Timing is everything. This is especially true when it comes to taking supplements.
So when should you take a natural sleep aid?
The answer is that it depends.
Different types of supplements are to be taken at different times before bed.
Melatonin, a very popular sleep supplement, is a great product to take before bed. Research shows that the ideal time to take melatonin is 30 minutes before bed (1).
Other types of sleep aids are best taken at different times before you sleep.
For instance, valerian root is another popular ingredient used in nighttime formulas. Instead of taking valerian 30 minutes before bed (like melatonin), experts recommend that you take it 1-2 hour(s) before bed.
A good rule of thumb is to look for the suggested use panel on the label of your natural sleep aid.
Below is an example of where you can find this panel. The suggested use panel should include all of the product information that you need, especially info on when to take the product.
Following the "suggested use" instructions is especially important if the sleep formula you take contains a blend of different ingredients. A high quality supplement company will give a timing suggestion based off of research, so make sure to follow the directions on the bottle!
Of course, before taking a supplement, you should talk with your doctor and have it approved before consuming. Keep in mind that many supplement products contain potentially dangerous allergens. This could include common allergens like artificial colors and flavors, gluten, peanuts, and dairy.
Make sure your product is free of any of allergens that you may have. If you are unsure, give the company a call and find out from them directly.
If You Are Unsure, Here's What To Do
If the label on your supplement bottle doesn't give directions, and you are unsure of when to take your sleep supplement, your best choice is to take the product an hour before bedtime.
In general, an hour gives your body enough time to start digesting the product. This allows the ingredients to go to work in your body.
Many people include sleep supplements as part of their evening ritual. This can be a great way to wind down before bed.
Having a normal sleep routine helps your body (and brain) to know that it's time for bed.
•(an hour before bed) take a sleeping pill
•(45 minutes before bed) get pajamaed and put away electronics for the night
•(30 minutes before bed) get into bed, start reading a book
•(15 minutes before bed) dim all of the lights nearby
• Sleep peacefully
So there you have it. Make sure that you take your natural sleep aids at the right time. Doing so will help to give you optimal sleep!
(1). Wyatt, J. Sleep, May 1, 2006; vol 29. WebMD Medical Reference in collaboration with The Cleveland Clinic: "Sleep Disorders: Alternative Therapy." News release, Rush University Medical Center.