3 Scientifically Proven Supplements To Help You Stay Asleep

| Modified: Sep 05, 2020
Add New Post Art Solbrig Insomnia remedies on Earth Clinic.

by Art Solbrig
Published August 11, 2020
Updated August 20, 2020

In Pursuit of Restful Sleep And Help For Nocturia

We can all use some restful night's sleep, but not much good to get to sleep only to have to wake up every hour to go to the bathroom! So toward the end of this post, I mention two supplements to help with nocturia. This combination should be useful for many as long as they can tolerate the supplements.

One topic that seems to come up regularly on Earth Clinic is poor sleep or insomnia, so I thought I would try another experiment to see if I could improve my current sleep regimen. On that note, I can say that I found a bit of improvement with the addition of zinc to my normal magnesium and melatonin 123 sleep regimen.*

*Editor's Note: Art is referring to his nighttime regime of 10mg of melatonin once per hour starting a 8pm for a total of 30mg. In other words, one 10mg capsule at 8pm, one 10mg capsulte at 9pm, and one 10mg at 10pm.

While medical marijuana can be useful for sleep, it is not available to everyone unless you live where it is legal, so another effective alternative would be desirable.

I have been using the melatonin 123 and one magnesium supplement with it, such as Magnesium L Threonate, Magnesium Glycinate, and Magnesium Taurate.

This combination of magnesium and melatonin 123* seems to work reasonably well.

Still, I wanted to see if there is any room for improvement, so I started reading studies on supplements that can help with sleep. I came across several studies that looked interesting. One study caught my attention since I already use two of the three mentioned supplements, so I added the missing supplement to my sleep regimen and asked a friend with sleep issues to try it at the same time.

Our results showed an unscientific improvement in sleep quality after three days, so I thought I would share it with EC since sleep issues are so common, and hopefully, someone else will also find it useful to improve their sleep.

Magnesium

This Psychology Today article discusses the use of magnesium as a sleep aid:

The next study clearly indicates that magnesium is useful in insomnia in the elderly:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3703169/

Zinc

The following link illustrates zinc as a sleep aid:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5713303/

Melatonin, Magnesium, and Zinc

In this study, they used melatonin, magnesium, and zinc. I had never heard of zinc used as a sleep aid before, which also caught my interest. Here is a link to the double-blind placebo-controlled study abstract:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21226679/

Dosing based on the above study of three supplements for sleep are as follows:

1. Magnesium - 225 mg one hour before bed
2. Zinc - 11.25 mg one hour before bed
3. Melatonin - 5 mg one hour before bed

 For the past week, a friend and I have been experimenting with the addition of zinc to melatonin and magnesium.

I gave the same set of supplements to my friend to use, and we both have been taking them for a week. My friend said it definitely does seem to improve sleep in terms of length and deeper sleep (much less waking from sleep and easier to fall back to sleep, as well as fewer trips to the bathroom during the night).

Since I was already taking melatonin 123 and magnesium taurate, it was easier to determine what difference the addition of zinc made, and I would describe that difference as more restful and longer sleep ( 7 to 8 hours instead of 6) after a few nights of use.

Since I already had the three ingredients, I should mention that I took them at the dosages that I had on hand, which were higher for the zinc and melatonin than what was used in the study. I also did not use the pear pulp that they used as a carrier for the three supplements.

How Melatonin Can Help Nocturia

Here is one more study that explains why fewer trips to the bathroom (nocturia) was one of the benefits noted by my friend:

Effects of melatonin and rilmazafone on nocturia in the elderly - PubMed

Pumpkin Seed Oil Can Reduce Trips to the Bathroom

Additional help for nocturia and an overactive bladder may be found with the additional supplement of Pumpkin Seed Oil, as outlined here:

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2225411016302127

Additional Tips for Better Sleep

Other things you can do to improve sleep are:

1. Avoid as much artificial light, from all sources, as possible for 1½ hours before bed.

2. Wear soft and comfortable fabric blackout glasses while sleeping.

3. Keep the room comfortably cool around 65 ~ 67°F (18 ~ 20°C).

4. Maintain a regular sleep/wake cycle.

5. Expose yourself to bright sunlight every morning for 10 to 15 minutes.

6. Consider a weighted blanket. Some people sleep better with a "heavy blanket."

7. No late evening eating or drinking.

8. The more physically active you are during the day, including exercise, the more likely you will sleep well at night.

Concluding Thoughts

I just wanted to share this information with the Earth Clinic community, and hopefully, these three inexpensive supplements can work as well or better for you as it does for my friend and myself!

Lastly, it is a healthier alternative to prescription sleep aids, because each of these three supplements has other health benefits besides sleep, and they are not addictive!

Art


Where to Buy Art's Supplements

Melatonin

You can find melatonin at most pharmacies, health food stores, grocery stores, and of course, online.

Here are a few links to Amazon:

NOW Supplements, Melatonin, 10 mg, 100 Veg Capsules

Natrol Fast Dissolve - 10 mg - 100 Count  - $12.99

Puritan's Pride Melatonin 10 mg 120 Capsules (3-Pack)- $23.00

 

Magnesium

Magnesium Taurate by Douglas Laboratories - $21.40

Magnesium L-Threonate by Life Extension (Earth Clinic's Favorite) - $26.95


Zinc

B0017QCNUQ

Pure Encapsulations - Zinc 15 - Zinc Picolinate (15 mg.) Highly Absorbable Hypoallergenic Supplement for Immune Support* - 60 Capsules - $10.90

B071L842ZZ

Bulletproof Zinc with Copper for Immune Support, Healthy Mood, Heart, and Hormone Balance, 60 Capsules- $12.95 (Earth Clinic's Favorite)

Note: those with psoriasis should avoid supplements that contain copper.

 

Pumpkin Seed Oil

B00SLY85LI

Now Foods Pumpkin Seed Oil 1000mg Soft-gels, 200-Count (100X2)

B07BCCKMYM

Carlyle Pumpkin Seed Oil 16oz Organic Cold Pressed | 100% Pure, Extra Virgin | Vegetarian, Non-GMO, Gluten Free | Safe for Cooking | Great for Hair and Face

Related Links:

Insomnia
Magnesium
Melatonin
Melatonin for COVID-19
Zinc


Best Type of Zinc

Posted by Terence (Tokyo) on 08/20/2020

In these posts Zinc is recommended. In one post it is picolinate, in another post it is orotate. I have personally done some research and I have nailed it down to acetate or sulfate. So....which one of these is the king or zinc?


L-Tryptophan

Posted by Maxwebxperienz (West Virginia) on 08/19/2020
5 out of 5 stars

I take l-tryptophan; it is precursor to melatonin and serotonin so it adds up to sweet dreams. Been doing so for years and it's just great. I'm already taking zinc but earlier in the day so am eager to try zinc and magnesium at night.


Liquid Melatonin

Posted by Pam B. (Mobile, Al) on 08/19/2020
5 out of 5 stars

I've taken melatonin pills for many years, but I decided to try it in liquid form. There is a remarkable difference.


Magnesium

Posted by Barbara K (Indianapolis In) on 08/19/2020

There was no way to add a comment to the main article so I had to Reply to an existing comment.

Magnesium has well known laxative effects. People with exquisitely sensitive guts cannot take that much magnesium at one time without it resulting in multiple trips to bathroom. Which results in interrupted sleep, just the opposite of intended effect ...

Replied by Art
California
08/19/2020
640 posts

Barbara K,

Magnesium L Threonate is much less likely to cause diarrhea than most other forms.

Art

Replied by Niki
Brussels
08/20/2020

Ever since I switched to liquid magnesium, there's no going back for me. So much easier to take and goes straight to where it's needed. I take Remag from Dr. Carolyn Dean - it's easy to take and I buy the 16oz bottle to save money - lasts a long time. Because it's absorbed at the cellular level, it doesn't result in loose stools. rnareset.com is where you can get it. Dr. Dean wrote the book years ago, The Magnesium Miracle.

Replied by Marie-Louise
Zurich, Switzerland
08/20/2020

Take Magnesium L-Threonate. Has a relaxing effect in the brain, and does not cause a laxative effect.

Replied by Dano
Toronto, Canada
08/20/2020

Only some forms of Mg will do what you said. The bisglycinate form is okay for most people to take without causing loose bowels. The citrate and chloride forms of magnesium will have the bowel loosening effect on most people.

Replied by Tommo
Scotland
08/20/2020

How about eating a banana or two as part of a light evening meal at least four hours before bedtime. Bananas are rich in vitamins and minerals including magnesium and they are high in fibre. Bananas will bulk up your stools and could have a gentle dehydrating effect overnight. Ignore the myth that bananas are fattening. 5 medium-sized bananas are equivalent in calories to a 150g bag of potato chips. Trying eating 5 bananas in one sitting! I doubt you can but many people can scoff a 150g of potato chips and go back for more!

Replied by Art
California
08/20/2020
640 posts

Dano,

The three forms of magnesium I named will all work for the purpose of acting as a sleep promoter. Magnesium Taurate, Magnesium L Threonate and Magnesium Glycinate. Magnesium Glycinate is the same as Magnesium Bisglycinate.

Of the three, Magnesium L Threonate is least likely to cause diarrhea followed by Magnesium Taurate, based on my own experience with all three forms. These two in particular, Magnesium L Threonate and Magnesium Taurate, have shown in studies to target the brain and taurine from Magnesium Taurate also crosses the blood brain barrier and has a calming effect. This is what I am currently using, Magnesium Taurate, but have used all three as well as many other forms of magnesium.

Magnesium L Threonate is lacking in human studies compared to most other forms of magnesium of which there are over 15 forms.

Art


Magnesium, Melatonin & Zinc

Posted by Art (California) on 09/05/2020 640 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Since I have been doing a significant amount of testing with melatonin, I recently tested the effectiveness of melatonin that also contains vitamin B6 as it has been mentioned on EC. In fact I recently said it was not a good form of melatonin to use for Covid-19 as the high dosages required for Covid-19 would mean you might get too much B6.

On the other hand, for the low dose of melatonin used in this sleep aid combination, I have found that the use of melatonin that has B6 in it adds to the effectiveness of this combo!

If you are deficient in B6, it can contribute to insomnia. B-6 also helps with absorption of melatonin, which is poorly absorbed, so for the above combo, a 5 mg melatonin supplement that also contains B6 is more useful to me for sleep!

Only a small change to the original combo, but more effective for me for sleep!

Here is a link to one melatonin product that contains 5 mg of melatonin plus 10 mg of vitamin B6.

When you look at the health benefits of this sleep aid combo, I am not only getting better sleep, but also improving my overall health!

Art


Melatonin Side Effects

Posted by Katgirl (Tn) on 08/20/2020
0 out of 5 stars

Melatonin in many people (myself included!) has the opposite effect. It wires me like ten cups of coffee. So, be aware it may NOT work. Don't try it for the first time if you really NEED sleep.

Replied by Kelly D.
Seattle
08/21/2020

I agree with Katgirl. Melatonin taken as a supplement may make things worse.

1. Melatonin constricts blood flow, so if your circulation is 'iffy', then it could get a lot worse: (from the study "Melatonin potentiates NE-induced vasoconstriction without augmenting cytostolic calcium concentration")

2. Melatonin worsens Restless Legs Syndrome (probably because of the vasoconstriction).

3. And melatonin inhibits the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, which breaks down acetylcholine. High acetylcholine levels can cause anxiety, irritability, muscle spasms, and even seizures.

I tried it for about a week...made my sleep much, much worse.

Replied by Art
California
08/22/2020
640 posts

Kelly D.

Please keep in mind that the post I put up for sleep, did not pertain to melatonin by itself and by picking just melatonin out of the three supplements and vitamin D, you are taking melatonin out of context for the purpose of sleep as reported in the original study.

In the study that the post I wrote was based on, they tested the combination of melatonin, magnesium and zinc plus suggested bringing your vitamin D level into the reference range because vitamin D has an inverse relationship with sleep issues. Lower vitamin d levels correlate with increased sleep issues while higher vitamin D levels correlate with decreased sleep issues.

Of importance, this was a placebo controlled double blind study, representing a better quality study.

Regarding restless leg syndrome (RLS), the original post had nothing to do with RLS which should be treated on its own and not count on your sleep aid to resolve that health issue too!

One of the most popular remedies for RLS on EC, is magnesium, and zinc may offer benefit also. The point being that this particular combination is not the same as melatonin alone and the three supplements are synergistic with each other meaning that the combination is more effective than any of the three alone at improving sleep! Taking melatonin by itself is not at all the same as taking this combination and even if you do have RLS, the magnesium component of this sleep combination is likely to help both RLS and sleep! My own testing has shown magnesium oil (MO) to be helpful for RLS while other posters have found benefit with oral magnesium supplements.

You said melatonin constricts blood flow based on the study you mentioned, but the following human study is more precise in saying just the opposite of what you said. This is a direct quote from the following study:

'Compared with placebo, melatonin significantly increased peripheral blood flow, as measured by distal to proximal skin temperature gradient and finger pulse volume.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671201/

This study also mentioned that melatonin has no effect on cerebral blood flow.

Again, taking melatonin out of the context of this supplement combination, is a mistake because magnesium can act as an acetylcholinesterase agonist while melatonin alone can not! This is probably one more reason why this combination did so well in the placebo controlled double blind study!

So as you can see, melatonin alone is not comparable to the three supplements used in the study to improve sleep and bringing your vitamin D level up well into the reference range is likely to also be additive in terms of sleep improvement.

Art


Melatonin, 5-HTP, GABA, L-Theanine

Posted by John (Portsmouth) on 08/19/2020
5 out of 5 stars

I am 72 and my life is very stressful. When I started having trouble sleeping, I took melatonin and 5-HTP. They helped somewhat, but I would still wake up every hour and a half and take 20 minutes to get back to sleep.

I read a very interesting article by a sleep specialist in psychology today, and he recommended gaba and L-Theanine. GABA slows down the overactive obsessive part of the brain, and revives the more calming parts of the brain.

The second night I took GABA, I realized that I had been far less stressed all day, and was waking up less often

A month or so after I starting to take GABA, I added the L-Theanine, which works much the same way as GABA. I very soon noticed that I woke up fewer times and I fell back asleep much quicker. I still take melatonin and 5-HTP, and find I need to take a nap in the day far fewer times. My life is much happier now!

Replied by Art
California
08/19/2020
640 posts

John,

Long term use (months) of 5HTP may create problems for you as it will reduce dopamine and ultimately no longer work. Reducing dopamine is a bad idea. Here is a study that highlights this mid term problem with 5HTP:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415362/#:~:text=The most significant side effects,, norepinephrine, and epinephrine).&text=When dopamine depletion is great, HTP will no longer function.

It might be safer to select another sleep aid such as zinc, magnesium, valerian extract (smells bad), passionflower, lavender etc.

Art


Tart Cherry Juice

Posted by Kitty (Niagara Falls Ny) on 08/21/2020 4 posts
5 out of 5 stars

I took melatonin for years, but unfortunately had to stop tasking it becasue I was getting a very bad rash from it. I have been a very bad sleeper all my life, it takes me from 30-40 minutes to fall asleep and I usually wake up up every 2 hours or so, and have trouble falling back to sleep. I want to add I am a very active person, gym time every day and walking. I already take the magnesium at night, but without my Melatonin I became a very unhappy person, until I read an article about Tart Cherry juice,

I drink an 8oz. glass about an hour before going to bed, and it worked even better than the melatonin, I read that Tart Cherry juice actually contains melatonin......all I can say is, I have never slept better in my life, if there is a bathroom visit, there is no problem going back to sleep. I now buy the Tart Cherry Concentrate put 2tablespoons into an 8oz glass of water.

Hope it will somebody else.


Vitamin D

Posted by Art (California) on 08/20/2020 640 posts
5 out of 5 stars

3 Scientifically Proven Supplements To Help You Stay Asleep

Since the study for this combination of supplements was fairly long, I imagine that many EC readers did not have time to read the whole study, so I thought I would highlight an important point shown in this study as well as other studies and meta analyses. In most of these studies it was clearly shown that there is an inverse relationship between vitamin D serum level (25 OH d) and sleep issues or to say that a little differently, as the vitamin D level declines, sleep issues increase and as 25 OH d serum level rises, sleep issues decline.

Overall, this is just one of many reasons to make sure your 25 OH d serum level is replete!

Art