Search IconSearch
June 10, 2021/Living Healthy/Sleep

Can Vitamins and Supplements Help You Sleep?

An expert discusses what effects, if any, vitamins have on your ability to sleep

woman taking vitamin

You know the feeling: You toss and turn, night after night and nothing seems to quite do the trick. You’ve tried over-the-counter sleep aids and even some supplements, but you’re beginning to wonder if there’s a more natural way to get some extra zzz’s.


Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

One avenue some people explore involves vitamins and supplements. We get them via food and drinks and many of us take over-the-counter vitamins and supplements. Is there a certain vitamin or combination of supplements that could help induce sleep so we don’t have to rely on prescription medications?

We spoke with integrative medicine specialist Naoki Umeda, MD, to find out more about what we do and don’t know about vitamins and supplements for sleep and whether certain products can offer hope – or do more harm.

Can vitamins help you sleep?

According to Dr. Umeda, “While some natural remedies such as melatonin, valerian, magnesium or chamomile tea may help for some people, there’s no definitive evidence from randomized controlled trials these are effective for typical insomnia,” he says.

There are, though, some supplements that may help, but you should consult your healthcare provider for more information.

  • Melatonin is a hormone that’s related to sleep control. While it may be effective for shift work sleep disorder or jet lag, it hasn’t been found to aid typical insomnia. It may increase the effect of warfarin (a blood thinner), and it should not be used if you are pregnant.
  • Valerian is an herb that may help improve sleep quality. It is considered safe if you take in recommended doses, but don’t use if you are pregnant.
  • Magnesium glycinate or magnesium citrate may also help improve sleep quality by changing the amount of some neurotransmitters that have a calming effect. Taking excessive amounts, however, can cause digestive issues like diarrhea. It can be used while you are pregnant, but please consult your Ob/Gyn.
  • Chamomile tea may help you fall asleep and it’s generally considered safe.

Again, although these may be helpful, there are only a handful of well-designed studies with inconclusive results. More research is definitely needed.

Can vitamin deficiencies affect your sleep?

Another area where there has been preliminary research is on how certain vitamins – or lack thereof – could adversely affect your sleep.

A 2018 study showed a potential link between vitamin D deficiency and sleep disorders. Given other data available about the effects of vitamin D deficiency, this connection doesn’t seem that surprising. But even the researchers behind the study admitted the conclusions were “controversial” and said more studies are needed to confirm the link. “That connection might be correct, but it could be just one of several factors,” says Dr. Umeda.

It’s possible that other vitamin deficiencies could indirectly lead to poor sleep. For instance, iron deficiency is considered a potential cause of restless legs syndrome which can interrupt sleep. But, as with the other studies mentioned here, there’s just not enough evidence.


The bottom line

Whatever you may hear or read, there’s just not enough evidence to back any strong connection between vitamins, supplements, and sleep. Melatonin, valerian, magnesium, or chamomile tea may be helpful and are usually safe but they might not work for everyone.

If you can, suggests Dr. Umeda, do your best to get most of your vitamins from a healthy, balanced diet rather than supplements. “Overdoing vitamins or taking a combination of various vitamins may affect sleep,” he says.

“If your diet is healthy, though, your body will absorb an adequate amount of most vitamins. In addition, simple lifestyle changes can improve your sleep. Meditation, deep breathing, or aromatherapy and essential oils may help,” he adds. “It is also recommended to limit caffeine, create a dark, quiet and cool sleeping environment and not use smartphones, tablets or laptop computers for at least one hour before going to sleep.”

Check with your healthcare provider to see if taking a multivitamin or a daily dose of a specific vitamin is necessary for you, particularly if you may need several different vitamins. And, Dr. Umeda notes, be sure to check with your healthcare provider if you want to take or are taking certain vitamins or supplements for your sleep issues.


Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Person sleeping as alarm clock goes off
July 8, 2024/Sleep
Sleep Inertia: What It Is and How To Get Rid of It

A morning routine called RISE-UP may cut down the time you spend groggy and disoriented after waking up

Black seed oil in bottle, with seeds in wooden spoon and bowl
June 26, 2024/Nutrition
Black Seed Oil Benefits: Are They Real?

Far more research is needed to support the many touted health claims

Person holding bottle and dropper, adding droplets into glass of water
June 11, 2024/Diet, Food & Fitness
Is Colloidal Silver Safe?

Supplements with colloidal silver offer no proven health benefits and could be harmful

Happy couple sleeping in bed together, holding hands
June 3, 2024/Sleep
The Scandinavian Sleep Method: A Surprisingly Simple Fix for Couples Struggling With Blanket-Hogging

Sleeping with separate blankets can help you get the ZZZs you need — without fighting for covers all night

Person sitting on bed in pjs with head in hand, eyes closed
May 29, 2024/Sleep
Here’s What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Stress, weight gain and forgetfulness are just a few effects of losing sleep

Person in bed experiencing nightmares
May 22, 2024/Sleep
7 Reasons You’re Having Nightmares

Stress, alcohol, sleep apnea and (you guessed it!) scary movies are a few common causes of bad dreams

Person sitting in chair writing in tablet
May 21, 2024/Sleep
Should You Be Keeping a Dream Journal?

Recording your dreams may help you become more mindful, understand your thought patterns, process your emotions and even reduce your stress

Person sitting in bed in the evening, reading a book, with cup of tea on bedside table
May 15, 2024/Sleep
Restless? Try These Bedtime Teas for Better Sleep

Chamomile, lavender and valerian root teas may offer a faster route to dreamland

Trending Topics

Female and friend jogging outside
How To Increase Your Metabolism for Weight Loss

Focus on your body’s metabolic set point by eating healthy foods, making exercise a part of your routine and reducing stress

stovetop with stainless steel cookware and glassware
5 Ways Forever Chemicals (PFAS) May Affect Your Health

PFAS chemicals may make life easier — but they aren’t always so easy on the human body

jar of rice water and brush, with rice scattered around table
Could Rice Water Be the Secret To Healthier Hair?

While there’s little risk in trying this hair care treatment, there isn’t much science to back up the claims