The Sleep Supplement That Works Better Than Melatonin And Helps You Wake Up Energized

Do you ever have trouble falling asleep, or do you wake up in the middle of the night and feel wide awake for hours? You are not alone. Around 25% of Americans suffer from a bout of insomnia each year, according to a 2018 study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (via Science Daily). The sheer magnitude of the problem has led to a surplus of sleeping aid products available to consumers, with melatonin supplements taking the lead. 

The use of melatonin supplements by adults in the United States more than quintupled between 1999 and 2018, according to the National Institutes of Health. Since then, pandemic-induced insomnia caused sales of melatonin supplements to jump more than 40% in 2020 (per bizwomen)

Plenty of research, including a 2013 study published in the journal Plos One, has determined that melatonin does indeed help people fall asleep faster and improve both sleep quality and total sleep time. The downside is that taking melatonin supplements could cause grogginess and brain fog after waking (via Medical News Today). Other reported side effects include headache, nausea, and dizziness. Fortunately, there are very good alternatives to melatonin supplements that not only help induce deeper sleep but have you waking up feeling rested and full of energy. 

Magnesium may turn around insomnia

Magnesium is recommended for an extra boost to your sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, a lack of magnesium in your diet can make you feel tired and weak and also interfere with your ability to get a proper night's sleep. A 2012 double-blind study on elderly people with sleep disorders published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences found that supplementing the diet with magnesium for eight weeks improved several symptoms of insomnia including sleep onset, overall sleep time, and early morning waking and also increased overall sleep efficiency. The researchers also determined that magnesium supplementation was associated with higher levels of hormones known to be involved with sleep quality, including melatonin, cortisol, and renin.

There are many kinds of magnesium supplements, but magnesium bisglycinate (also referred to as magnesium diglycinate, and magnesium glycinate) is considered to be the best. Magnesium bisglycinate works to reproduce the form in which magnesium is found naturally in food (via CTV News), and so it's easier to digest. According to the Mayo Clinic, magnesium supplements are safe and relatively free of side effects unless used in high doses, which may cause diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and nausea. According to Transparent Labs, with magnesium bisglycinate you get maximum benefits of magnesium — and get them sooner — thanks to its high absorbability compared to non-bisglycinate magnesium supplements, and you get a better alternative to melatonin.

GABA for a deeper sleep

Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is a neurotransmitter that blocks impulses between nerves and cells in the brain and is known to affect mood, pain sensation, and sleep quality. A 2018 study published in the journal Pharmaceutical Biology revealed that a mixture of GABA with the amino acid theanine, which is known to promote relaxation and also makes the GABA more bioavailable, was associated with an increase in sleep duration in laboratory mice. 

GABA supplements, both with and without theanine, may provide you with a powerful sleep aid and an alternative to melatonin. Many people take GABA supplements also for ADD, to help ease premenstrual symptoms, and to decrease anxiety, but not enough studies on possible side effects have been done (via WebMD). The use of GABA was linked to a case of liver toxicity in a 2018 study published in the journal Cureus, but the researchers state that this effect is uncommon and that it was resolved as soon as the use of GABA was discontinued.

Jujube fruit can help you fall asleep faster

The jujube fruit is a kind of date that is native to Asia, where it has a long history of use in traditional Chinese medicine, and is now consumed all over the world. Because it's so rich in vitamins and antioxidants, jujube fruit is considered a superfood. Not only that, it is commonly used as a natural anti-anxiety treatment and sleep aid (via Healthline). A 2013 study published in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary Medicine found that jujube seeds could induce a "hypnotic" effect in lab mice that significantly increased their total sleep time.

The saponins in jujube have been found to naturally trigger the body's own production of sleep-inducing hormones and neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin (via The Sleep Doctor), making it an excellent choice for those looking for a natural plant-based sleep aid. Jujube fruit is commonly available from Chinese medicine shops and online in both whole and capsulated formulas. According to a 2017 study published in the journal Clinical Pytoscience, supplementing with jujube fruit did not show any signs of toxicity even when administered at high doses.