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Can a Vitamin or Supplement Help You Sleep Better?

By Pam Dewey • sleep aids, sleep strategies, sleep solutions, can vitamins help with sleep, vitamins and insomnia, supplements and insomnia, difficulty with sleep, help with sleep, melatonin and sleep, magnesium and sleep, natural sleep remedies, natural sleep remedy, sleep better • February 09, 2023

Few things are more restorative than a good night’s sleep. Sleeping well makes you feel refreshed, less stressed and gives you a clearer head throughout the day. 

The flip side, of course, is not getting enough sleep or having insomnia. This leaves you feeling drained, edgy and more likely to make mistakes. Missing sleep can also have long-term health impacts. According to Healthline, “What’s more, getting insufficient sleep has been linked to a higher risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity.”

Good sleep habits are an important part of a good night’s sleep. Practice good sleep hygiene, like avoiding screens for an hour before bed, sticking with a set bedtime, creating a bedtime routine and using room-darkening curtains. But perhaps you’ve tried all these things and are still having difficulty sleeping. You may be wondering if a vitamin can really help you sleep better.

Here’s what you need to know about some vitamins and supplements recommended as sleep solutions.


You’ve likely heard of using melatonin as a sleep aid. Healthline states, “Melatonin is a hormone your body produces naturally that signals to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Time of day influences this hormone’s cycle of production and release — melatonin levels naturally rise in the evening and fall in the morning.” In other words, your body makes more melatonin at night to let you know it’s time to sleep. For people who work night shifts, melatonin may help since you’re working against your body’s natural rhythms. It may also be helpful with jet lag. But Cleveland Clinic states, “It hasn’t been found to aid typical insomnia.” But what if you want to give it a try anyway? As long as you’re not pregnant or on a blood thinner, Healthline states, “Melatonin supplements appear to be safe for adults when used for short periods.”

You can also actually get melatonin from some of the foods you eat. According to EatingWell, “Your body makes melatonin from an amino acid called tryptophan found in foods (turkey is an infamous one), but plenty of dietary staples—tomatoes, oats, milk—contain straight-up melatonin.”


Magnesium is a mineral that occurs in the body and is involved in “300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.” Magnesium helps the body with many important functions. According to Healthline, “Studies show that magnesium’s relaxing effect may be partly due to its ability to regulate melatonin production. Magnesium is known to relax muscles and induce sleep.”

Some studies have supported that magnesium helps with relaxation and sleep. A study of 60 adults with insomnia found that “that supplementation with magnesium-melatonin-vitamin B complex for 3 months has a significant positive effect on sleep disturbances and is highly effective for the treatment of patients with insomnia.” So should you take it? Magnesium is considered safe for pregnant people. However, people who take excessive amounts of magnesium report having some digestive issues.

You could also increase your consumption of magnesium-rich foods. EatingWell states that foods that are good sources of magnesium include “nuts and seeds, especially pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, cashews, peanuts and almonds; spinach, edamame, and black beans.”


Lavender is a plant with purple flowers that is made into a commonly used essential oil. It’s also used in soap, bath bombs and other personal care products. Lavender is believed to have a calming smell, so it makes sense that it could aid with sleep. Like the other supplements, there haven’t been enough studies to conclusively state whether it helps with sleep. Should you take it? According to Healthline, as long as it isn’t ingested, it has no known side effects.

Valerian root

Valerian is an herb found in Europe and Asia. According to Healthline, “Its root is commonly used as a natural treatment for symptoms of anxiety, depression and menopause.” Some studies have also shown that taking valerian root can help with sleep. This may be more effective for people who are menopausal or postmenopausal. According to the Journal of Menopausal Medicine, “After intake of 530 mg of valerian twice a day for one month, statistically significant effects were observed regarding the quality of sleep of postmenopausal women…36% of women reported a significant improvement [in] comparison to only 8% in the placebo group.” Other studies show that it has little effect on helping people sleep better. Should you take it? Ingesting valerian is considered safe in the short term, though there are some possible minor side effects.

Basically, some vitamins and supplements have been shown to help some people with sleep. In other words, you may want to give one of these a try, but you should consult your doctor before adding any supplements. Your doctor can advise you on whether a vitamin is safe with your other medications and can help you determine the appropriate amount or dosage. Additionally, you may want to consider other factors could be affecting your sleep.

Anxiety can be a barrier to sleep. In fact, one of the symptoms of anxiety is difficulty sleeping. According to the Mayo Clinic, “people with anxiety disorders have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.” If you think your insomnia may be due to anxiety, consider reaching out to a mental health professional or your doctor. Fraser offers mental health services for adults, including individual, family and group therapy. Many of these services are available through telehealth.