The 5 Best Melatonin Supplements for a Better Night's Sleep
Did you know that at least one-third of adults in the U.S. report insufficient sleep or a sleep disorder? If a lack of quality shut-eye sounds familiar, it may be time to try one of the best melatonin supplements on the market.
The amount and quality of your sleep have an impact on everything from memory to bodyweight to your immune system. In fact, inadequate sleep is linked to chronic diseases like Alzheimer's and autoimmune disorders, as well as high blood pressure and inflammation. But even in today's fast-paced, exhausting world, settling into a reliable sleep pattern with the recommended 7 to 9 hours is easier said than done. That's why taking a melatonin supplement may have a beneficial impact on your overall health.
Of course, not all melatonin supplements are created equally. So we're reviewing exactly what melatonin does, the best melatonin supplements for a good night's sleep, and how to know which supplement is right for you.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces. It's made by the pineal gland in your brain. The levels of melatonin your brain produces throughout the day signals to your body whether it's time to sleep or be awake and active.
In this way, melatonin is critical to healthy sleep. It regulates your circadian rhythm, or the internal clock that controls your sleep phases and waking hours. At night your melatonin production increases. In the morning, melatonin secretion decreases to wake you up with energy.
If health conditions or lifestyle habits are keeping you from a full night's sleep, you can find over-the-counter sleep medicine, melatonin supplements or, CBD oil for sleep.
The Pros, Cons, and Side Effects of Melatonin
Depending on your sleep-wake cycle and conversations with your healthcare provider, it might be a good idea to add a melatonin supplement to your pre-bedtime routine. You're most likely to benefit from melatonin supplementation if you are changing time zones, suffer from short-term anxiety that disturbs your sleep, or have a delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD).
Others who might be interested in the efficacy of melatonin include people with:
- Unusual sleep schedules, such as shift workers
- Seasonal affective disorder
Studies show that melatonin supplements between 0.5 milligrams and 5 milligrams are effective in reducing the effects of jet lag between time zones. Travelers should take the pills close to their desired bedtime in the new time zone for best results. Earlier use can result in daytime drowsiness.
People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. And while the best melatonin supplementation can ease short-term sleeping problems, medical advice does not recommend long-term reliance on melatonin for sleep. Because melatonin is a dietary supplement not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, the long-term effects and safety of melatonin need further research with larger clinical trials.
The best way to get the best melatonin benefits is on a short-term basis and at the proper dose.
How Much Melatonin Should You Take?
When selecting the best melatonin supplement for your needs, the first thing to consider is dosage. As with many drugs, it's best to start with a lower dose and increase from there.
Start with 1 or 2 milligrams before bed. If you're still experiencing sleep problems, you can increase your dose by 1 or 2 milligrams at a time. And because the long-term effects and effectiveness of melatonin are not yet well known, many doctors don't advise taking the supplement every day.
Children should not take more than 3 to 6 milligrams at a time and should start at 0.5 milligrams. There are pediatric-specific supplements that may be helpful to children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder.
Always talk to a medical professional before starting any supplementation. People who should avoid melatonin or take a very low dose include pregnant or breastfeeding women, older adults, young children, and people with epilepsy or seizure disorders.
Each product featured here has been independently selected by the writer. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Best Melatonin Supplements
Vitafive takes an environmental stance with their melatonin gummies. Each resealable pouch contains 80% less plastic than typical pill bottles. And their vegetarian (gelatin-free) gummies use fewer resources than animal-based products. The gummies are also rapid-dissolving for faster sleep onset. And the fun fruity flavors are all-natural, gluten-free, and allergen-free.
Vitafive might be the best melatonin for you if you're already a melatonin user and are comfortable with the higher dose. These extra-strength gummies may not be the best option for first-time melatonin buyers.
Why Buy: Vegetarian; Gluten-free; Low-plastic packaging; Allergen-free; Natural colors and flavors; Third-party lab tested
Luna's sleep aid features a blend of natural melatonin and other complementary ingredients for relaxation. Every plant-based capsule contains a moderate 3 milligrams of melatonin in addition to chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, hops, and valerian root. It also includes GABA and the amino acid L-theanine, which is found in green tea and known to have calming properties. GABA is a neurotransmitter produced by your body known to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. And another winning feature of this product is the full lifetime money-back guarantee.
Luna is a great option for someone looking for a well-rounded sleep supplement with added ingredients for relaxation.
Why Buy: GMO-free; Vegan; Gluten-Free; Nut-free; Third-party lab tested; Contains 7 other naturally-sourced ingredients for restful sleep, including herbs like chamomile and lemon balm
Benevolent Natural Melatonin is a liquid, so it may be the best melatonin supplement for those who aren't interested in swallowing pills or chewing on gummies before bed. This sublingual supplement is easy to take and has subtle raspberry and vanilla natural flavorings. The glass packaging also uses less plastic than most pill bottles and is recyclable. This sugar-free, alcohol-free, and gluten-free formula is perfect to take before bed and easy to travel with (the 2 fluid ounce bottle is small enough to pack in your airplane carry-on).
Why Buy: Liquid; Vegetarian; Non-GMO; Made in USA; Certified Organic
MegaFood's blueberry and tart cherry melatonin gummies are made with familiar, organic ingredients. Their products are Non-GMO Project Verified and third-party tested for more than 125 harmful herbicides and pesticides. This Certified B-Corp is making some of the most environmentally friendly melatonin supplements on the market. And they happen to taste great. MegaFood's supplement may the best melatonin for you if you're looking for safe, well-regulated melatonin gummy with an antioxidant boost.
Why Buy: Certified organic; No artificial colors or flavors; Non-GMO; Tested for herbicides and pesticides; Gluten-free; Dairy-free; Soy-free
This simple supplement is made for one purpose: the promotion of healthy and sound sleep. Solgar's nuggets are designed to help you reach a normal circadian rhythm. The company applies its decades-old commitment to quality and innovation to produce effective melatonin supplements. Solgar produces in small batches in order to maintain strength and quality control measures that go beyond the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) requirements set by the FDA. Solgar also takes care to source ingredients in a responsible way that preserves the natural environment.
Solgar melatonin capsules are ideal for anyone new to the use of melatonin who wants to give it a try without a major investment.
Why Buy: Non-GMO; Gluten-free; Dairy-free; Soy-free; Sugar-Free; No artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives, or colors
Which Melatonin Supplement is Right for You?
When it comes to choosing the best melatonin supplement for you, consider the following important product features and relevant health information:
First, dosage. If this is your first time taking a melatonin supplement, start with a lower dose option. Remember, you can always take two capsules or gummies if you don't see results at first.
Secondly, price varies quite a bit between melatonin brands. If you want to just try out the supplement before making a big investment, you may want to choose one of the more affordable, smaller packages.
Next, these melatonin supplements come in several forms. There are chewy gummies, swallowable capsules, and nuggets. If you don't like the idea of chewing on a sweet gummy before bed, then opt for a simple capsule. Or, if you love the idea of getting the health benefits of a good night's sleep from what tastes and looks like candy, then, by all means, go for the gummies.
Other important things to consider are the added ingredients and allergen labels. Most supplements are vegan and gluten-free but always check the label. In addition, some brands included added ingredients meant to encourage natural sleepiness.
At the end of the day, everyone deserves a deep and satisfying night of rest. And for the nights when that feels out of reach, it can be helpful to have a high-quality melatonin supplement nearby. Choosing the best melatonin supplement for you takes some consideration, but you can't go wrong with the well-vetted options above.
Lizzy Briskin is the founder of Earthen Food Co. She is a chef, food writer, and recipe developer who helps people eat more mindfully for themselves and the environment, without overthinking it.
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