Best Melatonin Supplements: Top Brands in 2020
Table of Contents
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone in your body that is responsible for regulating your internal clock—circadian rhythm by responding to lightness and darkness.
If things are functioning optimally, melatonin levels increase in your body when it becomes dark outside, thus letting you know it’s time to sleep. It also attaches to receptors in your body, such receptors in the brain which help you relax.
Meanwhile, during the day, as you produce dopamine, this signals your body to produce and release less melatonin, which helps you stay awake. This is also exactly what happens with the jet lag disorder which is when your body’s rhythm is out of sync with cues from a new time zone and makes it harder for you to get to sleep.
Getting too much light in the evening—especially from the various screens in our lights—or not getting enough natural light during the day can lead to low levels of melatonin at night when you’re supposed to sleep.
So how do I know if taking melatonin supplements if right for me? And whether it’s best to take a liquid, a capsule, a tablet or a gummy? And how much to take?
Don’t worry, we’ll get there, but first, here are our top seven picks for best melatonin supplements on the market today.
Our Top Seven Picks for Best Melatonin Supplements
1. Future Kind Natural Sleep Aid
Future Kind natural sleep aid supplements have been one of the best, popular and trusted melatonin supplements out there, making it one of our top-rated products. This product has consistently received the highest ratings of any Melatonin supplements in the market and are cGMP certified. Reviewers also say its value for the price is unmatched, and it acts quickly and doesn’t cause grogginess.
2. Natrol Melatonin
Natrol Melatonin helps you fall asleep faster. Easy to take, dissolves in mouth and faster absorption.
3. Nature Made Tablets
Nature Made tablets are USP-verified and don’t contain artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. They also have great reviews, with many reviewers saying these melatonin products help them fall asleep within 30 minutes.
4. Luminite Sleep Support Capsules
Each Luminite Sleep Support melatonin supplement has 4 mg of melatonin, as well as chamomile, passionflower and GABA. They also contain L-tryptophan, an amino acid commonly known to help improve sleep.
5. Zarbee's Naturals Children's Sleep Chewable Tablet With Melatonin
If you have children, these are your winner. This product is safe for children over the age of 3 and are berry flavored with 1 mg of melatonin per tablet.
6. NOW Liquid Melatonin
The great benefit of this melatonin supplement is the added benefit of being quickly absorbed. NOW Liquid Melatonin is also a non-GMO, vegan formula, as well as gluten and dairy-free.
7. Nature's Bounty Melatonin
Reviewers give this melatonin supplement the best bang for your buck award. Further, they dissolve quickly and are great if you travel, as this product be easily taken without water. This melatonin supplement is also useful if you suffer from jet lag.
Of course, we’re not all created equal, so let’s break it down a bit more, as the best melatonin for one person might not be the best product for another:
Best Melatonin Product for Seniors
One of our favorite products is Nature Made Melatonin: It’s fairly common the older we get to have troubles staying asleep throughout the night. This is what Nature Made Melatonin products have been designed for giving you the right dose to keep you asleep.
Best Melatonin Product for Getting to Sleep
One of the products we especially like for falling asleep is Just Potent Melatonin. It offers a quick dose of melatonin, which is exactly what you want to go to sleep fast.
Best Melatonin for Anxiety
Physician’s Choice Sleep Aid contains theanine, which has been shown to have a calming effect and can help reduce anxiety if your sleep troubles stem from anxiety.
Best Melatonin for Jet Lag
One of the worst parts about jet lag is the grogginess that goes with it. So if you’re taking melatonin to help you get your best sleep after traveling, it’s best to pick one that won’t make you groggy. We like the product VitaPost Nature Sleep.
Best Tablet Melatonin Supplement
We like Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep Tablets with Vitamin B6. This melatonin product is easy to swallow and is a two-layer tablet that gives you a quick dose to fall asleep fast, and then continues to release melatonin throughout the night to make sure you stay asleep. On top of this, each tablet has 10 mg of Vitamin B6, a vitamin that helps produce serotonin, which is also connected to getting your best sleep.
Best Liquid Melatonin Supplement
Pure Encapsulations’ liquid melatonin supplement are non-GMO liquid supplements and lets you dispense your appropriate dose. Each dropper gives you a 2.5 mg dose of melatonin. It’s also sugar free and hypoallergenic.
Best Melatonin Capsule
We like Now Foods Melatonin 5mg. For those who don’t want to taste their melatonin, these capsule supplements are your answer. They’re also vegetarian, easy to swallow and give you a dose of melatonin 5 mg.
Why Melatonin is Important
Sleep disorders in the United States are vast and varied. It is estimated that between 50 and 70 million Americans suffer from some kind of sleep disorder—be it sleep apnea, chronic insomnia, narcolepsy, or just trouble falling asleep or staying asleep—i.e. taking 60 minutes or more to fall asleep—or staying asleep.
And again, we come across the same old dilemma of quality vs quantity of sleep. Personally, it’s not always about how long I sleep, but often it’s about my sleep quality. Sleep quality is a broad umbrella term that encompasses your overall ability to get a natural sleep and to stay asleep for as long as you are not feeling re-energized and relieved from the previous day’s hard work and dramas. And sleep quality is as underrated as the quantity of sleep is overrated. Bottom line is without the right dose of sleep, your life is going to suffer.
Getting your best natural sleep becomes more and more difficult as we grow older and the pressures of daily life’s challenges mount up to the point that getting a natural sleep would seem like a far off inaccessible dream itself.
This is especially concerning, as poor sleep zaps your energy very similar to a jet lag disorder would affect you, making you less productive and functional during the day, and if it becomes chronic, you become more likely to develop conditions like high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes in the long term.
For many, supplements are the answer.
A small dose of melatonin supplements may be the solution to getting a natural sleep. There are a number of common dietary supplements with a long track record of helping improve sleep.
This analysis, for example, looked at 19 studies that examined people with sleep disorders and discovered taking supplements helped them fall asleep faster—an average of seven minutes faster. Many people in these various studies also reported getting better, deeper, longer sleep with a melatonin supplement in the short term.
Those suffering from jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD) and shift workers have also often reported significant results by taking melatonin. Especially, there were reports of increases in their ability to stay asleep throughout the night.
Melatonin for the Aging Adults
Melatonin production in the body decreases with age, hence why so many older adults have trouble staying asleep, or develop insomnia.
Melatonin and the Brain
Beyond regulating sleep, melatonin is also a great antioxidant that protects your brain from oxidative stress. As a result, there is reason to believe melatonin might be able to benefit those with cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease. As we just pointed out, melatonin levels naturally decline when we age, and lower melatonin levels are also typically found in people with Alzheimer’s disease. More research needs to be done on the topic.
Melatonin for Narcolepsy
Melatonin has also proven to be effective for those with narcolepsy, a central disorder of hypersomnolence. In other words, those with the disease have an excessive need for sleeping during the day even when they get a good night’s sleep at night. This is because narcolepsy interferes with both our body’s natural rhythm and our REM cycles.
Some Tips for Melatonin Use
- Research the brand: According to a 2017 study, which examined 31 different melatonin supplements, many didn’t contain the amount of melatonin that was listed on their label. So do your research into the melatonin brand before purchasing whichever supplements your research tells you is best. Since it’s a dietary supplement and not an over-the-counter prescription drug, it’s not monitored as closely by the FDA as an over-the-counter medication.
- Check your other meds: If you’re taking another medication, double-check to see if a particular melatonin product is compatible with your other medication.
- Avoid booze and caffeine: It’s best not to take melatonin products with either alcohol or caffeine, as both of these substances also interfered with your natural melatonin production and circadian rhythm.
What Are the Side Effects of Melatonin?
Generally speaking, melatonin products are considered very safe. A 2005 study—a large review of other studies on melatonin use—suggests that it’s safe to take for a few weeks up to a few months. More research needs to be done on is safety in the long term, however, there is no evidence pointing to melatonin products being unsafe if taken longer than a few months.
The main side effect associated with melatonin products is grogginess, however, this can usually be avoided by taking the right product, the right dose and taking the supplement at right time of day.
Some other mild side effects of a these supplements that some people experience melatonin products include: dizziness, headaches and nausea.
That being said, if you’re taking medications, it’s best to check with your doctor before taking a melatonin supplement. Your doctor can also help you determine the best melatonin supplement for you. These medications include: other sleep aids, blood thinners, anticonvulsants, blood pressure medication, antidepressants, oral contraceptives, diabetes medication and immunosuppressants.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the best supplement to help sleep?
A: Melatonin is at the top of the list for helping give you a natural, quality sleep. Not only is it natural, it’s safe and effective for various sleep problems, such as insomnia, narcolespy, jet lag, and simply for falling asleep and staying asleep.
Q: Can I Get Melatonin from My Food?
A: Meat, grains, fruits, and vegetables do contain melatonin, but only in trace amounts. And you should also remember that nutrient absorption can vary. The amount of melatonin that your body absorbs from food can range from less than 10% to greater than 90%.
Q: What foods are high in melatonin?
A: Foods that contain high levels of melatonin are fruits and vegetables, such as cherries, corn, asparagus, tomatoes, pomegranates, grapes, cucumber and broccoli. You can also get melatonin grains, such as rice barley and rolled oats, as well as from various nuts and seeds, including walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and flax seeds.
Q: Is taking melatonin supplements safe?
A: In short, yes. Our bodies produce melatonin themselves in the pineal gland of our brains, so it’s a naturally occurring hormone. So asking what are melatonin’s side effects is only relevant when talking about over-supplementation. The key is getting the right dose.
What the research says: Short-term use of melatonin has proven to be safe and effective, but it’s unclear whether long-term use hasn’t been studied enough to know.
Q: What vitamin helps with melatonin?
A: B Vitamins, and specifically Vitamin B6, is often recommended to take with melatonin as it supports your body’s natural melatonin production. Some melatonin supplements also contain Vitamin B6.
Q: What is the most effective way to take melatonin?
A: It depends. For children, a gummy is often the easiest way to take melatonin, and for those who have trouble swallowing pills, then liquid or tablet form might be a better option. Whatever option you choose, it’s generally recommended to take 1 to 5 mg of melatonin one hour before bed.
Q: How much melatonin should I take? Is 5 mg the magic number?
A: Unfortunately, there’s no consensus on just how much melatonin is appropriate. Some suggest a dose between 0.2 mg and 5 mg, while other sources say between 1 mg of melatonin all the way up to 10 mg of melatonin. Generally, more than 10 mg is considered too high. Many melatonin products contain between 3 and 5 mg per dose, with 5 mg often being the default recommendation for those who take melatonin products regularly.
Taking 1 mg of melatonin supplements might be considered a good micro-dosing method for beginners. There are also liquid melatonin products available in the market, however, the dose with the liquid Melatonin varies greatly.
Perhaps the most popular form of melatonin are melatonin gummies. There are many different brands of melatonin gummies out there, but you want to make sure that the dosage is not much higher than 5 mg of melatonin supplements, and likely closer to 3 mg, if you’re giving them to children. You also want to make sure to keep all melatonin gummies away from children’s reach.
Q: Can you overdose in melatonin?
A: To avoid overdosing on melatonin products, it is recommended to begin with a lower dose and up it if it’s not helping you fall asleep and you aren’t experiencing side effects. This also ensures you don’t take too much and overdose, which can lead you to feel tired and jet lag the next day. And remember the 10 mg rule: Don’t take more than 10 mg.
Other overdose symptoms include nightmares, nausea, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, irritability and even making it more difficult for you to fall asleep naturally.
Q: What’s the difference between short acting melatonin or time release melatonin?
A: Short-acting, or immediate release, melatonin products releases the entire dose of melatonin into your bloodstream. If you have trouble falling asleep, a short-acting melatonin product is often the right choice.
In contrast, time-release, or control release, melatonin products are newer and essentially mimics the way your body would release melatonin naturally throughout the night. Generally, this is recommended if you’re taking a higher dose of melatonin—above 3 mg—to avoid getting too much all at once. This type of melatonin is also recommended for those who have trouble staying asleep.
Q: Other than sleep, what is melatonin good for?
A: On top of helping with sleep, melatonin is also an antioxidant, which has been shown to help eye health, including lowering the risk of degenerative diseases related to the eyes, treat stomach ulcers, ease heartburn and even elevate growth hormone levels in men.
Further, melatonin products help regulate both body temperature and blood pressure and have been linked to healthy bone density and blood sugar levels.
Also, melatonin has been linked to your immune system, as its antioxidant characteristics help fight free radical damage that can cause health issues, such as cancer. Other research suggests that melatonin’s immunity boosting capabilities even extend to being antiviral, antibiotic and antiparasitic.
Q: Can melatonin cause weight gain?
A: Short answer: No. In fact, there’s evidence of the opposite. Melatonin is believed to increase your body’s metabolic function and help you lose weight. In short, it assists in the process of turning fat into energy, as opposed to storing it as fat, and it improves the thermogenic capabilities in your mitochondria. On the flip side, low levels of melatonin have been linked to weight gain.
Q: Other than helping me sleep, what is melatonin good for?
A: Melatonin has also been shown to support eye health, especially age related eye diseases, because of its antioxidant benefits. Other research has shown supplements are useful to prevent stomach ulcers and heartburn. Further, there’s evidence melatonin is helpful for treating tinnitus (a condition involving ringing in the ears). Specifically, melatonin is useful for reducing this ringing while trying to fall asleep. Finally, melatonin has been shown to increase growth hormones levels in men, as melatonin can help the pituitary gland become more sensitive to the hormone that releases human growth hormone.
Q: Does alcohol consumption affect melatonin levels?
A: Yes. Alcohol consumption can lead to dips in melatonin levels. In fact, one study showed that drinking alcohol one hour before bed can reduce melatonin levels by almost 20 percent. Further, those with alcohol use disorder tend to have lower levels of melatonin, and melatonin levels rise slower when combined with alcohol, thus often making it harder to fall asleep.
Q: Is it safe to take melatonin if I’m pregnant?
A: Your body’s natural melatonin levels tend to fluctuate during pregnancy. During the first and second trimesters, your nighttime peak of melatonin decreases, however, melatonin levels right again during the third trimester and reached its maximum at term. Maternal melatonin gets transferred to the fetus, which helps develop the fetus’ circadian rhythm, as well as its nervous system and endocrine system. While research is limited, it’s clear melatonin is important during pregnancy, and because of the limited amount of research, it isn’t recommended pregnant women take a melatonin supplement.
Once the baby is born, it begins making its own melatonin, however melatonin levels in babies are low for the first three months after birth. Breastmilk contains melatonin, so there’s evidence that breastfeeding in the evening helps continue to develop the baby’s natural sleep cycle. Like pregnancy, there is little research about melatonin products’ safety for breastfeeding mothers, so it’s generally recommended to avoid melatonin when breastfeeding.
Q: How do I know if it’s a high quality melatonin supplement?
A: Generally, supplements aren’t FDA-regulated. When looking for a good quality melatonin supplement, look for Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) references, third party testing as well as high-standard facility production.
Q: Is it safe for children to take melatonin?
A: As many as 25 percent of children have trouble falling asleep, and this number is higher among children on the autism spectrum, as well as those with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). More research needs to be done, however, it’s generally considered safe.
That being said, there is some concern that taking melatonin long-term could delay puberty because our body’s naturally experience a decline in melatonin in the evening at the onset of puberty.
It is recommended children take melatonin supplements 30 minutes to 60 minutes before going to sleep. Dosage differs by age: It is recommended young children take between 2.5 and 3 mg for older children, while adolescents can consider taking closer to 5 mg.
Q: Can I boost my melatonin levels naturally?
A: There are certainly ways to boost your body’s natural melatonin levels without taking supplement-form melatonin products, such as increasing the natural sunlight you’re exposed to during the day, going to best at a good time, eating more melatonin-rich foods, reducing stress, keeping your room dark and reducing alcohol and caffeine intake.
It’s also important to reduce artificial—blue light—at night, such as from screens. If you have to be on a screen at night, it’s worth considering blue-blocking glasses, which are designed to increase melatonin production in the evening to help increase tiredness before bed.
Q: If I take supplements too long, will my body become immune to making melatonin?
A: This is a myth. Researchers have consistently found that there are no withdrawal symptoms to taking various melatonin supplements and products. However, some research suggests melatonin products might have a reduced effect after six to 12 months of regular use. Often taking a short break is all that is needed to increase the effectiveness again.
Q: Can I benefit from melatonin products even if I don’t have sleep problems?
A: Absolutely. Researchers are now exploring melatonin’s effectiveness on various conditions, including anxiety and depression, cardiovascular disease, stokes, Alzheimer’s and even as a potential cancer therapy.