I’ve tried a number of supplements that help me get more restful, deeper sleep. But a big problem many people have — and one I struggle with from time to time — isn’t the duration of sleep itself, but rather the ability to fall asleep.
Sound Sleep by Gaia Herbs claims to address this, and the manufacturer claims it’s specifically formulated to help people fall asleep faster (or as they say, “facilitate the transition from wakefulness to sleep”). I’ve read quite a few mixed reviews on this product, with some people labeling it a once-in-a-lifetime type of product, while others claimed they felt no effect at all. The solution? Try it myself!
Read below to see if Sound Sleep lives up to Gaia’s claim about making the actual falling asleep part easier.
It’s worth noting that Sound Sleep contains Kava Kava, a substance that’s been used for centuries to treat insomnia and other conditions. However, governmental bodies caution that there’s a small risk of severe liver complications for some people who take Kava Kava. I’ve never run into any issues or side effects from supplements with Kava Kava, but it’s still worth noting. As with any supplement, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting a new regimen.
From the manufacturer:
Sound Sleep’s all-herbal formula features extracts of herbs historically recognized to facilitate the transition from wakefulness to sleep.
Adults take 2-3 capsules 1 hour before bed. Maximum time of use: one month.
Caution: US FDA advises that a potential risk of rare but severe liver injury may be associated with kava-containing dietary supplements. Do not take if you have or have had liver problems, drink alcohol or take any medications. If you have a medical condition, use under the advice of a health practitioner.
Proprietary Extract Blend – 864 mg
- Passionflower flowering vine — This plant extract helps boost your GABA (as evidenced in this study), helping mitigate both nervousness and insomnia.
- Kava Kava root — Used for centuries to treat anxiety, stress, insomnia, ADHD, depression, and headaches, some people in the South Pacific make a recreational drink out of the roots, which are said to bring about a both a sense of calm and euphoria.
- American skullcap herb — Often used to combat inflammation, and insomnia, the chemicals in skullcap are a known mild sedative.
- Valerian root — This fragrant herb has been historically used as a sedative and pain reliever and prescribed by ancient Greek physicians as a treatment for insomnia; modern research indicates its effectiveness for these purposes.
- California Poppy herb and root — This plant is in the early stages of research and has been tentatively linked to cognitive boosting properties.
- Vervain herb — Traditional and herbal medicine uses vervain to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety.
- Hops strobile — In addition to being a flavoring ingredient in beer, hops have also been used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
- Gotu Kola leaf — A leaf used in traditional medicines (often with Bacopa monnieri) to treat anxiety, rheumatism, and skin regeneration.
Additional Ingredients: Vegetable glycerin, capsule (vegetable cellulose).
I took Sound Sleep an hour before bedtime on the nights I tried it, just like the label suggests. I tried both 2 and 3 capsule dosages.
I’ll cut straight to it: this supplement did not help me fall asleep faster, and there were nights where I took it and definitely still struggled to find my internal sleep button. BUT, the rest I did get felt deeper and more relaxing, and I never woke up groggy, even when I got under 8 hours of sleep. It’s the reverse of what I was expecting. I’m not complaining, as the sleep I got felt very high-quality, but it did nothing to get me falling asleep quicker.
- Improved my overall sleep quality.
- No groggy feeling the next morning.
- Herbal and many ingredients are certified organic and/or sustainably harvested.
- Did not help me fall asleep faster despite the manufacturer’s intended purpose.
- Contains Kava Kava, which carries a small risk of side effects.
- Not intended to be used for more than a month at a time.
The Final Word
I’m a bit flummoxed by Sound Sleep. On the one hand, the nights I took it ended with very restful, deep, and peaceful sleep that left me feeling refreshed in the morning. On the other, it did practically nothing (or at least nothing noticeable) to help me fall asleep faster even though I followed the suggested usage pretty darn closely.
I definitely don’t see this supplement as useless, but it just didn’t work in the way I was hoping or expecting.