Understanding the Three Types of Sleep Supplements

Written by: Dr. Justine Luchini



Time to read 4 min

Whether you’ve been struggling to sleep for a long time and are at your wits end, or are just interested in how you can make your sleep more efficient, you might be thinking about trying a natural supplement to help with your sleep. But with so many choices out there, it can be confusing to know which one is right for you.

Don't worry, we're here to make things simple. In this article, we'll talk about sleep supplements and put them into three groups to help you understand them better. By the time you finish reading, you'll know what each group does, when you should use them, and how they're different from one another.

1. Timing Supplements: Regulating Your Sleep Bed Time

Let's begin by discussing timing supplements. These supplements all contain a key ingredient known as melatonin. Think of melatonin as a signal that informs your brain when it's time for sleep. Essentially, it helps your body wind down and prepare for bed. These supplements can be particularly beneficial if you have an irregular sleep schedule. For instance, if you find yourself staying up late on weekends but needing to wake up early during the weekdays, these supplements can help with adjusting your sleep patterns. They can also be effective for managing jet lag after traveling to different time zones.

You can get melatonin on its own or in combination supplements that have melatonin plus different herbs and/or minerals and/or amino acids. While the herbs, minerals, and amino acids will have different effects (such as those covered in the next 2 categories), any stack that includes melatonin will have a major impact on your circadian rhythm - or sleep timing.

Some people find that taking melatonin can overshoot their circadian rhythm leading them to feel more tired or groggy in the morning. It is also important to note that prolonged use of melatonin supplements might lead to undesirable effects on your hormone and metabolic systems. We did a deeper into these potential effects in this blog.

However, for short term use, many people find melatonin (and blended supplements containing melatonin) helpful to help get their sleep timing back on track when they’ve been off.

2. Sedatives: Slowing Down Your Central Nervous System

Man Sleeping on bed

Moving on to sedative supplements. These supplements act as calming agents for your central nervous system, which essentially governs your brain and bodily functions. Sedatives will slow down brain activity and create a sense of relaxation and drowsiness.

Some botanical or herbal supplements are considered sedatives, such as valerian root, kava kava, and hops. Chamomile, another well known herb often found in ‘sleep time’ tea blends, is also a mild sedative. The tranquilizing effects are attributed  to the compound called apigenin, which binds to benzodiazepine receptors (a very specific spot on the GABA receptors) in the brain. Apigenin can now be found as a supplement for over the counter use.

Herbal remedies that act as sedatives are much gentler than potent pharmaceutical sedatives, which require cautious usage. Pharmaceutical sedatives such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and opioids should only be used under medical supervision as they dramatically reduce brain activity and can have major side effects.

It's worth highlighting that strong sedatives, including pharmaceutical sedatives and alcohol, can interfere with your natural sleep processes. While they might knock you out, the restorative benefits of proper sleep will be compromised. That is why you typically wake up after a night of drinking feeling so exhausted, even if you have been sleeping for several hours.

True sleep is an active process, and you can only wake up feeling refreshed after sleep where your brain and body are actively processing and repairing.

3. Quality Sleep Promoters: Enhancing Sleep Conditions

Lastly, let's explore quality sleep promoters. These supplements provide essential components that support optimal sleep conditions for your body and brain. They are like the secret ingredients in a recipe for achieving restful sleep.

Take L-theanine, for instance. L-theanine is an amino acid that contributes to the natural production of a brain chemical called GABA. This chemical is associated with proper sleep architecture, as well as feelings of calmness. Additionally, L-theanine promotes a type of brain activity (called alpha waves) that is observed during meditation and dreaming sleep.

Another quality sleep promoter is magnesium. This mineral is vital for maintaining a relaxed state in the brain. Magnesium also plays a critical role in the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin and melatonin, which are pivotal for regulating sleep patterns.

Rather than forcing a sedative state, supplements that we categorize as quality sleep promoters give you body help to create quality sleep processes.

Thirdzy was built to be a quality sleep promoter. Each ingredient is dosed in amounts that have been shown to be effective in helping promote relaxation and sleep in the scientific literature.

It was formulated to help your body achieve your best version of rest and recovery – using only natural ingredients that support vital sleep processes.

In the realm of sleep supplements, Thirdzy stands out as a genuine solution for those in search of better sleep. With its carefully chosen natural ingredients, backed by scientific research, Thirdzy is tailored to support essential sleep processes. It's a straightforward yet impactful way to enhance rest and recovery.

While it may not be the best option for someone looking for an instant sedative effect or to over coming sleep timing problems, if you're in the market for a sleep supplement that can help to improve your sleep quality on an on-going basis, Thirdzy’s PM Recovery could be a great fit for you.

Sleep tight,
Dr. Justine 

Disclaimer: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Consult a healthcare professional before incorporating new supplements into your routine. 


Our PM Recovery Collagen harnesses the power of glycine, L-theanine, GABA, and magnesium, in carefully researched amounts, to provide you with a comprehensive approach to improving sleep quality, optimizing overall health, and boosting recovery potential.