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Best Nootropics for Sleep

Best Nootropics for Sleep

Sleep is critical for brain function and quality of sleep acts as a natural cognitive enhancer. However, brain boosters are not true sleep aids, as just a few effective, research-backed nootropics, such as Maximum Mind for sleep, are available.

To keep it short, the best nootropics for sleep include the following in no particular order: L-theanine, organic ashwagandha root extract, organic lion's mane mushroom extract, L-tyrosine, huperzine, and uridine. Additionally, these premium ingredients are all contained in Maximum Mind in their purest, most bioavailable form. Continue reading to learn how and why. 

Stacking the appropriate nootropics with natural sleep aids is the most effective way to improve brain repair and overall cognitive function. As such, this post discusses how combining the correct nootropics with a high-quality natural sleep supplement can maximize daytime brain power gains. After all, there's no such thing as life quality without quality of sleep.


What Are Nootropics?

“The only difference between the master and the novice is that the master has failed more times than the novice has tried.”
― Stephen McCranie

First things first, what are nootropics? Corneliu Giurgea, a Romanian neuroscientist, coined the term nootropic (pronounced new-tropic) in 1972. He believed that smart drugs should be invented and made widely available for the purpose of enhancing the general population’s brain health and increasing human intelligence.

According to Dr. Giurgea’s findings, nootropics enhance cognition, memory, alertness, concentration, creativity, and attention. They became known as cognitive enhancers, substances that amplify the way the brain’s many cognitive functions operate and how we process information.

Simply put, cognitive enhancers (or nootropics or smart drugs) are prescription or off-the-counter drugs or supplements that enhance cognition. Some nootropics contribute to brain health, while others can be quite dangerous.

Since Marco’s Grounds only works with safe and natural compounds in their purest forms, we will restrain ourselves to natural nootropics that increase cognition safely for most of our discussions.


Which Brain Functions Does Sleep Affect?

“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
– Babe Ruth

Sleep is important for optimal cognitive function and overall health. Understanding how we fall asleep and remain asleep may help us identify nootropics that could enhance our sleep.

Sleep is primarily regulated by two distinct functions: our sleep drive and circadian rhythm. Our sleep drive is the system that keeps track of the amount of good sleep we get. It alerts us when we're running low on supplies and assists us in falling asleep when we're in need.

Our circadian rhythm, on the other hand, dictates when we should be awake and when we should be asleep. It communicates to humans when they should feel drowsy and feel awake in response to light exposure during the day and night.

Melatonin Production and the Circadian Rhythm

Then there's melatonin, the primary brain chemical connected with drowsiness and alertness. Essentially, our eyes convert our sleep pattern into melatonin synthesis dependent on the amount of light and darkness in the environment. This is how our circadian rhythm controls our sleep and waking cycles.

Our brains produce melatonin, which makes us tired, while the absence of melatonin makes us awake. This cycle is considered to be a component of the circadian rhythm.

An NIH study demonstrated that when our retinas are exposed to light or darkness, they communicate with our brain's suprachiasmatic nucleus (located in the hypothalamus). [1]

The hypothalamus is an important part of the nervous system. It sits deep inside your head, near your pituitary gland. Your hypothalamus controls many different functions including hunger, thirst, temperature regulation, sleep cycles, sex drive, and stress levels. It also produces hormones that affect your moods and emotions.

The suprachiasmatic nucleus then delivers the message to the brain regions responsible for hormone and body temperature regulation.

A study in the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience asserts that the messages go from the suprachiasmatic nucleus to the pineal gland through the spinal cord. Thus, the pineal gland is the site of melatonin generation or lack thereof. [2]

Thus, while it is bright outside, our retinas transmit signals to our pineal gland to prevent it from producing melatonin. When our retinas detect darkness, they signal our pineal gland to manufacture it, which results in an exhausted condition.

Some of the best nootropics for sleep promote serotonin production, which increases melatonin.

Melatonin is synthesized from serotonin, which is synthesized from tryptophan. To begin, tryptophan is absorbed from the circulation into the pineal gland, where it is converted to melatonin and other compounds.

Melatonin is the primary molecule involved in maintaining a normal circadian rhythm. Its creation, or lack thereof, is determined chiefly by the amount of light that our retinas are exposed to daily. It sounds very straightforward, doesn't it? However, there is more to good sleep than melatonin.


Other Brain Functions Involved With Sleep

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

There is no mental performance without mental health and proper brain chemistry. The latter both require the positive effects of sleep.

Sleep is also influenced by the basal forebrain and midbrain. The basal forebrain contributes to sleep induction. For instance, it creates the molecule adenosine, which is necessary for sleep.

On the other hand, the midbrain promotes the synthesis of neurotransmitters related to alertness and arousal, which helps us maintain our energy levels. Thus, suppressing it may be beneficial in promoting quality sleep.

Apart from melatonin and adenosine, several additional molecules are involved in this process. Here's a brief description of how each of them helps us feel more relaxed or awake.

GABA and Glutamate

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the brain that plays an important role in regulating nerve impulses and muscle activity. GABA helps reduce anxiety, stress, and depression, making it beneficial for improving sleep quality.

GABA has been shown in a study found in Medical Sciences to inhibit neurons involved in alertness, so assisting us in sleeping. It inhibits neuronal activity in the posterior hypothalamus (PH). [3] According to another study found in the Journal of biosciences, glutamate helps to control sleep length and REM sleep. It aids in the initiation of sleep [4].


Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter generated in the forebrain that is necessary for the onset of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. It is well established that our acetylcholine levels rise during REM sleep. Additionally, REM sleep is maintained in the brain's cholinergic pathways. An increased level of acetylcholine can also aid in improved focus, memory, speed of thought, and overall mental clarity.


According to a study in the American Journal of Physiology, excessive norepinephrine production might deprive us of REM sleep. Thus, nootropics that inhibit norepinephrine synthesis may aid in increasing REM sleep. [5]


Dopamine is a motivating, feel-good neurotransmitter found in the brain that has a role in reward and alertness. A study in Stanford Report shows that this molecule increases alertness and "contradicts adenosine's inclination to induce sleep." [6] For this reason, it is essential to understand the role of dopamine in our body, such as helping with depression and ADHD.


A study in Progress in Neurobiology verifies that Serotonin, the precursor of melatonin, aids in maintaining awareness and inhibits REM sleep. [7] Thus, improving it may assist you in navigating your way further into REM sleep if you're having difficulty getting there.


Cortisol is the stress hormone that aids in the chemical equilibrium of our brains and bodies. Cortisol levels that are either high or too low might affect our circadian cycle and sleep phases.

What are the Stages of Sleep?

“If we have the attitude that it’s going to be a great day it usually is.”
— Catherine Pulsifer

Humans should go through four distinct phases of sleep (some people talk about three in some cases) during the night. The first three phases are commonly referred to as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep stages. Finally, there is fast eye movement (REM). Each step is as follows:

Stage One

The first stage is when we transition from being awake to sleeping. It's when our brain and body begin to unwind from the day's activities. Additionally, the heart rate and breathing rate begin to reduce, and muscles start to relax.

Stage Two

The second stage of sleep is the next stage of non-REM sleep where alpha brain wave activity dies down. In this stage, your heart rate and breathing slow down even more. And muscles relax even further. Body temperature drops and eye movements stop.

Stage Three

Non-REM sleep is the period of deep sleep that you need so you can wake up refreshed in the morning. This is where sleep begins. It occurs for longer periods during the first half of the night. Your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels. And your muscles relax to the point where it may be difficult to wake you. Brain waves enter the slow-wave stage.

Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep

The rapid eye movement stage is the stage of sleep during which the brain gets engaged. We dream the most during REM sleep, which is the most profound period.

The eyeballs begin to move rapidly beneath our eyelids during REM. Our heart begins to beat rapidly, and our blood pressure rises. Our bodies, on the other hand, are immobilized. However, we do not consistently achieve this state of sleep. In addition, when our bodies are not given enough time to complete our sleep phases, we may suffer from sleep deprivation which is most seen in lack of REM Sleep.

What is Sleep Deprivation?

“Your passion is waiting for your courage to catch up.” 
— Isabelle Lafleche

Sleep is important for our health. We need it to stay healthy and happy.

There are many reasons why we need sleep, including keeping our muscles strong and helping us recover from illness. Sleep also helps us think clearly and remember things. And it may even help us lose weight!

Research shows that getting enough sleep can help keep our blood sugar levels steady and reduce our risk of diabetes.

Getting less than 6 hours of sleep each night increases our chances of obesity. So it’s important to get at least seven hours of sleep every night. If you’re sleeping less than 5 hours a night, talk to your doctor about ways to increase your sleep time.

Researchers at Warwick University studied the sleep patterns of 30k people for four years. The scientists found that not getting enough sleep or poor quality sleep harmed physical health and mental wellbeing.

Sleep improvements and reducing the use of sleeping pills had an equal impact on eight weeks of Cognitive Therapy. And feeling happy after getting adequate sleep was equivalent to winning $250K in the lottery [8].

On the other hand, sleep deprivation occurs when we do not receive adequate total sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can occur for a variety of causes. However, it frequently has to do with the amount of light our retina receives and the accompanying brain activities.

What Causes Sleep Deprivation?

“People who wonder if the glass is half empty or full miss the point. The glass is refillable.”
— Unknown

Technically, sleep deprivation can be caused by hypersomnia, insomnia, a strenuous work schedule, sleep apnea, stress, poor sleep hygiene, narcolepsy, or poor nutrition, among other factors. External light, or the absence thereof, has also always a significant effect, as noted above.

When our brain chemicals are out of balance due to internal and/or environmental factors, we may feel weary from a lack of sleep. This deficiency can result in a plethora of additional complications.

Negative Effects of Sleep Deprivation

According to experts, an adult should obtain at least seven hours of sleep every night. Otherwise, we risk being sleep deprived, which can have far-reaching consequences beyond simply depriving us of energy. If you do not get enough sleep each night, you may increase your chance of developing a slew of health problems:

  • Mood swings
  • Memory problems
  • High blood pressure 
  • Reduced brain function
  • Obesity
  • Dementia
  • Hallucinations
  • Heart issues
  • Anxiety and depression

As you can see, sleep deprivation increases our chance of developing various health problems. As a result, it's critical to get back on track if you're having difficulty sleeping at least seven hours every night.

L-Tyrosine, one of the best nootropics for sleep, has been proven in research to improve cognitive function in sleep-deprived patients, serving as an indirect nootropic for sleep-related cognitive difficulties.

Do Nootropics Affect Sleep?

“One finds limits by pushing them.”
– Herbert Simon

Yes, nootropics can unquestionably influence sleep. Some nootropics can make it more difficult to fall asleep and cause sleep disruptions. This is something to keep in mind if you are taking nootropics and have trouble sleeping.

If the use of nootropics is interfering with your sleep, there are a few things you can do to remedy the situation.

One option is to simply reduce the dosage of the nootropic. Caffeine (if you consider it a nootropic), Modafinil, and Piracetam to name a few have a significant impact on sleep.

Some people find that wakefulness-promoting nootropics, such as Modafinil, make them too alert to fall asleep at night. Switching from Modafinil to another nootropic, such as Maximum Mind may be the solution if this affects you. Maximum Mind is stimulant-free and is designed to not impact sleep adversely.

This way, you can enjoy the benefits of your nootropics without the added stress of a wakefulness-promoting" agent that disrupts your sleep.

When taking a supplement or drug, it is often advisable to combine it with other supplements/drugs/herbs that perform a completely different function, such as L-theanine. This is also why L-theanine combines greatly with coffee. This counteracts any adverse effects and has a synergistic effect that increases the supplement's efficacy.

General Tips for Better Sleep

“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
— Irish Proverb

The same NIH Publication demonstrates that there are a few other natural strategies to improve your sleep quality prior to attempting nootropics for sleep. [1]

  • Earlier in the day, put down your computer and/or cell phone and get exposed to as much natural sunlight as possible. Artificial blue light can help if for some extreme reasons the sun is hidden (eg extreme latitudes)
  • Establish a morning routine to help your body balance its sleep cycle.
  • Establish an evening routine for the same reason
  • When sleeping, use an eye cover to filter out exterior light.
  • Ascertain that daylight does not enter your bedroom window too early.
  • When you go to bed, ensure that your room does not have excessive exterior light.
  • Avoid caffeine and stimulants such as energy drinks too close to bedtime.

If you've exhausted all other options and are still unable to sleep well, you can still use some stimulating and the best nootropics for sleep as your best chance. However, how could they possibly assist? 


Maximum Mind Best Sleep Ingredients

Let us take a closer look at some of the best nootropics for sleep contained in Maximum Mind.


L-Theanine is an amino acid that increases the synthesis of GABA and serotonin in the brain via its ability to penetrate the blood-brain barrier. A study in Nutrients inferred that this GABA support aids in the induction of feelings of relaxation associated with improved sleep quality. [9]

Additionally, serotonin is the melatonin precursor. Thus, its production may augment our brain's natural melatonin manufacturing capacity while we are sleep-deprived.

L-theanine has been shown in studies found in Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition to improve sleep quality. [10]

However, unlike most sleep aids, L-theanine is free of sedatives. Rather than that, L-theanine promotes relaxation without sedation, which can aid in both mental acuity and pre-bedtime winding down. L-theanine is one of the best nootropics for sleep due to this unique action.

Maximum Mind is made to be clean and stimulant-free and contains only premium ingredients without stimulants

Numerous nootropic stacks on the market contain excessive amounts of coffee and other stimulants.

While stimulants may momentarily increase alertness and attention, they can also create mind-numbing "crashes" and interfere with regular sleep habits. Maximum Mind enhances cognition organically and in harmony with the body, rather than at the price of good sleep.

For these reasons, L-theanine is one of the best nootropics for sleep.

Note: there’s an effective dose of L-theanine from organic green tea leaf extract in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about L-theanine on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or find out the best caffeine and L-theanine combination here.

Organic Huperzia Serrate Leaf Extract

Huperzine A was discovered in Chinese club moss extracts (Huperzia Serrata). Huperzine A provides several advantages. It contributes to improved acetylcholine signaling. This neurotransmitter improves memory and cognitive functions by regulating the cholinesterase enzyme.

In general, it significantly raises acetylcholine levels. Its association with cholinergic signaling explains its significance for memory and cognitive functions such as concentration.

Anti-cholinesterase activity has been demonstrated for Huperzine A in complementary and alternative medicine (a chemical essential to learning and memory).

Additionally, multiple studies published in Chemistry Biodiversity [11] have demonstrated that huperzine A improves memory and learning and protects against age-related cognitive decline. 

Due to its effects on acetylcholine and working memory, huperzine A is one of the most beneficial nootropics for brain health. Huperzine might also provide additional benefits. It is well-known for enhancing REM sleep (the dreaming stage of sleep as we discussed above) and lucid dreaming.

This reputational effect on sleep is related to acetylcholine regulation, despite insufficient research at this time.

This compound also possesses neuroprotective properties. This neuroprotection is related to Huperzine's ability to boost acetylcholine. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine reduces oxidative stress and regulates other potentially damaging processes.

As such, huperzine is one of the best nootropics for sleep.

Note: there’s an effective dose of huperzine A at 50% purity in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about huperzine A on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or read more about the benefits of huperzine A here.

Organic Lion's Mane Mushroom Extract

Also called Lion's Horn Mushroom, the lion's mane is a fungus native to North America and China. It is commonly found growing on oak trees. The name comes from its resemblance to the mane of a lion.

There is evidence that it may help reduce anxiety and depression. One study showed that it helped relieve depressive symptoms in patients suffering from social phobia [12]. Another study showed that it improved cognitive function in healthy adults [13].

Reducing anxiety alone naturally is huge when considering the best nootropics for sleep, this is why lion's mane makes the list.

Lions' manes also fight inflammation in the body, and this has a connection to depression. Stress and depression are both indicated by insomnia and disrupted sleep. Lion's mane may help provide restful sleep by eliminating its adversaries, stress, and depression.

This is another important reason why lion's mane should be included in any stack designed to promote better sleep.

Note: there’s an effective dose of organic lion’s mane full-spectrum fruiting body at 40% minimum beta-glucans, in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about lion’s mane on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or find more about the benefits of lion’s mane here. 

Organic Ashwagandha Root Extract

Organic Ashwagandha Root Extract

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an evergreen shrub with bright yellow flowers and blackish-red berries that looks similar to husk cherry and tomatillo.

Ashwagandha is a powerful neuroprotective herb. It has been shown to help us fall asleep faster. Ashwagandha contains triethylene glycol, which is naturally occurring and brings on sleepiness.

Additionally, the plant activates GABA receptors, which play a critical role in the sleep-wake cycle. Maximum Mind, contains an efficacious dose of ashwagandha.

The primary active compounds in ashwagandha are withanolides, which are considered to provide a variety of advantages, including the capacity to alleviate stress. Stress has been associated with decreased sleep quality and increased daytime sleepiness. If ashwagandha helps you relax before bed, it may be another way to promote better sleep.

As a result of these benefits, ashwagandha joins our list of the top and best nootropics for sleep.

Note: there’s an effective dose of organic ashwagandha full-spectrum root extract, standardized at 10% withanolides, and less than 1% withaferin A in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about ashwagandha on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or dig deeper into the benefits of ashwagandha here.



L-tyrosine is one of the most effective nootropics for enhancing focus because it is a precursor amino acid directly involved in the catecholamine conversion pathway. It is essential for maintaining mood, motivation, and concentration. Yet, it has a not commonly discussed effect on sleep, although slightly secondary. 

Under conditions of elevated stress and activity, the brain "burns" its natural L-tyrosine reserves in order to produce focus-related catecholamine neurotransmitters such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine.

Stress-induced catecholamine depletion can lead to mental fatigue, resulting in a significant decline in mental performance and concentration. L-tyrosine supplementation may be extremely advantageous.

Multiple tasks, external distractions, and sleep deprivation are just some of the factors that may impair attention and cognitive function. However, evidence suggests the following benefits of L-tyrosine supplementation:

Research published in Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance [14] indicates that L-tyrosine mitigates the impact of sleep deprivation on cognition and emotion.

As described in the L-tyrosine Deep Dive on Marco's Grounds, the effects of L-tyrosine on the brain become more apparent and noticeable during cognitively demanding tasks as opposed to simple, undemanding tasks and during periods of sleep deprivation.

Thus, while L-tyrosine does not directly influence sleep. It's one of the best nootropics for sleep in the case of sleep deprivation being unavoidable.

Note: there’s an effective dose of L-tyrosine as N-acetyl L-tyrosine in in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about tyrosine on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or dig deeper into the benefits of tyrosine here.



Dietary uridine is synthesized in the liver and excreted in the blood as uridine monophosphate.

Numerous foods include dietary uridine as an additive. Since most uridine taken through food is absorbed during the digestive process, supplementation may be essential to gain many of its outstanding effects and benefits—particularly those associated with cognition.

Uridine has been proven to pass the blood-brain barrier easily. Uridine is transformed into CDP choline in the brain. Choline, phosphatidylcholine, and acetylcholine are subsequently synthesized from CDP.

The more uridine in the brain, the more CDP choline is synthesized, efficiently preserving and strengthening newborn synapses. Uridine, therefore, supports sleep-promoting and anti-epileptic activities.

Studies in Neuroscience Research suggest that administration of uridine for five consecutive days prevents REM sleep deprivation-induced deficits in learning and memory associated with enhanced tCaMKII and pCREB ratios in the hippocampus. [15]

Uridine joins the list of the best nootropics for sleep due to its ability to boost neuroplasticity and its calming effects.

Note: there’s an effective dose of uridine at 99% purity in each dose of Maximum Mind.

Read more about uridine on the Marco’s Grounds Deep Dive or dig deeper into the benefits of uridine here.



“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”
— Chinese Proverb

The best nootropics for sleep ensure that our sleep schedule is preserved as much as possible while boosting mental and physical performance naturally. And while they have been discussed extensively, it is good to know that they are available in their premium and purest forms in Maximum Mind

Sleep deprivation can easily happen to anyone and for several reasons. A long stressful day can sometimes sweep you off your feet with bedtime restlessness and prevent you from experiencing the healthy sleep you deserve. However, supplementing with Maximum Mind can help you get a good shut-eye. 

Why not benefit from the best nootropics for sleep in their purest form along with other clinically studied compounds for increasing brain performance and health with Maximum Mind, the all-natural Swiss-made brain booster?



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  3. Shi, Y. F., & Yu, Y. Q. (2013). Zhejiang da xue xue bao. Yi Xue ban = Journal of Zhejiang University. Medical sciences, 42(5), 583–590.
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  5. Shi, Y. F., & Yu, Y. Q. (2013). Zhejiang da xue xue bao. Yi Xue ban = Journal of Zhejiang University. Medical sciences, 42(5), 583–590.
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  7. Conger K. Research shows dopamine plays a crucial role in sleep regulation. Standford Report. 2001 Mar 21.
  8. Portas CM, Bjorvatn B, Ursin R. Serotonin and the sleep/wake cycle: special emphasis on microdialysis studies. Prog Neurobiol. 2000 Jan;60(1):13-35.
  9. Tang N.K.Y., Fiecas M., Afolalu E.F., Wolke D. “Changes in Sleep Duration, Quality, and Medication Use Are Prospectively Associated With Health and Well-being: Analysis of the UK Household Longitudinal Study” Sleep Volume 40, Issue 3, 1 March 2017
  10. White DJ et al. Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an l-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial. Nutrients. 2016 Jan; 8(1): 53.
  11. Türközü D, Şanlier N. L-theanine, unique amino acid of tea, and its metabolism, health effects, and safety. Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2017 May 24;57(8):1681-1687.
  12. Yao, W., Zhang, J. C., Dong, C., Zhuang, C., Hirota, S., Inanaga, K., & Hashimoto, K. (2015). Effects of amycenone on serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-10, and depression-like behavior in mice after lipopolysaccharide administration. Pharmacology, biochemistry, and behavior, 136, 7–12.
  13. Chiu, C. H., Chyau, C. C., Chen, C. C., Lee, L. Y., Chen, W. P., Liu, J. L., Lin, W. H., & Mong, M. C. (2018). Erinacine A-Enriched Hericium erinaceus Mycelium Produces Antidepressant-Like Effects through Modulating BDNF/PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β Signaling in Mice. International journal of molecular sciences, 19(2), 341.
  14. Ocalan, B., Cakir, A., Koc, C., Suyen, G. G., & Kahveci, N. (2019). Uridine treatment prevents REM sleep deprivation-induced learning and memory impairment. Neuroscience Research, 148, 42–48. 
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