What Are the Best Nootropics for Sleep and Insomnia?
Unfortunately, this is something I hear far too often…
“What are the best nootropics for sleep and insomnia?”
Well, we’re all living in cocoons of stress. The fast-paced and ultra-competitive nature of today’s world has us constantly over-worked and sleep-deprived.
Not getting the sleep you need after over-working your brain the entire week has become a norm. The question arises: can nootropics help us tackle the sleep dilemma?
Sleep is critical for optimal cognitive performance. Unfortunately, most of us aren’t getting enough of it and wander off to work in an exhausted state.
Doctors recommend 7-9 hours of sleep per day. Not getting enough sleep leads to a confluence of problems that affect our mental and physical performance.
It is during sleep that all the natural detox and healing in our bodies takes place.
Inadequate sleep and / or insomnia leads to stress, anxiety, inflammation, lethargy, obesity, heart disease, cognitive decline, mood swings, and brain fog.
Nootropics are supplements that boost cognition and are safe to consume.
A lot of nootropics are now being used to aid sleep-related problems that so many of us face.
A wide variety of nootropics are available in the market; some help improve sleep quality while others help consumers fall asleep faster.
We’ll be diving deep into the best nootropics out there to help tackle your sleep issues head-on.
This is a bit of a long article, but if quality sleep is what you’re after, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND you keep reading!
So buckle up and prepare to bid those restless nights a good farewell as we answer the question: “what are the best nootropics for sleep and insomnia?”
A Quick Overview of Some Nootropics That Promote a Restful Sleep:
Some of the nootropics that aid a restful sleep include Ashwagandha, Phenibut, Bacopa Monnieri, GABA, 5-HTP, Lavender, L-Tryptophan, Melatonin, Magnesium citrate, Chamomile tea, Lemon balm extract, Montmorency Tart Cherry, L-Theanine, Gotu kola, St Johns Wort, and other supplements.
Let’s Go Over These 15 Best Nootropics for sleep and Insomnia! (Ones that can be used as a Helpful Sleep Aid!)
A staple in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha is widely used to counter stress and its effects.
Ashwagandha works by reducing the stress hormone cortisol in the body; this leads to a reduction in inflammation.
A lack of sleep increases cortisol levels in the bloodstream, keeping the body in a fight-and-flight state.
Ashwagandha counteracts this by reducing cortisol levels and induces a relaxing effect on the consumer. A relaxed and stress-free mind can rest better and sleep better.
Recent studies have shown that Triethylene glycol, an active ingredient in Ashwagandha, is responsible for inducing sleep.
This, coupled with its stress-reducing capabilities, makes Ashwagandha an excellent nootropic to help you get rid of those restless nights.
You can check out a detailed ingredient profile on Ashwagandha on our website.
L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea leaves. It is widely known for its nootropic potential.
Serotonin is a precursor to the sleep hormone melatonin, which helps induce sleep and regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
L-theanine is responsible for releasing all the right chemicals in your brain, making the perfect cocktail to knock you right out!
Studies have shown that a daily dose of L-theanine improved the sleep of children with ADHD significantly over the placebo group.
L-theanine is also known for its other effects like boosting cognition, lowering stress, weight loss, etcetera.
You can find out more about L-theanine on our website with a detailed ingredient profile.
Before you review the stacks below, make sure to have a quick read on our article on Racetams and also those of the relevant ingredients (they will be linked below).
Unless you do not have a thorough understanding of these ingredients, you’d end up going wrong somewhere along your nootropic journey!
Also called Brahmi, Bacopa monnieri is a popular herb in Ayurveda used to improve cognition, mental clarity, reduce stress, help with insomnia and anxiety relief.
Bacopa monnieri is classified as an adaptogen. These are substances that resist stress and help counter it.
We cover more on this in our article about Nootropics VS Adaptogens.
Bacopa works through various mechanisms;
- By reducing stress hormones like cortisol.
- Enhances blood flow to the brain by releasing nitric oxide.
- Its antioxidant properties help release chemicals like serotonin.
Through these combined effects, bacopa monnieri enhances cognition while helping you relax and fall asleep faster.
This easily makes it a great candidate as one of the best nootropics for sleep and insomnia.
The low cortisol levels help the mind detox and relax to fall asleep faster – while serotonin, the precursor to melatonin, helps regulate sleep.
Melatonin is also referred to as the ‘sleep hormone’. It’s a naturally occurring hormone in the body produced by the pineal gland.
Melatonin is released at night and acts as a signal for the body to sleep. Melatonin is registered as a drug in Europe, as it is a powerful sleep aid.
Multiple studies have proven that melatonin maintains the sleep-wake cycle and regulates sleep effectively .
Melatonin is widely regarded as the best nootropic for sleep deprivation, restlessness, (insomnia) and jet lag.
It helps get your circadian rhythm on track.
People also look into ways of naturally increasing melatonin before moving on to supplementation.
Read our blog post that covers exactly this question!
A naturally-occurring amino acid in the body, L-Tryptophan, functions as a precursor to serotonin (the feel-good hormone) and melatonin (the sleep hormone).
When taken as a supplement, L-Tryptophan increases the production of serotonin and melatonin.
This hormonal cocktail not only helps you fall asleep faster but also improves your quality of sleep.
It is one of the best nootropics for sleep and insomnia simply because it is naturally found in food, and is a healthy alternative to prescription sleep drugs.
L-Tryptophan can naturally occur in poultry, salmon, spinach, nuts, cheese, and eggs. Including these foods in your diet might help with sleep issues.
Magnesium and Vitamin B6 are also required to synthesize Serotonin; therefore stacking these with L-Tryptophan has better efficacy amongst consumers with insomnia and sleep-related disorders.
Is there an easy way to take this powerful sleep stack?
YES! In fact, an amazing supplement that incorporates Magnesium, l-tryptophan, and Vitamin B-6 is “New Mood Instant – by Onnit“
You can read our full New Mood by Onnit Review to learn more!
GABA is a major inhibitory neurotransmitter of the body.
It promotes calmness and relaxation, thus reducing the consumer’s anxiety and stress.
The drawback associated with GABA is that it’s unable to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Stacking GABA with L-Citrulline helps tackle the transportation issue across the blood brain barrier.
This increases the efficacy of GABA, which helps promote better sleep quality.
Lemon Balm Extract
Lemon Balm or Melissa officinalis is a herb from the mint family. It is widely known for its medicinal properties.
Historically it has been used for stress, anxiety, infections, inflammation, and indigestion.
Lemon Balm works by promoting GABA, a neurotransmitter that inhibits Glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter that promotes alertness).
A compound in Lemon balm called Rosmarinic acid inhibits the enzyme responsible for the breakdown of GABA.
This leads to an increase in GABAergic activity.
The inhibition of Glutamate and increase in GABA leads to a relaxed and calm state that helps the user sleep quicker and more soundly.
Apart from the benefits it offers in sleep promotion, users will also experience the additional advantage of inflammatory relief and effective digestion.
Lemon Balm extract can be used in multiple ways; you make tea out of it, take it as a supplement, or even use it as an essential oil in your diffuser.
Remember “Onnit New Mood Instant” that I just covered in this same article?
Well, it so happens that Onnit also includes lemon balm as one of their powerful calming ingredients in New Mood Instant!
I definitely recommend you read my full review here!
Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral found in the body involved in numerous human body processes.
Apart from supplements, good sources of magnesium include spinach, almonds, dark chocolate, and bananas.
Magnesium acts on GABA receptors and regulates Glutamate receptors, which helps regulate the balance between these inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitters.
Research has shown that supplementing magnesium has helped elderly patients with insomnia. Magnesium increased sleep efficiency and reduced early morning awakening.
On top of that, users had higher levels of serum melatonin (the sleep hormone) and lower levels of serum cortisol (the stress hormone).
Montmorency Tart Cherry
Montmorency tart cherry is a popular sleep supplement; it promotes the production of melatonin (the sleep hormone) in the body.
It also packs an antioxidant punch, cleansing the body of free radicals and limiting inflammation.
These combined effects promote sleep in users. Research has shown that when this tart cherry is taken in the form of a juice, it can increase sleep time by up to 90 minutes in patients with insomnia!
Lavender is quite a trendy plant nowadays, and it’s popular in the form of an essential oil. Lavender’s use in aromatherapy is a common practice because of its relaxing and calming effects.
Lavender oil is believed to treat anxiety, insomnia, allergies, depression, nausea, and menstrual cramps.
Research proves that the inhalation of lavender oil significantly increases the quality of sleep among the users; on top of that, the group that inhaled lavender oil also reported waking up feeling refreshed.
St. Johns Wart
St. Johns Wart is a popular remedial herb that has been used for hundreds if not thousands of years!
Its use is employed in the treatment of mental disorders, depression, seasonal affective disorder, and some sleep issues.
It is derived from the plant Hypericum Perforatum and contains compounds like hypericin and hyperforin.
These compounds stimulate the production of GABA and serotonin, which act as potent sleep aids.
This also makes for one of the best nootropics for sleep and insomnia that is readily available over the counter.
Therefore St. Johns Wart is a popular remedy for sleep-related issues. Even research has backed this herbal remedy.
Gotu Kala (also known as Centella asiatica) is a herb used in Ayurveda and has earned the title of ‘ the herb of longevity’.
Gotu Kala is known for its special effect on the brain. It can sharpen the mind and is used to treat insomnia along with other sleep disorders.
Gotu Kala is considered a safer alternative to prescription medicines to tackle sleep disorders. Research has backed the efficacy of Gotu Kala in users with sleep-related disorders.
Gotu Kala can be consumed in the form of an extract, tea, and the leaves can even be used in salads.
5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid produced in the body.
5-HTP produces Serotonin in the body, a precursor to the sleep hormone Melatonin.
Due to the increase in Melatonin, users can regulate their sleep better and tackle restless nights.
Supplementing 5-HTP is recommended over L-Tryptophan due to 5-HTP’s ability to cross the blood-brain barrier more efficiently.
Consumers must be cautious while supplementing 5-HTP because of its dose-related side effects. Start with low doses and work your way through it.
People who already take Serotonin-enhancing medications should consult their physician and perhaps avoid using 5-HTP because it may result in dangerously high levels of this hormone.
Made from the Chamomile flower, Chamomile tea is used to address a wide variety of health issues like menstrual pain, inflammation, diabetes, sleep disorders, and much more.
Apigenin binds to GABA receptors, which might explain Chamomile’s sleep-inducing capability.
Multiple studies have claimed that Chamomile significantly improves the quality of sleep (which also obviously helps with insomnia!)
One study showed the improvement of sleep quality in nursing home residents who were given Chamomile extract.
Another study showed improved sleep quality in post-natal who consumed Chamomile tea over two weeks.
Supplementing Chamomile or drinking Chamomile tea every day can be beneficial for not just sleep-related issues but also a variety of other health concerns.
Plus, if you read this entire article, you probably guessed it…
Onnit’s “New Mood Instant” also contains chamomile!
Rarely does a nootropic supplement ‘tick all the boxes’ per se for their specific use case like New Mood Instant does for Sleep!
If you’re having trouble getting a restful night’s sleep…
(one of the most important aspects of having a powerful high functioning brain)
You should at least take a few minutes to Read my full write-up / review on New Mood Instant by Onnit.
What are your thoughts?
So, what are your thoughts on these 15 Best Nootropics for Sleep & Insomnia?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!
If you want to learn more about possible nootropic ingredients that you can add to your own custom nootropic stacks, then check out our:
“Ultimate List of 120+ Nootropics” Article!
About David Gracey
Founder of SuperMindHacker.com
In other words, I am completely obsessed with anything and everything related to cognitive brain enhancement!
Whether it's nootropics supplements, challenging brain puzzles, or even meditation techniques, chances are, I've tried it! This website is my outlet to give back and share what I've learned in the past 15+ years in this field of study.
You Can Read my Other Posts Here: David Gracey's Articles