Real Life Chill Pills: They Do Exist

If there was a vitamin or supplement that would help you get even just a few extra Zs at night, wouldn’t you be first in line to try it? Believe it or not there are vitamins—and even certain foods—that can help you decompress. Acclaimed wellness expert Dr. Frank Lipman shares his top tips on what to ingest—and what to avoid—for a blissful night’s sleep.

Dr. Lipman calls this a real life “chill pill.” If you have a particularly active mind or tend to stay up late due to stress, add this to your regimen. (It’s also helpful to take if you wake up in the middle of the night and can’t fall back asleep.)

Valerian root, L-Theanine, Melatonin, and 5-HTP
“These are all helpful for relaxation and getting your body back into its natural rhythm so you can sleep better,” says Dr. Lipman. His own Sleep Formula supplement includes all four.

Herbal Tea
Instead of powering down with a beer or glass of wine, reach for an herbal tea before bed. Ginger, lemon, chamomile, peppermint—anything without caffeine—is calming.

Late Night, High Protein
Your diet will have a huge effect on your ability to get a restful night’s sleep. If you have to eat close to bed time, make it a high protein snack for a shot of L-tryptophan, an amino acid your body needs to produce melatonin. Stay away from carbs.

No Sugar, No Alcohol
“Avoid eating sugar or drinking alcohol close to bedtime—both can be disruptive to sleep patterns,” says Dr. Lipman. Needless to say (but just in case), stay away from caffeine after noon if you’re a troubled sleeper. You might not even realize how much damage that afternoon coffee is doing.

Photo: Henry Leutwyler