• Martha Lewis

What's the best sleep aid?

Updated: Mar 21, 2020

Find out supplements that can help you sleep. FYI I'm not promoting a particular product or discussing sleeping pills. Instead, I'm sharing some supplements that can help correct nutritional deficiencies that could be keeping your from sleeping!

Supplements for Sleep

I don’t recommend supplements unless I really need to because I’d like you to be able to sleep well without depending on anything. But there are a few supplements I recommend because being deficient in those nutrients will affect our ability to sleep. And I’m including information about herbal supplements because I recommend these for some of my clients.

Unless you’re eating a nearly perfect diet (and c’mon, who is?), I suggest taking a high quality, food-based multivitamin. My favorite brand is Garden of Life because they’re organic, non-GMO and the nutrients are actually extracted from food which means that we can absorb them better.

I also highly recommend magnesium because 80-90% of Americans are deficient in this mineral. I recommend a topical magnesium oil like the one from Ancient Minerals which is easily absorbed and won't give you the laxative effect that pills can. Another way to get magnesium is to take an epsom salt bath before bed.

If you don’t get enough calcium from dairy products and leafy greens in your diet, you may want to take a calcium supplement. It’s extremely important to take a food-based calcium supplement that also has vitamin K2, a nutrient that’s hard to get in our diet but that carries the calcium to your bones so it doesn’t circulate and calcify in your arteries. Calcium helps us sleep because it contains tryptophan, an amino acid the body uses to produce serotonin and melatonin. I suggest talking to a qualified practitioner before you start taking a calcium supplement.


Various herbs are know to help us relieve stress and sleep better. You want to take these 30-45 minutes before bed. Also, take them consistently for a month or so to determine if they’re helping.

Lemon balm helps relieve stress. 80-150mg can help reduce anxiety and insomnia.

Valerian, known as the queen of sleep herbs, has been shown in studies to improve sleep onset and consolidate nighttime sleep. You can take a small dose that’s in teas or up to 600 mg in a supplement. Valerian can cause nightmares, grogginess, headaches and nausea so start with a small dose and see if you react.

You can also try passionflower in tea or as a tincture. It has little to no side effects and has a mild sedative and calming effect.

Tart cherry juice has naturally occurring melatonin in it so I recommend that instead of melatonin supplements. You want to buy the concentrated liquid form without added sugar that’s found in the supplement section of health food stores.

Essential Oils

Lavender is a calming and relaxing herb that can help with insomnia, anxiety, depression and stress relief. Chamomile and jasmine oils help calm us as well.

If you have any questions about these supplements and how they can help you sleep, feel free to schedule a call with me!

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Martha Lewis, MS, APSC

Jackson Hole, WY



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MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed on this site and by Martha Lewis and guests are published for educational and informational purposes only, and are not intended as a diagnosis, treatment or as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a local physician or other health care professional for your specific health care and/or medical needs or concerns. Information on this website is provided for informational purposes only and not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified healthcare professional and is not intended as medical advice. Martha Lewis provides information based on her thorough education and encourages you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your health care provider promptly. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on this website. Information provided on this website and the use by you of any products or services referenced on this website DOES NOT create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Martha Lewis. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.