I'm an Insomniac, but This Supplement Puts Me to Sleep in 5 Minutes Flat


Lily Brown

Sleep—we crave it and we need it, but we never seem to get enough of it. A new Consumer Reports survey of 4023 adults found that 27% of Americans suffer from insomnia while 68%—the equivalent of 164 million people—struggle with sleep at least once a week. These are sobering statistics, which is why we’re dedicating the next few days to this ever-elusive, never-can-have-enough part of our lives. Welcome to Byrdie’s first-ever Sleep Week, wherein you can expect detailed accounts of our own editors’ sleep trials and tribulations, the latest products to help you nod off, and all the new relevant research. Suffice to say, we’re obsessed with getting more shut-eye (the quality kind, too), and hopefully our obsession will ensure you wake up more mornings feeling well rested and less like you want to hurl your alarm clock across the room. Read (and rest) up!

When January 1 rolled around this year, I decided to take a slightly different approach to my resolutions than usual: Rather than attempt the typical lifestyle overhaul in pursuit of some idealized life (and body), I opted to make 2017 about the means instead of the ends. This meant prioritizing smaller shifts that circled around self-care, all with the idea that by focusing on the process, health and happiness would ultimately be welcome byproducts. And for me, one of my biggest hurdles to tackle would be my lack of sleep.

I'm a bit of an insomniac, something that has only been aggravated by a compulsive need to check work emails (and okay, Snapchat) at all hours and an ever-burgeoning Netflix habit. (Word to the wise: The OA is not the kind of show you can drift off to.) Needless to say, Byrdie's Sleep Week—coupled with my reinvigorated dedication to personal wellness—couldn't have arrived at a better time.

And since I have a fascination with herbal remedies, I decided that it was high time to see what the growing market of sleep supplements could do for me, since inhaling lavender and counting my breath historically aren't quite enough to send me off to dreamland. I've only ever experimented with melatonin, ultimately to no avail (more on that in a bit)—but there are, of course, tons of other natural remedies out there. I gathered five, and embarked on a two-week-long quest to see how well they worked, using a makeshift grading system that addresses the three pillars of a great night's sleep: how fast I fell asleep, whether I stayed asleep, and how refreshed I felt the following morning. Spoiler alert: Roughly 14 days later, I'm feeling less sleep-deprived than I have in years.

Keep reading to see which sleep supplements won out.