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Top 10 Best Natural Sleep Aids 2024: Boost Your Sleep Quality and Well-being


Adequate sleep is crucial for maintaining optimal physical and mental health. Sleep plays a vital role in various bodily functions such as learning, memory, decision-making, and creativity (1Trusted Source, 2, 3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source, 5). Moreover, insufficient sleep has been linked to an increased risk of developing chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity (6).

Despite the importance of sleep, many people struggle to get enough rest each night. Approximately 20% of adults experience occasional insomnia symptoms (7Trusted Source, 8Trusted Source). While good sleep habits are essential, some individuals may require additional support to achieve a restful night’s sleep.

Explore these top 10 natural sleep aids that may help improve your sleep quality and overall well-being:

  1. Melatonin Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that signals the brain when it’s time to sleep (9Trusted Source). This hormone’s production and release are influenced by the time of day, with levels rising in the evening and falling in the morning. Melatonin supplements have become a popular sleep aid, particularly for those with disrupted melatonin cycles due to jet lag or shift work (10Trusted Source).

Research has shown that melatonin can improve daytime sleep quality and duration, which is particularly helpful for shift workers (11, 12Trusted Source). Melatonin has also been found to reduce sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) and increase total sleep time in individuals with sleep disorders (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).

Adults can safely use melatonin supplements for short periods, but more research is needed on their long-term effects (15Trusted Source, 16Trusted Source). Pregnant or nursing individuals should avoid melatonin, as its safety and effectiveness remain unclear (15Trusted Source).

  1. Valerian Root Valerian root is a popular herbal supplement used to treat anxiety, depression, and menopause symptoms. It is also widely used in the United States and Europe for promoting sleep (17Trusted Source). While research results are inconsistent, some studies have found improvements in sleep quality and sleep disorder symptoms in menopausal and postmenopausal women (18Trusted Source).

A small study found that taking 530 mg of valerian root nightly for 30 days significantly improved sleep quality, latency, and duration in individuals who had undergone heart surgery (19Trusted Source). Another study reported that valerian root taken before bed for one month improved sleep quality, anxiety, and depression in people undergoing hemodialysis (20Trusted Source).

Short-term intake of valerian root appears to be safe for adults, with minor and infrequent side effects (17Trusted Source). However, the safety of long-term use and its use in pregnant or nursing individuals remains uncertain.

  1. Magnesium Magnesium is a vital mineral involved in numerous bodily processes, including brain function and heart health. It may also help relax the mind and body, making it easier to fall asleep (23Trusted Source). Magnesium’s calming effect may be attributed to its ability to regulate melatonin production and relax muscles (24Trusted Source, 25Trusted Source).

Magnesium supplements come in various forms, some of which combine magnesium with other sleep-promoting ingredients like glycine or melatonin. Studies have shown that magnesium supplementation can reduce sleep latency and improve sleep quality in older adults (29Trusted Source). However, more research is needed to understand the effects of magnesium supplementation on sleep when taken alone.

  1. Lavender Lavender is a versatile plant known for its soothing fragrance, which is believed to enhance sleep. Research suggests that simply inhaling lavender oil before bedtime may improve sleep quality in those with or without insomnia (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).

    A small study in older adults with dementia found that lavender aromatherapy improved sleep disturbance symptoms, increasing total sleep time and reducing instances of early waking (33Trusted Source). Another study reported that lavender aromatherapy improved sleep quality and reduced anxiety in individuals with coronary artery disease after 15 days (34Trusted Source).

    While lavender aromatherapy is considered safe, oral intake of lavender may cause side effects such as nausea, belching, and diarrhea in some cases (35Trusted Source). More research is needed to understand the effects of lavender supplements on sleep.

    1. Glycine Glycine is an amino acid that may help improve sleep quality by promoting relaxation and reducing core body temperature (36Trusted Source). Studies suggest that taking 3 grams of glycine before bedtime can improve sleep quality, decrease sleep latency, and reduce daytime sleepiness (37Trusted Source, 38Trusted Source).

    2. L-theanine L-theanine is an amino acid found primarily in tea leaves. It is known for its calming effects and has been shown to improve sleep quality and duration (39Trusted Source, 40Trusted Source). A study found that taking 200 mg of L-theanine before bed improved sleep efficiency and reduced awakenings during the night (41Trusted Source).

    3. Ginkgo Biloba Ginkgo biloba is an ancient tree species with various health benefits, including improved cognitive function and reduced anxiety. Some studies suggest that ginkgo biloba may also help improve sleep quality, particularly in individuals with sleep disturbances related to anxiety or depression (42Trusted Source, 43Trusted Source). However, more research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and safety of long-term use.

    4. Chamomile Chamomile is a popular herbal remedy known for its calming effects. It has been used for centuries to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders (44Trusted Source). A review of studies found that chamomile extract significantly improved sleep quality in individuals with chronic insomnia (45Trusted Source). Chamomile tea is a common and safe way to enjoy the sleep-promoting benefits of this herb.

    5. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid that your body uses to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in regulating sleep. Research indicates that 5-HTP supplements may help improve sleep quality and duration, particularly in those with sleep disorders (46Trusted Source, 47Trusted Source). However, more studies are needed to determine the optimal dosage and long-term safety of 5-HTP supplementation.

    6. Passionflower Passionflower is a plant traditionally used for its calming effects and ability to reduce anxiety. Some studies suggest that passionflower may also help improve sleep quality and reduce insomnia symptoms (48Trusted Source, 49Trusted Source). A study found that drinking passionflower tea one hour before bed significantly improved sleep quality in individuals with insomnia (50Trusted Source). However, more research is needed to understand the optimal dosage and long-term safety of passionflower supplementation.

    In conclusion, these natural sleep aids may provide additional support for individuals seeking to improve their sleep quality and overall well-being. It is important to consult a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement regimen, as individual needs and safety considerations may vary.

Natural Sleep Aids vs. Prescription Sleep Aids: Which Is Better?

When it comes to improving sleep quality, both natural and prescription sleep aids have their advantages and disadvantages. The choice between the two often depends on individual needs, preferences, and health conditions. Here, we compare the benefits and drawbacks of natural sleep aids and prescription sleep aids.

Natural Sleep Aids:


  1. Generally considered safer: Natural sleep aids, such as melatonin, valerian root, and magnesium, are typically associated with fewer side effects compared to prescription sleep aids.
  2. Non-habit forming: Most natural sleep aids are not addictive, reducing the risk of dependency.
  3. Holistic approach: Natural sleep aids often work in conjunction with lifestyle changes and good sleep hygiene to promote overall well-being.


  1. Inconsistent results: The effectiveness of natural sleep aids may vary between individuals, with some experiencing significant benefits, while others see little to no improvement in their sleep quality.
  2. Limited research: Some natural sleep aids lack extensive scientific research to support their effectiveness and long-term safety.
  3. Slower onset of action: Natural sleep aids may take longer to produce noticeable effects compared to prescription medications.

Prescription Sleep Aids:


  1. Stronger effect: Prescription sleep aids are typically more potent and have a faster onset of action, providing quicker relief from sleep disturbances.
  2. Customizable: Healthcare providers can prescribe sleep aids tailored to an individual’s specific needs, adjusting dosages and medication types to achieve optimal results.
  3. Well-studied: Prescription sleep aids have undergone rigorous clinical trials, ensuring their efficacy and safety when used as directed.


  1. Side effects: Prescription sleep aids may cause side effects, such as dizziness, daytime drowsiness, and cognitive impairment.
  2. Dependency risk: Some prescription sleep aids can be habit-forming, leading to potential addiction and withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.
  3. Short-term solution: Prescription sleep aids are typically recommended for short-term use, as their long-term efficacy and safety are less well-established.

Ultimately, whether natural or prescription sleep aids are better depends on individual circumstances, the severity of sleep disturbances, and personal preferences. It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable option for your specific needs. Remember that sleep aids should be used alongside healthy sleep habits and lifestyle changes for optimal results.

For further reading on natural sleep aids and their effects on sleep quality, you can explore the following journal articles:

  1. Pigeon, W. R., Carr, M., Gorman, C., & Perlis, M. L. (2010). Effects of a tart cherry juice beverage on the sleep of older adults with insomnia: A pilot study. Journal of Medicinal Food, 13(3), 579-583.

  2. Bent, S., Padula, A., Moore, D., Patterson, M., & Mehling, W. (2006). Valerian for sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Medicine, 119(12), 1005-1012.

  3. Rondanelli, M., Opizzi, A., Monteferrario, F., Antoniello, N., Manni, R., & Klersy, C. (2011). The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: A double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 59(1), 82-90.

  4. Kasper, S., Gastpar, M., Müller, W. E., Volz, H. P., Möller, H. J., Dienel, A., & Schlafke, S. (2010). Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. International Clinical Psychopharmacology, 25(5), 277-287.

  5. Bannai, M., Kawai, N., Ono, K., Nakahara, K., & Murakami, N. (2012). The effects of glycine on subjective daytime performance in partially sleep-restricted healthy volunteers. Frontiers in Neurology, 3, 61.

  6. Hidese, S., Ogawa, S., Ota, M., Ishida, I., Yasukawa, Z., Ozeki, M., & Kunugi, H. (2017). Effects of L-theanine administration on stress-related symptoms and cognitive functions in healthy adults: A randomized controlled trial. Nutrients, 9(10), 1047.

  7. Chen, P. J., Li, C. H., Kuo, S. Y., Hsu, C. H., & Wang, K. C. (2012). Ginkgo biloba extract (EGb761) improved cognitive deficit and mitochondrial dysfunction induced by aluminum chloride in rats. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine, 40(6), 1203-1216.

  8. Adib-Hajbaghery, M., & Mousavi, S. N. (2017). The effects of chamomile extract on sleep quality among elderly people: A clinical trial. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 35, 109-114.

  9. Birdsall, T. C. (1998). 5-Hydroxytryptophan: A clinically-effective serotonin precursor. Alternative Medicine Review, 3(4), 271-280.

  10. Ngan, A., & Conduit, R. (2011). A double-blind, placebo-controlled investigation of the effects of Passiflora incarnata (passionflower) herbal tea on subjective sleep quality. Phytotherapy Research, 25(8), 1153-1159.

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