The human body is already equipped with all the necessary tools for a good night’s rest, but occasionally, the sleep cycle may need a little help to improve sleeping patterns.
There are many sleep aids available in the market to help you through, but it’s important to remember that not every sleep supplement is created equal.
Many supplements contain chemicals or synthetic ingredients with drug-like effects on normal brain function, while others have habituating compounds not regulated for safety.
Fortunately, occasional sleeplessness can be corrected by using safe and effective natural options that deliver beneficial results.
6 Best Nootropics For Sleep
- Performance Lab Sleep — Best Nootropic For Sleep Overall
- Neurohacker Qualia Night — Best Nootropic For Better Sleep and Recharge
- Onnit New Mood — Best Nootropic For Sleep and Relaxation
- Genius Sleep Aid — Innovative Formula For Lack Of Sleep
- Transparent Labs Sleep Aid — A Simple Non-habit-forming Sleep Aid
- Nootropics Depot Sleep Support — Good Blend To Fall Asleep Faster
Best Nootropic For Sleep Overall
Optimal sleep support that helps mental performance once you wake up is what a quality sleep stack will do for you. Our first recommendation checks all the boxes, making it a stellar nootropic stack.
Performance Lab Sleep promises to help you wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to take on the day. Banking on the sleep-boosting properties of magnesium, melatonin, and l-tryptophan, this 3-ingredient formula steers clear of any additives and synthetic ingredients.
Everything used in Performance Lab Sleep serves a purpose. First off is magnesium, with its muscle-relaxing and nerve-calming properties.
Natural melatonin is then sourced from Montmorency tart cherries that reduce sleep onset time and improve rest quality. And finally, we have l-tryptophan that promotes serotonin production.
With transparent nutrients and the ability to promote a calmer mindset that leads to a more profound, sounder slumber, what’s not to like about this popular supplement from Performance Lab?
What We Like
- Provides naturally sourced melatonin
- Boosts serotonin production
- Promotes relaxation
- Caffeine and allergen-free
- Non-groggy and non-addictive formula
What We Don’t Like
- Higher price tag
Best Nootropic For Better Sleep and Recharge
No one quite packs in a power punch like the manufacturers at Neurohacker, who know how to condense potency in a small capsule. They’ve done it for cognition, performance, immune support, and aging. Now comes their offering for improving sleepless nights.
Qualia Night contains a complex blend of popular nootropics, vitamins, antioxidants, adaptogens, amino acids, minerals, lipids, superfoods, and mushrooms to present a well-rounded sleep supplement.
Thanks to its comprehensive blend of ashwagandha, Gotu kola, holy basil, and reishi mushroom extracts, Qualia Night promotes a feeling of calm and tranquility.
It combines the amino acid, L-theanine, sourced from green tea extract with tryptophan to promote serotonin synthesis. At the same time, magnesium glycinate contributes by relaxing tense muscles.
And the best part is that Qualia Night does all this and much more without using melatonin. Intending to aid sleep and reduce anxiety, this nootropic is less concerned with melatonin than other nutrients known to relax the body and brain. But since it delivers results, who’s complaining?
What We Like
- Supports mental clarity and energy
- Reduces fatigue and enhances recovery
- Uses l-theanine
- Natural formulation
- Vegan and GMO-free
What We Don’t Like
- Possible drug interactions
Best Nootropic For Sleep and Relaxation
Serotonin is vital when it comes to stabilizing mood and providing sleep support. A supplement that can balance both in its formula is a win-win for us, and so we feel that our following recommendation fits the bill just right.
Onnit New Mood works by using brain boosters that enhance serotonin levels. It uses the raw building blocks of l-tryptophan and 5-HTP paired with the conversion catalyst B6 to jumpstart the process.
Plus, it cleverly combines a host of secondary ingredients like lemon balm extract, valerian, and chamomile to promote calm and relaxation while magnesium nudges the body to wind down physically.
While this product may be pricier than others in the market, you get what you pay for. So, if you’re on the lookout for pure, premium ingredients, then look no further than Onnit New Mood.
What We Like
- Third-party tested
- Caffeine and soy-free vegetarian capsules
- 90-day money-back guarantee
What We Don’t Like
- Reported side effects
- Pricey product
Innovative Formula For Lack Of Sleep
Getting the right mix of sleep-inducing ingredients, brain boosters, stress busters, and energy enhancers is as much of an art as it is a science. Not every supplement gets it right, but we found one that does and delivers as it promises.
#4 Genius Sleep Aid
Genius Sleep Aid is a cleverly formulated supplement that reduces anxiety and promotes deep restorative sleep by calming an overactive mind and boosting relaxation.
Five active ingredients go into Genius Sleep Aid’s formula to support a restful night’s sleep. That’s relatively basic among the best nootropics for sleep, but the Genius brand keeps things simple yet effective with their basal formula.
Free of any chemicals or synthetics, this supplement uses l-theanine and l-glycine to regulate natural sleeping for a longer time of rest.
Rutaecarpine works in line with caffeine detox, which is excellent news for caffeine drinkers, while melatonin promotes REM sleep. Inositol, though unusual in sleep supplements, collaborates with melatonin to improve sleep quality.
This sleep aid doesn’t rely on habit-forming ingredients like traditional prescription drugs yet gets you the quality sleep you deserve.
What We Like
- Positively affects the state of mind and sleep cycle
- Provides adrenal support
- Non-habit forming
What We Don’t Like
- Melatonin is underdosed
- Rutaecarpine is untested on humans
- Can present side effects
A Simple Non-habit-forming Sleep Aid
One of the most significant drawbacks of sleeping pills is their addictive nature. So, how do you get natural sleep without the risk of dependency? You turn to natural sleep aids that are non-habit forming, and we have one right here for you.
#5 Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
Transparent Labs Sleep Aid guarantees science-backed sleep using a blend of the best nootropics the help you fall asleep and stay sleeping.
Transparent Labs calls on the many usual suspects this nighttime nootropic to ease you into restorative sleep. There’s melatonin considered the gold standard in nootropics for sleep, followed by tart cherry, zinc, l-theanine, and magnesium, all therapeutic mainstays of sleep nootropics.
This sleep supplement’s plus point is its complete ingredient profile featuring nootropics that induce calming effects and improve sleep quality. This non-habit-forming product uses clinical doses for optimal results, designed with synergy in mind.
Using this supplement, your body gets to recover, repair, and heal as you dream.
What We Like
- Organically formulated
- No bulking ingredients or chemicals used
- Affordable pricing
What We Don’t Like
- No money-back offers
- Taking three caps per servings is inconvenient
- Not many user reviews
Good Blend To Fall Asleep Faster
If you’re looking for a supplement that will not only let you sleep faster but also improve your sleeping quality, shouldn’t cause grogginess, and be safe enough to take on the daily, take a close look at our next recommendation.
#6 Nootropics Depot Sleep Support
A product that benefits the onset, quality, and duration of sleep, Sleep Support from Nootropics Depot is an all-rounder that cuts every sleep angle.
A 6-ingredient product, Sleep Support, has been designed to cover all aspects of a good sleep experience. It works with a powerful blend of natural nootropics to calm the brain and body to help you fall asleep faster.
A powerful combination of lemon balm extract, magnolia bark, oleamide, and bacopa collaborate to yield relaxing effects while uridine monophosphate and shilajit join forces to enhance your rest experience.
So, if you’re looking to avoid melatonin but still get the best sleep experience, don’t hesitate to give Sleep Support a try.
What We Like
- Safe for daily use
- No groggy effects
What We Don’t Like
- Recommended dose may be too intense for some.
- Some ingredients lack sufficient scientific evidence
- Not many user reviews
Best Natural Nootropic Ingredients That Help With Sleep
To help improve sleep health and quality, eliminating stress is a good starting point. A quality sleep supplement will always address this issue and make falling asleep just a little easier.
The following are our top choices for supplements that optimize the nap experience. Many have sleep-boosting mechanisms that tie in with each other, so they may often be paired together in various sleep aids.
Not every nootropic we talk about today may have sedating effects, but they all share a potent resilience to stress, which makes them so effective as a nootropic that benefits sleep as well.
Based on the research and evidence, these are the nine most science-backed nootropics for improving sleep in healthy individuals:
- Montmorency Tart Cherry
- Bacopa Monnieri
- Lemon Balm
- Valerian Root
L-tryptophan is an amino acid that gets converted into 5-HTP, a molecule used for serotonin and melatonin production.
Serotonin is a sleep neurotransmitter that also influences cognition, mood, and memory. Once serotonin has been produced from tryptophan, it can then be converted into melatonin.
Melatonin is a hormone involved in the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
Taking L-tryptophan supplements may help with reducing the time it takes to sleep in individuals with sleep problems.
One study shows that people with mild insomnia using 1 gm of tryptophan taken 45 minutes before bedtime fell asleep faster than others (1).
Sleep-wise, magnesium supplements are multi-taskers as they are used to treat sleeping disorders and improve sleep quality and reduce sleep latency (2). Magnesium also plays a significant role in relaxing tense muscles.
There are different forms of magnesium available, but magnesium glycinate is used popularly in nootropic stacks.
A magnesium deficiency has often been linked to insomnia. One study with elderly adults showed that adding magnesium supplements to the diet resulted in longer nap duration, less wakefulness in early mornings, and superior sleep performance (3).
Magnesium also regulates GABA levels which play a crucial role in overall sleep health. GABA essentially powers down the brain for the night in sync with the circadian rhythm, helping calm the mind and body as you prepare for sleep.
By maintaining healthy GABA levels, magnesium allows for more restorative sleep.
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland that controls your sleep cycle. The sleep hormone works with the body’s circadian rhythm signaling to let it know when it’s time to sleep.
In supplement form, it is recommended for treating common sleep disorders like insomnia. It is also used when people suffer from jet lag or have a job that disrupts typical rest schedules.
Doctors may even recommend it for a condition called delayed sleep phase disorder. A person has trouble falling asleep at an acceptable bedtime and then has problems waking up at the desired time.
Melatonin supplementation is only recommended for short-term use since there is some concern that taking too much may stop the body from making it naturally.
Montmorency Tart Cherry
Montmorency tart cherry is seen as a very effective sleep supplement given its high melatonin, tryptophan, and proanthocyanidin content.
This cherry contains a much higher melatonin level than other varieties, giving it all the sleep benefits associated with melatonin. It also processes tryptophan which boosts serotonin and melatonin production.
And finally, Montmorency tart cherry contains anthocyanins which are naturally occurring antioxidants in food. One of its nootropic antioxidant activities includes improving sleep quality while collaborating with melatonin.
Various studies show that using tart cherry juice or extract can increase melatonin levels and improve sleep patterns (4).
One study working with insomnia patients showed that drinking tart cherry juice for two weeks increased their sleep time and sleep efficiency more than the placebo group (5).
This sleep nootropic is also an adaptogen that helps limit cortisol levels in the bloodstream.
Ashwagandha has been recommended for treating insomnia, where its triethylene glycol (TEG) content helps with sleep induction (6).
One animal study shows this active compound in ashwagandha to promote non-rapid eye movement sleep and moderately increase rapid eye movement sleep.
Another adaptogenic herb, bacopa monnieri, balances stress hormone levels to yield anxiolytic effects.
Bacopa has a time-honored tradition for being used to treat both sleeplessness and stress. It also protects the brain against the harmful effects of not sleeping well.
As a nootropic, bacopa is prized for its bacoside content that increases resilience to stress. It is a non-addictive addition to any nootropic stack that alleviates anxiety and depression, relaxes the mind without sedating, and positively regulates the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin.
Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb traditionally used to enhance mood, memory, and cognitive function. However, it has also shown the potential to soothe symptoms of stress and help people relax.
Studies have shown that taking lemon balm extract can increase a sense of calmness and reduce feelings of alertness. Likewise, it can also mitigate symptoms of anxiety, such as excitability and nervousness.
One study indicated that consuming foods with lemon balm improved the mood and cognitive effects of the participants (7).
When lemon balm is combined with valerian root, its sleep-boosting effects may multiply.
Valerian root is a common ingredient found in many sleep supplements today.
Some research indicates that valerian root may act as a sedative on the brain and nervous system. Other research is done on the herb to verify its sleeping benefits given its ability to reduce the amount of time needed to fall asleep and improve the quality of sleep.
One of its working mechanisms seems to be the ability to increase GABA levels in the brain. This has a calming effect on the brain, prompting the body to relax as well.
GABA is an amino acid produced naturally in the brain. It also functions as a neurotransmitter that facilitates communication between brain cells.
However, the primary role of GABA in the body is to reduce neuronal activity in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). This process helps the mind and body relax, reduce stress levels, yield a more balanced mood, and promote sleep.
Low GABA activity is linked to disturbed sleep and insomnia. One study showed GABA activity to be 30% lower in individuals with insomnia than others without this sleep disorder (8).
A stack of GABA and magnesium are often used together in sleep supplements.
How Nootropic Supplements Improve Sleep Quality
Nootropic supplements targeting improved sleep work by a few different mechanisms. While some will improve neurotransmitter levels, others will help increase the amount of time spent in deep or REM sleep.
But regardless of how nootropics get the desired effect, the eventual aim is to improve mental performance by helping people get a good night’s sleep.
Why? Because the idea is that it is difficult to achieve peak mental performance without optimal sleep habits.
Which Brain Functions Affect Sleep?
Two fundamental processes that regulate sleep include the circadian rhythm and sleep drive.
Of these, the circadian rhythm is a biological clock that controls sleep cycles. One function of the clock is to respond to light cues by increasing melatonin production at night and then switching it off with the approach of sunlight.
Sleep drive refers to the likelihood of falling asleep at a given time. Also known as homeostatic sleep drive, this happens as adenosine gradually accumulates during the day and then reduces during sleep.
Stages of Sleep
The brain goes through four sleep stages every night. Each stage of the sleep cycle has a different effect on the mind and body, with brain waves, eye movements, body temperature, breathing, blood pressure, and even dreams.
In the first stage, people go through light sleep with slow eye movement and reduced muscle activity. This stage is likely where you settle when you nap.
The second stage is slightly more profound than the first, with no eye movement and brain waves steadily slowing down.
The next stage is that of deep sleep, where it may become very distressing to wake someone up. Stage three has no eye movement or muscle activity, and being woken in this stage probably means you’ll find yourself confused and disoriented.
The final stage of the sleep cycle is called rapid eye movement or REM sleep. People in the REM sleep stage exhibit rapid breathing, eyes flickering, and limbs immobilized.
This is where most dreams happen, specifically the ones that are remembered. Lucid dreaming is most common during the REM sleep stage.
Why Nootropics Help With Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation presents some evident effects of tiredness, grogginess, and feeling out of sorts the next day. But others are not visible but take a toll on your physical and mental well-being.
Research links sleep deprivation to impaired brain functions like memory issues, trouble thinking and concentrating mood changes, and the risk of heightening anxiety and depression. On the physical side of things, too little sleep weakens the immune system, increases the risk for high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
The best natural nootropics for sleep focus on two areas of sleep difficulty: sleep onset and sleep duration to counter sleep deprivation. A problem in either area can lead to sleep deprivation.
People who don’t get enough sleep may have symptoms like difficulty remembering things. This happens because the brain hasn’t had sufficient time to create new memory pathways for information recently acquired.
Or, you may face other types of cognitive impairment such as trouble learning and focusing, reduced decision-making skills, or poor emotional or behavioral control. One disorder, sleep apnea, may even promote memory loss.
Carefully selected ingredients in sleep nootropics can help prevent sleep deprivation by addressing these and other related concerns. The best sleep nootropics will target multi-faceted aspects of sleep, cognition, and energy without having any severe side effects on health.
Because a healthy sleep state is essential to mental and physical well-being, you should not hesitate to invest in the best nootropics for sleep. What we have recommended today are standout sleep nootropics safe enough to take every day and with no severe side effects.
While all are worthy contenders, Performance Lab Sleep stands a cut above the rest with carefully selected and optimally dosed ingredients.
It offers excellent value with complete transparency on its nutrient profile and tops the charts using natural melatonin instead of the synthetic varieties of its competitors. We highly recommend it as your go-to sleep supplement.