Reviewed by Donna Schwontkowski, DC, MS
You may be one of the millions of Americans struggling daily with fatigue, lack of energy, and impaired thinking due to poor sleep. It's no surprise given the increased popularity of sleeping pills in recent years (source). But what if you have trouble swallowing pills? Here's where sleep sprays can help. In this post, we'll discuss what sleep sprays are, then dive into some sleep spray reviews to help you make an informed buying decision.
Source Naturals Melatonin Sleep Spray
Isagenix Sleep Support and Renewal Spray
Dr. Mercola Melatonin Sleep Support Spray
Tranquility Labs Sleep Fast Melatonin and Valerian Root Sleep Spray
1Hour Break Natural Remedy Sprayable Sleep Aid
What Are Sleep Sprays?
A sleep spray consists of a mix of ingredients sprayed under the tongue or directly into the mouth to promote sleepiness and get a good night's rest. Ideally, a quality spray will help you fall asleep fast and keep you asleep without tossing and turning through the night.
Sleep spray ingredients usually consist of two types: hormonal and chemical ingredients and herbal ingredients. Let's take a closer look at both...
Hormonal and Chemical Ingredients
Melatonin – This natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain regulates the sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin is also known as the "vampire hormone" because it only "comes out" at night — rising in the evening, then lowering again in the morning, helping you wake up. While melatonin is generally regarded as safe, it can cause side effects such as headaches, daytime sleepiness, and stomach cramps.
5-HTP – This brain chemical raises the production of serotonin — another brain chemical that affects both sleep and mood for treatments like insomnia and depression. When taken in large doses, 5-HTP can cause several side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, and vomiting.
GABA – A brain chemical that helps relieve anxiety and improve mood by relaxing nerve activity.
L-theanine – Commonly found in tea leaves, this amino acid sends nerve impulses to the brain, easing anxiety and high blood pressure.
L-tryptophan – Commonly found in turkey (which may account for feeling so sluggish after Thanksgiving dinner!), this amino acid helps produce melatonin and serotonin which regulate sleep patterns. It may cause headaches, light-headedness, visual blurring, dry mouth, and sexual problems.
Inositol (Vitamin B8) – Similar to a vitamin and found in plants and animals, this substance helps lower anxiety and treats insomnia. While generally regarded as safe to consume in foods, there's little information on amounts used in medical preparations.
St. John's Wort – Derived from a flowering plant, this herb raises serotonin levels and other chemicals in the brain to elevate mood and reduce depression. And since depression and insomnia often go hand in hand, it functions as a sleep aid as well. But keep in mind, St. John's Wort can be dangerous when combined with certain prescription drugs, especially antidepressants like Prozac, Celexa, and Zoloft. It can also lower the effectiveness of other drugs, like birth control pills.
Valerian Root – This herb acts as a sedative to the nervous system and lessens the effects of stress and anxiety. It's often combined with other herbs like lemon balm and hops — a plant long used to promote sleep and a central ingredient in beer. Valerian root shouldn't be taken with alcohol or other sedative drugs. Side effects may include headaches, excitability, and in some people, insomnia.
Passion Flower – A flowering plant used to treat insomnia, anxiety and other conditions, passion flower is often combined with other herbs such as valerian root and hops. It shouldn't be taken with prescription sedatives. Side effects may include dizziness, impaired coordination, inflamed blood vessels, and altered consciousness.
Kava (or kava kava) – Made from the roots of a plant grown on the South Pacific Islands, kava is a calming medicinal herb used to treat many conditions, including sleeplessness. It should be used cautiously as prolonged use can be toxic to the liver (Europe and Canada have even banned it for safety reasons).
While not every sleep spray will necessarily contain all these ingredients, these are the main ones to know about when evaluating a spray. Additionally, they may include other minor ingredients too.
Above all, don't take other sedatives when using sleep sprays as they may counteract and/or cause side effects!
Also, make sure to consult your physician about possible interactions with other prescription or non-prescription medications you're currently taking.
How Do Sleep Sprays Work?
As mentioned, sleep sprays are either administered under the tongue or directly into the mouth. In most cases, spraying under the tongue yields the fastest results as it's quickly absorbed by the surrounding tissues and delivered directly into the bloodstream (unlike sleeping pills which go through the digestive system first).
Having said that, it's best not to eat, drink, or smoke around the time you use a sleep spray as these actions can interfere with absorption.
Reviews of the Best Sleep Sprays
We've chosen five of the top sleep sprays to review. While many sprays produce similar results, not all are administered the same way or contain melatonin specifically:
Containing melatonin, Vitamin B6, inactive ingredients, and a pleasant tasting orange flavor, the Source Naturals Melatonin Sleep Spray contains the fewest number of ingredients in comparison to other sprays, making negative interactions less likely.
In most cases, only a small amount is needed to induce sleepiness but doses may need to be increased as you begin to build up a tolerance. It produces no after effects the following morning. This spray also happens to be the least expensive of the five reviewed.
This sleep spray contains melatonin, valerian root, L-theanine, lemon balm, chamomile flower extract (another calming herb), and other inactive ingredients.
Isagenix acts quickly, provides a good night's sleep, and causes no drowsiness the following morning. Indeed, its high positive consumer score reflects this fact. However, some people aren't too fond of the taste.
This sleep spray contains melatonin, L-theanine, 5-HTP, GABA, L-tryptophan, valerian root, chamomile flower, and other ingredients.
Unlike other products on our list, the Dr. Mercola sleep spray is sprayed into the mouth, not under the tongue. As such, it doesn't work as quickly as others (30 to 90 minutes before sleep is recommended). Still, the results speak for themselves with a majority of consumers finding the product exceptional.
The Tranquility Labs sleep spray contains melatonin, valerian root, 5-HTP, lemon balm, chamomile, vitamin B6, and other ingredients.
It reportedly works fast but some consumers complain its sedative effect wears off too quickly. As far as taste is concerned, this pomegranate flavor is definitely one of the better ones.
Containing kava, passion flower, St. John's Wort and other herbs, the 1Hour Break spray effectively induces sleepiness in most people. But as stated above, kava has known risks, especially when taken long-term.
Its biggest disadvantage is price, which is higher than other sprays and only sells in packages of two. That's why we only recommend this product if/when the other sprays don't work out for you.
What Is the Best Sleep Spray for You?
While all the sleep sprays reviewed are safe bets for most people, the Source Naturals Melatonin Sleep Spray stands out for several reasons:
- Works quickly with no after effects
- Pleasant orange taste
- Fewest number of ingredients (thus, less chance for negative interactions)
- Lowest unit price
If you're looking for a simple and effective way to help you get a better night's sleep, a sleep spray like Source Naturals' just may be the answer for you.
Now Over to You!
What are your thoughts about sleep sprays? Leave your comments below!