The Best Supplements to Help You Sleep


Can Natural Supplements be the Key to Great Night’s Sleep?


When it comes to supplements to help us sleep, we first need to consider what are the nutrients that will do this for us, then find the supplement that has them, like what we did in my previous guide on great foods to help you sleep. In fact, we are looking for the same vitamins, minerals,proteins and nutrients, just without the chewing!

Plus and very importantly, I am also going to add in adaptogens, as these have very powerful effects on our bodies, having taken numerous adaptogens for years now and seen first-hand their benefits.

Below are vitamins, minerals and proteins that are great for sleep. Though not a definitive list, as new things are being found and tested all the time, we don’t want to overwhelm you with information overload. 

  1. Melatonin.
  2. Tryptophan/5 HTP.
  3. Magnesium.
  4. B vitamins.
  5. Vitamin D3 & K2.
  6. Vitamin C.
  7. Zinc.
  8. Copper.
  9. L-ornithine.
  10. L-theanine.
  11. L-glycine.
  12. Potassium.

The two above in bold, we will be going into a lot more detail, whereas the rest, except for the L-‘s, you are probably bored to death with hearing about. 

However, I do want to cover 5 HTP and magnesium hence why they are bolded, as perhaps a little lesser known to people than the famous ones, such as vitamins B, vitamin C, zinc and vitamin D.


What are Adaptogens?


I will comprehensively cover adaptogens, as these will be new to many of you. I want you to have a basic awareness and understanding of them, even if you do nothing with this information for the time being.

The ones we are going to cover together are:

  1. Valerian.
  2. Mucuna.
  3. Ashwagandha.
  4. Lions Mane.
  5. Rhodiola.

Be very careful where you buy from as a lot of the time, all you are buying is junk in excellent packaging. 

There are a lot of underhand supplement providers with great branding who add all sorts of rubbish that you certainly don’t want inside of you!

Melatonin/5 HTP

The end goal of a lot of sleep supplements is to increase melatonin. So logically, you would think you would get a melatonin supplement. However, there is a lot of conflicting evidence on whether melatonin supplements are proven to work or not. 

By going for 5-HTP, a serotonin precursor, you are getting your body to produce it naturally rather than relying on some external source to produce it for you. This is also one of the reasons I cycle all my supplements (no, I don’t ride a bike when taking my supplements), so my body doesn’t get used to them and can create these things on its own.

So rather than speculate, let’s get a definitive result.

This means we want to boost the production of melatonin, of which we need serotonin, the wonder neurotransmitter, to convert into melatonin. Then, in turn, serotonin is made up of 5-HTP, yeh talk about a long way around, I know!

Often taken from again a plant, in fact, Griffonia seed from Africa.



Magnesium is one of the most essential minerals for us humans and, thankfully, one of the most abundant. It’s used in hundreds of cellular reactions, in fact, over 600, so I am not going to list everything it does here. However, it’s worth noting that every cell in your body needs the mineral magnesium to function properly. That includes your brain, bone, skin, organs and muscles!

 It’s a pretty big deal, to say the least, and entire books have been written just on magnesium alone. Magnesium is that important.

So, if it’s that important to every cell, it’s going to play a critical role in sleep. It helps your body relax, which, as we already know, is crucial to falling asleep and getting high-quality sleep by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. Similar to what many adaptogens do as well, hence why they are all so effective in helping you sleep.

It doesn’t stop there either, as magnesium regulates the king of sleep hormones, melatonin. While also interacts with GABA, which is key for relaxing us.

Another way it helps sleep is by reducing the effects of anxiety and depression you have, which again allows us to sleep better.

There are quite a few types of magnesium, which is where it gets confusing.

Magnesium Oxide

This is a popular type of magnesium used in supplements. It’s a good all round magnesium, though a lower absorption rate than the below magnesium citrate.


Magnesium Citrate

Is one of the most bioavailable magnesium supplements. For this reason, it is also one of the most popular.


Magnesium Glycinate

Like magnesium citrate is one of the most popular forms of magnesium when it comes to supplements. It combines the amino acid glycine, hence the name! It has excellent absorption, again like magnesium citrate, which is why it’s so popular.

This is a good one for sleep, as research shows magnesium glycinate may help boost the quality of your sleep, in particular deep sleep. It does this by increasing a relaxed state within you. This is one to look out for, and it is generally agreeable with your body.


Magnesium L-threonate

This is the one I take regularly and is arguably the most absorbable magnesium there is.


Magnesium Sulfate

One that will most likely be very familiar to you…as it’s Epsom salts! This stuff is excellent in baths and what flotation tanks use to allow you to float. Whenever I get out of an hour-long flotation tank session, my skin that evening simply feels divine.

Plus, there are a few more such as magnesium chloride, magnesium orate and magnesium lactate and magnesium malate.

Recommended levels vary hugely on this one. I personally used to take 1,000mg a day. Then I changed supplements due to another excellent company combining Magnesium with D3 and K2, all in the same capsule. As I was taking so many, I was getting fed up with the laborious supplement admin! It was taking time and energy to buy them and then take them. So even though lower levels of magnesium at 250mg, than I wanted, the convenience and reduced price, all while a great provider, was worth it.



One of the most popular adaptogens for sleep as it’s a natural sedative. It’s well known worldwide for its sleep inducing properties. Like a lot of herbs or adaptogens, it is made from the root of a plant.

Other side benefits include help with depression, headaches and joint pain.

When it comes to a lot of adaptogens in general that I use, be careful the first time you take them, they can have interesting effects, to say the least! However, I haven’t experienced any such effects with this one, though always remember we are all different.


Mucuna (L-Dopa)

Mucuna also called Cowitch and Dopa Bean, plus many other names, is a bean that grows from vines. It is a herb and an adaptogen.

It has many natural properties such as improved focus, improved motivation, improved energy, lowered stress, boosted mood and heightened libido. Though for us of course, we don’t care about that, as we are interested in how its boosting your sleep performance.

Interestingly this has very high levels of L-Dopa. This amino acid is the precursor to dopamine production, one of those essential neurotransmitters that are a game changer to your life when balanced. Your neurotransmitters regulate essential hormone production, which is why Mucuna can have such huge benefits.

For people with high levels of dopamine, you probably know who you are as your personality will give this away, and it could be a bad idea to boost already high dopamine levels. You will only further increase your impulsive, addictive and thrill-seeking behaviours! Then these addictive habits, over time, alter your production of dopamine, leading to dopamine depletion, low moods, and depression.

Dopamine blocks the body’s ability to produce the key sleep hormone melatonin. So you are thinking, why would I want more dopamine? Well, you don’t in the evening at bedtime however, in the morning, this will get you going and help regulate your circadian rhythm!

Optimum dosage will vary with individuals based on gender, age, weight and, of course, your uniqueness as a human. Therefore worth experimenting with different levels. However, you don’t want to be taking more than 1,000mg as you could end up increasing blood pressure, heart palpitation, sweating and nausea.

From my time with the powerful and interesting adaptogen Tongkat Ali, it’s worth noting that I now cycle my supplements every other day. Plus when I run out of supplements, I will then take a week break before resuming again. This stops my body from getting used to and, therefore, is reliant upon external sources, no matter how good they are. Plus, it helps keep supplement admin down, as I only take half the number daily, which really got on my nerves from time to time, as I like a simple, uncomplicated life.

Then finally, though not my motivation, it cuts your cost in half and considering I spend around $1,200/£1,000 per month on supplements, massages and reflexology, it’s very welcomed!



Like many of these herbs and adaptogens, they have numerous names, Indian Ginseng being one of them. You get no prizes for where this herb originates. Yes, you guessed it, alright, India plus other parts of South East Asia!

It’s made from the plant, Withania Somnifera and is key to a lot of Ayurvedic practices.

I originally started taking ashwagandha to stop getting grey hairs once I noticed a few cropping up. Not only did it work, but I also noticed that instead of getting any more grey hairs, I actually had fewer grey hairs! Though all wasted now that I have recently shaved my hair off.

There is a huge range of other benefits when it comes to Ash as well, it’s well known for its calming properties, and there is no doubt I have felt calmer since taking it, which also explains why it’s good for anxiety and depression. Plus, it’s an antioxidant.

However, we haven’t brought Ash up to talk about Ralph’s lack of grey hairs at 42 but to help you sleep better!

Scientific studies have confirmed that Ash will help you fall asleep quicker, benefit from higher quality sleep and wake up less. However, they are not quite sure why. They do have a few hunches, such as the effect Ash has on your GABA receptors, another critical neurotransmitter which is vital for sleep.

Next, the active ingredient in Ash, withanolides, reduces stress. And we all know how destructive stress is to sleep, so by reducing your stress, you are improving your sleep!

Then finally, triethylene glycol is also likely to be a key driver of your improved sleep.

Again as I say for all adaptogens, the optimum dosage will vary among individuals based on gender, age, weight and, of course, your uniqueness as a human. Therefore worth experimenting with different levels. However, you want to be taking at most 800mg a day.

Again as with all adaptogens, remember to cycle. You don’t want to be taking this for longer than three months every day, refer back to above for how I cycle my supplements.

A few other key considerations with Ash, when you first take it, please ensure you take it with food, as it’s that potent you will end up with very soiled underwear! Not a good look for a senior board member walking around the office now is it, especially now that brown suits are no longer in fashion!

Also, at first, consider taking half the dose you intend to take for the first two days with food, then move up to a full dose with food for two days. Then finally, to get its full effects, take it without food, which helps it get absorbed much better, starting back at a half dose, to begin with on an empty stomach, then after three days, revert back to your full dose. 

As joked about above, please be conscious of where you are when you start taking this without food. Otherwise, you could be left in a right mess, quite literally!


Lions Mane

Is a mushroom, and not the hair from a lion! It’s also known as both an adaptogen and a nootropic and is well known for its body and mind benefits.

I was first introduced to Lions Mane by a rather interesting yet mad woman I dated from Asia, who informed me that she struggled to sleep until she started taking this substance called Lions Mane. After my initial amusement at such a funny name, I asked her where she bought it from and bought some myself, as always being the curious and willing guinea pig.

A big part of Sleep Mastery is optimising the transition from being active during the day to a more relaxed and sleep-ready state come the evening. This is where Lions Mane comes in, as it helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, the opposite of the nervous system, also known as the fight or flight response.

To get a great night’s sleep, we want the nervous system turned off, which is why I cover numerous ways to achieve this in so much detail, as it’s that important.

Like the other adaptogens I have covered here, Lions Mane also has numerous other benefits, such as improved mood, reduced anxiety, clearing of brain fog, and calmer and improved attention.

Lion’s mane contains hericenones, which stimulate nerve growth factors, a protein that, as the name suggests, is amazing for the growth, repair and protection of neurons.

I would take this in the evening, though at times, I have also taken Lion’s mane in the morning, combined with Ashwagandha, to facilitate a calm day if having to deal with certain family members or awkward individuals.

Again as I say for all adaptogens, the optimum dosage will vary for individuals based on gender, age, weight and, of course, your uniqueness as a human. Therefore worth experimenting with different levels. I take 149mg of Polysaccharides every other evening (the alternative evening being my other darling Valerian), which should serve as a good starting point for your experimentations.



Guess what, another adaptogen and another plant! This one likes to grow in harsh environments such as Siberia, sea cliffs and mountains in Europe and America. After Ginseng (Panax), the most widely used adaptogen in the world!

The active ingredients in Rhodiola are salidroside and rosavins.

These benefits include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, lower stress levels, and better handling of stress, which is ultimately why an adaptogen is called an adaptogen, for its ability to do this in humans. This will improve your mood.

Other benefits include improved cognitive function, such as brain speed, improved attention and reduced mental fatigue.

Where Rhodiola really comes in to benefit your sleep is the fact that it increases neurotransmitters serotonin, GABA and oxytocin, which is fantastic for sleep!


Your Action Plan – will only take you 3 mins


When it comes to supplements, pick one or two you like the sound of most and start with those. 

  1. Once you are comfortable and in the habit of taking these and seeing the benefits, then go back to the above and pick another one or two supplements to add to your sleep optimisation.

  2. Don’t go crazy, though, as though all are very beneficial, if you do too much, especially at first, you increase the chance of doing nothing long-term.

Even if you have gotten into a long-term habit, like me, if you have to pop too many supplements, you may just get fed up with it. Trust me, I know as I have been there as was taking over 25 a day every month at one point, and you just get sick of it. Never mind the cost, which was equivalent to a lease on a new Range Rover.

How Ralph Can Help You Sleep Even Better?


Have you liked what you have read?

Would you now like to know more, about how I can help you sleep better? Then download my free gift to you “Ralph’s 7 Steps to Sleep” . Plus for the next 12 weeks we will send you a weekly lesson on how to improve your sleep even more!

Just click the big golden button below, and it will be sat waiting in your email inbox (don’t forget to check spam just in case) for you to help get that vitalized sleep your body has been craving for months now…

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