8 Best Nootropics For Sleep In 2022

Written on October 30, 2022 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

In this article, I'll look closely at the 8 best nootropics for sleep. I'll also cover the potential risks and side effects you may run into and the benefits you can expect.

Have you ever struggled to fall asleep or stay asleep at night?

According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, many Americans do not get enough sleep. In America, 70% of adults say that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night a month and 11% report insufficient sleep every single night [1]“The State of Sleep Health in America in 2022.” SleepHealth, 27 July 2022, https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/..

The American Sleep Apnea Association reports that 50 to 70 million people in America are affected by sleep-related problems, regardless of age or socioeconomic status.

Fortunately, nootropics can provide a solution to this widespread issue. Nootropics, also known as 'smart drugs' or 'cognitive enhancers', are substances that improve cognition and executive functions, such as memory and attention.

Some nootropics also assist with sleep thanks to their calming and sedative effects. Let's examine the 8 best nootropics for sleep in 2022.

The best nootropics for sleep, according to scientific evidence, are:

  • NooCube
  • L-Theanine
  • Phenibut
  • Ashwagandha
  • Lion's Mane Mushroom
  • 5-HTP
  • Magnesium
  • Melatonin

1. NooCube

NooCube is a nootropic blend containing multiple nootropic ingredients that work synergistically to improve cognitive function and sleep.

One of the key ingredients in NooCube is Huperzine A. Huperzine A is an alkaloid that comes from the Chinese Club Moss. It has the ability to improve short-term memory and long-term brain health by inhibiting the breakdown of acetylcholine (ACh).

According to recent studies, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as Huperzine A, may actually improve the quality of your sleep.

In one study done on an ACh inhibitor called Donepezil, it was revealed that not only does REM sleep increase, but so does REM density [2]Schredl, M et al. “Donepezil-induced REM sleep augmentation enhances memory performance in elderly, healthy persons.” Experimental gerontology vol. 36,2 (2001): 353-61. … Learn more. Furthermore, they noted a clear connection between memory performance and how much REM sleep the patients obtained.

NooCube Pros

  • All-natural ingredients
  • It can improve both cognitive functions and sleep quality
  • A synergistic blend of nootropics
  • Ships worldwide

NooCube Cons

  • Not ideal for people on a budget

NooCube in Summary

NooCube is a blend of nootropics and sleep aids, with key ingredients such as Huperzine A and L-Theanine that can improve cognitive function and sleep quality.

2. L-Theanine

L-theanine is a nootropic compound that is found naturally in tea leaves.

It is also available as a dietary supplement and has been studied for its potential health benefits. L-theanine has been shown to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality without causing drowsiness [3]Rao, Theertham P et al. “In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition vol. 34,5 (2015): 436-47. doi:10.1080/07315724.2014.926153.

It works by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation. L-theanine also increases serotonin levels, another neurotransmitter that plays a role in sleep [4]Nathan, Pradeep J et al. “The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.” Journal of herbal pharmacotherapy vol. 6,2 (2006): … Learn more.

In addition, L-theanine helps to reduce stress by decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

L-theanine is a great option if you're looking for a natural sleep aid without any harsh side effects.

L-Theanine Pros

  • A Natural nootropic found in tea leaves
  • Promotes relaxation and improves sleep
  • Does not cause drowsiness
  • Reduces stress levels

L-Theanine Cons

  • Some people may need to take higher doses for optimal effects

L-Theanine in Summary

Commonly found in tea leaves, L-theanine is a natural nootropic that can improve sleep quality and reduce stress without causing drowsiness. It works by increasing levels of GABA and serotonin.

3. Phenibut

Phenibut is a tranquilizer and nootropic that is commonly used to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. First synthesized in Russia in the 1960s, it has been used in clinical settings for its sedative and anxiolytic effects.

Phenibut is an analogue of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA, and the presence of a phenyl ring allows Phenibut to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), making it more potent than GABA by itself [5]Lapin, I. “Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug.” CNS drug reviews vol. 7,4 (2001): 471-81. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x.

Taken at the 1000 mg dose, Phenibut can improve sleep quality. However, some people may experience a hangover effect the next day.

Phenibut can be addictive and should be used with caution. It is not recommended for long-term use and should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

Phenibut Pros

  • Improves sleep and reduces anxiety
  • More potent than GABA by itself
  • Can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB)

Phenibut Cons

  • Can be addictive

Phenibut in Summary

Used in Russia for its sedative and anxiolytic effects, Phenibut is a potent nootropic that can improve sleep quality. However, it should be used with caution and not for long-term use. It is also important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking Phenibut.

4. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera) is an adaptogen that has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

Its roots and berries are used to make teas and supplements that are said to offer a variety of health benefits. Some people use it as a natural treatment for anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study conducted at Prakruti Hospital, Kalwa, Maharashtra, India, with a total of 60 patients found that Ashwagandha effectively reduced insomnia at a 300 mg dose [6]Langade, Deepak et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study.” Cureus vol. 11,9 … Learn more.

The study looked at the efficacy and safety of Ashwagandha in insomnia and found that it effectively improved sleep quality and reduced waking during the night.

Ashwagandha Pros

  • Used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries
  • Improves sleep and reduces anxiety
  • Safe at recommended doses

Ashwagandha Cons

  • It may take several weeks to notice the effects

Ashwagandha in Summary

Found in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that can improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety. It may take several weeks to notice the effects, but it is considered safe at recommended doses.

5. Lion's Mane Mushroom

Lion's Mane Mushroom (Hericium Erinaceus) is a type of edible fungus that has traditionally been used in Chinese cuisine. Recently, it has gained popularity as a natural nootropic supplement due to its purported cognitive-enhancing effects.

Preliminary research suggests that Lion's Mane Mushroom improves cognitive function in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and it has also been shown to enhance cognitive performance in healthy adults [7]Mori, Koichiro et al. “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Phytotherapy research … Learn more.

As a nootropic, Lion's Mane Mushroom works by increasing nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in the brain [8]Lai, Puei-Lene et al. “Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International journal of medicinal mushrooms vol. … Learn more. NGF is a protein that plays an important role in neuronal development and plasticity and is protective against age-related cognitive decline.

Lion's Mane Mushroom has also been shown to improve mood and sleep disorders [9]Vigna, Luisella et al. “Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?.” … Learn more.

Lion's Mane Mushroom Pros

  • Natural and safe nootropic supplement
  • Improves cognitive function, sleep and mood
  • Protects against age-related cognitive decline

Lion's Mane Mushroom Cons

  • Can take several weeks for effects to become noticeable

Lion's Mane Mushroom in Summary

Lion's Mane Mushroom is a natural nootropic supplement that can improve cognitive function, mood, and sleep. It may take several weeks for the effects to become noticeable, but it also protects against age-related cognitive decline.

6. 5-HTP

5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid and precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Serotonin plays important roles in mood, sleep, and appetite regulation.

Research suggests that 5-HTP can improve symptoms of insomnia as well as improve sleep quality [10]Maffei, Massimo E. “5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 22,1 181. … Learn more.

When taken as a supplement, 5-HTP increases serotonin levels in the brain and has also been shown to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety.

5-HTP Pros

  • Precursor to serotonin
  • Improves symptoms of insomnia and improves sleep quality
  • Improves symptoms of depression and anxiety

5-HTP Cons

  • Interacts with SSRIs

5-HTP in Summary

As a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, 5-HTP can improve insomnia symptoms and sleep quality. It also benefits mood, improving symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, it should be used with caution if taking SSRI medications.

7. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral found in many foods and is also available as a supplement. It plays important roles in many bodily processes, including muscle and nerve function and energy production.

Magnesium has been shown to improve insomnia. One study looked at the effectiveness and safety of magnesium supplementation for older adults with insomnia [11]Mah, Jasmine, and Tyler Pitre. “Oral magnesium supplementation for insomnia in older adults: a Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis.” BMC complementary medicine and therapies vol. 21,1 125. 17 … Learn more.

The study featured 151 older adults from 3 countries and showed that post-intervention sleep onset latency time after magnesium supplementation was significantly lower than placebo, by an average of 17 minutes (95% CI - 27.27 to - 7.44, p = 0.0006).

Magnesium Pros

  • Improves sleep onset latency
  • Safe option for older adults with insomnia
  • Cheap and widely available in food sources and supplement form

Magnesium Cons

  • The data is not as robust for other age groups

Magnesium in Summary

Commonly found in food sources and available as a supplement, magnesium has been shown to improve sleep onset latency in older adults with insomnia. More research is needed for other age groups, but it is generally considered to be a safe option.

8. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that the body produces naturally in response to darkness. It helps regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle and is often used as a dietary supplement to treat insomnia and jet lag.

Melatonin works by mimicking the effects of natural melatonin in the body, helping to induce and improve sleep.

Research has shown that melatonin can improve sleep efficiency, sleep onset latency, and overall quality of sleep [12]Ferracioli-Oda, Eduardo et al. “Meta-analysis: melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders.” PloS one vol. 8,5 e63773. 17 May. 2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063773.

Melatonin is a safe and effective option if you're looking for a supplement to help improve your sleep.

Melatonin Pros

  • Mimics natural melatonin in the body
  • Improves sleep efficiency
  • Improves sleep onset latency, and overall quality of sleep
  • A safe and effective option for treating insomnia and jet lag

Melatonin Cons

  • May cause morning grogginess in some people

Melatonin in Summary

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body to regulate sleep-wake cycles. It can also be taken as a supplement to treat insomnia and jet lag, improving sleep efficiency and quality.

What Are the Best Nootropics for Sleep?

best nootropics for sleep

The best nootropics for sleep are, according to research are:

  1. NooCube
  2. L-Theanine
  3. Phenibut
  4. Ashwagandha
  5. Lion's Mane Mushroom
  6. 5-HTP
  7. Magnesium
  8. Melatonin

My list contains a mix of natural and synthetic nootropics, all of which have been shown to improve various aspects of sleep quality.

The best nootropics you'll find for sleep are those that regulate the body's natural sleep-wake cycle and improve sleep onset latency.

That said, it's important to remember that everyone's body chemistry is different, so what works for one person may not work for another.

How to Choose the Right Nootropic Supplement for Sleep?

When considering a nootropic supplement for sleep, it's important to do your research and consult with a healthcare professional.

Look for supplements that have been studied and shown to improve sleep quality in clinical trials.

Also, consider any potential drug interactions with any medications you may be taking, as well as the safety profile of the supplement.

I highly recommend looking into nootropic blends such as NooCube, which contains a blend of proven sleep-enhancing nootropics, rather than taking individual supplements on their own.

What Are the Benefits of Nootropics for Sleep?

The benefits of taking nootropics for sleep include

  • Improved sleep quality
  • Better sleep onset latency
  • Better overall rest during the night.

In addition, improving your sleep can lead to benefits such as increased focus and productivity during the day, enhanced cognitive function, and improved mood.

Overall, incorporating nootropic supplements into your routine can positively impact your physical and mental health.

It's important to remember that nootropics should not be used as a replacement for healthy sleep habits, such as maintaining a regular bedtime routine and practicing good sleep hygiene.

They should be used in conjunction with these healthy habits for the best results.

What Are the Side Effects of Nootropics for Sleep?

The side effects of nootropics for sleep will vary depending on the individual supplement.

However, common side effects can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Grogginess upon waking in the morning
  • Nausea

Some nootropic supplements may also interact with certain medications, so it's important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement.

Do Nootropics Really Work for Sleep?

Yes, nootropics have been shown in clinical studies to improve various aspects of sleep, such as sleep efficiency and quality.

Depending on the specific supplement and individual, they can be valuable to a healthy sleep routine. In some instances, they may even be a beneficial alternative to sleep medications.

Overall, incorporating nootropic supplements into your sleep routine and healthy sleep habits can lead to improved rest and enhanced cognitive function.

Final Thoughts

So what do I think is the best nootropic for sleep? It ultimately depends on your individual needs and body chemistry.

I recommend starting with a proven, well-researched nootropic blend such as NooCube. With NooCube, you get a blend of sleep-enhancing nootropics and can avoid the guesswork of finding the right individual supplement for you.

It will improve your sleep quality and enhance your cognitive function and overall physical and mental health.

Always remember to do your own research, consult with a healthcare professional, and never use nootropics as a replacement for healthy sleep habits. Good luck on your journey to better rest!

References

References
1“The State of Sleep Health in America in 2022.” SleepHealth, 27 July 2022, https://www.sleephealth.org/sleep-health/the-state-of-sleephealth-in-america/.
2Schredl, M et al. “Donepezil-induced REM sleep augmentation enhances memory performance in elderly, healthy persons.” Experimental gerontology vol. 36,2 (2001): 353-61. doi:10.1016/s0531-5565(00)00206-0
3Rao, Theertham P et al. “In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid.” Journal of the American College of Nutrition vol. 34,5 (2015): 436-47. doi:10.1080/07315724.2014.926153
4Nathan, Pradeep J et al. “The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.” Journal of herbal pharmacotherapy vol. 6,2 (2006): 21-30.
5Lapin, I. “Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug.” CNS drug reviews vol. 7,4 (2001): 471-81. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x
6Langade, Deepak et al. “Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study.” Cureus vol. 11,9 e5797. 28 Sep. 2019, doi:10.7759/cureus.5797
7Mori, Koichiro et al. “Improving effects of the mushroom Yamabushitake (Hericium erinaceus) on mild cognitive impairment: a double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 23,3 (2009): 367-72. doi:10.1002/ptr.2634
8Lai, Puei-Lene et al. “Neurotrophic properties of the Lion's mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia.” International journal of medicinal mushrooms vol. 15,6 (2013): 539-54. doi:10.1615/intjmedmushr.v15.i6.30
9Vigna, Luisella et al. “Hericium erinaceus Improves Mood and Sleep Disorders in Patients Affected by Overweight or Obesity: Could Circulating Pro-BDNF and BDNF Be Potential Biomarkers?.” Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM vol. 2019 7861297. 18 Apr. 2019, doi:10.1155/2019/7861297
10Maffei, Massimo E. “5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 22,1 181. 26 Dec. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijms22010181
11Mah, Jasmine, and Tyler Pitre. “Oral magnesium supplementation for insomnia in older adults: a Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis.” BMC complementary medicine and therapies vol. 21,1 125. 17 Apr. 2021, doi:10.1186/s12906-021-03297-z
12Ferracioli-Oda, Eduardo et al. “Meta-analysis: melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders.” PloS one vol. 8,5 e63773. 17 May. 2013, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063773