Sleep supplements: what do you use?

What is your currently “safe + effective” protocol?

I’ve tried different interventions but I haven’t found something I’m 100% satisfied by. And I don’t know how many of the stuff in my stack actually work, to be honest. In any event, this is what I do to (hopefully) improve my sleep quality:

  1. Magnesium threonate (2g)
  2. CBD oil
  3. Ashwagandha (occassionaly esp. when I think my cortisol levels are high)
  4. L-ornithine, phosphatidylserine (also, when there is some stress). Can’t tell if this works or not
  5. 2 servings of Life extension herbal sleep supplement mainly for the chamomile/apigenin extract, but this also contains lemon balm, and honokiol.
  6. Alaska Bear eye blinds + Hearos ear plugs
  7. Window open to reduce room temperature + weighted blanket
  8. I try to get sunlight soon after waking up
  9. No caffeine after 3pm
  10. A small amount of exogenous ketones via BHB salts (~1g)
  11. Sometimes Turkish yogurt with 10% fat — I’ve subjectively felt more sleepy after eating this before, so I avoid it in the morning and afternoon!
  12. I take low dose Semaglutide intermittently. I’ve found that sometimes it causes a lot of fatigue. So, when I do take it, I try to use this to my advantage by taking it before sleep.
  13. Sauna or hot shower (ideally in a dark room) and hour before sleep and some electrolytes. Sometimes, if I have felt more awake after intense sauna sessions.

I don’t take melatonin anymore because I never had good luck with it. Plus, it makes me wake up sooner than usual. I do want to try a melatonin patch however for low and long-term release.

Anyhow, what am I missing? How can I improve things? Should I take glycine? Any opinions on trazadone?

What’s your stack?

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I use melatonin 3mg, Ashwagandha and Glycine.
It works, but like you said melatonin makes me wake up 1 hour too early.
Ashwagandha sometimes makes me very moody, like I snap at people easily.

Yes - I tend towards these ones:

I have suffered with (at times) severe insomnia for over 20 years. I have no caffeine after 8am and exercise at 6am. Bedroom is cool with black out blinds.

Over the years I’ve tried CBD, diphenhydramine hydrochloride, melatonin, valerian, 5 HTP, L theanine, magnesium, blue light glasses etc without lasting success.

After one particularly bad period in late 2020 I was prescribed low dose Mirtazapine (7.5mg) which has been pretty effective. I’m not happy to have to resort to this as it’s linked to dementia but frankly I was near suicidal so had to accept it was necessary. Once a month or so I have a particularly bad night and take zopiclone.

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I´m 64 and suffer with sleep problems for years, now.
As an MD, I tried many things.
Melatonin 10 mg . was effective for a few months.
Nowadays the really effective molecule is zopiclone. As any sleeping pill try to use it with many days off , because of tolerance. Been using for 2 years .
My absolute minimum is 6 hours night sleep.
Good thread as sleep is so important.


I’m interested to know whether Trazadone has a safer side effect profile than Mirtazapine. Peter Attia spoke about it in a recent podcast…

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Yep, hearing it on the podcast is what sparked my interest too!

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As you are aware, older people have a harder time getting a good night’s sleep.
Ah, dear person, my sleep stack and routine used to be as long as yours and included many of the things on your list.
Yes, I use 50 mg. trazodone tablets with very good results. And the low 50mg dose is as good for sleep as higher doses and is considered safe for long-term use.
I have two different stacks. One I use on nights when I am relaxed and the other when I feel overstimulated from social activities.

Short stack:
Natrol 3mg timed released melatonin. ~1 - 2 hrs before bedtime
Trazadone 50 mg ~1 hr before bedtime
Meclizine Tablet 12.5mg ~ hour before bedtime.
(Meclizine is an OTC supplement for motion sickness that also produces drowsiness. A once-a-day dose of 12.5 mg is a low dose and I have no concerns about its safety. Do your own research.)
L-tryptophan 3 gms. ~1 - 2 hrs before bedtime.

Long stack; I just add l-theanine 200mg. This calms the mind and helps prevent “mind racing” when you are trying to fall asleep. These have been my go-to stacks for some time and they are very effective for me.

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All those steps look good. Before you can design a supplement regimen, it would help to pin down exactly what you think the problem is: trouble falling asleep, early awakenings or just too short sleep?

Some considerations that aren’t addressed by supplements: if you regularly wake up way too early, like 3 am and can’t fall back asleep, you should consider that your body clock is out of whack, especially if you are dead tired at 7-8 pm as a result (with no naps). This is a very easy trap to fall into and doesn’t need time zone travel, although that can exacerbate it. The solution is often to buy a very intense lamp used for seasonal affective disorder and use it for half an hour before you normally get sleepy. This will push your bedtime later into the evening and your wake up time later in the day. Another consideration: are you getting enough food, especially carbs? If your body is hungry, it will wake you up from a deep sleep. Another possibility is sleep apnea. Do you snore or have you been told that? Lack of oxygen will wake you up. You can get a sleep study to see if you have apnea. If you are waking up multiple times to urinate, which is called nocturia, you could have an enlarged prostate. A urologist might prescribe dutasteride which reduces conversion of testosterone to DHT, and will reduce prostate size about 20%, relieving pressure on your bladder. Lastly, if the early wakeups persists at around the same time, it may be related to depression. Your subconscious mind has what Freud called a sentinel that can jolt you awake. You could seek an appraisal from a good therapist. Since you are here on a rapamycin board, I have to assume you’ve reached a certain age. The older we get the less we have of what sleep doctors call “sleep pressure.” So if sleep seems too short consistently, it could be an age related sleep pressure problem. Ways to deal with that include adding cardio exercise daily, which will tire you out more (but don’t nap – it will sap the built up sleep pressure). I find that a very hot bath with epsom salts is better than a shower in raising body temperature – it has to fall 2 degrees to increase sleep. I also recommend a chilly pad or an ooler for your bed: staying cold for the first half of the night increases deep sleep considerably. I don’t see this on your list, but alcohol really messes with sleep. While it seems counterintuitive because booze often causes you to feel tired or even pass out, alcohol is processed in the liver and gives your body a surge when it does so, usually two hours into your sleep. Try abstinence for a while and see if that helps.

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Magnesium glycinate and a Tums to prevent cramps, 0.25mg melatonin gives very noticeable effect in falling asleep fast even with this small amount. An ibuprofen, if I am feeling achy from exercise, also helps sleep (about 2 twice a week).


I use 15 mg Melatonin every night. Usually for me (>90%) that works, but it takes 45 minutes to kick in. I tend to wake up around 330ish and if my mind activates, I immediately take another 5mg. My ‘functional medicine’ doctor approves of dosage for me up to 20mg and also thinks it may be useful for BPH. I’m not certain of the BPH/Melatonin correlation because of my highly variable diet, but it’s extremely useful to me for sleep.

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SHC, I’ve tried almost all of the things you’ve tried and I don’t feel that any of them helped very much at all. What does seem to work for me is OTC Benadryl 25 mg allergy liqui-gels. I take one of these one hour before bed. It clears my sinuses so I breath clearly and it makes me somewhat drowsy (one of it’s side effects). I use it because I prefer 6 hours of sleep versus the 3 or 4 I get without it. I don’t think a single 25 mg dose will harm me. But, unfortunately, if you do research you’ll find reference to early dementia for people who use diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or doxylamine. Doxylamine is one of the oldest anti-histamines with a very potent side effect of sleepiness. I’ve tried it, but wake up grouchy and subdued for most of the following day. I can see it’s potential for early dementia. So, I avoid it. In addition, try watching this YouTube video an hour before bed: Drivers Eye View: Trondheim-Mosjøen in a winter wonderland. (Di4) - YouTube . It can be very calming if all the lights are out.

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One glass of very cold water with the juice of a lemon, magnesium (a pill, containing also zinc and B6, works great) and vit. D3 (in MCT oil, with some K2).
Then 20-25 minutes of serious stretching (I recommend GoWod) while listening to very calming music, like (sorry for the esoteric title…) 432 hz | Connecting Yourself to the Universe, Frequency of GOD Thank You Universe for Everything - YouTube.
Then only red (and infrared) light during the last 10-15 minutes (I use lamps with a timer), cold room, very dark.
A couple minutes slow breathing and sort of rehearsing what I wish my body and brain to do during my sleep, silently pronouncing the actions, if possible with some sort of crescendo. Eg. (for very general matters) for the body: rest, regeneration, rebuilding, strengthening, rejuvenation, etc. for the mind: disconnection from reality, deep sleep, meeting with the unconscious, learning how to understand it (I figure that I carry a sort of link to the past, not only mine, but that of previous living beings, and I try to establish a contact, a relationship, even a friendship, with this colossal being; a bit inspired by C.G.Jung I suppose). I may add some parts that are more contextual, for example if I am going to have a lot of work or stress the next day, I wish to be prepared for that. I wrap the finishing day up so that I can leave it behind and embrace the future.

It is the result of 3-4 years of trying and optimizing. Probably still a work in progress, but it does work well for me. According to my Whoop, that I have been wearing for almost one year, I have an excellent sleep, almost always “100% sleep performance”, unless something really special is happening, preventing me to sleep.

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I use the 3mg time release melatonin - Natrol brand. (Interestingly, they include 10 mg of vitamin B-6. I believe their rationale is that it increases “natural” melatonin production).

For sleep, the most important aspect of melatonin use is to mimic the natural blood levels of our younger selves. It has been reported that the blood level is .3 mg and is a nice generalized target to aim for with dosage.

Large dosages of melatonin spike blood levels quite high. Then crash resulting in what I believe is the wake-up in the middle of the night phenomenon. So finding the right time-release dose is key. Melatonin has a short 1/2 life but it makes me feel like a zombie if I don’t have it out of my system when waking.

Melatonin is fundamental to our circadian sleep patterns and enhances sleep spindles. Sleep spindles being those eeg brain wave measures important for transitional movement through the different sleep stages.

Interestingly, melatonin in larger doses cured my partner’s gerd after many other therapy attempts. Melatonin if important for digestion and many other factors beyond sleep.

My Protocol

-3mg time-lease melatonin
-L-Theanine (Taken after waking in the middle of night)
-Tape (Taping mouth to prevent dry mouth / nose breathing 100% / prevents snoring)

  • No caffeine after 12am (I can fall asleep fine after drinking coffee. But the 6 hour 1/2 life of the caffeine level in the blood makes it very hard to go back to sleep when waking at 3 am. A lot of caffeine is still in the system. It took me a long time to realize how my coffee intake was impacting my sleep as I got older)

I very much agree with Uppereast69 that understanding how “sleep pressure” builds over time is of prime importance. Many small daily habits contribute - more art than science in some ways to sleeping well.

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You’ve tried trazadone too?

I eat 1/8 of edible cookie marijuana. And take 20mg melatonin. Gives me seven hours of sleep every night five hours of deep sleep restful sleep according to my Oura ring and my Apple Watch.

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Magnesium L-Threonate ~1000mg/~72mg elemental mag.
L-Theanine 200mg
Apigenin 50mg
very small amount of fat; like fish or olive oil.

Heard about this in an Huberman podcast on YT. My problem is that I’d wake in the night and not be able to fall back to sleep after trip(s) to the bathroom. This has helped hugely (so far in several weeks use).

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Melatonin will help you fall asleep, but not stay asleep (high doses may not be good for other hormones as well)
i take magnesium, theanine, apigenin, and glycine
adding 2 grams of glycine to the stack made a huge difference for me

edibles are great, but you need to plan ahead, as they take 2 hours to kick in

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SHC, I have not tried trazadone. If it’s prescription medicine, I’m not interested in it.