You’ve tried counting sheep. Whale music was laughable. Meditation gave you a headache. And hypnotherapy for insomnia? No thanks.
So, you may be wondering where to go next in your quest to get a great night’s sleep. Peaceful, deep, and undisturbed. GABA could be the one! In this guide, we’re going to show you how the best GABA supplement for sleep can really help you drift off naturally at night.
Keep reading to find out the science behind how GABA can help you sleep (it’s not magic) and the 10 best GABA supplements currently available!
The Best GABA Supplements are…
Too busy to read our full list? No problem. Here are the top 3 supplements that we recommend above the rest.
Natural Stacks GABA Brain Food, for a simple yet effective ingredients list to enhance and prolong the effects of GABA on your brain.
NOW Supplements GABA, for offering a high dose of GABA without a long list of other ingredients and fillers.
Jarrow Formulas Sleep Optimizer, for a decent GABA dose and ingredients targeted on helping you fall asleep faster.
Quick Recap – How Does GABA Help you Sleep?
GABA stands for gamma-aminobutyric acid, and it’s a natural amino acid that is found naturally in fermented foods, like miso paste, and is created naturally in our bodies. The great thing about GABA is that it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which simply means that it decreases activity in your central nervous system (CNS) and blocks receptors in your brain.
Well, to be specific, GABA blocks the GABA receptor. And the result is a calm, relaxing effect on your mind and body. That’s why GABA supplements are popular with those suffering from anxiety, stress, and even depression.
As for sleep, GABA is known and proven to be effective at helping you get into the right conditions for sleep. If you feel calm, safe and without anxiety or stress, you’ll find it easier to drift off to sleep. Furthermore, a lack of GABA causes the opposite – you might have excess anxiety, trouble sleeping/insomnia, nervousness, and even symptoms of depression.
- GABA is a natural amino acid created by your body and found in some foods,
- By blocking receptors in the brain and decreasing CNS activity, it keeps you calm and reduces anxiety,
- Scientists have found that GABA has a positive effect on your sleep,
- Lack of GABA is linked to sleep troubles, anxiety, and depression.
Top 10 Best GABA Supplements for Sleep
The ten best GABA supplements below are all targeted to help you get to sleep. That means that the formulas of these supplements often contain secondary ingredients and GABA doses that are designed to promote sleep, over other health benefits like reduce anxiety or reduce the chances of a seizure.
Unfortunately, supplements aren’t heavily regulated by the FDA. According to FDA 101, “Federal law does not require dietary supplements to be proven safe to FDA’s satisfaction before they are marketed.”
But the FDA will take action if a supplement is misbranded or causing harm. Any serious adverse side effects from dietary supplements must be reported to the FDA too.
So, what does that mean for you?
Dietary supplements like GABA don’t need FDA approval to launch. It’s up to you to carefully research and check out the company before you buy.
Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Clear labeling – all supplements should have that familiar black and white label that clearly shows how many mg of each main ingredient there are.
- No crazy claims – does the supplement promise you will 100% get 8 hours of sleep? Or does it say that GABA may help you get to sleep or have calming effects? False, OTT claims are a bad sign.
- Mixed reviews – only 5-star reviews are just as bad as 0 reviews. They could all be fake! Look for a mixed range of reviews. It’s to be expected that some customers find that the supplement doesn’t work for them. Of course, avoid any supplement with reviewers complaining about awful side effects too.
1. Natural Stacks GABA Brain Food
- Type: Capsules
- Dose: 633mg
- Other Ingredients: L-Citrulline, rosemary extract, grape seed extract
Natural Stacks GABA brain food is designed to support relaxation, calmness, and restorative sleep. Their GABA supplement formula is very simple, with no filler ingredients. It is also gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, and paleo-friendly.
As for the other ingredients, L-Citrulline is another amino acid (found in watermelon) that the body changes into L-arginine and nitric oxide. That’s important because nitric oxide significantly increases GABA levels in the brain!
The rosemary extract is added to slow the breakdown of GABA (so you get a steady, prolonged calm feeling to help you sleep all night) and the grape seed extract further boosts the nitric oxide.
Editor’s note: Natural Stacks are really clear about the science behind their four key ingredients on their website, which is a sign of a responsible/reliable brand.
2. NOW Supplements GABA Capsules
- Type: Capsule
- Dose: 500mg
- Other Ingredients: vitamin B6
The NOW Supplements are a great choice if you are super-focused on GABA. There are only two ingredients in these veg capsules, the 500mg dose of GABA and 2mg of vitamin B6. That’s a lot of GABA and over 100% of your daily vitamin B6 intake!
You only need to take one capsule per serving too.
There’s no valerian, melatonin, or other common ingredient found in sleep formulas, so if you’ve tried those before and don’t want to waste money on them again, you’ve found the right supplement.
NOW Supplements are non-GMO, vegan, and made in a GMP facility, which adds quality assurance to this product.
Editor’s note: vitamin B6 is not produced by your body, so you need to get it from your diet. If you don’t get a balanced diet, then these capsules can help bump your B6 levels too.
3. Jarrow Formulas Sleep Optimizer GABA Supplement
- Type: Capsules
- Dose: 200mg
- Other Ingredients: valerian root complex, L-Tryptophan, hops strobile complex, lemon balm, melatonin
Promote relaxation and a healthy sleep cycle with these capsules by Jarrow. Take two capsules per serving to get your 200mg dose of GABA.
This supplement has a range of other ingredients too, to help you sleep. The L-Tryptophan is another amino acid that is changed into serotonin in your body, which helps to regulate your mood. Your body also needs serotonin to make melatonin, which is critical for sleep. Melatonin regulates your sleep/wake cycle, so increasing melatonin along with GABA should help you drift off very quickly!
The valerian root, hops, and lemon balm will sound familiar – these are all common ingredients in herbal teas designed for sleep, as they help you relax and fall asleep faster.
Editor’s note: take these supplements 20 to 30 minutes before bedtime.
4. Sleep Fairy Natural Sleep Aid GABA Supplement
- Type: Capsules
- Dose: 200mg
- Other Ingredients: magnesium, valerian root, L-Theanine, 5-HTP, chamomile flower, magnolia bark, melatonin
Sleep Fairy is a good choice if you’re looking for a supplement that’s as natural as possible, without a long list of chemicals, glues, and fillers. Many reviewers comment that they wake up feeling energized in the morning after taking this supplement.
Their Natural Sleep Aid contains 200mg of GABA, plus magnesium for deeper sleep, L-Theanine for calmness, melatonin to regulate your sleep cycle, and 5-HTP which is another amino acid that regulates your mood and sleep.
Sleep Fairy also uses chamomile flower, a well-known remedy for sleep troubles, and magnolia bark which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries for stress and sleep troubles.
Editor’s note: this is a brilliant free-from option. It’s vegan, non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free, and stearate-free. The only filler it uses is simple rice bran powder!
5. Foxxy Doc Sweet Dreams Sleep Formula with GABA
- Type: Capsules
- Dose: 100mg
- Other Ingredients: magnesium oxide, magnesium citrate, L-Theanine, phellodendron root, mucuna pruriens, 5-HTP
Foxxy Doc GABA supplements contain a handful of effective sleep-inducing ingredients. Two types of magnesium, plus calming L-Theanine and 5-HTP amino acids, promote sleep alongside the GABA.
Now for the more unusual ingredients. Mucuna pruriens is a vine plant from Asia which is a good source of L-DOPA, which in turn increases dopamine levels in your body. And we all know that dopamine is the feel-good chemical! This makes mucuna pruriens a good ingredient for reducing stress.
The phellodendron root is an ingredient from traditional Chinese medicine, which supposedly helps with stress too… but there is very little scientific evidence to confirm this.
Editor’s note: it’s worth noting that this supplement also contains silicon dioxide and titanium dioxide to give the capsules a white color and ensure the ingredients fill a full capsule.
6. Natural Vitality Calm Supplement
- Type: Capsules
- Dose: 100mg
- Other Ingredients: magnesium citrate, L-Theanine, bergamot essential oil, melatonin
One serving of Natural Vitality’s Calm supplements contains 100mg of GABA and 220mg of magnesium citrate, which regulates melatonin and helps you sleep restfully and deeper.
These vegetarian, non-GMO and sugar-free capsules also contain bergamot oil, which is from a citrus fruit. If you’ve ever drunk Earl Grey tea, you’ll know what bergamot tastes like. Bergamot is sometimes used in aromatherapy, as it is a naturally calming scent.
Natural Vitality also has a berry-flavored drink mix, which contains magnesium, GABA, melatonin, and L-Theanine but isn’t flavored with the bergamot. That’s a good option if you have trouble swallowing large capsules but bear in mind that not everyone likes that berry flavor just before bed.
Editor’s note: like many sleep capsules, these GABA supplements are for adults and teenagers over 13 years of age. You’ll need different supplements for your kids.
7. Stress-Relax Natural Factors Chewable GABA Supplements
- Type: Chewable tablets
- Dose: 200mg
- Other Ingredients: natural flavors
The only ‘active’ ingredient in the Stress-Relax Natural Factors GABA supplements is GABA. You get 200mg of GABA per dose, which is quite low, by taking two tablets. You can take two tablets of GABA up to three times a day. The great thing about these tablets is that they are chewable – or you can swallow them normally if you like.
And that’s also why there’s a long list of additional ingredients, to make the tablets taste good. Xylitol, stearic acid, hydroxypropyl cellulose, silica, citric acid, and magnesium stearate form the vegan non-GMO tablets. The flavoring is all-natural but quite a medley! Banana, pomegranate, pineapple, mango, passionfruit, orange, tangerine, and mandarin create a tropical punch flavor that’s quite pleasant.
Editor’s note: the GABA in this supplement is made through natural fermentation, just like the GABA you consume normally through fermented foods.
8. Core Med Science Liposomal Sleep Formula
- Type: Liquid spray
- Dose: 10mg
- Other Ingredients: melatonin, glutathione
This is a liquid spray option! Even though the doses in this spray are much lower than other supplements, it’s the liposomal technology that’s really impressive. The liposomes are microscopic spheres that contain the main ingredient (GABA, melatonin, or glutathione) in the center. This helps them bind to your intestinal cells for “optimum nutrient delivery.”
We’ve covered melatonin above, but the other key ingredient is glutathione. This is an antioxidant that can help you to fall asleep faster and wake up more refreshed. It also prevents oxidative damage to your cells and is used to calm nerve problems caused by cancer treatments.
Editor’s note: 10mg of GABA formula with 6 pumps is not much. This is a better option for those that are super sensitive to GABA or need a small dose to just keep calm throughout the day.
9. NuRest Natural Sleep Aid
- Type: Capsules
- Dose: 120mg
- Other Ingredients: melatonin, valerian root, L-Theanine, L-Tryptophan, chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, hops, L-Cysteine, L-Tyrosine, L-Glutamine, vitamin B3
NuRest sleep aids have one of the longest ingredients lists of all the supplements we’ve found. A range of amino acids combined with natural remedies, melatonin, and vitamin B3 is formulated to help you fall asleep fast, stay asleep for a full night, and wake up feeling well-rested.
The only popular sleep ingredient missing is magnesium!
We really like the 60-day money-back guarantee that Cognitune offer. Their supplements are also vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, allergen-free, as well as being non-drowsy and non-habit forming, as GABA supplements should be.
Take two capsules per serving. That means the bottle holds only a 30-day supply, and each serving only contains 120mg of GABA, so that’s why it has a low place on our list.
Editor’s note: these supplements are made in the USA in an FDA registered facility, which supports US worker jobs and may have higher quality assurances than supplements made abroad.
10. OLLY Goodbye Stress Gummies
- Type: Gummies
- Dose: 100mg
- Other Ingredients: L-Theanine, lemon balm, sugar
This chewable supplement isn’t designed for sleep. Instead, it’s designed for keeping you calm and alert, with GABA and the L-theanine amino acid. L-theanine is derived from green tea leaves and although it won’t keep you awake like caffeine will, it does help you keep a clear head and stay alert. You’ll also find lemon balm extract in these gummies to help quiet your mind.
The reason it made our list is because of a 2019 study into the effects of GABA and L-theanine on sleep. It concludes that GABA and L-theanine combined will have a more positive effect on sleep quality and duration compared to GABA or L-theanine alone.
If swallowing tablets, pills and supplements is difficult for you, gummies are a nice alternative.
Editor’s note: bear in mind that these gummies contain a small amount of sugar and quite a low dose of GABA. Great for fussy kids, not so great for sleepy adults.
Any one of our ten best GABA supplements for sleep will be effective at keeping you calm, reducing anxiety, and creating the right conditions to help your brain slow down and feel sleepy. We’ve done the research needed to make sure all these supplements are safe and effective, with numerous positive (and authentic) customer reviews. If you decide to look for GABA supplements elsewhere, make sure you do your own research before buying.
You should also talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or existing medical conditions/medications that you take, before you take GABA supplements.
GABA Supplements FAQs
Understanding how GABA and other sleep-inducing ingredients work can be a little mind-numbing. To save you from spending an afternoon reading science articles, here are the most frequently asked questions about GABA supplements.
Which is the best GABA supplement for sleep?
The best GABA supplements are from a safe and reliable company and contain a high dose of GABA, plus additional ingredients to aid the absorption of GABA or help you get to sleep. If we had to pick just one, we’d recommend the Natural Stacks GABA Brain Food.
What is GABA?
GABA is an amino acid neurotransmitter that blocks receptors in your brain. By blocking certain receptors, GABA can prevent you from feeling stressed and anxious. Low levels of GABA are linked to sleep troubles and insomnia too.
Can I take GABA for anxiety?
Yes! Many GABA supplements are targeted for anxiety as well as sleep. Look for the supplements that don’t contain sleep-targeted ingredients, like melatonin, if you plan to take GABA during the day for soothing anxiety.
How much GABA should I take for sleep?
If you’re totally new to GABA supplements, start with a low dose that you can increase. 200mg is a good place to start. If you feel like that’s not enough, try increasing your dose to 500mg. Typically, GABA doses range from 500mg to 750mg. There is no set recommendation of how much you should take, but you can always ask your doctor what they think is right for you.
Where can I buy GABA supplements?
GABA supplements are available to buy online and you may find some at your pharmacy. You don’t need a doctor’s prescription for dietary supplements, so they can be bought over the counter. Amazon stocks many, but not all, GABA supplements from a variety of brands.
How can you tell if you’re not getting enough GABA?
A lack of GABA can result in anxiety, nervousness, irritability, stress, sleep troubles, and even depression. But these symptoms could have several different causes, not just a GABA deficiency. Talk to your doctor about these symptoms if GABA supplements don’t seem to have any effect.
Are there side effects of taking GABA?
Yes, there can be side effects to taking too much GABA – that’s why you should talk to your doctor about how much you should take and follow the instructions on the supplement packaging. Thankfully, side effects from taking GABA are rarely serious. Nootriment has recorded increased heart rate, rapid breathing, tingling sensations, and drowsiness – but these side effects usually last no longer than 40 minutes.
What medications does GABA interact with?
GABA will interact with other medications that target receptors in your brain, specifically medications for anxiety and depression. You should talk to your doctor about GABA supplements if you take any medication – they will be able to tell you if GABA will interfere with them, or if other sleep aid ingredients will be more suitable.
More to know: