Should You Take L-Theanine and Melatonin for Sleep?

Struggling to catch some ZZs? Chances are you’re thinking about or have already started taking the popular sleep supplement melatonin. But what about the other sleep hero, L-Theanine? 

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all the options and information available, but don’t worry. This post explains how both of these supplements can help you finally get some quality sleep.

What is L-Theanine?

L-Theanine is a nonessential amino acid naturally found in green and black tea leaves and some mushrooms. It’s also made into different forms of supplements, usually to aid relaxation and decrease anxiety. 

It’s able to mildly enhance cognitive function, counteract increased blood pressure, increase relaxation, and promote a better quality of sleep. L-Theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier and is able to increase alpha waves in the brain, which contributes to relaxation and more focus. One of the reasons it’s so popular as a supplement is because it provides these positive effects (among others) without making you drowsy.

Even though it’s a nonprotein amino acid and isn’t considered essential to humans, it has vast benefits including better sleep. 

What are the Benefits of Taking L-Theanine Supplements?

There are many reasons to take an L-Theanine supplement, especially when stacked together with other synergistic supplements like melatonin.

Promotes relaxation and deeper sleep

As mentioned above, L-Theanine has been found to promote relaxation and better sleep. In fact, it’s been shown to promote more and longer REM sleep cycles.

Decreases anxiety and boosts mood

L-Theanine contributes to a more positive mood and less anxiety by releasing neurotransmitters responsible for regulating the nervous system, including GABA.

Improve attention, focus, and overall cognitive function 

Another benefit of L-Theanine is that it increases attention and alertness when taken alongside caffeine. Additionally, supplementing with L-Tyrosine may help to eliminate brain fog, improve reaction times and promote better cognitive function overall. 

Does L-Theanine Help with Sleep?

Yes, L-Theanine helps with sleep in several key ways. 

Calms you down for bed

Ever struggle to wind down at the end of the night? L-Theanine combats that by contributing to overall calmness and that sought-after zen feeling that promotes better sleep. Some research suggests that these effects are because L-Theanine encourages the release of serotonin and dopamine.

Helps you fall asleep faster

The anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of L-Theanine lead to reduced anxiety and nervousness, helping you fall asleep faster. It accomplishes this without the sedative effects of other sleep aids, which also means you won’t wake up groggy the next morning. 

Promotes deep sleep and NREM

Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) is where the most important sleep takes place, and L-Theanine helps you access this deep state of sleep.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that the brain naturally produces to assist in regulating circadian rhythms and other important roles in the body. The brain’s pineal gland makes melatonin from serotonin in response to the dark, which signals the body that it’s time to sleep. It can also be synthetically made or derived from plants, microorganisms, and animals for use in sleep supplements. 

As it gets darker, melatonin levels rise and then decrease as it gets lighter.

Unfortunately, most people struggle to naturally produce adequate amounts of melatonin. Exposure to either natural or artificial light – especially blue light – can block the production of melatonin or limit its production. The body also naturally makes less melatonin with age. 

What Does Melatonin Do for You?

Melatonin is of course used to help you fall asleep, but its benefits don’t stop there.

Helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer

Research has shown that melatonin supplements can decrease sleep latency while also increasing the length of sleep.

Reduces sleep disturbances 

An analysis of 23 studies concluded that melatonin helps to reduce sleep disturbances in adults with disease-related sleep disorders.

Combats jet lag

Traveling across multiple time zones and working during normal sleep times can offset the body’s internal clock. Melatonin has been shown to be effective at combating this by resetting circadian rhythms.

How Does Melatonin Help with Sleep?

Melatonin signals the body to calm down for sleep, similar to how L-Theanine brings a sense of calm – although melatonin makes you drowsy, unlike L-Theanine. It does this by releasing neurotransmitters like GABA and serotonin which help regulate the nervous system, ease tension, and enhance positive moods. Additionally, these effects work to regulate the sleep-wake cycle and contribute to longer periods of sleep. 

According to Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M., melatonin levels rise around two hours before bed. This is a good amount of time to get your mind and body in a relaxed enough state for falling asleep, especially when combined with sleep-inducing habits like the ones mentioned below. 

Will Combining L-Theanine and Melatonin Lead to Better Sleep?

Yes, the two sleep superheroes melatonin and L-Theanine can be used together to enhance each other’s benefits. In fact, many sleep supplements contain both because despite working differently, they’re actually a very effective pair.

L-Theanine promotes a more restful sleep than melatonin, but melatonin may be more effective at helping you fall asleep faster – and stay asleep longer – than L-Theanine alone. Not only that, but L-Theanine helps balance out the grogginess that melatonin supplements oftentimes cause.

Since L-Theanine may be able to increase serotonin levels in the body, the pineal gland can more easily convert it into melatonin. These harmonious effects are especially helpful for those who have sleep troubles because of stress or anxiety since stress depletes serotonin levels. 

What’s the Best Dosage of L-Theanine and Melatonin for Sleep?

Dosages of L-Theanine may vary from 100-400 mg, whereas melatonin is typically best kept to 1-5 mg per serving. Always start on the lower end, and increase as needed. It’s also important to note that melatonin is best for short-term use, and finding the right high-quality supplement is key to success.

You can choose to take them separately and control the dosage of each or opt for a supplement that contains both. L-Theanine can be taken anytime throughout the day and still have positive effects at bedtime, but melatonin should only be taken when you’re ready to fall asleep because it causes drowsiness. You can also take them at the same time at night. 

Healthy Habits that Lead to Better Sleep Without Taking Supplements

The best thing you can do for your sleep is to implement healthy habits instead of relying solely on sleep supplements. You can relax and get better sleep with the following ideas. 

Create a sleep-conducive environment 

Your environment plays a huge role in your overall stress levels and sleep. Try to keep your bedroom free of clutter, at a comfortable temperature, and dark to make natural melatonin production easier. 

Avoid light one or two hours before bedtime

Light from TVs, phones, and even overhead lighting can block melatonin production and mess up your internal clock. Make sure you avoid these at least an hour before trying to sleep, but ideally two hours beforehand. 

Be mindful of your evening meals and drinks 

Try to avoid large, heavy meals right before bed as well as foods that contain caffeine like chocolate. Additionally, you should avoid stimulants like coffee long before bed – and even alcohol should be limited. 

Have a consistent bedtime routine 

Your body thrives on consistency, so even though you don’t need to have a strict schedule, having a relaxing bedtime routine around the same time each night can help improve sleep. You may find that doing relaxing activities like journaling, meditating, taking a warm bath, and so forth can help you relax and sleep better, too.


Whether you decide to supplement with one or both L-Theanine and melatonin, keep these guidelines in mind. Both of these natural sleep aids can be effective when taken correctly. 

If you decide to skip the sleep supplements, try some of the healthy sleep habits above. When in doubt, start with one thing at a time and smaller doses of whichever supplements you use. 

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Courtney Smith
Courtney Smith

Courtney is a freelance wellness writer and aspiring health and fitness coach. When she's not writing, she's trying to keep up with her two kids, squeezing in a workout, or brewing another cup of adaptogenic coffee.

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