sleep. This includes magnesium, melatonin, theanine, and other herbs. It comes in a liquid formula for fast absorption.Read more
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 recommended 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 a 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 are 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.
3. Natrol Melatonin
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
With up to 10mg of melatonin per tablet, this option has the highest amount of the hormone than any of the other options on this list to help induce tiredness and keep the consumer in a deep sleep. However, it is also sold in 1mg, 3mg, and 5mg dosages as well. Those who take this fall asleep pretty fast and stay asleep longer. It is drug-free and non-habit forming and tastes great with a strawberry flavor that dissolves on the tongue.Read more
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 include 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 new nights and a few nights 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.
4. Peak Life Somnapure
Helps regulate sleep patterns when taken consistently
Features L-Theanine to further bring on sleep
Smells and tastes bad
Doesn’t come with many capsules; runs out quickly
Unlike other blends, this natural sleep aid tackles all three aspects of having a good night’s sleep: falling asleep fast, staying in a deep sleep, and waking up refreshed. This happens thanks to its capsules that contain melatonin, L-Theanine (which helps relax), Valerian, chamomile, passion flower that promotes sleep and more. The company’s studies showed an increase in REM sleep with no side effects.Read more
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 amino 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.
5. Key Nutrients Lights Out
Great at regulating sleep cycle
All natural, non-GMO products
Includes vitamin B6 for faster absorption of amino acid
Kind of pricey for a supplement
The name says it all with this product. Designed to encourage a healthy sleep cycle without feeling tired and out of it the next day. It features all natural and non-GMO ingredients, made at an FDA registered, NSF & GMP certified facility. This includes melatonin, Valerian and passion flower. Give it some time of consistent use and it will help regulate sleep.Read more
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-tryptophan), 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 are tested for 3rd party regulators. This option is manufactured in the U.S. at an FDA registered NSF & GMP certified facility.
It’s suggested a 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 help 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 are no side effects associated with this aid, including no drowsiness the morning after taking.
6. Dream Water
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
A safe and effective option, this sleep aid has a natural blend that includes hydroxytryptophan and melatonin to help the user go to sleep 20 minutes after consuming. It comes in a powder (or liquid shot) form, so this is a great option for those who don’t like to or can’t swallow pills. It can be taken with or without water, is drug-free, manufactured in the U.S. and non-habit forming. It helps to induce a deep sleep, so the only downside is the consumer can wake up feeling a little groggy before their morning cup of Joe.Read more
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 reduce 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.
7. Legion Lunar
Promotes a deep sleep
Pricey for a natural sleep aid
Don’t need to take every night to feel results
This natural herbal sleep supplement stands out from the pack because it contains rutaecarpine, a molecule found in the Evodia rutaecarpa plant that helps to reduce caffeine in the body. Since many of us drink coffee and take pre-workout supplements, this is a great way to naturally get into the sleepy state. It also has melatonin, lemon balm extract, and L-glycine, combing in a powder that should be fixed with water before bed.Read more
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
8. NOW Foods Sleep
Not as harsh as a sedative, but helps to stay in a deep sleep
Vegan, vegetarian and non-GMO
Valerian root causes odor of capsules
Takes consistent use to feel results
This reputable natural supplement maker sells a natural sleep aid that interestingly does not contain melatonin. Instead, its capsules include Valerian root, hops, passion flower and GABA to ease anxiety and promote a relaxed state. It isn’t as potent as other options on this list, but its botanical blend helps to get into a relaxed state.Read more
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 in 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.
9. Iron Brothers Comatose
Very effective at helping consumers sleep deeply without side effects
Transparent ingredient list
Contains Gaba, which can cause next-day drowsiness for some
If you train hard, you need to have enough sleep in order to perform your very best when at the gym. Iron Brothers’ sleep formula helps do that by bringing on a deep sleep. It’s formula consist of Valerian root, GABA, L-tryptophan, chamomile, melatonin, lemon balm and hops. Take two capsules 30 minutes before bed to get nice and relaxed.Read more
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 an 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 Bioperine 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.
10. Nature's Bounty Melatonin
Melatonin is only sleep aid related ingredient
Fast dissolving tablets for quick absorption rate
Not as strong as other options for those used to sleep aids
This sleep aid features nothing but melatonin to aid in relaxation and combat restless sleep. It has 3 mg of the hormone per capsule, which consists of a dissolvable tablet that has a great cherry flavor. It’s a great alternative to sleeping pills with no harmful side effects and no other added ingredients.Read more
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 contains 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, most likely caused by entering the deep stage of the REM cycle.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
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.
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
- Passion Flower: This flower also treats sleeplessness by
- 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 hop 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 reduced 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 included in natural
sleep aids to aid in the metabolism of amino acids and neurotransmitters, such as GABA, serotonin, and tryptophan.
The combination and inclusion of certain ingredients relate 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.
Overall, is this product worth buying? Does its price tag justify its cost? Some supplements can be pricey, but if it works extremely well, then this is a fair trade.
Other Factors to Consider
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 are detailed below.
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.
Not sleeping well should not go untreated. Poor sleep not only results in 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, sleepwalking, weight gain, and side effects as serious as suicidal thoughts. Other more common side effects include dry mouth, dizziness, lack of 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.
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.
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.
Frequently Asked Questions
A: Yes, these supplements are safe since they are non-habit forming and contain no drugs. But consult with a doctor beforehand. Read ingredients to make sure there are no allergies to any of the herbs.
A: This varies among brands, but generally it includes natural herbs and neurotransmitters that help bring on a restful state of being.
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.
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.
A: Any of the options on this list work well as a sleep aid, and contain no addicting ingredients.
A: All of the options on this list feature ingredient that have been found to reduce anxiety and restlessness.
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