A Secret Sleep Cocktail: Neuroscientist’s Alternative to Melatonin


Many people struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep at night, and often turn to melatonin supplements as a natural remedy. Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle, and its levels rise in the evening to signal the body that it is time to sleep. However, melatonin may not be the best solution for everyone, as it has some limitations and drawbacks.

According to neuroscientist Andrew Huberman, a professor at Stanford University and the host of the popular Huberman Lab podcast, melatonin can help you fall asleep, but it won’t help you stay asleep. He explained in a viral TikTok video that melatonin has a short half-life, meaning that it wears off after a few hours. This can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back asleep.

A Secret Sleep Cocktail: Neuroscientist’s Alternative to Melatonin
A Secret Sleep Cocktail: Neuroscientist’s Alternative to Melatonin

Huberman also pointed out that melatonin can interfere with other hormones, such as cortisol, which is responsible for stress and alertness. He said that taking melatonin can suppress cortisol levels in the morning, making you feel groggy and sluggish. Additionally, melatonin can have negative effects on fertility, as it can lower testosterone and estrogen levels.

The Ultimate Sleep Cocktail

If melatonin is not the ideal sleep aid, then what is? Huberman has a suggestion that he calls the “ultimate sleep cocktail”, which is based on solid peer-reviewed science. He recommends taking a combination of three supplements that can help you fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake up refreshed. These supplements are:

  • Magnesium threonate: This is a special form of magnesium that can cross the blood-brain barrier and enter the neurons. Magnesium is involved in over 600 enzymatic reactions in the body, and it is vital for memory consolidation and brain health. Magnesium threonate can also calm the restless mind and shut down the overactive forebrain, which can keep you awake at night. Huberman suggests taking 300-400 mg of magnesium threonate before bed.
  • Theanine: This is an amino acid that is found in green tea and has a relaxing effect on the brain. Theanine can increase the levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that inhibits anxiety and promotes sleep. Theanine can also enhance the quality of your sleep by increasing the amount of deep sleep and REM sleep, which are essential for learning, memory, and creativity. Huberman recommends taking 200-400 mg of theanine before bed.
  • Apigenin: This is a flavonoid that is derived from chamomile and other plants. Apigenin has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and it can also modulate the activity of GABA receptors in the brain. Apigenin can help you fall asleep by reducing stress and inducing relaxation. Huberman suggests taking 50 mg of apigenin before bed.

A New Addition: Inositol

Huberman recently made the addition of inositol to his famous sleep cocktail. Inositol is a carbohydrate that is found in fruits, beans, grains, and nuts. Inositol plays a role in cell signaling and neurotransmission, and it can affect serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Inositol can help with sleep by reducing obsessive-compulsive thoughts and behaviors, which can keep you awake at night. Huberman states that he has begun experimenting with 900 mg of inositol as the fourth ingredient of his sleep cocktail.

How to Try the Sleep Cocktail

If you are interested in trying Huberman’s sleep cocktail, you can find the supplements online or in health stores. However, you should always consult with your doctor before taking any supplements, especially if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications. You should also start with low doses and gradually increase them as needed. You should also monitor your sleep quality and duration, and adjust the supplements accordingly.

Huberman’s sleep cocktail is not a magic bullet, but it may be a better alternative to melatonin for some people. By combining these natural ingredients, you may be able to improve your sleep and your health.


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