Sleep Hygiene & Supplement Guide: Your Guide to Better Sleep.

Sleep is a big issue for many people. Not just getting enough sleep, but also ensuring that the quality of sleep we get is sufficient to help us wake feeling refreshed, recovered and ready to take on the day. 

It is important to note that the causes of poor sleep are varied. For some it might be stress, for others medication or medical conditions, for others there can be over thinking; each of which requires their own unique approaches. 

However, regardless of cause there are still some fundamental principles that we should all follow to give ourselves the best possible chance of a quality nights sleep. 

These principles are commonly referred to as 'sleep hygiene'.  

Sleep Hygiene Rules

Stick to a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time every day.

Create a bedtime routine to help signal to your body that it's time to sleep. This could include activities such as reading a book or taking a warm bath.

Make sure your sleep environment is dark, quiet, and cool.

Avoid stimulating activities such as watching TV or using electronic devices before bed.

Avoid consuming alcohol, and heavy meals close to bedtime and caffeine within 8 hours before you go to sleep.

Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation before going to bed.

Consider using a white noise machine or earplugs to block out any distracting noises.

Exercise during the day, but not too close to bedtime, as physical activity can make it harder to fall asleep.

See a doctor if you have a chronic insomnia, sleep apnoea or other sleep disorder.

Remember that it may take some time to find what works best for you, so be patient and persistent.

Supplements for Sleep

There are several supplements that are commonly used to help with sleep, but it's important to note that their effectiveness may vary from person to person. The list below isn't a comprehensive list of every ingredient available, however these are the ones we most commonly get asked about and/or are in many of our leading sleep supplements.


Melatonin: This is a hormone that helps regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle. It's available as a supplement and can be used to help with insomnia and jet lag. In the UK this is available only on prescription.

The effectiveness of melatonin is supported in multiple research studies in terms of both helping people to fall asleep and reducing night time waking.

Effective doses range from 1-3mg taken around 30-90 minutes before bed. 

Vitamin B12 and Thiamine: 
Observational studies have found people with insomnia tend to have lower intakes of vitamin B12 and thiamine compared to normal sleepers.

Supplementation can help regulate sleep-wake cycles and support healthy brain function. Doses of 1-5mg of B12 and 50-100mg of thiamine seem to be the most effective dosage ranges in the research.

Chamomile: Chamomile is a natural sedative and can help people to fall asleep more easily. There is some evidence that it may help with daytime wakefulness and small positive effects of sleep duration and quality at doses of 220-270mg per day. 


Valerian root: This herb is thought to have a calming effect and may help with insomnia. Multiple randomized controlled trials show valerian reduces the time it takes to fall asleep and improves sleep efficiency and quality at doses of 400-600 mg taken daily before bedtime.


Magnesium: This mineral is important for muscle relaxation and can help with insomnia. Several studies have found magnesium supplements improve subjective sleep quality, sleep time, sleep onset latency, and early morning awakenings.

The effective doses used in studies range from 300-500 mg of elemental magnesium, usually in the form of magnesium glycinate, citrate, or oxide. Lower doses around 200 mg may also be beneficial.

L-theanine: This amino acid is found in tea and is thought to promote relaxation and reduce stress. It increases alpha brain waves which are associated with relaxation and helps boost levels of GABA, serotonin and dopamine. Multiple studies have found L-theanine improves sleep quality and duration, especially in people with anxiety.

A review of clinical trials found doses of 200-400mg of L-theanine reduced stress and anxiety ratings and improved sleep. Other studies used doses of 100-250mg taken 30-60 minutes before bedtime.

L-theanine is well absorbed orally and crosses the blood-brain barrier. It has a subtle calming effect rather than sedation. While it can be taken during the day for relaxation, evening use helps promote sleep.

In conclusion... 


It is important to note that supplements can 100% help promote better sleep, but the impact they have is going to amplified, or indeed limited, by how much effort we put into our sleep hygiene. 

About the Author: 
Dr Paul Rimmer is a nutritionist and physiologist specialising in athletic performance.
He is the director of CSN Labs and providing performance data and insight to a wide range of athletes with a focus on performance optimisation. 
His private blog documents his experiences training for powerlifting and ultramarathons and the science of hybrid training.