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Supplements for Sleep: What Should You Be Taking?

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights
    • Lack of sleep has a profound, negative impact on your total health and quality of life.
    • Learn which supplements may help you sleep better, and how a fatty acid may be the key to getting better quality sleep. 

If you’re reading this, you’re probably exhausted and searching for anything that can help you get a good night’s sleep. Sleep issues are extremely common, affecting nearly 70 million Americans.

Most of us don’t want to rely on a sleep aid that can make us feel groggy the next day, so we often turn to dietary supplements to help support our sleep more naturally. 

Let’s cover what supplements have been studied to promote healthy sleep, why sleep is so important, and how adding a little-known fatty acid supplement could  help you get the sleep you need. 

Importance of Sleep

It’s more than just not feeling tired, your body needs rest to carry out necessary restorative and regenerative functions. 

While you sleep, your body is hard at work repairing cells, restoring brain function, and keeping you healthy. 

Sleep is also cumulative. Missing one night of sleep may not make you feel that bad, but several nights of missed or inadequate sleep can cause you to feel exhausted, drained, and unable to focus. 

While the amount of sleep you need differs from person to person, experts agree the sweet spot is somewhere between 7-9 hours, depending on your age and activity level. 

How Can You Tell If You Aren’t Getting Enough Sleep?

It’s usually pretty obvious if you aren’t getting enough sleep, because you simply aren’t sleeping. You may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. 

However, if you’re getting between 7-9 hours of sleep and still waking up tired, your sleep quality might be in jeopardy. 

Feeling tired after getting enough sleep, inability to focus, and irritability are all signs your sleep quality is low. This can be caused by issues like snoring, sleep apnea, or even untreated anxiety.

Supplements for Sleep

Most of us have issues either falling asleep or staying asleep. There are numerous supplements that can be useful in helping you address both issues. Here’s what you need to know about each one. 


Your body produces melatonin naturally, which signals your body that it is time to sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that your body releases that helps you relax, feel tired, and prepare for nighttime. 

Melatonin levels are higher in the evening and lower in the morning, which can make sleeping difficult for someone who works night shifts. 

Melatonin supplements may be useful in helping you get to sleep, and decreasing the time it takes you to fall asleep. While melatonin may not help you stay asleep, it does appear that it can help increase the amount of hours you’re able to sleep, without leaving  you feeling tired in the morning. 

Taken for short or long periods of time, melatonin does not appear to be habit forming or unsafe for adults. 

Valerian Root

A part of traditional Chinese medicine, valerian root has been used for centuries to treat mood issues like stress and restlessness. This herb is native to Asia and parts of Europe, and has become a popular herbal supplement for promoting better sleep quality in the U.S. 

Valerian root does not appear to help you get to sleep faster, and it is undecided as to whether or not it actually improves overall sleep quality. 

In other words, your mileage may vary when it comes to taking this herb for sleep betterment. If it’s effective for you, it’s a safe, short-term option for getting better sleep. 


Your body needs magnesium to function properly. Most of the magnesium your body needs you get through the foods you eat. If you’re deficient in magnesium, you may have a harder time falling asleep even when you are very tired. 

Magnesium is involved in specific brain functions that help regulate the control of melatonin. As such, it can be beneficial in helping to relax the mind and body and help you prepare for sleep. Magnesium also increases your brain’s level of gamma aminobutyric acid, a chemical that helps keep you calm and relaxed. 

It’s important to note that increasing your magnesium intake does have side effects. Taking in more magnesium can cause stomach cramping and diarrhea, although these side effects do usually dissipate after a few days of using a magnesium supplement. 


Lavender is an abundant, fragrant herb blooming in numerous countries with temperate climates. It’s leaves can be used in teas, oils, and supplements. 

Often suggested for pregnant individuals to calm gastrointestinal discomfort, lavender may also have calming effects on the entire body that can help relax you and prepare you for sleep. 

Lavender aromatherapy can help calm the nerves, relax the body, and help you focus on getting ready for sleep. While lavender can be ingested in supplement form, there are side effects (similar to magnesium) that should be considered before starting supplementation. 


Another flowering herb popular for helping calm and relax the body, passionflower is a woody vine that grows in temperate climates all over the world. Passionflower can be consumed in teas or extracts, and also in supplement form. 

Studies show that the method of ingestion is key to a person’s success with passionflower. While supplement usage did not appear to increase an individual’s sleep quality, drinking passionflower tea or using a passionflower extract revealed a slight increase in ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

Other Sleep Supplement Options

While these options may work for some, they definitely aren’t all-encompassing. Other conditions, like high levels of stress, various illnesses, and a lack of good sleep hygiene may affect a supplement’s issue to work effectively. 

If you feel like you’ve tried them all with little to no success, we’ve got a plot twist that may change your mind about using a supplement to help encourage your sleep. 

Elevate your cells. Elevate your self.

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Pentadecanoic Acid

We know that some fatty acids are essential for our bodies. Essential means that our bodies need them to function properly, but we can’t make them on our own; we have to get them from our diet. 

Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that research shows is the first essential fatty acid to be discovered in over 90 years. Our bodies need this little fatty acid, and it can even help us get better sleep.* 

C15:0 has a wide array of health benefits, including:*

  • Sleep support. C15:0 works to support healthy, good-quality sleep by interacting with receptors in your brain called PPARs. These receptors control your sleep and mood. When these receptors are stimulated, mood balances and sleep patterns “reset” back to factory standards, helping you sleep better and feel rested.
  • Cellular support. Our entire bodies are made of cells. When something goes wrong with our cells, we experience problems with organs and entire systems. To protect our health, we need to dig down into the cellular level and support our cells first. C15:0 supports cellular health by getting into our cell membranes. As we get older, our cell membranes become weak and fragile, susceptible to disturbance by external stressors. C15:0 helps fortify and strengthen cell membranes, keeping them protected and safe so they can function properly. 
  • Mitochondrial support. The mitochondria in our cells provide the energy they need to carry out cellular function. If our mitochondria are sluggish, so are our cells. C15:0 helps bolster mitochondrial function, allowing our cells to produce energy and protecting them from cellular stress.
  • Metabolism and immune support. As we age, certain processes in our bodies become unbalanced. Our metabolism slows and our immunity doesn’t seem as good as it once was, leaving us feeling sicker and weaker. C15:0 helps balance immunity and metabolism by working with receptors located all over the body that help control both functions. 

Taking C15:0 doesn’t just support better sleep, it supports a better body. The problem is, you probably aren’t getting much C15:0 in your diet. 

C15:0 is found in trace amounts in full fat dairy products like milk and butter, and in some types of fish. 

Enter fatty15.

Fatty15 is the first and only C15:0 supplement to help you support your body from the cells up.* Fatty15 contains pure FA15™, a pure powder and free fatty acid form of C15:0 that is created sustainably and entirely vegan. 

You can add fatty15 to your health stack to help encourage better sleep patterns and protect your cells from the normal effects of aging.*


Sleep issues can have a big impact on your overall quality of life. It’s important to get enough sleep so you feel energized, and also so that your body can function as it is supposed to. 

Taking certain supplements may help you get better sleep. Fatty15 helps support sleep, and a wide range of other positive health markers to keep your body healthy and well both short term and long term.*  


Perceived Insufficient Rest or Sleep Among Adults --- United States, 2008|CDC 

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?|CDC 

Meta-Analysis: Melatonin for the Treatment of Primary Sleep Disorders. PLoS 

The Effect of Magnesium Supplementation on Primary Insomnia in Elderly|NCBI 

Effects of Passiflora Incarnata Herbal Tea on Sleep Quality|PubMed
Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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