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The Best Science Supported Supplements for Sleep

The Best Science Supported Supplements for Sleep

Low quality sleep is a frequent problem for many and can hinder daily life and negatively impact health and longevity.1

An estimated 30% of people have difficulty staying asleep, falling asleep or waking up feeling refreshed in the morning.2

Here are the best science supported supplements for sleep found in Sleep Support by Beyond Vita®:

1. Valerian Root

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) contains many different biologically active compounds including valerenic acid which has been shown to inhibit the break down of GABA in the brain which results in feeling calm and relaxed.

A 2006 review and meta-analysis of 16 studies on valerian found that valerian may help improve sleep quality without producing side effects.3

In a double-blind and placebo-controlled study of young adults, researchers found that after taking valerian extract 44% reported perfect sleep with 89% reporting improved sleep.4

Valerian can also help with falling asleep faster. In a study on adults with insomnia researchers found that valerian allowed participants to fall asleep 36% faster while increasing the time they spent in deep sleep.5

In a study on post menopausal women with sleep disturbances, valerian was found to improve sleep and help alleviate insomnia.6

A few studies also indicate that children with sleep disturbances may also benefit from from valerian extract and decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, increase sleep time and quality.7,8

Valerian root helps with falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up feeling refreshed.

2. L-Theanine

Research has demonstrated that L-theanine supports relaxation and sleep quality.

A 2016 review found that L-theanine greatly improved sleep in study participants in addition to promoting relaxation which helps with falling alseep.9

In a six week study in 2011 that looked at the effects of L-theanine in adolescent males, researchers found that participants were able to sleep longer and wake up feeling better rested when compared with a placebo.10

Another study discovered that it improved the quality of sleep in patients who have been diagnosed with schizoaffective disorders.11

In a 2018 study on L-theanine and generalized anxiety disorder, researchers found that L-theanine treated participants indicated a greater level of sleep satisfaction when compared to a placebo.12

L-theanine can help improve sleep quality and increase time spent sleeping.

3. Passion Flower

Passion flower (Passiflora incarnata) otherwise known as purple passion flower is a plant native to the Americas and has traditionally been used by Native Americans to treat a variety of conditions including insomnia and anxiety.

In a 2011 double blind study on passion flower researchers discovered that the herb increased self reported sleep quality in healthy adults with mild fluctuations in sleep quality.13

A clinical trial with 91 participants into the effects of passion flower and other herbs found that passion flower extract increased sleep quality and duration. The effects were so pronounced that they matched the results of the common sleeping pill zolpidem.14

A study published in the Journal of Sleep Science in 2017 concluded that passion flower extract can be considered a sleep inducer.15 Another study concluded that passion flower can help with tenseness, restlessness and irritability while trying to fall asleep.16

Passion flower extract may help with falling asleep and increasing sleep quality.

4. Melatonin

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland from the amino acid L-tryptophan and the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain that’s responsible for managing a person’s natural sleep cycle.17

The two melatonin receptors MT1 and MT2 also control the different stages of sleep and are responsible for REM sleep otherwise known as deep sleep.18 The pineal gland releases melatonin at night as light levels decrease to signal the body to rest.19

In a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study on 50 patients with primary insomnia, researchers found that melatonin taken two hours before bedtime leads to a faster time falling asleep and improves quality.20

A 2013 meta-analysis of 19 placebo-controlled studies found that melatonin decreased sleep onset time, increases total sleep time and improves overall sleep quality.21

Furthermore in another review, researchers stated that melatonin is an effective alternative treatment to the current available pharmaceutical therapies for sleep disorders and it has significantly less side effects.22

Melatonin can also be used by shift workers who have difficulty falling asleep to improve sleep onset time and sleep quality as found in a 2016 study.23

Melatonin helps decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, increases time spent sleeping and increases sleep quality.

5. Tryptophan

Melatonin regulates sleep and research indicates that raising tryptophan levels in the body increases levels of melatonin.24

Two studies have found that consuming more tryptophan in the diet helps improve sleep by increasing the production of melatonin.25,26

Research has shown that supplementing melatonin improves sleep quality, decreases the time it takes to fall asleep and increases time spent sleeping.27

A study on insomniacs supplementing with tryptophan found that total sleep time increased by 28% by decreasing the time it took to fall asleep and increasing the time spent sleeping.28

In another study in insomniac participants, researchers found that tryptophan was able to increase REM sleep otherwise known as deep sleep.29

A study has also shown that tryptophan is even able to improve sleep for those with obstructive sleep apnea.30

Tryptophan supplementation raises melatonin which plays an important role in improving sleep.

6. 5-HTP

5-HTP otherwise known as 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid made in the body from the amino acid tryptophan. 5-HTP is used for the synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin.

Higher 5-HTP levels promote the production of serotonin which can be made into melatonin. Melatonin plays a critical role in regulating sleep by signaling the body it is time to sleep.31

In a randomized clinical trial of an amino acid preparation that contained 5-HTP, researchers noted that the mixture decreased sleep onset time, increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality.32

Two more studies support the effects of 5-HTP and researchers note that the effects were even greater when 5-HTP is combined with GABA.33,34

5-HTP can help promote sleep by increasing the production of a hormone that helps regulate sleep called melatonin.


GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) is an amino acid which functions as an important neurotransmitter in the brain that inhibits glutamate activity to produce a calming and relaxing effect. As a result GABA can help decrease stress and anxiety.35

In a 2019 study published in the journal of Pharmaceutical Biology on the effects of a GABA and l-theanine mixture on deep sleep (rapid eye movement sleep), researchers found that the mixture improved sleep quality and duration.36

Another study on a mixture of GABA and 5-HTP also found the mixture positively regulates sleep.37

Researchers in a 2018 study on 40 participants with primary insomina found GABA not only improved sleep quality but also sleep quantity without any severe adverse effects.38

GABA supplementation can help increase sleep quantity and quality.

8. Chamomile

Chamomile flower (Matricaria chamomile) is a plant native to southern and eastern Europe which has traditionally been used as a medicinal herb.39

A 2017 study into the effects of chamomile on sleep found that oral supplementation of chamomile extract produced a sedative effect and increased sleep quality in elderly people.40 In another study on elderly participants researchers noted that chamomile extract can be used to significantly improve sleep quality.41

Furthermore, in a placebo-controlled study on 34 participants with primary insomnia found a small to moderate effect on sleep latency and night time awakenings.42

Chamomile may also improve sleep quality in postnatal women with sleep disturbances as found in a 2016 study.43

Chamomile extract can help improve sleep quality.

9. Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a herb native to Europe and Asia that’s traditionally been used for sleep and anxiety.

A pilot trial of lemon balm extract on subjects suffering from anxiety disorders and sleep disturbances found that 85% of participants receiving lemon balm extract achieved a full remission of their insomnia.44

A 2013 study of 100 women found that lemon balm with valerian significantly improved improved the participant’s sleep.45

In another study on lemon balm and valerian on dyssomnia in children, researchers noted that it is an effective treatment for young children with restlessness and dyssomnia.46

Lemon balm can help improve sleep and reduce sleep disturbances.

10. Hops

Hops (Humulus lupulus) are female flowers from the hops plant.

In a study on the effect of non-alcoholic beer on sleep quality, researchers reported that time taken to fall asleep was decreased and sleep quality improved significantly in the group of students who drank at least one non-alcoholic beer at dinner.47 Another study on the common quail confirms this result.48

A study involving 17 female nurses and non-alcoholic beer also found hops decreased time taken to fall asleep and increase sleep quality. Researchers claim the flavonoids in hops raise the level of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain which has a sedative and relaxing effect.49

Hops helps increase levels of GABA in the brain which can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and improve sleep quality.

11. Magnesium

Magnesium is an essential mineral that is required for many different biological processes.

In a double-blind and placebo-controlled clinical trial, magnesium supplementation was able to significantly increase sleep duration, decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, increase sleep quality and reduce early awakenings. Magnesium also increased melatonin production and decreased cortisol which may be why magnesium can positively effect sleep.50

Magnesium may help improve sleep quality and duration.

12. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in both fish oil and krill oil which are commonly available as supplements. They both contain eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and are essential for health.

Obstructive sleep apnea patients are more likely to have low levels of the omega-3 fatty acid DHA in their blood.51

In a 2014 randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial, researchers found that omega-3 supplementation led to 58 minutes more sleep per night and 7 fewer awakenings.52

Omega-3 fatty acids may help improve sleep.


These are the best science-backed supplements for helping to decrease the time it takes to fall asleep, sleep longer and increasing deep sleep.*

We recommend Sleep SupportMagnesium Complex and Antarctic Krill Oil by Beyond Vita®.  They include the best science supported natural ingredients including the ones listed above.
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