Patricia Levell

     Psychologue, m.a

Supplements to Aid in Sleep

by Susan Greenspan
Naturopath & Integrative Holsitic Therapist

There may be different reasons for restless nights. Supplement choices vary according to person and situation. If one’s energy of the day is not spent well then the excess may enable restlessness. Worry or rambling thoughts may stimulate hormones to keep the adrenal function in flight mode. Being flighty in thought  keeps us from feeling safe to ground and snuggle into our cocoons.  Looking at properties of supplements for sleep can help us choose which one may be best suited.


Avenoforce is a wild oat tincture for stress. This gentle remedy plants a picture of golden oat fields swaying with gentle winds. Calming of thoughts to a light calm breeze may aid in softly falling into slumber. Dosage for sleep is 50 drops in a bit of water. Hold in the mouth for 30 seconds or more for the capillaries under the tongue to start absorbing the tincture, delivering the properties directly into the blood flow, then swallow.

Dr. Bach Remedies has a special mixture for sleep. This remedy may rescue you from unserving thoughts or stresses that keep you from much needed rest. Rescue sleep comes in a spray or in gels. You may take this remedy on it’s own or in conjunction with others. For example, if one remedy helps you to fall to sleep but waking during the night prevents continual rest, then Rescue Remedy may be taken at this time. 

California poppy is a great aid for occasional insomnia as it eases stress and anxiety. If you awaken during the night, tinctures made from these colourful flowers can help restore a beautiful rest. Dosages according to brand should be respected.

Magnesium before bed may aid in reducing sleepless nights. There are a few good brands that make magnesium powder for a warm, soothing drink. Place your scoops of powder in a cup. Boil your water and add small amounts at a time to your cup. The magnesium will fizz and rise as it is activated.  Drink this warm magnesium drink before bed to settle you into a soothing state and let your life ‘’fizz’’ settle.

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally released by the pineal gland. When released it lets off serotonin which either lifts one’s mood or induces sleep. For melatonin to help induce sleep,  it should be taken when going to bed. If taken an hour before then mood enhancement may be the sole result. Also, as a rule, melatonin dosage for sleep often is ‘’ less is more’’. High doses are excellent for hormone balancing while low doses before bed help induce sleep. 3 mg for adults is a standard dose. Melatonin is not for long term use. It may be used sporadically or for a period of no more than 6 weeks unless advised by your health care practitioner. As a supplement it is used to reset sleeping patterns.  Some people may experience increased dream states and/or fogginess in the morning.

Tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey and cheese which helps aid in sleep. The contentment and laziness after eating a good thanksgiving turkey meal is due to the tryptophan component. Supplements are available in capsule form. 

When deep grounding is required for a good rest, Valerian root may be your aid. This plant was the first Valium, used to promote tranquility and sleep. The roots have an undesirable taste and smell due to the volatile oils that hold the potency of this excellent sedative. The flowers have the sweetest smell; it was used to make perfumes long ago.  If melatonin does not work for you then Valerian may be your remedy and visa versa. Some have reported adverse effects of sleeplessness and/ or anxiety with this product.  It was first introduced to me during a period of shocking news and it aided me into a relaxed state for coping and sleeping.

Stay away from stimulating foods such as caffeine and sugars. Alcohol and acidic foods keep the body in processing mode and should be avoided. Get plenty of fresh air and exercise during the day in order to fully utilise your energy reserve. Eat lightly in the early evening so your system follows the natural rhythm of night time rest and repair mode. 

Whether your lack of sleep comes from immediate stress, lack of grounding, hormonal imbalance or rambling thoughts and worry, there is a remedy for you.  Any supplements should of course be accompanied by breath work/meditation, disconnection from electronics, a darkened room or other relaxation techniques before bed.


Sweet Dreams!