If you've ever found yourself lying awake in the dark hours after you've crawled into bed, keep reading. If you frequently find yourself watching the hours on the clock slowly drift away until your alarm goes off, you’re not alone. And we may have just the remedy for you.
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.
More and more individuals are looking for natural sleep alternatives that are safer and do not have the unwanted side effects many medications can bring.
Keep reading to discover the best melatonin supplement so you can finally catch up on some much-needed rest!
7 Top-Rated Melatonin Supplement Reviews
JJ Virgin – Non-Habit Forming
- 3 mg melatonin
- Includes: Vitamin B6, 5-HTP, Inositol, and L-Theanine
- Chewable tablets
For a non-habit forming choice, consider Sleep Candy, the latest creation by the best selling author and nutrition-fitness expert, J. J. Virgin. The ingredients in this melatonin supplement are all-natural and were specifically chosen to help avoid any hangover effect some other brands may cause.
This chewable melatonin supplement was designed to provide quality sleep by boosting melatonin and regulating the body’s natural sleep cycle. Sleep Candy is free from all major allergens and artificial sweeteners and was specially 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 help reduce stress hormones and promote overall relaxation.
Olly – Best Chewable
- 3 mg melatonin
- Includes: L-Thanine and botanicals
- Chewable tablets
- Made in the USA
If chewing your way to better sleep is what you had in mind, these delicious melatonin gummies by Olly may be just what you need. Who said gummies are just for kids? 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 who believes that 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 that has 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 – Best Overall Value
- 3 mg melatonin
- Includes Magnesium
- 240-day supply
For a non-habit forming choice, Nature Made melatonin is an excellent option, which includes magnesium which helps to relax the muscles before bed. The ingredients are all-natural and are specifically selected to help avoid the drowsy hangover effect some other brands may cause.
This supplement was designed to provide quality sleep by boosting melatonin and regulating the body’s natural sleep cycle. Mature Made is drug-free, a 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 – Best Gluten Free
- 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 were designed to 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 contribute to the production of the sleep inducing neurotransmitter, 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, twenty minutes before bedtime. According to Hum, you can expect to achieve optimal results in approximately 4-8 weeks. This sleep supplement was designed to help you drift into dreamland quickly and easily so you can wake up feeling energized and ready for a new day.
Nature's Bounty – Best Quick Release
- 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 are 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, and 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 – Best Drug Free
- 10 mg melatonin
- Fast-dissolve tablets
- Made in the USA
For the best drug-free choice, this maximum strength melatonin by Natrol is an option worth considering. Finding a drug-free sleep aid is important if you are looking to prevent morning grogginess. This melatonin supplement is also 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.
Amazing Nutrition – Best Quality
- 10 mg melatonin
- Made in the USA
If quality is what you are looking for, this Amazing Formulas supplement features the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) stamp of approval and is made in the USA. GMP certifies that companies are consistently creating products according to guidelines around quality control.
Each tablet contains an optimal and effective dose of 10 mg of maximum strength melatonin. These vegetarian tablets are also free from artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives. By increasing hormone levels in the body, this Amazing Formulas product is designed to naturally promote relaxation and a positive mood.
Amazing Nutrition created this melatonin supplement for individuals who frequently wake in the night, travel long-distances, experience sleeplessness due to high levels of stress, or have age-related sleepless nights. This product was designed to support brain function for better sleep during the night and greater alertness during daytime hours.
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.
How To Make It 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.
Learn More: 9 Simple Bedtime Rituals
Helpful Benefits of Taking Melatonin
Raise Declining Levels In Older People
As we age, normal levels of hormones in the body begin to decline, which may explain why many older adults suffer from insomnia. Some studies have found taking this natural supplement to be helpful in older populations who struggle 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.
Read More: Agging and Sleep Guide
Natural Sleep Aid
Many people rely on over-the-counter and prescription sedatives to help them sleep at night. Unfortunately, using these products can cause dependency over time, and bring many unwanted side effects including grogginess and feeling hungover the next day.
The natural health and wellness industry has steadily 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.
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 just 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 not-so-pleasant effects of jet lag.
Get More Info: How to Prevent 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 and helped to regulate sleep-wake patterns in blind patients.
Learn More: How to Deal With Insomnia
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 very common in this population.
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 also 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.
More Reading: Sleep Problems in 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 can impair quality of life and make it more difficult to engage in learning or work activities.
People who suffer from Narcolepsy have been found to have lower melatonin levels, and supplementing has been shown to 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 to 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 all produce varying amounts of melatonin too. This molecule can boost immunity and has also been found to have 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 also 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 has shown that melatonin may be a safe and effective supplement for reducing fatigue, pain, and altered sleep in those suffering from this disorder.
Assist In 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 has revealed a link between lack of sleep and disorders such as hypertension and coronary artery disease.
Melatonin is one of the latest therapies found to treat cardiovascular disease. Research has shown that this hormone has cardioprotective benefits and also 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 has been found to increase serotonin levels, improve symptoms of depression and remedy insomnia, which is also more common in those suffering from neuropsychiatric conditions.
Interested in exploring further? Read more about the strong-tie between sleep and depression.
Many foods are high in naturally occurring melatonin, and grapes are one of them. Other foods containing grape including wine, grape juice, and grape vinegar are also good sources.
Olive oil is a heart-healthy food that is rich in many health-promoting phytochemicals, including melatonin, according to recent research findings.
Tomatoes are known for being rich in lycopene, but scientists have also found that they contain levels of melatonin that are influenced by exposure to sunlight.
The effects of cherries on sleep have been validated in several randomized, placebo-control trials, and have shown the benefit they can have on 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 also rich in healthy fats that can help curb any hunger overnight.
What's The Best Time To Take It?
Timing when you take melatonin supplement is very 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.
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 generally 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.
Find Out More: Can You Overdose on Melatonin?
Possible Side Effects
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 do report feeling a little 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
What's the best dosage for adults?
There is no consensus on the best melatonin supplement dosage for adults, but some studies have recommended that 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 based on their research that 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 suddenly 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 very common in older adults, possibly because of declining levels of hormones, including melatonin.
Where can I buy it?
Melatonin supplements have grown in popularity and can now be purchased anywhere natural products are sold, both in stores and online.
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.