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Melatonin supplements have gained popularity over the last several decades as a way to help regulate sleep for shift workers, people with jet lag, or those with other sleep difficulties. There is a wide variety of melatonin supplements, and most of them are available over the counter. It can be overwhelming to try to find the one that’s right for you.
We’ll take a closer look at some of the best melatonin supplements currently on the market. We’ll also discuss what to look for in a melatonin supplement, including the different types, dosage, other active ingredients, and potential safety concerns to consider.
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The Sleep + Restore supplement from Proper features a unique formulation that incorporates several different sleep aids. Each capsule contains 3 mg of melatonin, including standard melatonin for falling asleep and extended-release melatonin that helps you remain asleep during the night. Other components include tart cherry extract, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and valerian root.
The capsules are not flavored, nor do they contain any sugar, GMOs, or artificial colors. They are also considered vegan-friendly. Proper recommends taking two capsules with water about 30-40 minutes before bedtime, but you should speak to your doctor before trying them for the first time.
Sixty capsules are included in each container. Proper offers a consultation with a sleep coach for all customers who sign up for a subscription.
Best Melatonin Drink
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For those who would rather drink their supplements, the Som Sleep Original is a tasty, non-carbonated beverage featuring melatonin, GABA, magnesium, and vitamin B6. The formula does not include gluten or dairy products, sugar, or GMOs. Each 8.1-oz. can contains only 40 calories. For best results, Som Sleep suggests drinking one can about 30 minutes before bedtime.
Your purchase includes a dozen cans. According to Som Sleep, this supplement is not habit-forming. Those who register for a subscription will receive a 20% discount with each renewal. They can also choose to automatically order a new shipment every 30, 45, or 60 days.
Best Natural Supplement
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The Natural Sleep Aid Supplement from Future Kind combines melatonin with a wide selection of other ingredients. These include valerian root for added sleep inducement and passionflower herb, which some people take to alleviate anxiety. Other ingredients include lemon balm leaf powder, chamomile extract, and hops flower extract. The formula is considered vegan and does not contain any added gluten, GMOs, wheat, yeast, or salt.
The supplement comes in capsules, each of which contains 1.5mg of melatonin. The suggested serving size is two capsules, and Future Kind recommends ingesting the capsules with water half an hour before bedtime – though you should consult with your doctor before taking this supplement to see if it is right for you.
Future Kind takes extra measures to ensure a low environmental impact. These efforts include shipping materials made entirely of recycled PET and glass, soy-based ink, and 100% carbon-offset shipping. Those who subscribe for ongoing deliveries – rather than a one-time purchase – save roughly 16% on their order.
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The Onnit Melatonin Spray is designed to be a convenient and fast-acting formula that can be administered right before sleep. The melatonin spray comes in a choice of two flavors, lavender or mint.
Six sprays deliver a total of 3 milligrams of melatonin, and a 1-ounce bottle contains approximately 30 of these servings. The spray format also allows greater flexibility for people who prefer to take smaller doses.
Customers can elect to buy just one bottle, or subscribe to have the spray delivered bi-weekly, monthly, or every two or three months. Those who subscribe to this service receive a small discount.
Best for Anxiety Sufferers
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The Dream Well from More Labs is a drinkable melatonin supplement. In addition to 5 mg of melatonin, each 100-mL bottle contains lemon balm extract and jujube seed, both of which can be natural relaxants. Other ingredients include glycine intended to promote deep sleep and evodia rutaecarpa extract that can aid your body with the after-effects of caffeine consumption. A delicious guava flavor helps mask the other ingredients. The drink is vegan-friendly, and does not contain any caffeine, nuts, soy, gluten, or sugar.
More Labs recommends drinking the entire 100-mL serving at once, though you may consume as little as half and still notice sleep improvements. The company also suggests starting with a half-serving to avoid excessive grogginess the next morning. For best results, drink your Dream Well approximately 30 minutes before bedtime.
You can order a pack of 12 or 24 Dream Well bottles. Those who subscribe for future orders will receive a 15% discount on their first purchase. The supplement is also widely available at brick-and-mortar drugstores across the country. You may return your unopened shipment within 30 days of the original purchase if you change your mind.
Best Subscription Option
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The Hims Sleep Gummy Vitamins contain melatonin, chamomile, and L-theanine to help promote healthy sleep. Each bottle has 60 gummies, with 1 milligram of melatonin per gummy. Hims recommends taking up to three gummies a night, half an hour before bedtime.
The gummies have a unique pomegranate-raspberry flavor and are easy to chew. Although not vegetarian, the gummies are gluten-free and contain no artificial colors or flavors.
For people who feel uncomfortable buying over-the-counter melatonin without consulting a doctor first, Hims provides an online platform for users to access personalized medical advice from qualified local healthcare providers. Subscription orders are shipped to your home every month, two months, or three months. There is also the option for a one-time purchase.
Best Vegan Supplement
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Many melatonin supplements are vegan-friendly, but few of them match the low sticker price of the HUM Nutrition BEAUTY zzZz supplements. Your purchase includes 30 tablets, each of which contains 3mg of melatonin.
The tablets also contain vitamin B6, which helps your body store energy from the food and drink you consume, and calcium, which has sleep-inducing properties. Animal products such as milk, eggs, and fish are not used, and the same is true for peanuts, wheat, and soy. As a result, the tablets are both vegan-friendly and gluten-free.
HUM Nutrition suggests taking one tablet approximately 20 minutes before going to sleep, but you should speak with your doctor before taking this supplement for the first time.
Shipping is free for all orders of $50 or more. If you fall below this threshold, the flat-rate delivery fees are still quite manageable. You may return the supplements unopened for a full refund, or opened in exchange for store credit.
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Sleepers who are comfortable taking a softgel will likely find Nurish by Nature Made’s Melatonin 3 MG + L-theanine a worthwhile choice. This product contains a blend of melatonin and L-theanine that’s intended to help you reliably relax and fall asleep.
Each softgel has 3 milligrams of melatonin, which is within the recommended dosage for an adult. However, since the softgel can’t be split into smaller doses, this product is only meant for adults ages 18 and up. Each dose also includes 200 milligrams of L-theanine, which is thought to enhance the effect of melatonin. Users are directed to take one softgel about an hour before bed.
Each pack contains 15 softgels that are gluten-free and have no artificial dyes or flavors. The price-point is within the average range for comparable products. You can opt to purchase one pack or sign up for a monthly subscription. Shoppers who live in the contiguous U.S. enjoy free shipping as well as a 30-day refund window.
When choosing the best melatonin for sleep, it helps to understand how melatonin works and why some people may choose to take melatonin supplements.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland, located deep within the brain. It plays a central role in regulating circadian rhythms, which dictate behavior throughout the day and night. At night, the body increases production of melatonin in preparation for sleep. Melatonin levels stay high until the middle of the night and then start to drop down again in the morning.
Melatonin supplements were introduced as a way to help people who have trouble falling asleep. This external source of melatonin is intended to help bolster the body’s natural supply.
Shift workers, people with jet lag, and other people with irregular schedules or circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders may find melatonin a useful way of adjusting their body clocks to meet the demands of their schedules. It may also help sleepers drift off after a stressful day. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine currently advises against using melatonin supplements for treating chronic insomnia.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers melatonin a dietary supplement instead of a drug. Most melatonin supplements are available for purchase without a prescription, and they are not subjected to the same rigorous testing procedures as other medications. This means consumers should take extra care when purchasing melatonin supplements.
While we recommend choosing melatonin supplements together with your doctor, it may help to have an idea of what you’re looking for. Knowledge about dosage, active ingredients, value, and brand reputation may help guide your decision.
The melatonin content of an individual spray, pill, or gummy usually ranges from 0.1 milligram to 10 milligrams, with the standard dose being between 1 milligram and 3 milligrams. Pills and gummies can usually be split in half for a smaller dose. Some manufacturers also sell slow-release tablets designed to help reduce nighttime awakenings.
Among other factors, proper dosage will depend on your age, your health, the reason you are taking it, and how sensitive you are to melatonin. If this is your first time buying melatonin supplements or if you are switching to a new brand, you may prefer supplements that are packaged in small doses of 1 milligram or less. This way, you can start small and increase the dose if needed.
Other Active Ingredients
Melatonin is often combined with other soothing or sleep-inducing ingredients such as valerian root, L-theanine, lavender, or chamomile. These natural or synthetic supplements may enhance the benefits of the melatonin, but they can also have side effects and may provoke allergies in some people. Always check with your healthcare provider to ensure that none of the ingredients interact negatively with other medications you may be taking.
Most melatonin products are priced similarly, and are often available for less than $20 a bottle. When assessing the value, you should factor in the dose you usually take. If you tend to take a higher dose, you may find better value in supplements that come in 5-milligram or 10-milligram doses. If you don’t need to take that much, you may get your money’s worth by choosing smaller capsules.
As dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA, it’s wise to do your own research and only buy from trustworthy companies. The best melatonin brands are transparent about their ingredients. Look for supplements that are produced in the U.S., check the ingredient list for banned substances, and be wary of exaggerated or misleading marketing claims. You may prefer to buy from big brands that you know and trust.
Studies have uncovered numerous cases where the stated melatonin content was inaccurate, or the melatonin supplements contained a host of other ingredients that were not listed on the packaging, such as serotonin and magnesium. In some cases, these other ingredients may provoke serious side effects.
Many countries require a prescription for the sale of melatonin supplements. In the U.S., melatonin supplements are available over the counter, but they must include a warning to clarify that any claims made are not backed by the FDA. While not official, third-party certification from organizations like U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) or the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) may provide some assurance about the accuracy of the ingredient list.
Melatonin supplements come in various forms and most customers should be able to find a type that works for them.
Plain Melatonin Capsules or Tablets
Traditional capsules and tablets have a convenient and familiar format. They tend to contain less sugar, but they may need to be taken with a glass of water and they may have an unpleasant taste. Dissolvable tablets are available for people who dislike swallowing pills.
Melatonin gummies often contain flavor enhancers and natural or artificial sweeteners. This makes them an attractive option for adults and kids alike, though it increases the calorie count and may contribute to tooth decay. Some gummies contain gelatin, which may not be appropriate for those who are vegetarian or vegan.
Melatonin spray is a convenient and portable option. Sprays generally offer smaller doses than many pills or gummies. Some manufacturers also offer melatonin in liquid droplets.
Lozenges are traditionally used for sore throats, and some may find them a soothing format for taking melatonin before sleep. As with gummies, it may be necessary to brush your teeth after taking a melatonin lozenge.
Sleep Aid Formulations with Melatonin and Other Ingredients
If you have trouble getting to sleep because of a specific reason such as stress, you may be interested in choosing a melatonin supplement that’s paired with additional substances. These mixed supplements often carry a higher risk of causing side effects, interacting with other medications, or triggering allergies, so always check the label, do additional research, and consult with your doctor before purchasing.
Melatonin has relatively few side effects compared to other sleeping medications, but some people may wake up feeling dizzy, groggy, nauseous, or with a headache. In most cases, these symptoms can be alleviated by taking smaller doses or not taking melatonin at all. In rare cases, some people may experience mood swings, agitation, nightmares, fatigue, palpitations, or skin irritation when taking melatonin.
There are also some concerns about the effects of melatonin on reproductive hormones in both women and men. More research is needed on the effects of long-term melatonin use and the use of melatonin supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding. Always check with your doctor before taking melatonin, especially if you have allergies or are currently taking other medication.
Melatonin is generally referred to as non-habit forming, meaning that people are unlikely to become physically addicted to melatonin supplements. However, there is a lack of evidence on the long-term use of melatonin supplements, and it’s possible that it may trigger some physical changes in the way your body responds to the hormone. If you find yourself relying on melatonin to get to sleep most nights for more than a few weeks, ask your doctor for a sleep exam to rule out a sleep disorder, or to work together to find other ways to improve your sleep.
Though certain melatonin supplements are currently marketed to children in the U.S., further research is needed to determine its long-term effects. The FDA has neither approved nor prohibited its use in children, and some experts raise concerns that melatonin may delay puberty. Possible side effects of melatonin in children include morning sleepiness and bedwetting.
Melatonin supplements appear to help calm anxious children in preparation for bedtime. Though a consistent bedtime routine should be the first-line treatment for insomnia in children, it may be appropriate to use the occasional small dose of melatonin. It may also help regulate sleep cycles for teens, who tend to have trouble adjusting to early school start times. Promising research indicates melatonin may be successfully used for insomnia in children with ADHD and autism.
Older adults should exercise caution when taking melatonin, as they may be more vulnerable to side effects such as drowsiness. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine advises against the use of melatonin supplements for older adults with dementia.
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in our bodies, but melatonin supplements can either be from animal origin or synthetic. Most melatonin supplements on the market today are made with synthetic melatonin. Smaller quantities of melatonin are also present in certain foods, such as milk and sour cherries.
Melatonin may have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. There is also promising research into the benefits of melatonin for treating cancer, though this research is still in the early stages.
Most melatonin supplements are designed to be taken about half an hour to an hour before bedtime. Unlike some types of sleeping pills, the effects of melatonin are gradual. Melatonin works best when paired with healthy sleep hygiene behaviors.
You can improve sleep by keeping your bedroom dark, cool, and quiet, and switching off cell phones and other screens an hour before bedtime. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, and exposure to sunlight in the morning may also help regulate your natural melatonin levels. Tell your healthcare provider if you suspect you may have a sleep disorder, as this may require additional treatment.
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