Last Updated: August 16, 2022

Sleep has a profound impact on the health of the entire body. Various supplements have been shown to have positive impacts on sleep.

Why do we need sleep?

Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining brain health, reducing the risk for neurodegenerative and cardiovascular disease, bolstering the immune system, sustaining good mental health, and recovering from the stressors of the day. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society recommends that adults (over 18 years of age) should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night.[1] Sleep deprivation is associated with obesity, and this relationship may be due to changes in eating, activity levels and hormone levels.[2]

How could diet affect sleep?

Changes in an individual’s dietary pattern can impact their sleep architecture. A meta-analysis found that high carbohydrate intake increases rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, whereas low carbohydrate intake increases non-rapid-eye movement (non-REM sleep).[3] Also, some observational studies have found an association between increased healthy food (e.g. fruits, vegetables, fiber, seafood, and whole grains) intake and improved sleep quality.[4] In essence, consuming a balanced and nutrient-rich diet may help to optimize sleep.

Which supplements are of most interest for sleep?

The supplements of most interest are apigenin (the active ingredient in chamomile), California poppy, cannabidiol, hops, passionflower, kava, lavender, magnesium, melatonin, and valerian. However, it is best to consult a healthcare provider before consuming any sleep supplement because they may interact with prescription medications.

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