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Sleep supplement suggestions


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#1 Zoroaster

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:23 PM


So this is maybe a little ancillary to the topic of nootropics but since sleep and cognition are pretty related I figured I'd post it here. Basically, I'd like to know what sleep supps you all have found effective. I've always had difficulty falling asleep, but lately I've been getting a lot better. Now, all of a sudden, I'm having a hard time staying asleep as well. Even when I'm extremely tired. It's been messing my up pretty bad the last few days. So I'm probably going to try putting together a new sleep stack. Here's what I've tried in the past:

Melatonin
Phenibut
ZMA (Zinc and Magnesium)
GABA
5-HTP
Bacopa

and they've all worked to varying degrees (except GABA which was more a body trip than a sleep aid). Has anyone tried Valarian or lemon balm? Inisitol? Any other suggestions? And please don't suggest "good sleep hygeine" or anything dietary. I'm meticulous about that stuff already. I'm just looking for supps.

#2 zm3thod

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Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:33 PM

So this is maybe a little ancillary to the topic of nootropics but since sleep and cognition are pretty related I figured I'd post it here. Basically, I'd like to know what sleep supps you all have found effective. I've always had difficulty falling asleep, but lately I've been getting a lot better. Now, all of a sudden, I'm having a hard time staying asleep as well. Even when I'm extremely tired. It's been messing my up pretty bad the last few days. So I'm probably going to try putting together a new sleep stack. Here's what I've tried in the past:

Melatonin
Phenibut
ZMA (Zinc and Magnesium)
GABA
5-HTP
Bacopa

and they've all worked to varying degrees (except GABA which was more a body trip than a sleep aid). Has anyone tried Valarian or lemon balm? Inisitol? Any other suggestions? And please don't suggest "good sleep hygeine" or anything dietary. I'm meticulous about that stuff already. I'm just looking for supps.


Melatonin seems to work for me. I have an erratic sleep schedule and only take it when I'm going to bed a couple hours earlier than normal. I take 300mcg, regular, time release, or the combo (LEF)
I think ZMA helps and I take it nightly. However, I've not noticed anything super-obvious from it (PrimaForce ZMA, GNC ZMA + Valerian when on B1G1)
5-HTP did nothing for me sleep wise. Made me feel uncomfortable no matter what time of day (100mg Source Naturals brand)
GABA was very strange for me. Supposedly doesn't cross the BBB, but that's not how I felt from it at all. Don't take it anymore, but may be helpful at low dose (True Protein powder)

I don't notice a difference between my regular ZMA and my ZMA w/ Valerian Root and Hops Flower (500mg -> 4mg Valerenic Acid), 120mg)

Maybe the time-release melatonin would help for you? Cheap and worth a shot

Edited by zm3thod, 26 January 2010 - 10:35 PM.


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#3 csrpj

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 01:24 AM

magnesium, taurine, inisitol, bacopa help me out. melatonin makes me sleepy, but if i'm anxious, i'll just be up and drowsy which is no fun.

cannabis actually helps me a lot, and i sometimes use it for simply going to bed. works almost every time.

another things that helps me is hypnosis and brainwave entertainment. there are a few self-hypnosis tracks which drift me to sleep, and there is a binaural beat recording called "deep relaxation" - it last 20 mins, and usually i get so relaxed and tried before it's even over.

#4 Zoroaster

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:06 AM

magnesium, taurine, inisitol, bacopa help me out. melatonin makes me sleepy, but if i'm anxious, i'll just be up and drowsy which is no fun.

cannabis actually helps me a lot, and i sometimes use it for simply going to bed. works almost every time.

another things that helps me is hypnosis and brainwave entertainment. there are a few self-hypnosis tracks which drift me to sleep, and there is a binaural beat recording called "deep relaxation" - it last 20 mins, and usually i get so relaxed and tried before it's even over.


What kind of dose do you take on the taurine? I've got a whole tub of that stuff.

#5 tritium

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:24 AM

I wouldn't recommended taking melatonin (if you are male) since I've read several journals indicating that it lowers testosterone levels. I have also seemed to experience this effect.

Otherwise, I currently take 150mg trazodone and it puts me to sleep within 30 minutes and keeps me asleep all night. You will probably have to see your doctor to get an rx for this. It is the best one I have tried. Other things that work for me are benadryl and ZMA, but not even close to the effectiveness of what I currently take. The only thing with benadryl is it gives you a hangover all of the next day since it is an anticholinergic.

#6 csrpj

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 04:37 AM

is ZMA much more effective than just magnesium?

#7 Declmem

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 05:57 AM

Doxylamine. Not a "supplement" but an antihistamine. Unlike diphenhydramine it doesn't build up a tolerance, and unlike tylenol PM doesn't leave you feeling like crap the next morning.

I've even semi-confirmed that it helps with my cognition the day after. It might not be the doxylamine in particular, but more a good night's rest. However, I have compared it to Ambien CR, and doxylamine results in better scores on memory tests the day after, hands down.

Personally, ZMA has never had noticable effects for me.

Melotonin is excellent for cat naps, so I only use it when I'm feeling ill and need to rest. If I take it nightly it always wakes me up in the middle of the night, and sometimes doesn't work at all :(

Edited by Declmem, 27 January 2010 - 05:59 AM.


#8 tlm884

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:29 AM

Doxylamine. Not a "supplement" but an antihistamine. Unlike diphenhydramine it doesn't build up a tolerance, and unlike tylenol PM doesn't leave you feeling like crap the next morning.

I've even semi-confirmed that it helps with my cognition the day after. It might not be the doxylamine in particular, but more a good night's rest. However, I have compared it to Ambien CR, and doxylamine results in better scores on memory tests the day after, hands down.

Personally, ZMA has never had noticable effects for me.

Melotonin is excellent for cat naps, so I only use it when I'm feeling ill and need to rest. If I take it nightly it always wakes me up in the middle of the night, and sometimes doesn't work at all :(


Totally agree on the doxylamine.

#9 Thorsten3

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 10:06 AM

Glycine is worth a go

#10 Zoroaster

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:24 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Last night I tried 12.5mg doxylamine (via nyquil) plus 1000mg valarian (0.1% concentration) and 5mg melatonin w/30mg theanine. I fell asleep pretty easily (45 min which is good for me) but sure enough I woke up 4 hrs later and could not sleep. This despite only 3-4 hours of sleep for the last 3 days in a row. This was especially bad because I had an exam this morning. Which did not go well but I'll recover.

#11 Zoroaster

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:29 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Last night I tried 12.5mg doxylamine (via nyquil) plus 1000mg valarian (0.1% concentration) and 5mg melatonin w/30mg theanine. I fell asleep pretty easily (45 min which is good for me) but sure enough I woke up 4 hrs later and could not sleep. This despite only 3-4 hours of sleep for the last 3 days in a row. This was especially bad because I had an exam this morning. Which did not go well but I'll recover.


I will say though that I felt pretty decent upon waking all things considered. I definitely wasn't groggy. Or rather, I didn't feel the "drugged" kind of groggy that I sometimes get with sleep aids. I was still tired, naturally. Is there an extended release doxylamine preperation? I think I'm going to have to focus on things with a longer duration of action if I'm going to stay asleep.

Edited by Zoroaster, 27 January 2010 - 06:32 PM.


#12 Imagination

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:35 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Last night I tried 12.5mg doxylamine (via nyquil) plus 1000mg valarian (0.1% concentration) and 5mg melatonin w/30mg theanine. I fell asleep pretty easily (45 min which is good for me) but sure enough I woke up 4 hrs later and could not sleep. This despite only 3-4 hours of sleep for the last 3 days in a row. This was especially bad because I had an exam this morning. Which did not go well but I'll recover.



I wake up a few hours later when i take 3mg of melatonin, when i snap the tab in half i sleep much better, don't wake up, and don't feel groggy in the morning either like i would from 3mg. It may seem odd but it works better at lower doses, i usually 1.5-1mg works well, alot of other people have found the same from reading on some forums.

#13 Declmem

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:52 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions so far. Last night I tried 12.5mg doxylamine (via nyquil) plus 1000mg valarian (0.1% concentration) and 5mg melatonin w/30mg theanine. I fell asleep pretty easily (45 min which is good for me) but sure enough I woke up 4 hrs later and could not sleep. This despite only 3-4 hours of sleep for the last 3 days in a row. This was especially bad because I had an exam this morning. Which did not go well but I'll recover.


Just try doxylamine alone. Get the 25mg version that is just doxylamine. When I combine it with melatonin I get the same reaction.

Edited by Declmem, 27 January 2010 - 06:58 PM.


#14 KimberCT

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:54 PM

I've been having a hard time falling asleep and frequent awakenings for the last couple months. Unusual because I used to fall asleep in minutes and sleep through my alarm.

Melatonin will help me fall asleep, but I always end up waking up in the middle of the night unable to fall back asleep. Time released doesn't help.

25mg doxylamine or 25mg quetiapine allows me to sleep through the night, but it gives me a groggy hangover the next day.

Cyproheptadine used to work great... but suddenly does nothing for me.

I think I'll give a large dose of kava a shot tonight.

#15 viltro

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 06:56 PM

I generally have trouble sleeping, but this is pretty much my fault due to poor regime. I take 5-HTP during high stress periods, like now, when there are exams. I find it doesn't make me fall asleep but does make me generally more relaxed. To actually sleep I drink a valerian tea in a ritualistic manner, so that I come to associate it with going to bed. If I'm having serious troubles I take 1-2 nytol "one a night"s (diphenhydramine) but I find they can mess up my morning unless I'm able sleep for a full 11 hours. The most success I've had with improved sleep is by going to sleep and waking up at the same time and also never do anything like reading or watching tv in bed.

I also enjoy cannabis and for sleep recommend it be ingested 1 hour prior to going to bed, there are some good hot chocolate recipes for this. I find smoking results in sluggishness after waking. Obviously, your opinion, ability and desire to try this may vary.

Aside from supplements, the gorgeous Kate Silverton did an episode of the BBC series "10 things you need to know.." entitled sleep. One of the techniques involves tightening every palpable muscle from toe to head in turn, I personally found this to be quite good though I don't have a practical reference for it to hand. It seems to work as an effective means of clearing your mind and relaxing (I frequently find myself getting out of bed and turning on lights to write down ideas or notes).


Why does doxylamine seem to only come in really large boxes? It sounds much more useful than diphenhydramine, I might have to try it at some point.

Edited by viltro, 27 January 2010 - 07:02 PM.


#16 Declmem

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:01 PM

Why does doxylamine seem to only come in really large boxes? It sounds much more useful than diphenhydramine, I might have to try it at some point.


When I go to target or kroger I always see it in varying sizes. However, I just usually get the generic Kroger brand that has 90+ tablets for like $6.

Unisom is the most popular brand name for it, but its much more expensive than generics obviously.

#17 Zoroaster

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 07:21 PM

Just try doxylamine alone. Get the 25mg version that is just doxylamine. When I combine it with melatonin I get the same reaction.



I'm definitely interested in trying the 25mg version because I generally really like the effects of nyquil. I suppose the melatonin could be a problem but I've been taking melatonin for years. Literally like 7 years, most nights, and I've never had a problem with it before. And I've combined it with nyquil before on several occasions. Most of the time at 5mg.

#18 kassem23

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:25 PM

Any advice on how to deal with sleep deprivation most effectively?

#19 Zoroaster

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 08:59 PM

Any advice on how to deal with sleep deprivation most effectively?



I have pretty serious sleep deprivation on a regular basis and have developed some techniques for dealing with it. Unfortunately, none of them are very good for you. For one, I don't eat much. Keeps my stress hormones high, and the constant state of mild hunger keeps me more alert. A long the same lines I make sure not to dress warmly so as to be constantly slightly cold. It's best if I'm almost shivering. Once again it just helps keep me more alert and aware. I also try to shower mid-day instead of in the morning. Since showering gives me an alertness boost for a few hours. If I'm getting tired, I do some pushups, take a brisk walk around the block or up the stairs, or try to get in a friendly debate, which generally wakes me back up. Keeping busy in general is good. I also try to sit down as little as possible and stay in brightly lit areas. Going outside periodically helps as well. If I'm really serious about it I'll also drink more water than usual so I have to hit the restroom more often. The feeling of needing to pee and the frequent trips to the brightly lit bathroom environment help. They're little things but taken together they make a pretty big difference, for me at least.

Also, caffeine.

Edited by Zoroaster, 27 January 2010 - 09:06 PM.


#20 meursault

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Posted 27 January 2010 - 11:27 PM

Glycine is worth a go


Ditto. Somewhere between 500mg and 1g works for me.

What about niacin? I've heard anecdotal reports about successfully sleeping after a niacin flush a couple hours before bed.

#21 425runner

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 12:19 AM

Mellisa officinalis aka lemon balm as a tea or RELORA capsules will induce relaxation, then Phenibut 1-2 grams followed by a spritzer (1/2 seltzer & wine) will further deepen your need to sleep and about an hour later take 500 - 1 gr/glycine which will promote deeper sleep. I found a supplement called Somnidren GH which works pretty well but I always wake up "wired" it has a lot of L-dopa in it. But will help you sleep for sure.........also, sometimes a glass of milk and a cookie works. :-D


Glycine is worth a go


Ditto. Somewhere between 500mg and 1g works for me.

What about niacin? I've heard anecdotal reports about successfully sleeping after a niacin flush a couple hours before bed.



#22 Zoroaster

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Posted 28 January 2010 - 10:22 AM

Glycine is worth a go


Ditto. Somewhere between 500mg and 1g works for me.

What about niacin? I've heard anecdotal reports about successfully sleeping after a niacin flush a couple hours before bed.



Hmm, I may have to check out glycine. It seems interesting but looks like it could actually be stimulating if one gets the dose wrong. I don't know about niacin though. I've only had a niacin flush once but it was a pretty seriously unpleasant experience. But frankly, if nothing else works then I'd be willing to give it a go.

I'm trying 12.5mg of doxylamine with 1g valerian again tonight. I cut out the melatonin this time so we'll see how it goes.

#23 Zoroaster

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 01:46 AM

Hmm, I may have to check out glycine. It seems interesting but looks like it could actually be stimulating if one gets the dose wrong. I don't know about niacin though. I've only had a niacin flush once but it was a pretty seriously unpleasant experience. But frankly, if nothing else works then I'd be willing to give it a go.

I'm trying 12.5mg of doxylamine with 1g valerian again tonight. I cut out the melatonin this time so we'll see how it goes.


That did not work. I got about 2.5 hrs last night. Took me a long time to fall asleep and then I woke up shortly thereafter and wasn't able to get back to sleep. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to get some serious stuff because I'm verging on delusional here. But after that's used up I'll test out some of the suggestions here.

#24 Declmem

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 05:27 AM

Hmm, I may have to check out glycine. It seems interesting but looks like it could actually be stimulating if one gets the dose wrong. I don't know about niacin though. I've only had a niacin flush once but it was a pretty seriously unpleasant experience. But frankly, if nothing else works then I'd be willing to give it a go.

I'm trying 12.5mg of doxylamine with 1g valerian again tonight. I cut out the melatonin this time so we'll see how it goes.


That did not work. I got about 2.5 hrs last night. Took me a long time to fall asleep and then I woke up shortly thereafter and wasn't able to get back to sleep. I'm going to the doctor tomorrow to get some serious stuff because I'm verging on delusional here. But after that's used up I'll test out some of the suggestions here.


Seriously, try 25mg of doxylamine ALONE. :-D

Go to Kroger and get the tablets that have only doxylamine.

Edited by Declmem, 29 January 2010 - 05:28 AM.


#25 Zoroaster

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Posted 29 January 2010 - 07:35 AM

Seriously, try 25mg of doxylamine ALONE. :-D

Go to Kroger and get the tablets that have only doxylamine.



I'll try it in the next few days

#26 trevyn

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Posted 30 January 2010 - 01:32 AM

If you're having sleep issues, getting a sleep study done is a pretty good idea. Turns out I have sleep apnea even though I'm young and of normal weight, and CPAP therapy helps immensely.

#27 Zoroaster

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 05:25 AM

Seriously, try 25mg of doxylamine ALONE. :)

Go to Kroger and get the tablets that have only doxylamine.


Thought I'd post an update. I got Lunesta, which worked but not very well. And it was crazy expensive. I definitely recommend Ambien over Lunesta for anyone looking for a prescription-strength solution. I used that for a few days to get back on track, and I've since used 25mg doxylamine tablets, and they've also been pretty great actually. Far superior to diphenhydramine IMO. I do feel a bit drowsy the next day but it's not terrible. I'm now back to normal and sleeping fine. I still keep the doxylamine around to take on nights when I need to go to bed early or I've got something important the next day and I'm worried that the stress will keep me awake. Thanks to everyone for the suggestions.

#28 tritium

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Posted 09 March 2010 - 04:15 PM

I've been using doxylamine for about a month straight now. At first, it worked really well with just two tablets. After a few weeks, I had to up the dose to four tablets to fall asleep. Now, it seems as though I have become tolerant to it, as I barely notice any effect with 6 tablets. Any suggestions?

#29 synapse

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 03:42 PM

We came out with a new sleep supplement at Cerebral Health called Somnulis. It contains Valerian Root, L-Tryptophan (precursor to melatonin), and GABA.

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#30 Yearningforyears

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Posted 10 March 2010 - 08:36 PM

I have had good results with ginkgo.
Take a couple of teaspoons (or tablespoons) dried herb and boil it for approx. ten minutes.
It´s extremely good for calming the body when the mind is tired from overexhaustion (yet can´t seem to cool off by itself). It also curbs agitation, altthough not all kinds of agitation I have noticed.
Worth trying.

also gotu kola is good. It feels a bit similar to ginkgo but combines well (seems that they work better when taken a bit apart from each other though).
Passionflower is a nice herb. Very mellowing. A kind of opiate like sensation but without the high of course.
Then the old "prepare for sleep". Putting of the lights an hour before bedtime while sipping herbal hypnotics is nice =)

And then we have to good ol ayurveda! wow... so many great herbs!

Check out : Shankapushpi and bhringaraja (killer combo that kills anxiety without making one groggy. good for sleep also)
nardostachys jatamansi: a relative to valerian with similar effects.
haritaki: got a mind with the inefficient hyperdrive on? Well... this is the water on the mental fire. Overdosing will give you the runs however, so do it on your own risk.

My stack as of now is:

three cups daily of a shankapushpi / bhringaraja / ashwagandha-tea (I buy the single herbs in powder and brew a tea)
One dose of bacopa
4 teaspoons of inositol

And I sleep better than ever before.
Good luck with your sleep. Hope you find something that helps.
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