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4 Supplements to Help Your Sleep


L-theanine is a unique amino acid found almost exclusively in tea plants (Camellia sinensis). Clinical studies have demonstrated that L-theanine reduces stress, improves the quality of sleep, diminishes the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome), heightens mental acuity, and reduces the negative side effects of caffeine. At typical dosages, e.g., 100–200 mg, L-theanine does not act as a sedative, but it does significantly improve sleep quality. It is an excellent support agent to melatonin and 5-HTP.

When taken together, the above three ingredients exert synergistic effects to promote restful sleep. NOTE: At higher single dosages, e.g., 600 mg, L-theanine does exert a sedative effect.


In terms of herbal medicine, there is no question that valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is the most popular remedy for insomnia. Recent scientific studies have substantiated valerian’s ability to improve sleep quality and relieve insomnia. In a large double-blind study involving 128 subjects, it was shown that an aqueous extract of valerian root improved the subjective ratings for sleep quality and sleep latency (the time required to get to sleep), but left no “hangover” the next morning.

In a follow-up study, valerian extract was shown to significantly reduce sleep latency and improve sleep quality in sufferers of insomnia and was suggested to be as effective in reducing sleep latency as small doses of benzodiazepines (Valium).

The difference, however, arises from the fact that these drugs also result in increased morning sleepiness. Valerian, on the other hand, actually reduces morning sleepiness. As a mild sedative, valerian may be taken at the following dose 30–45 minutes before retiring: dried root (or as tea): 1–2 g; tincture (1:5): 4–6 ml (1–1.5 tsp); fluid extract (1:1): 1–2 ml (0.5–1 tsp); or valerian extract (0.8% valeric acid): 150–300 mg.

If morning sleepiness does occur, reduce the dosage. If the dosage was not effective, be sure to eliminate those factors that disrupt sleep, such as caffeine and alcohol, before increasing the dosage.

* * * * *

Adapted from the new book, Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia! What the Drug Companies Won’t Tell You and Your Doctor Doesn’t Know.

Michael T. Murray ND is a naturopathic physician regarded as one of the world’s top authorities on natural medicine. An educator, lecturer, researcher, and health food industry consultant, he is the author of more than 30 books, including his newest with coauthor Joseph Pizzorno ND, The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (Atria, 2012). Learn more at If you subscribe to Dr. Murray’s Fast Facts newsletter online, and you will receive a free copy of his book Stress, Anxiety and Insomnia.

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Read more: General Health, Health, Insomnia, Mental Wellness, Natural Remedies,

By Dr. Michael T. Murray

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1:02PM PST on Dec 9, 2012

Try reading a dull and pretentious dispatch from John Boehner! It works wonders.

8:02PM PST on Dec 4, 2012

Hate sleeping pills. The best way to fall asleep for me is to go to bed while watching a movie...this never fails.

8:52AM PST on Dec 3, 2012

Melatonin has just recently been exposed as a poor and somewhat dangerous sleep aide by Dr. Oz. The best sleep aide is a clear conscience, a glass of pure (probably distilled) water, a thankful prayer to Jesus for ourselves and all those that are needful and in pain, not only humans but all life forms. Who can not feel compassion for a little wolf puppy or a little veal calf that man has chosen to torment in the name of greed and the almighty dollar. Clean up your life and you will sleep like a baby without the chemical pills.

12:58PM PST on Dec 2, 2012

Nice!. I will try some of them. Thanks!!!

9:54PM PST on Nov 30, 2012

Try Stemtech. You will sleep like a baby

7:56PM PST on Nov 13, 2012

thanks for this, it was useful, I think I'll try 5-htp

11:36AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

I suffer from quite severe insomnia and have to take low dose sedating anti-depressants and benzodiazepines to sleep. I would avoid both if I could. I find 1.5 mg melatonin helps get me off to sleep and I use valerian if I wake in the night, but it only works for a couple of days.


I haven't tried L-theanine, and don't know if I can, given the other medication I am on.

I have found the following helpful:
Chamomile tea
Marjoram essential oil
Lavender es. oil
Frankinsense es. oil,
Magnesium (over 150 mg)
Lecithin 2,400mg before bed or when waking as well as a couple of times during the day
Listening to Delta sleep CD as I go to sleep
Listening to Audiobooks in bed if I cannot drift off.

9:53AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

Chamomile tea is good too.

9:50AM PST on Nov 8, 2012

There's two I've not heard of, may try, but the melatonin and valerian both made me sick to my stomach. GERD is no fun. I may give those two others a try though.

5:09AM PST on Nov 8, 2012


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