The Impact of Sleep Supplements on REM Sleep and Sleep Architecture

Need help getting restful sleep? Learn how melatonin, valerian root, and magnesium impact REM sleep and sleep architecture.


When it comes to sleep, we all sometimes turn to sleep supplements. Some people enjoy melatonin supplements, while others take valerian root or magnesium to encourage more restful nights. However, how do these sleep supplements impact REM sleep and sleep architecture, crucial aspects of overall sleep health?  
Fortunately, we’ve compiled the latest research to help you uncover how your go-to supplements impact your REM sleep and sleep architecture so you can continue to support optimal rest. In this article, we’ll dive deep into the impacts of melatonin, valerian root, and magnesium on REM sleep and sleep architecture. Let’s start with a common sleep supplement many people use: melatonin.

Addressing Melatonin’s Effects on Sleep

As one of the most common sleep supplements, melatonin is a go-to for many for various reasons. Not only is it a supplement that supports a naturally occurring hormone within the body, but it can also enhance your REM sleep and even your sleep architecture.

Melatonin Supports Healthy REM Sleep 

Melatonin has been proven beneficial in supporting REM sleep, especially for those with REM sleep behavior disorder. One study showed that this parasomnia could be treated effectively with melatonin to encourage fewer symptoms and more restful nights (Source: National Institutes of Health). Additionally, melatonin also contributed to a decrease in the time that it took to fall asleep. However, this is not the same for everyone. 
For women who are perimenopausal or postmenopausal, melatonin was actually associated with worse sleep due to the abnormalities in the body. Not only did some of them have more disturbances while they slept, but the study also showed that melatonin’s results varied in terms of sleep architecture.

Melatonin Preserves One’s Sleep Architecture

While the study on women in their perimenopausal and postmenopausal stages of life showed that melatonin has different effects, looking at a more generalized population is essential. For those who take melatonin and experience normal hormonal levels within their body, melatonin actually was more successful at contributing to the preservation of one’s sleep architecture (Source: National Library of Medicine). Sleep architecture is the utmost basic pattern of your sleep, so if you take melatonin, you can actually preserve your usual sleep pattern.  
This is excellent news for those who use melatonin and want to find some reprieve from sleep-deprived nights! Not only can melatonin assist with REM sleep for those with specific sleep disorders, but it can ensure that you always get enough sleep and stay within your usual sleep cycle. 

How Valerian Root Impacts Your Sleep

Valerian root, like melatonin, is touted as a potent sleep supplement. It can also aid with anxiety. It’s used for insomnia and has been a common supplement throughout the ages, so it’s no wonder that it positively affects sleep, specifically REM sleep and sleep architecture.

Valerian Root Improves REM Sleep 

When it comes to REM sleep, valerian root works wonders for those who struggle with sleep, including those who have insomnia. Research shows that a single dose of 450 mg can actually increase the amount of REM sleep enjoyed and overall help with limiting how many times people wake up throughout the night, including insomnia patients (Source: PubMed).  
This means that if you take valerian root, you can enjoy more restful REM sleep to support your overall health and ultimately improve your sleep quality over time. Much like melatonin, valerian root will work naturally with your body to support your health.

Valerian Root Aids Sleep Structure Over Time 

While valerian root helps with REM sleep, studies have not been as strong in indicating a nearly immediate benefit from this sleep supplement. However, much of the research says that if you take valerian root over time, you will sleep better, and your sleep structure will ultimately improve.  
When comparing the placebo and the actual valerian root supplement, there were no differences in the short term, but over the long term, for two weeks, patients saw positive impacts on their sleep structure. So, if you want to enjoy the benefits of improved sleep, take valerian root for at least two weeks, and you’ll feel the difference. 

Magnesium’s Influence on Sleep

Magnesium is one of the essential nutrients, and as you might have guessed, lacking it can lead to challenges with your sleep. If you want to supplement with magnesium, you might be surprised to find out just how much of an effect it has on your REM sleep and sleep architecture.

Magnesium Helps REM Sleep 

If you take magnesium before bed, you’ll enjoy better sleep—mainly because of its impact on sleep and the quality of the necessary sleep stages. According to an article published in Sleep, magnesium enhances overall sleep health, supporting the natural process of each sleep cycle and even limiting sleep disturbances.  
In other words, if you take magnesium, you’ll encourage your body to enjoy restful sleep stages, including REM sleep!  If you have a sleep disorder like insomnia, magnesium could be a helpful supplement to ensure you sleep throughout the night and complete your sleep stages (Source: Springer Link).

Magnesium Manages Sleep Architecture

For those who have struggled with sleep or may have a sleep disorder, you’ll be happy to know that magnesium can enhance your sleep structure. Studies like Nielsen’s have demonstrated that magnesium deficiencies are actually to blame for some sleep disorders, leading to poor sleep or even sleep deprivation. Fortunately, with supplementation, his study indicated that magnesium could restore your sleep architecture again, so you’ll enjoy restful nights!

Are You Supporting Optimal Sleep Health?

No matter what sleep supplement you take, the research is clear: many of them provide significant benefits, especially if you have a sleep disorder. Melatonin is often people’s go-to, but don’t forget the power of valerian root or magnesium, two proven and widely used supplements throughout history. With all this in mind, we hope this article helped you support your sleep health. What supplement will you add to your sleep routine in the future?  


Written by

Marie Soukup

Marie Soukup is a seasoned copywriter, editor, and Integrative Nutrition Health Coach with a certificate from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition (IIN). With years of experience working with brands across diverse industries, Marie is passionate about holistic health and crafting compelling content.

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