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Top 10 Most Powerful Sleeping Aids: 2017 Buying Guide With Supplements and Herbs

By Nader Qudimat / Mar 12, 2017

For some people, getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult enough at the best of times but post workout it can be almost impossible.

Though your body might need that essential time for recovery and growth you might find that your mind is too pumped to settle down.

There’s good reason for this.

When you exercise, your body produce cortisol and adrenaline.

Both of these hormones are a reaction to stress (specifically that caused by a strenuous workout) and are a major benefit in getting the most of a session in the gym.

Together they increase your heart rate, pump your muscles full of blood and make you more alert.

Whilst this can help your performance, they aren’t the best of ingredients for relaxing.

The amount and quality of the sleep you get will vary from other people and is dependent on many things such as your age, weight, time of year and other factors.

The important point is that each of us requires a certain amount of good quality sleep in order to function well and without it, your body will struggle to repair and grow.

In short, sleep is an important part of maintaining muscle development.

There are plenty of ways to aid quality sleep and you may well have tried some of these already.

From winding down before bed with relaxing oils, a calm atmosphere and a warm drink to changing the timing of your workouts so you don’t exercise too late.

If you’ve tried these and are still reading this article, then the chances are that none of these things have worked.

Join the club…

In this guide, I’ll be looking at the top ten most powerful sleep aids that can also aid post workout recovery.

I’ll also be looking at top ten natural sleep remedies as well as the chemical ingredients that aid sleep.

Don’t forget to share this post and let me have any feedback if you’ve tried any of these supplements and found good results.

Top Ten Sleep Aid Supplements

1. PowerDown Amino PM

We kick off with this powerful sleep inducing supplement from Muscle Elements.

It contains amino acids, GABA, L-Leucine and L-Glutamine to provide anti-catabolic and anabolic support.

The L-Leucine is designed with a time released formula so Powerdown PM aids muscle recovery as well as helping you sleep better.

A powder based product, this sleep aid is excellent as a post workout recovery.

You will notice that you don’t suffer from the same levels of soreness when you wake up after using this which is a good indication of how quickly it works.

One of the best things about this supplement is that it doesn’t leave you feeling groggy and drowsy the following day.

After all, there is no point in taking a supplement to aid physical recovery but that leaves you feeling mentally drained the day after.

The other thing that is worth pointing out is that the time released L-Leucine not only feeds muscles growth throughout the night for greater gains but it also means that you don’t wake up ravenously hungry.

Reduced Anxiety and Stress

PowerDown doesn't only contain ashwagandha but licorice root and avena sativa for complete adrenal and anxiety reduction.

We're surprised we don't see these in sleep aids as ashwaganda is one of the best herbs for stress and anxiety. 

Additionally there is nice doses of glycine, GABA, tryptophan and melatonin to help you fall asleep. 

Amino Acids 

You will not find any other sleeping aid that contains all the essential amino acids

​These are included to help increase recovery and reduce soreness so you can sleep better and deeper.

But even if you're not an athlete or a lifter, you'll still benefit greatly from this formula as it contains essential amino acids (they are called essential for a reason!).​

There's also L-arginine, L-lysine as well as ashwagandha to help increase growth hormones while decreasing anxiety levels. ​

Each 2 x 11.1g scoop serving contains:

Ingredients

2. Magnum: G-SPRING

This gluten free product from Magnum Nutraceuticals is another dietary supplement that has been designed to improve sleep quality.

It has the benefit of aiding and promoting deep sleep using L-Theanine and DMAE Bitartate.

You will find G-Spring a great product if you want to burn fat faster, build lean muscle whilst you sleep and improve your energy levels during the day.

So, not only will you fall asleep faster and get more quality sleep but you will also increase the speed at which your muscles develop and you recover.

Taken 30 minutes before bed, G-Spring has a fast impact time and most people who use it notice the benefits of rapid sleep the first time they use it.

The impact of improved recovery, increased daytime energy and leaner muscles can be noticeable from as little as five days after first use.

Giant Doses For a Giant Difference

Magnum has packed 20mg of melatonin in every 4 capsules.

Generally sleep aids will only have about 2-3mg of the stuff but don't worry, there are no side effects using this large of a dose and you can always take adjust the serving size to get a minimum of 5mg of melatonin. 

That's not all though.

It also packs a monstrous dose of bacopa monnieri, a powerful adaptogen herbal extract​ which is great for stress and anxiety reduction. 

Magnum's G-Spring also has 100mg of l-theanine, another herb that reduces stress and anxiety (it can be found in green tea). ​

Each serving of 4 x 760mg capsules contains:

Ingredients

3. Jarrow Formulas: Sleep Optimiser

This herbal remedy from Jarrow Formulas contains a combination of hops, lemon balm and melatonin with valerian root to aid natural sleep.

Along with pharma GABA these powerful ingredients work to promote and maintain a natural sleep cycle.

Hops and valerian have been show in various studies to reduce the time it takes to fall asleep whilst the hormone melatonin controls our biological clock.

Though this supplement won’t deliver any side-benefits like increased fat loss or enhanced recovery it is an all-natural product.

It won’t leave you feeling tired the next day and significantly enhances the quality of the sleep that you get.

Optimizes Sleep With 6 Ingredients

Forget being a non-responder. 

This formula utilizes 6 fully dosed ingredients (with the exception of melatonin). ​

With Sleep Optimizer, we're getting a herbal combination of both hops and valerian.

And to get you sleepy, it has GABA and tryptophan to put you to sleep quicker.

And finally we also see it has lemon balm, a super underused and underrated sleep aid that we need to see more of. 

And while it may seem odd to see only 0.03mg of melatonin, but that's all it takes for most users to get an effect.

You can add your own but you likely won't have to after trying this. ​

Each serving of two capsules contains:

Ingredients

4. Nature’s Way: Melissa Leaves

The only active ingredient in this product is lemon balm leaves.

Yes, it’s that simple.

The leaves of the lemon balm plant have several properties which can aid sleep as well as provide additional benefits:

  • Has a sedative effect to aid sleep.
  • Reduces agitation and can calm your nerves.
  • Contains powerful antioxidants.
  • Alleviates intestinal gas, digestive bloating and upset stomach.
  • Can stimulate your appetite.

This herb has also been used to aid concentration as well as increase attention span and improve memory. 

This is also a super affordable product so if you want something that works but would last you a long time, then you're looking at your match. ​

Again, this product won’t leave you feeling drowsy the morning after but it doesn’t give you any of the bells and whistles of increased growth and recovery post workout.

Each serving of three x 500mg capsules contains:

Ingredients

5. Sleep by NOW

A simple formula designed to relax the mind and body to promote natural and healthy sleep this product is a basic combination of all natural ingredients.

It’s a great tool for getting you in a calm state so that you fall asleep more naturally and can help to ease tension after a workout.

It doesn’t give you any of the benefits of some of the other products I’ve reviewed in terms of extra muscle gains but it does work well.

I like this formula for its simplicity and the refreshed feeling that users report when waking up.

Super High Dosages

​Now don't take this for a super simple formula. 

The dosages are actually very high and if you're a beginner with sleep aids, you'll probably feel the effects at 1 capsule instead of 2. ​

Each serving of 2 capsules contains:

Ingredients

6. Hi Tech Pharmaceuticals: Somatomax

Designed to maximise the production of HGH during the first few hours of sleep, this powerful supplement from HTP is very potent.

Not only does it increase muscle gain and aid deep sleep but it can also help decrease fat tissue.

Each single 14g scoop serving contains:

Ingredients

The extra benefits that this supplement provides on top of the extra sleep and greater results in lean muscle is an increased libido and pain relief.

Not a bad combination if you can stay awake long enough to make the most of it!

7. 3Z by AI Sports Nutrition

The focus of this supplement is on sustaining a deep sleep and getting there quickly.

As a result, the formula delivers a relaxing sedative to get you into a REM cycle, reduces anxiety levels and decreases sleep interruptions.

The optimised time released hormone release is one of the things that sets this product apart and by sustaining a natural sleep for longer you allow your body more time to recover.

Each serving of 3 capsules contains:

Ingredients

8. ZMA by NutraBio

The simple anabolic mineral formula of ZMA has been proven enhance recovery by optimising restful and restorative sleep.

It was one of the first products specifically designed for this purpose.

The formula is unchanged can help alleviate the symptoms of next day fatigue by speeding up recovery.

Research has shown that using ZMA also increases testosterone levels.

Each serving (3 capsules for men, 2 capsules for women) contains:

Ingredients

9. Ronnie Coleman: Resurrect PM

Created by Ronnie Coleman who was famous for only needing just four or five hours sleep a night, Resurrect PM is great for getting to sleep fast…and staying there.

One 8g dose is good for a 6-8 sleep session and contains just enough to put you into deep REM without leaving you feeling groggy the next day.

The formula is a simple balance of minerals and vitamins as well as complex of sleep enhancing ingredients like mucuna pruriens and phenibut.

The philosophy with this product is that sleep alone is the essential tool the body needs to rest, repair and recover.

Each serving of 1 x 8g scoop contains:

Ingredients

I like the fact that this supplement is formulated to focus on quality of sleep so the recipe is designed to get you deeper and faster into a natural cycle.

10. Universal Nutrition: Animal PM

This vitamin stack by Universal Nutrition is a powerhouse of nutrients as well as a combination of natural sedatives.

The blend of chamomile and valerian is proven to boost the quality of sleep as well as improving the speed of falling asleep.

A complex formula of anabolic boosting ingredients boosts recovery and limits the level of soreness the following day.

Each serving of a single pack contains:

Ingredients

One of the things I like about this product is that it also helps boost your immune system so that nothing can stand in the way of a follow up work out.

Best Sleep Aid Ingredients

You will probably have noticed that the ingredients in a lot of the formulas above are quite similar.

What differs is the combination and quantity in each recipe; some focus on the quality of sleep whilst others are promoting a dual approach of recovery and sleep.

Some are very basic and use just one or a handful of natural ingredients.

Whatever the approach and whatever the results, there is a consistency with using some of the same herbal or single chemical ingredients.

In this next part of my guide, I take a look at the top ten most common ingredients, the pros and cons of using them as well as the effects and dosage.​

Single Chemical Ingredients

Most of the supplements above contain one or more of these sleep aid ingredients.

For those of you who prefer to stick to simple elements for supplementing sleep then I’ve detailed some of the benefits and negatives associated with using single chemical compounds.

Melatonin

A hormone produced in our pineal gland, melatonin directly influences our sleep and wake cycles.

Recommended dosage: At most, 10mg, but between 1-10mg can be effective

Pros

  • Widely Available
  • Increases hair growth
  • Protects cellular DNA from free-radical damage
  • Possibly slows down the ageing process

Cons

  • Affects the cells that produce pigments
  • Only available as a prescription in certain countries
  • Darkens skin
  • If you stop taking it after a long period of time, your sleep

ZMA

Containing zinc and magnesium aspartate (ZMA) in combination with vitamin B6 this mineral supplement was designed by BALCO Laboratories in California for pro-athletes.

Recommended dosage: Maximum of 2-3 tablets per day (no more than 40mg of zinc)

Pros

  • Increases fat loss and muscle mass
  • Stimulates enzymes in the body
  • Helps the immune system
  • Aids in muscle recovery

Cons

  • Taking in too much will hinder the immune system
  • Taking too much again can interfere with optimal sleep
  • Doesn’t absorb when taken with calcium foods
  • You can wake up earlier than expected

GABA

GABA (or gamma-aminobutyric acid) is a neurotransmitter in our brains that controls the activity of our nerves. Our bodies use this amino acid to promote feelings of calm.

Recommended dosage: 500/1000mg a day

Pros

  • A feeling of relaxation and calmness
  • A deep and restful sleep when taken
  • A higher release of a growth steroid called
  • HGH Lean muscle growth

Cons

  • Could increase symptoms of anxiety
  • Could increase the sleep disorder in higher dosages
  • Can lead to a numbness in the mouth
  • Can cause a feeling of slight suffocation, lasting for a few minutes

5-HTP

5-HTP increases the natural levels of serotonin in our bodies which can help regulate our mood making us feel calm, positive and improve our sleep

Pros

  • A feeling of relaxation and calmness
  • A deep and restful sleep when taken
  • A higher release of a growth steroid called
  • HGH Lean muscle growth

Cons

  • Could increase symptoms of anxiety
  • Could increase the sleep disorder in higher dosages
  • Can lead to a numbness in the mouth
  • Can cause a feeling of slight suffocation, lasting for a few minutes

Glycine

A non-essential amino acid, glycine can help restful sleep as well as reduce morning fatigue.

Recommended dosage: up to 45g a day

Pros

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Builds muscle and joint tissue
  • Reduces wrinkles
  • Can help heals the liver

Cons

  • They have a bad taste
  • Can be addictive
  • They can reduce kidney functionality
  • Can negatively affect your mood

L-Theanine

A component of green tea, L-theanine is an amino acid which helps improve the natural quality of sleep cycles.​

Recommended dosage: 200mg-400mg daily

Pros

  • Proven stress reliever
  • Helps alleviate anxiety
  • Decreases agitation from caffeine

Cons

  • Decreases the blood pressure.
  • Negates the effects of caffeine

L-Dopa

An important precursor to dopamine in our wake and sleep cycles. It works in combination with melatonin to regulate how sleepy we are.​

Recommended dosage: 500mg-1000mg per day

Pros

  • Boosts mood
  • Helps and aids focus
  • Also aids motivation

Cons

  • Can upset the stomach
  • Might lead to hair loss
  • Can cause hallucinations

Tryptophan

This amino acid is the primary signal for our bodies that we are sleepy. It sets off the chain reaction of a sleep cycle. By supplementing this powerful little guy, we can take control of our own bedtime routines.​

Recommended dosage: 5g per day

Pros

  • Aids in weight loss
  • Improves positive mental attitude
  • Improves relaxation
  • An essential nutrient in our diet

Cons

  • Upset gastrointestinal tracts
  • Can cause nausea
  • Can cause heartburn and diarrhoea
  • Can cause restless legs

Alpha GPC

Derived from soy lecithin, alpha GPC is a phospholipid. It can help increase HGH levels as well boost GABA activity.​

Recommended dosage: 300-1200mg daily

Pros

  • Can improve memory
  • Reduces cognitive impairment

Cons

  • Can cause heartburn
  • Skin rashes can occur
  • Can cause headaches and dizziness

Galantamine

This powerful little ingredient induces REM sleep quickly.​

Recommended dosage: 300-1200mg daily

Pros

  • Reduces inflammation
  • It can treat obesity
  • It induces lucid dreaming
  • Helps people who are trying to quit smoking

Cons

  • If the user has asthma, this can affect the result
  • It can lead to skin reactions
  • It may cause stomach problems
  • Can disturb normal sleep cycles.

Phenibut

Derived from GAB, phenibut is a nootropic complex which affects mood and behaviour. Taken as a supplement at bedtime it can promote feelings of calm.

Recommended dosage: 500mg twice daily

Pros

  • Reduces anxiety
  • Aids relaxation
  • Induces deep sleep

Cons

  • Can cause muscle spasms
  • Can cause painful muscle aches
  • Mild stomach irritation
  • Dizziness

Herbal Sleep Supplements

These all natural ingredients can be taken as standalone supplements to aid sleep so you can concentrate on the post workout recovery element as part of a different regime. Widely available, these sleep aids can be quite potent when used correctly and have very few, if any, side effects.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm works to help stimulate the GABA receptors, in order to create a sedative effect. This helps not only with sleep disorders but also anxiety too.​

Valerian

You can get the benefits of using Valerian root before bed in under a week. All you have to do is pour boiling water over the dried root, then drink the infused water.​

Lavender Oil

The effects of lavender oil are said to be brought by its calming fragrance. There are two ways you can use lavender oil: either apply it topically, or inhale it as a steam vapour.​

Hops Extract

Hops extract works very well with Valerian extract to provide a deep and nourishing sleep.​

Chamomile

Chamomile has a naturally sedative effect but can also reduce inflammation which can help recovery post workout. You can use chamomile tea or as an oil infusion. They both have the same effects.​

Magnolia Bark

Chinese medicines have used magnolia bark for thousands of years to help with alleviating anxiety. Western scientists believe this is because of the honokiol that is inside it.​

Passion Flower

The passion flower is used in a lot of commercial sleep medicines today. This is because it increases the amount of GABA in the body.​

Bacopi Monierir

Bacopi monierir, or Bacopa, is an Adaptogen. This means it blocks stress messages to the brain at a chemical level.​

Mucuna Pruriens

Mucuna Pruriens is used as a neurotransmitter for the testosterone L-Dope.​

Cannabis

Even though it’s illegal in some countries, cannabis can be used to relax the mind and body. It does this by reducing pain and muscle spasms, using ‘cannaboids’, which are produced by the drug.

No More Sleepless Night

So there you have it, ten complex supplements and ten herbal remedies, each packed with the powerful benefits of better sleep.

Depending on what kind of other stacks you are taking and what works well in your current regimen there is something for everyone here to try.

Whichever product you choose, there is no excuse for poor sleep undermining the gains you are trying to make and leaving you feel sore and tired the following day.

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulk smashes it into this puny site.

Being an ex-hardgainer, he has no choice but to keep training until he has surpassed in every way imaginable.

You can follow Nader on Twitter (@DieselFitt).

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