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Even one night of poor sleep can disrupt mood and demolish focus. When sleeplessness becomes chronic, mental well-being can suffer significantly. That’s why integrative psychiatrist Henry Emmons, MD, believes that prioritizing sleep is the best way to promote optimal mental health.

“When sleep falls into place, depression and anxiety can sometimes improve on their own, and natural remedies are much gentler and safer than prescription sleep aids.”

Emmons considers magnesium the most crucial micronutrient for treating sleep issues, but he also suggests these herbal remedies:

  • Valerian root interacts with GABA and serotonin receptors to calm nerves and improve sleep; it’s especially good for those who suffer from anxiety or hyperactivity.
  • Passionflower can increase the time we spend in restorative slow-wave sleep, leading to fewer disturbances and better-quality rest overall.
  • CBD stands for cannabidiol, a chemical found in hemp plants. CBD calms the nervous system, and studies suggest it may improve the overall quality of sleep. (Learn more about how CBD works at “Is CBD Effective?“)

Brain Fog

A quality diet and stable blood sugar are keys to maintaining a clear head. Notably, dark chocolate contributes to both, according to psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, MD. He contends that the flavanols it contains may help combat brain fog.

But when the fog persists, there are supplements that can help.

Functional nutritionist Jesse Haas, CNS, LN, recommends these herbs:

  • Tulsi (a.k.a. holy basil) has been shown to improve mood and cognitive functioning, including memory.
  • Rhodiola can help enhance memory, learning, and cognitive performance.
  • Curcumin and Bacopa monnieri have been linked to improved memory and attention in the aging brain.

(Are you having trouble concentrating? Feeling confused and forgetful? See “What Is Brain Fog?“)


For chronic anxiety, it’s key to boost baseline brain health with the supplements addressed throughout this article. But in times of acute stress, certain remedies can offer additional relief. “For situational stress, I look to remedies that tamp down stress hormones and support the adrenals,” says Emmons.

Here are some good options:

  • Kava root contains kavalactones, compounds that influence a range of neurobiological activities related to anxiety, including modulating GABA ­receptors.
  • Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that can reduce cortisol levels and improve sleep.
  • L-theanine is an amino acid that can settle some physiological responses to stress, such as elevated heart rate. (For more herbal anxiety remedies, see “What Are the 5 Best Herbs for Anxiety?“.)


To treat general sluggishness, Haas focuses on stabilizing blood sugar by reducing caffeine and sugar. Ramsey encourages clients to go gluten-free: He says gluten isn’t a root cause of depression for most people, but that people with gluten and other food sensitivities may experience fatigue, headaches, joint aches, and mood changes when they eat those foods.

Emmons maintains that nutrient status must be part of the equation when addressing low energy. “I always think in terms of systems,” he explains.

Emmons suggests these supplements:

  • Coenzyme Q10 supports energy production at the cellular level, in part by supporting mitochondria. Individuals with chronic fatigue syndrome typically have low levels of CoQ10, but supplementing can benefit energy levels for everyone.
  • Lithium orotate is a milder version of prescription lithium (which is lithium carbonate). Emmons suggests that it can be a good choice if fatigue is accompanied by a low mood. (For more on this, see “Can Lithium Orotate Be Used for Everyday Mood Support?“)

This was excerpted from “8 Key Supplements to Boost Your Mental Health — Naturally” which was published in Experience Life.

Alexandra Smith, MA, LPCC

Alexandra Smith, MA, LPCC, is a licensed professional clinical counselor in Minneapolis and an Experience Life contributing editor.

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  1. I appreciate the insights shared in this article, particularly the emphasis on seeking professional advice for mardana kamzori ka nusksha. It’s reassuring to know that there are various treatment options available and that it’s not something anyone has to face alone.

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