Wouldn’t you love to drop off to sleep without problems? To stay asleep the whole night without waking up?
Melatonin is a popular, safe and natural way to do just that. The supplements are especially powerful for people with abnormal sleep patterns and are much safer than sleeping pills.
To get good outcomes, you need to choose high-quality products. So, this post highlights the best melatonin brands.
With these, you can finally get a good night’s sleep.
The 9 Best Melatonin Brands
Natrol is one of the largest players for melatonin supplements, offering a wider range than most other brands. This also includes multiple doses and types of products.
The brand is a best seller on Amazon and you’ll also often find it on grocery store shelves as well. Their most common option is flavored fast-dissolve tablets. These come in doses of 1 mg, 3 mg, 5 mg and 10 mg.
The tablets contain some extra ingredients to provide the flavor and to ensure they dissolve quickly, although none of the choices are especially unusual. The design also allows them to be taken as needed without water.
The brand also offers liquid versions. Some come in a small bottle with a dropper while others come in a larger size with a measuring cup.
Either way, the general principle is the same and both versions of the melatonin tend to get positive reviews. All of the products are also vegetarian.
Liquid products can be easier initially, as you can make small adjustments to your dose. The liquid can also be mixed into drinks – making it easier to take overall.
One other type of product from the brand is time-release tablets. This means that the melatonin is released slowly. It is most popular for people who have problems staying asleep.
The brand is one of just two time-release options to pass Consumer Lab’s independent testing.
Life Extension is another popular brand that produces a range of supplements. There are also multiple products available, including time-release, a liquid supplement and regular pills.
The products are all vegetarian and non-GMO. Life Extension also consistently passes independent testing. As a result, the supplements should contain what their labels claim.
The company often gets top ratings from consumers. It is widely viewed as being high-quality and reliable. Plus, the items are reasonably priced, even for the extended release versions.
This is another common brand, one that you’ll often find at the local drug store. Nature’s Bounty offers various products as well but an especially interesting one is the option below.
This is sometimes promoted as being triple strength. But, the formulation is just 5 mg, which is pretty common.
The interesting thing is that these are soft gels. This leads to more ingredients than usual to stabilize the pill. Key ingredients include soybean oil, gelatin, vegetable glycerin and beeswax.
For most people, the ingredients would be fine. But, they won’t work for vegetarians or people avoiding soy.
The style should get the melatonin into your system faster – making you sleepy sooner. That’s good if you want a fast-acting product. It also works well if you tend to forget your pills until the last minute.
The pills also do well in testing, tending to have a little more melatonin than advertised. Plus, the various products are fairly inexpensive for the number of pills you get.
This is another popular brand, one that you'll often find in grocery stores. It is also fairly inexpensive and offers a wide range of products, sizes and styles. These factors can make it a good first choice.
The pills themselves are also suitable for vegetarians and are non-GMO. The pictured 5 mg bottle is particularly relevant as it receives good reviews and has passed independent testing.
If you want something smaller instead, Now does also have various other products, including 1 mg tablets and liquid melatonin. These options allow you to start at a lower dose, giving you a better chance to see which dose best suits your needs.
This supplement offers chewable mint pills, which is an unusual style. But, the brand is a reliable one and a good choice.
Additionally, the supplements here are vegan. Many melatonin brands offer vegetarian supplements but there are few other vegan options. This aspect alone makes the brand worth considering.
The selling point of Pure Encapsulations is that the supplements are hypo-allergenic. This includes a focus on avoiding artificial additives, allergens and dietary contaminants. Indeed, the pills have fewer ingredients than any of the others on the list.
The pills are also soy-free, gluten free, vegan and non-GMO.
The pictured supplement is their low-dose version, at 0.5 mg per serving. This can be a good place to start with melatonin – letting you find your ideal dose.
Solgar is a less common brand but it is still high quality and passes independent testing. The supplements are non-GMO and free from gluten and dairy. There are also no sweeteners or flavors present, so you’re getting relatively few added ingredients.
This product may also be good for vegans, although the marketing isn’t clear. In particular, the Amazon listing states that it is suitable for vegans, although the bottle only mentions vegetarians.
As with other brands, there are various sizes and styles on offer as well. One interesting one is Black Cherry Liquid Melatonin, which comes in a 10 mg serving.
Taking 10 mg may be too much for many people but this is a liquid – so it’s easy to adjust. Plus, there’s no doubt that this one is suitable for vegans.
There is also a supplement called Sweetest Dreams. This one combines 3 mg of melatonin with 100 mg of l-theanine, which may also help with sleep. However, there is less evidence for l-theanine promoting sleep than for melatonin.
This brand is unusual, as they provide supplements in the form of gummies, rather than pills or liquids. This can be appealing for anyone who hates pills or people who have problems with swallowing.
One option is the product below, which is blackberry flavored.
Some extra ingredients are used to create the taste and texture of the gummies, including sugar, gelatin and fractionated coconut oil. However, artificial flavors aren’t used. Even with the added sugar, a 5 mg melatonin serving (2 gummies) only comes to 15 calories.
There is also a sugar-free version. These are 3 mg per serving instead of 5 mg and they use maltitol as the main sweetener. Both versions tend to get good reviews.
The sugar-free option also includes passion flower, chamomile flower and lemon balm leaf. The label lists these as supplements, although they are mostly there for flavoring.
In both cases, a serving is two gummies. So, you could take one gummy instead if you wanted a lower dose.
BioNaturals Sleep Aid
This final option is a little bit different. It is still a melatonin supplement but it also some added ingredients which can promote the desired outcomes. In particular, the supplement contains L-Theanine, which is often associated with relaxation and decreased mental stress (1). This compound is a key reason why tea is so relaxing as well.
It's also extremely easy to control your dose. For one thing, the supplement is in a liquid form. It also makes use of a dropper, which gives you precise control.
What to Consider When Using Melatonin
Melatonin itself is a hormone that our bodies produce to regulate sleep. As such, it helps promote sleep quality and length (2).
This effect is more relevant now than ever before – as our modern lifestyles can decrease melatonin production. For example, the blue light produced by devices and television dramatically affects levels of melatonin (3,4). Even exposure to regular room lights in the late evening can lower melatonin (5).
You can reduce these issues by following good sleep habits – like the ones that The Next Web discusses. But, for many, this won’t be enough.
So, how do you get the most out of melatonin supplements?
The Best Dose
To stabilize your sleep cycle, anywhere from 0.5 mg to 5 mg can be effective. There isn’t a dose-dependent response, so more isn’t better. Instead, you need to find your best dose. To do that, you can start at around 0.5 mg. You can try that for a few nights and if it doesn’t work, try increasing the dose.
As a guideline, the list below highlights the various levels that have been examined in research. In many cases, lower doses may also be effective but that data isn't currently available. Details are from Consumer Lab's analysis on melatonin.
- For sleep support: 2 or 3 mg of melatonin is taken between 30 and 60 minutes before bed, although recommendations vary dramatically.
- For jet lag: The same dose as for regular sleep, taken up to four days following travel.
- For delayed weekend sleep. 6 mg, taken five hours before the desired sleep time on a Sunday.
- To lower or prevent a cluster headache. 10 mg before bed each day.
- To improve irritable bowel syndrome. 3 mg each day at bedtime.
- For children. 5 mg at 6 pm each day if they experience chronic sleep onset insomnia. 5 mg at 8 pm each day if they have a developmental disorder.
- To support cancer treatment. 10 to 50 mg per day, but consult your doctor first.
- To lower tardive dyskinesia. 10 mg of time-released melatonin per day.
Melatonin is considered safe – but, it is still a hormone. As such, you shouldn’t be supplementing more than you need to. The goal is to complement your body’s natural systems, not overwhelm them.
Likewise, if you feeling drowsy the next day (which can happen), you may need to cut down your dose.
For sleep benefits, you can take melatonin 30 minutes before bed.
Some research suggests that taking melatonin during the daytime may cause adverse effects – as it gives your body conflicting signals (6). However, it's also important to consider the reason you're using melatonin. As the list above shows, each use can involve different doses and/or variations on timing as well.
Even with melatonin, you need to follow healthy sleep habits. These include the following:
Some of these patterns help promote natural melatonin production. Others are beneficial to sleep in different ways. You can take melatonin without any of these patterns, of course. But, your benefits may be decreased.
Pay Attention to Your Body
As with any pill or supplement, you should pay attention to your body’s responses.
This includes whether you feel drowsy the next day and whether your sleep cycle is actually improving.
For most people, it’s best to take melatonin for limited a period of time. Long-term use may promote insomnia in some cases, especially if the dose is high (7).
This makes melatonin best for resolving disordered sleeping. Once your sleeping is back to a regular pattern, you should try to sleep without the melatonin.
Nevertheless, the supplement is safe and non-addictive. As Examine highlights, it doesn’t decrease the natural production of melatonin either.
Melatonin and Special Circumstances
Most of the time, melatonin is simply used to promote sleep - especially if you're not getting enough. But, melatonin supplements are also used in special circumstances. Melatonin can be effective in these area but there are often more factors to consider.
Using Melatonin Supplements for Shift Work
Shift work has horrible impacts on sleep. The process prevents you from getting into a natural sleep rhythm. Research suggests you can take between 0.3 mg and 1 mg of melatonin for one or two nights when changing from night to day shift (or vice versa) (8).
This should be enough to promote your body to naturally release melatonin when you need it.
And, of course, you still need to follow good sleep habits. This includes making your room as dark and quiet as you can (even when sleeping during the day), and remaining consistent about when you wake up and when you sleep for whatever shift you are on.
Even though it's tempting, you should be using melatonin daily to promote sleep for shift work. This typically isn't beneficial and can be damaging in the long-term.
Using Melatonin Supplements when Flying
Melatonin supplements are relevant for flying and for jet lag. The supplements can help ensure you adjust to the correct time zone quickly (9).
When you're flying, take a small dose (between 0.3 mg and 1 mg) of melatonin about half an hour before you want to sleep. This should be at night time for your destination, regardless of where you are traveling from.
If you suffer from jet lag after landing, you can take melatonin for the first few nights to help you adjust to the new time zone.
Using Melatonin Supplements to Lower Anxiety
Melatonin is also sometimes used for anxiety. It helps to lower pulse rate and blood pressure. Those effects can reduce the severity of panic attacks and even make people less likely to worry.
These outcomes only require a very small dose, sometimes as low as 0.05 mg of melatonin. The best way to get this is through a liquid supplement. But, talk to your doctor first to be sure that melatonin is safe for your needs.
Using Melatonin for Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
Melatonin supplements are useful in the short-term, especially if you're stressed or struggling more than normal. But, melatonin supplements shouldn't be used in the long-term and they're not normally suitable for sleep disorders, including insomnia.
Sleep disorders involve a range of factors and hormones. Melatonin supplements address just one of these, so they would never be enough on their own.
Additionally, long-term use can create dependence and may make symptoms worse over time. There are some situations where low-dose melatonin supplements may be safe for extended periods, but only ever with the support and guidance of your doctor.
Should You Use Melatonin?
Melatonin is a simple and natural solution for sleeping problems. The supplements help to resolve disordered sleep and let people develop healthy routines.
For some of you, melatonin supplements may be a temporary answer to help get your sleep back in line. For others, the supplements could be a long-term solution.
One example is shift workers. They often need extra help to get to sleep, especially if shifts vary from week-to-week. In fact, melatonin is powerful for people who cannot form regular sleeping patterns.
But, the supplement won’t work for everyone. So, if your problem is related to stress or to a health condition (like sleep apnea), extra melatonin isn’t likely to help.
If nothing else, melatonin is worth a try. Unlike sleeping pills, melatonin isn’t habit forming and it is considered to be safe (10), although melatonin is best used in the short-term. The brands mentioned above are all good places to start.
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