My sleep became disturbed starting in about 1999 and continued to worsen. I got to the point around 2005 that I was no longer able to sleep unaided. So began my quest for effective sleep aids without side effects. Ambien and Xanax are both miraculous for sleep, but should not be taken long term. Kava helps, but it is reported to be hard on the liver. I’ve tried numerous herbs and supplements, and through trial and error I’ve found some good combinations to give me the sleep that I need.
My current sleep cocktail is this:
- 200mg L-theanine
- 3mg melatonin (taken right before bed*)
- 2 capsules Power to Sleep PM by Irwin Naturals (taken right before bed*). Contains common relaxing ingredients such as Ashwagandha, passion flower, GABA, hops, lemon balm and valerian.
*Note: supplements containing melatonin and valerian must be taken immediately before bedtime. If taken while the user remains awake, they can “backfire” and worsen insomnia. I have noticed this effect.
This combination helps me fall asleep and maintain sleep. Even if I awaken in the middle of the night, I’m able to go back to sleep. And I don’t have a “hangover” in the morning. I wake up easily and refreshed.
In the past I’ve used another helpful supplement called Kavinace, together with melatonin. This was a great combination, but it left me a bit groggy in the morning. Kavinace contains 4-amino-3-phenylbutyric acid (aka phenibut), a GABA agonist that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Beware, one can develop a tolerance to phenibut, and some claim that it’s addictive. I notice that the effectiveness wears of periodically, so you need to rotate this one in and out. But it’s a staple in my medicine cabinet.
I hope this helps someone out there. Different things work for different people. Good luck in finding the right ones for you.