In this article you will learn:
How to use over 20+ research based interventions for better sleep
Where to get the best products that I've used myself
How to leverage the power of genetics and testing to take control of your sleep
Lazy Reader's Section:
There are lots of natural, proven remedies to help you sleep depending on the problem. Understanding what the root of the issue is, or if it is a combination of issues, is the key for taking action. In this sense you have to test, and genetic testing can be a big help in understanding your risk factors as well as what supplements to use out of the many listed here. Other outside factors can make a big difference too, like temperature or your alignment, and having tools like formed cushions, a cooling headband or a smart mattress can be a game changer.
Finally, check out my Top Picks for sleep and obtain your lifetime 10% off code for being part of my podcast community on some of the best products for easing into a good night's sleep naturally.
Lazy Author Alert:
Everything in this article is well-documented and based on extensive research, but it is a summary of the full, glorious nerdy version I compiled in my ultimate #Hacking book, Dance Your Way Through Life: A No Bullshit Guide to Hacking Your Body, Mind & Soul for Success. If you want to access the specific citations (over 1500) and get more detail on what's presented here, grab yourself a copy.
Sleep is the final frontier in health because we are basically unconscious while we do it. This presents a fundamental problem, though: how do you take action to improve something when you are unconscious while doing it? It's an interesting thought, and what it boils down to is that sleep can be affected only indirectly through various strategies. In this article I will explore practically every strategy I've come across in my many battles with getting a good night's sleep, but remember that everyone is different and ultimately finding a solution is a Practice more than it is one supplement, gadget or intervention.
If you're struggling with getting a better night's sleep, or if you want help implementing these strategies, reach out on my coaching page and let's get in touch.
The following are some of the best supplements for encouraging sleep onset, sustained sleep, deep sleep and regularity. They all have minimal if any side effects and few interactions, but always do your research.
This ancient herbs helps to reduce cortisol, induce relaxation and even boost your thyroid if it’s running slower. Popular types are Sensoril or KSM-66 (based on the processing method and how much percentage of withanolides it yields) and should always be organic. I take 1000mg-1200mg per night (2 pills) with an additional 2 pills if needed an hour or two later or if I wake up and can’t go back to bed.
Some say that Sensoril is better for sleep as it has a higher withanolide count (10%), whereas KSM-66 (5%) is better for overall adaptogen and stress benefits. There are non-patented extraction methods as well, and they will list their milligram amount and withanolide content. This product by Toniq has both high withanolides and high milligrams. Some of this herb is fat soluble so try to have a little fat when taking it for best results.
2. Phosphatidylserine (PS)
This is a natural supplement that is proven to reduce cortisol and can also help support your brain. I take 400mg per night of this product, with additional pills if I am really wired. Some contend that Seriphos (a patented form of PS) is more effective, but for me it caused sleeplessness at 1 pill. They are both worth a try as everyone is different. Take note that PS is fat soluble, so having some fat with it may help absorption and utilization.
3. Optimal Health Products
I've trusted OHS for the better part of 15 years and have partnered with them to offer all of my podcast community a 10% off code. They are (in my opinion) one of the best supplement companies in the US and innovating all of the time.
To obtain your lifetime 10% off code and check out my Top Picks, visit my Nutrition Page.
There are 3 sleep related products I use. If you’ve followed me you know why I believe in this company, and all of their products are extremely high quality. They have been around for over 30 years, I know the founder personally (checkout podcast 196 with Doug Grant) and they are a clinical, research based brand. The products are: Opti REM Sleep, Essential Melatonin and Opti Nitric.
Opti REM Sleep is a formulation with herbs like valerian and the amino acid tryptophan to encourage natural melatonin and serotonin production. It is a light sedative, and may work for you or it may not. I’ve taken 3-4 pills an hour before bedtime with decent results.
Essential Melatonin is a high quality, highly bioavailable sublingual liquid melatonin supplement. Take 1-2 droppers an hour before bedtime if you can handle melatonin. For extensive research on this supplement and its safety, read Chapter 4.15 in the book.
Opti Nitric is a blend of amino acids that promote nitric oxide release. This dilates your blood vessels (a good thing), helps you relax, lowers your blood pressure and promotes growth hormone release throughout the night, making deep sleep more refreshing. Take 3 an hour before bedtime.
All of these minerals are important for maintaining relaxation and promoting sleep. Deficiencies in any can lead to restlessness or trouble sleeping. For calcium and magnesium, I use Albion amino acid chelates as they are the highest quality and most bioavailable. You have several options on where to get these. Potassium doesn’t need supplementation, and my recommendation is that if you are feeling on edge you try taking 100-200mg of magnesium (1-2 pills), 180-360mg of calcium (1-2 pills) and eating half of a banana or avocado, which is about 400mg of potassium. This will flood your body with these minerals and help you relax and unwind whether it is before bed or if you’ve woken up and can’t get back to sleep.
OPTION 2: Get magnesium from Blue Bonnet on Amazon here. There is no high quality chelated calcium available on Amazon as of the date of this article.
This is a simple amino acid from tea leaves that promotes relaxation, lower blood pressure and serotonin release. Suntheanine is a patented extraction method and is the most concentrated. You can take 200mg (1 pill) an hour before bedtime along with everything else for added effect. I have used this product and it is high quality.
One of my favorite supplements of all time for its non-existent toxicity, laundry list of benefits and extremely cheap price tag. Taurine is an amino acid and, in terms of sleep, it helps promote relaxation, lowering blood pressure and GABA in the brain. I take 2000mg-3000mg (2-3 pills) an hour before bedtime of this product.
7. Magnolia Bark Extract
A great herb with many benefits and few if any side effects. It has two components (honokiol and magnolol) that have been researched thoroughly for a variety of benefits besides sleep. It’s main benefit is that it can reduce cortisol, and you can get the bark extract, an extract that is concentrated in honokiol, magnolol or both, or a patented product called Relora that uses another useful herb, Phellodendron root, to reduce cortisol. I take 1-2 pills per night of this product, with an extra 1-2 if needed.
8. Noni Fruit Juice
Noni is an exotic fruit that has been used for hundreds of years as a remedy for a variety of ailments. You can buy the juice at a health food store, which is usually around $40 for a 20oz bottle. You can take 2-3oz before bedtime for relaxation and because it reduces excess dopamine (which can keep you up). When you purchase your juice make sure it is organic.