According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, over 30% of Americans have symptoms of insomnia and even greater numbers suffer from the occasional struggle to stay or fall asleep.
If you frequently find yourself unable to sleep, watching the hours on the clock slowly drift away until your alarm goes off, then you’re not alone. To alleviate this problem, many individuals look for natural sleep alternatives that are safe and free of unwanted side effects.
Luckily, we may have just the remedy for you. Keep reading to discover the best melatonin supplement so you can finally catch up on some much-needed rest!
Best Melatonin Supplements
- Sleep Candy™ – Best Melatonin Supplement Overall
- Olly Sleep Gummies – Best Melatonin Gummies
- Nature Made Melatonin – Best Budget Melatonin Supplement
- HUM Beauty zzZz – Best Melatonin Tablets
- Nature's Bounty Melatonin – Best Quick-Release Melatonin Supplement
- Natrol Melatonin – Best Drug-Free Melatonin Supplement
Our 6 Best Melatonin Supplement Picks, Reviewed
Sleep Candy™ – Best Melatonin Supplement Overall
- 3 mg melatonin
- Includes: Vitamin B6, 5-HTP, Inositol, and L-Theanine
- Chewable tablets
This chewable melatonin supplement was designed to provide quality sleep by boosting melatonin levels and regulating the body’s natural sleep cycle. Sleep Candy is free from all major allergens and artificial sweeteners. It was also formulated to fight cravings and hunger that inadequate sleep can bring.
In addition to providing 3 mg of melatonin to help regulate the sleep cycle, this product features a comprehensive blend of relaxing ingredients that work together synergistically. 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid that is paired with Vitamin B6 to boost the production of neurotransmitters like serotonin. Finally, inositol and L-theanine were included to reduce stress hormones and promote relaxation.
The ingredients in Sleep Candy are all-natural, and were chosen to help avoid the hangover effect that other brands can cause.
Olly Sleep Gummies – Best Melatonin Gummies
- 3 mg melatonin
- Includes: L-Thanine and botanicals
- Chewable tablets
- Made in the USA
If chewing your way to a better sleep is what you had in mind, these delicious melatonin gummies by Olly may be just what you need. These delicious chewables were designed to make your dreams sweet, combining melatonin with L-theanine and natural botanicals like lemon balm and chamomile.
Olly is a natural health and wellness company that believes functional ingredients found in nature can improve our well-being. Their team of health and nutrition experts relies on science to create unique blends that provide results naturally.
All of their products are free from artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners and are also gluten-free. These sleep gummies are bursting with natural blackberry flavor with just a hint of mint for freshness. Olly’s motto is that “taking nutritional supplements shouldn’t be a chore.” With that in mind, all of their products were designed to be “just as effective as they are fun.”
Nature Made Melatonin – Best Budget Melatonin Supplement
- 3 mg melatonin
- Includes Magnesium
- 240-day supply
Our favorite value choice, Nature Made melatonin uses all-natural ingredients to provide quality sleep. It includes magnesium, which helps relax the muscles before bed. The ingredients are all-natural and are selected to help avoid the drowsy hangover effect some other brands may cause.
Nature Made is drug-free and includes no artificial preservatives, sweeteners, or gluten. In addition to providing 3 mg of melatonin to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, this product features a comprehensive blend of relaxing ingredients that work together synergistically.
Magnesium is a naturally occurring mineral that plays a critical role in hundreds of enzyme reactions in our bodies. The various functions include regulating blood pressure, immune system support, and muscle and nerve function. Taking this supplement before bed could help you relax and enjoy more rejuvenating sleep.
HUM Beauty zzZz – Best Melatonin Tablets
- 3 mg melatonin
- Includes: Vitamin B6, calcium
- Made in the USA
Many health products contain artificial ingredients and fillers that some people are looking to avoid. Beauty zzZz by Hum is a sustainably sourced, non-GMO product that is also gluten-free. According to Hum, “beauty starts from within.” These vegetarian tablets promote restful sleep with clinically proven ingredients that are pure and potent.
This product contains 3 mg of melatonin to provide natural relief for those dreadful sleepless nights. The mineral calcium is paired with Vitamin B6 to produce the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter called serotonin. These three ingredients work together to regulate sleep patterns and to promote rest and relaxation.
Beauty zzZz tablets are easy to use. Just take one tablet 20 minutes before bedtime. According to Hum, you can achieve optimal results within 4-8 weeks. This sleep supplement help you quickly drift into dreamland so you can wake up feeling energized and ready for a new day.
Nature's Bounty Melatonin – Best Quick-Release Melatonin Supplement
- 5 mg melatonin
- Quick and extended release layers
- Made in the USA
Dual Spectrum Melatonin by Nature’s Bounty features 5 mg of clinically studied melatonin, with a unique bi-layer design in one convenient tablet. Those experiencing occasional sleeplessness may find relief with this 100% drug-free supplement. These tablets are non-GMO and free from artificial flavors and sweeteners, sugar, preservatives, milk, lactose, soy, wheat, gluten, and yeast.
Each Dual Spectrum tablet features two layers designed to provide a quick-release to help you doze off faster. It also gives an extended-release to help you keep in that dream-like state longer. For maximum effect, this product is best taken 30-45 minutes before bedtime.
Nature’s Bounty is a company that has been creating natural supplements that are laboratory tested with guaranteed quality for over 40 years. They offer a wide range of melatonin products, but this is the only one that features this unique bi-layer design.
Natrol Melatonin – Best Drug-Free Melatonin Supplement
- 10 mg melatonin
- Fast-dissolve tablets
- Made in the USA
For the best drug-free choice, this maximum strength melatonin by Natrol is a fantastic option. Finding a drug-free sleep aid is important for those wanting to prevent morning grogginess. This melatonin supplement is designed to be non-habit forming. So, you can feel confident about using it for the occasional sleepless night.
Natrol is one of America’s top manufacturers of supplements and vitamins and features the #1 melatonin brand in the nation. This company was founded with a passion to increase the wellness of humans all over the world. They are considered a pioneer in the industry and have consistently received the highest “A” rating from the Natural Products Association.
These strawberry-flavored chewable tablets contain 10 mg of melatonin and they dissolve quickly for fast absorption. This easy-to-use design means you can take this supplement anywhere, anytime without needing water to wash it down.
Melatonin Supplement Buyer's Guide
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone made in a pine-cone shaped organ in the brain known as the pineal gland. The human body regulates many biological activities through a 24-hour internal clock known as the circadian rhythm. Certain receptors in the eye’s retina communicate with the brain to regulate the sleep cycle based on exposure to light and darkness.
The creation of this sleep-inducing hormone is a multi-step process beginning with the absorption of an amino acid called tryptophan – you’ve probably heard of tryptophan making you tired after a big turkey dinner. Tryptophan is first converted to 5-HTP, another commonly used ingredient in many natural supplements. 5-HTP undergoes another conversion into the neurotransmitter, serotonin, before finally becoming melatonin.
Production of this hormone begins in the evening hours when exposure to natural daylight starts to decrease. The levels peak in the middle of the night, and gradually start declining as the sun comes up.
Boosting Melatonin the Natural Way
Many things can interrupt the sleep-wake cycle including exposure to artificial light, shift work, and traveling across various time zones. Thankfully, there are many natural ways to boost the production of melatonin.
Turning off electronics such as phones, tablets, and televisions for 30-60 minutes before bed is a great way to minimize blue light exposure that can impair hormone production. Getting some natural sunlight exposure in the morning and throughout the day also helps.
Many foods are high in this hormone and its precursors (like tryptophan), and even certain yoga poses like Savasana, can boost production. Warm baths, meditation, and minimizing caffeine are also helpful tips. For more ways to unlock your best sleep potential, see our article on 9 Simple Bedtime Rituals.
Benefits of Melatonin
Raise Hormone Levels in Older People
As we age, normal levels of hormones in the body begin to decline. This may explain why many older adults suffer from insomnia. Some studies found that taking this natural supplement is helpful for older populations struggling with sleep disorders, such as insomnia.
A systematic review of 16 studies looking at the benefit of taking melatonin supplements for insomnia in those older than age 55 concluded that taking a low-dose, immediate-release version would be the best way to mimic the body’s natural rhythm. If you want to know more about how the older population sleeps, check out our Aging and Sleep Guide.
Serve as a Natural Sleep Aid
Many people rely on over-the-counter and prescription sedatives to sleep at night. Unfortunately, using these products can cause dependency and bring unwanted side effects such as next-day grogginess.
The natural health and wellness industry increased over the last few years as more and more individuals turn to holistic solutions to remedy their health concerns. Melatonin is one of many natural sleep aids that has been useful for helping to regulate the body’s 24-hour clock.
Minimize Jet Lag
Traveling for work or pleasure can be a fun and exciting experience. It is easier than ever to travel internationally, where the world of adventure awaits. The downside of crossing time zones is the jet lag that occurs afterward.
Even moving the clock one hour forward or back for daylight savings can throw a lot of people’s circadian rhythms out of balance. Melatonin supplements have been shown in studies to help minimize the unpleasant effects of jet lag. More information can be found on our article about How to Treat Jet Lag.
Approximately 70 million people in the United States suffer from various sleep disorders, including insomnia. This disorder can affect people at many stages of the rest-wake cycle and may result in daytime drowsiness that impairs their ability to function.
A meta-analysis of 16 studies found that supplementing with melatonin minimized the amount of time it took individuals with insomnia to fall asleep. It also helped regulate sleep-wake patterns in blind patients. If you find yourself struggling with insomnia, it might be worth taking a look at our page: How to Deal with Insomnia.
Help Those with Autism
Children with neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism and ADHD, are often at a higher risk for sleep-related problems. Difficulties falling asleep, circadian rhythm disruption, and insomnia are all common Sleep Problems for Those with Autism.
One research study of 45 children with neurodevelopmental disorders found that supplementing with 2.5-10 mg of melatonin increased total hours of sleep at night, decreased the amount of time it took to fall asleep at night, and decreased the number of awakenings overnight.
Another study found that daytime behaviors were worse in children taking sleep aids, including melatonin. Research is ongoing, but at this time the science is not completely clear as to how effective melatonin is for individuals with Autism.
Narcolepsy is a central disorder of hypersomnolence, or the excessive need for daytime sleep despite sufficient rest at night. Narcolepsy interferes with the circadian rhythm and REM cycles. Daytime sleepiness impairs quality of life and makes it more difficult to engage in learning or work activities.
People who suffer from narcolepsy often have lower melatonin levels. Supplements balance levels of this hormone and reduce symptoms of daytime fatigue.
Strengthen The Immune System
Melatonin has many functions in the body beyond its role in regulating slumber. As an antioxidant, it helps fight free radical damage that can cause many health problems, including cancer.
Some of the latest research has found that production isn’t just limited to the brain. The skin, gastrointestinal system, and the immune system can produce varying amounts of melatonin too. This molecule can boost immunity and has antiviral, antibiotic and antiparasitic abilities.
Treat Fibromyalgia Symptoms
Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that causes chronic pain throughout the body and increases pain response to pressure. Many other symptoms including fatigue, memory impairment, and insomnia are common. There is no known cause, and treating Fibromyalgia can be very difficult.
Many alternative treatments are used for managing symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Newer research showed that melatonin may be a safe and effective supplement for reducing fatigue, pain, and altered sleep in fibromyalgia sufferers.
Help Treat Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 23.1 percent of total deaths. While many lifestyle factors influence the development of cardiovascular disease, recent research revealed a link between lack of sleep and disorders such as hypertension and coronary artery disease.
Melatonin is one of the newest therapies for treating cardiovascular disease. Research shows this hormone has cardioprotective benefits and plays an important role in protecting against hypertension, lipid metabolism, and vascular diseases.
Alterations in circadian rhythm and lower levels of melatonin have been found in those suffering from depression. Serotonin is a precursor to melatonin and is a neurotransmitter that plays an important role in regulating mood. Many therapies for depression involve increasing levels of serotonin in the brain.
Supplementing with melatonin can increase serotonin levels and improve symptoms of depression and remedy insomnia. This is also more common in those suffering from neuropsychiatric conditions.
Interested in exploring further? Read more about the strong-tie between sleep and depression.
Foods High in Natural Melatonin
Many foods are high in naturally occurring melatonin, and grapes are one of them. Other foods containing grapes include wine, grape juice, and grape vinegar.
Olive oil is a heart-healthy food that is rich in many health-promoting phytochemicals, including melatonin.
Tomatoes are known for being rich in lycopene, but scientists also found they contain levels of melatonin influenced by exposure to sunlight.
The effects of cherries on sleep was validated in several randomized, placebo-control trials. It was found that cherries have a benefit improving overall sleep quality.
Of all plant-based sources of melatonin, nuts are ranked the highest. Walnuts are an excellent pre-bed snack because they are rich in healthy fats that can curb any hunger overnight.
What's The Best Time To Take Melatonin Supplement?
Timing when you take melatonin supplement is important for regulating the biological clock known as the circadian rhythm. Melatonin production increases in the evening hours when the sun begins to set, and decreases when our eyes are exposed to sunlight.
It takes about 30-60 minutes for melatonin to take effect, so it is most often recommended to take a supplement in this timeframe before going to bed. For jet lag, it is advised that you should take a dose around 10 pm local time at the destination you will be arriving in.
Melatonin Supplement Safest Dosage
Recommended doses can range depending on many factors including age, the purpose of treatment, and the nature of sleep difficulties. Melatonin supplements are available with doses ranging from 0.1 mg up to 10 mg, and no consensus on optimal dosage has been reached in research.
It is recommended to start at the lowest dose possible, and gradually increase until the desired effect has been achieved. Some also recommend taking an additional dose in the night if you wake and have trouble falling back asleep. Extended-release options are also available to help prevent frequent rousing in the night. We have another article for additional learning: Can You Overdose on Melatonin?
Possible Side Effects of Using Melatonin Supplement
Headaches are a commonly reported side effect for many medications and supplements, including melatonin. If this occurs, try decreasing the dose and drinking plenty of water.
While nausea is a rare side effect, some people report feeling queasy after taking this supplement. Switching to a chewable or liquid version may be useful in this case.
Feeling dizzy is another possible side effect to be aware of. If this occurs, lie down and use caution when changing positions since this can make dizziness worse.
As the body starts regulating the sleep-wake cycle, increased drowsiness can occur. While this is more common in the beginning, this symptom should decrease over time.
Frequently Asked Questions about Melatonin Supplements
What's the best dosage for adults?
There is no consensus on the best melatonin supplement dosage for adults. Some studies recommend the safest and most optimal dose is lower than what most melatonin supplements on the market contain. While doses as high as 10 mg of melatonin are available, higher concentrations are more likely to result in side effects such as drowsiness the next day.
One double-blind, placebo-controlled study in adults aged 50 and older found the best results at a dose of 0.3 mg compared to 0.1 mg and 3 mg of melatonin. They concluded the lowest, fully effective dose is the wisest choice for normalizing melatonin levels.
Does age affect melatonin levels?
Melatonin concentrations are the lowest during the first three months of life and then drastically increase, which could explain why newborn babies wake so often in the night. Levels peak between ages 1-3, then drop progressively throughout childhood by 80%.
Changes to the circadian rhythm during adolescence are behind the shift seen in teenagers who stay up until the wee morning hours and have trouble waking before noon.
During adulthood, levels continue to decline, dropping another 10% in later years. Difficulties with sleep are common in older adults. This could be because of declining levels of hormones, including melatonin.
Where can I buy melatonin?
Melatonin supplements have grown in popularity and can now be purchased anywhere natural products are sold, both in stores and online.
Is it okay to take melatonin every night?
We recommend don't recommend taking melatonin each night, but if you must, do so temporarily. It's important to work with a medical professional to find out the root cause of why you're not getting enough sleep, because there may be a more suitable treatment for it. However, the Mayo Clinic agrees that taking melatonin short-term use is safe in most cases.
Who should not take melatonin?
Johns Hopkins Medicine does not recommend melatonin for those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The Mayo Clinic advises against melatonin if you have an autoimmune disease. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health recommends discussing melatonin use with a health provider if you take other medications.
Nothing is more rejuvenating than a great night’s rest. But if the sandman hasn’t been around much lately and sleepless nights are making it hard to function, it may be time to consider a more natural solution to help you sleep.
Navigating the confusing world of melatonin supplements can be overwhelming enough, but figuring out which one to choose is even more challenging when you are operating in a sleep-deprived state.
Hopefully, this review has given you some great options to consider so you can find the best melatonin supplement for your needs and get back to sleeping soundly again.