These Popular Over-the-counter Supplements May Cause Insomnia

Patient Expert

Getting a good night's sleep is important for physical and emotional health, as well as energy levels. But for many Americans today, quality sleep is something that is increasingly difficult to achieve.

Many of the reasons for insomnia are well-known, such as health issues, shift workstress levels, poor quality bedding and problems associated with prescription medications.

To address these problems, many of those who deal with poor sleep quality turn to over-the-counter (OTC) supplements that promise to promote better sleep with no side effects. In addition, many people who are taking OTC supplements for other reasons, such as weight loss or to boost overall health, may be inadvertently affecting their sleep quality.

_If you frequently suffer from insomnia and take OTC supplements for any reason, the following list will give you a starting point to help you determine if the supplements you are taking could be affecting your sleep. _


Guarana is a supplement that has become increasingly popular with people seeking to lose weight. It originates from South America where it is harvested as a berry.

Known to increase thermogenesis in the body, the guaranine found in guarana can create an effect much like caffeine. It can also increase anxiety levels and cause other reactions that are known to impact sleep quality.


Often used to improve stamina, mental alertness and concentration levels, this supplement can cause many health issues when taken in higher than recommended doses.

Insomnia is just one of the potential side-effects for those taking OTC ginseng supplements. Others include changes in heart rate and blood pressure, headaches, dizziness, diarrhea and loss of appetite.

Green tea

Often used as a supplement both as capsules, as well as tea bags or tea leaves, green tea is thought to have many positive influences on the body. These include:

  • Aiding digestion
  • Increasing mental alertness
  • Regulating blood sugar levels

Unfortunately, because green tea contains a significant amount of caffeine, it can cause insomnia, as well as dizziness, heart palpitations, diarrhea and nausea.

Taking supplements safely

If you are planning to take these supplements, or any other, you should take the following steps to ensure that you do so safely:

  • Discuss the supplements you plan to take and your reasoning for wanting to take them with your doctor
  • Ensure that any supplements purchased are produced by a reputable manufacturer
  • Follow dosage directions carefully
  • Use a calendar or journal to jot down the dates, dosages and any side effects felt while taking the supplements so you can discuss them with your healthcare professional

Although occasional sleepless nights are normal for most people, any instance of prolonged or excessive insomnia should always be taken seriously.

Your healthcare provider can help you determine why you are experiencing insomnia and help you find the best solution to address the problem.

_Martin is the creator of Insomnia Land’s free online sleep training for insomnia. If you are sleep deprived, his course is there to help. Over 4,000 insomniacs have completed his course and 97 percent of graduates say they would recommend it to a friend. _

See more helpful articles:

Top Herbs to Treat Insomnia

Understanding Melatonin Supplements

Three Things You Can Do to Improve Your Sleep Tonight