Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally found in the body that regulates sleep cycles. People who have low levels of melatonin may have a difficult time falling and staying asleep at night. Melatonin supplements are used for people who have trouble sleeping or conditions like insomnia. We found that the best overall melatonin supplement is Nature Made Melatonin.
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Best Melatonin for Sleep in 2021
Melatonin is the hormone produced by the brain to induce one’s sleep cycle. Its production is affected by the time of day and is produced more when it's dark outside. Naturally, your body will produce melatonin each night, but some people produce less than others. People with insomnia, jet lag, delayed sleep phase disorder, circadian rhythm sleep disorder, and shift work disorder may benefit from taking a melatonin supplement to help them sleep.
Although many think that most melatonin supplements are the same, their ingredients and benefits may differ. There are many things you can look out for when shopping for a melatonin supplement to ensure you are not purchasing a fake product:
- Are the ingredients FDA approved?
- Was it manufactured in the United States?
- Has there been an FDA warning or recall on the product?
- Does the label make exaggerated claims?
Different products work better for some people than others. When shopping, you’ll want to consider the form of melatonin you enjoy taking the most, how much money you want to spend, and how effective the supplement will be. We determined the best melatonin supplements for sleep based on the following criteria:
- Best Overall: Nature Made Melatonin
- Best for Quick-Release: Natrol Melatonin Advanced Maximum Strength
- Best for a Budget: Nature’s Bounty Melatonin Tablets
- Best Chewables: OLLY Melatonin Sleep Gummies
- Best Spray: Onnit Instant Melatonin Spray
Nature Made Melatonin: Best Overall
Nature Made Melatonin is the best overall melatonin supplement that we found. This supplement comes in three different dosages: 3 mg, 5 mg, and 10 mg. Nature Made is the number one pharmacist-recommended amino acid vitamin and supplement brand and has the largest U.S. Pharmacopeia verified products. This ensures the purity and potency of their supplements.
The pills are easy to swallow and 100% drug-free. Nature Made Melatonin has almost five-star ratings on Amazon, Walmart, Target, and CVS websites. Customer reviews say that it has helped improve their sleep quality dramatically and doesn’t make them feel dizzy or tired in the morning. In addition, the supplement is very cost-effective. The prices range from $4.64 to $12.99, depending on the dosage and where you are purchasing it.
Natrol Melatonin Advanced Maximum Strength: Best for Quick-Release
Natrol Melatonin Advanced Maximum Strength pills were found to be the best quick-release supplement. Their 10 mg extra strength supplement contains 5 mg of initial release melatonin to help you fall asleep quickly and 5 mg of controlled-release melatonin to help you stay asleep. Most melatonin supplements only provide sleep support for up to four hours, which can cause you to wake up in the middle of the night.
In addition to melatonin, the product contains 10 mg of vitamin B6 to help promote the body’s natural melatonin production.
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Nature’s Bounty Melatonin Tablets: Best for a Budget
Nature’s Bounty Melatonin Tablets were found to be the cheapest option for melatonin. Their 1 mg formula comes in a bottle of 180 tablets and retails for $4.24 at RiteAid. The cost comes out to $0.02 per pill. 1 mg is not a very high dosage, so this may be a great option if you haven’t tried melatonin supplements before and don’t want to invest a lot of money into a supplement.
Nature’s Bounty Melatonin supplements are advertised as 100% drug-free and have around a four-star rating on most websites. Therefore, it has been audited by the U.S. Pharmacopeia and Specialized Technology Resources and is a reliable company. Reviewers say the low dosage is very helpful for staying asleep, but many report it is not as effective as higher doses. Nature’s Bounty recommends taking the supplement 30-45 minutes before bed, meaning it does not work as fast as previously listed supplements.
OLLY Melatonin Sleep Gummies: Best Chewables
OLLY Melatonin Sleep Gummies are the best chewable melatonin supplement that we found. This option is perfect for people who have a hard time swallowing pills (like children). Their sleep gummies are flavored with blackberry and mint, making them very tasty, according to reviewers. In addition to melatonin, the gummies also contain l-theanine, an amino acid that helps relieve feelings of anxiety and stress. Ingredients that promote calmness are also used in the formula, like chamomile and passionflower.
Their product is NSF certified, meaning that the company follows rigorous standards and protocols to ensure their product is safe for people to take. The gummies are made with no artificial flavoring or coloring and are completely gluten-free. It is recommended to take two gummies before bed, and no food or water is needed. The two gummies equate to 3 mg of melatonin. Many reviewers say these work extremely well for falling asleep.
Onnit Instant Melatonin Spray: Best Spray
Onnit Instant Melatonin Spray is the best melatonin spray we found in our research. This is another great alternative for those who do not enjoy swallowing pills. The spray comes in two flavors: lavender and mint. It's recommended to use six sprays for about 30 minutes before going to bed; this equates to about 3 mg of melatonin for both flavors.
The product has high reviews, and many product users state that they rarely use more than four sprays at night. They also say that they can feel the effects almost immediately, and it helps them fall asleep very gently. Onnit products are Rainforest Alliance, and UTZ certified. They also continually test them for purity through third parties. They pride themselves on having environmentally friendly products.
Importance of Sleep
Getting a good night of sleep is just as essential for people as food and water. It is estimated that 50-70 million people in the United States have some kind of sleep disorder. A study by the CDC reported that 7-19% of adults do not get enough sleep each day. Sleep is necessary for immune response, your mood, brain function and keeping almost every system in your body healthy.
Your age affects how much sleep you need each night.
Hours of Sleep Needed At Each Age
Hours of Sleep Needed Per 24 Hours
Infants 4-12 months old
12-16 hours, including naps
1-2 years old
11-14 hours, including naps
3-5 years old
10-13 hours, including naps
6-12 years old
13-18 years old
7 or more hours a night
Source: Mayo Clinic
There are a lot of factors that affect how much sleep you are getting each night. Having a busy schedule, especially at night, may prevent you from getting a proper amount of sleep. High levels of stress, whether related to school, work or life, can keep people awake at night as well. Some health conditions can make it difficult to sleep as well, like anxiety, depression, and heart disease.
In addition to melatonin, another supplement you can take to improve your sleep habits is CBD. CBD can relax the nervous system and relieve symptoms of stress and anxiety, which in turn improves sleep. Other ways to improve your sleep include:
- Sticking to a sleep schedule
- Limiting naps
- Getting at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day
- Monitoring your diet
Melatonin Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Before taking a supplement like melatonin, you may have some worries or concerns. Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about melatonin.
How much melatonin should I take for sleep?
Over the counter, melatonin is sold in doses of 1 mg to 10 mg. Although taking a higher dosage may seem like the go-to, research shows that taking lower doses between 0.5 and 3 mg is more effective. You should start with the lowest dosage that is recommended for your age and adjust accordingly.
Is melatonin bad for you?
Melatonin is safe to take. You are not likely to develop a diminished effect with melatonin, unlike other sleeping pills. There are potential side effects with any medication or supplement you may take. Some possible side effects of melatonin include headache, nausea, or drowsiness in the morning.
What happens if I take melatonin every night?
It is safe to take melatonin every night but should only be done for a short period. There is not a lot of research that has been done about the long-term effects of taking melatonin. If you plan on using it long-term, speak to your doctor, or try other options for improving sleep.
Will melatonin make you tired the next day?
Drowsiness the following day is one of the more common side effects of taking melatonin. You can reduce this effect by taking it earlier in the evening. If you get a whole night of sleep but still wake up feeling groggy, you may be taking too high of a dosage.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that induces sleep. Some people lack melatonin production and therefore have a difficult time falling and staying asleep. You can take melatonin supplements to promote better sleeping habits. The best overall melatonin supplement we found was Nature Made Melatonin pills. In addition to melatonin supplements, you can monitor your diet, get physical activity, or take supplements like CBD to help improve your quality of sleep.