If you're searching for melatonin for sleep, it's easy to get confused by all the varieties out there. Some are extended release, some have 1 mg while others have 10x that amount, some are liquid while others are pills, etc. It's not easy figuring out which to take.
In this article, we're going to break down the options in easy-to-read sections based on your goals: whether you want something fast-acting, extra-calming, high or low dose – and what sort of form you’d like to take it in.
Important: Using More Melatonin Does NOT Provide Faster Results.
Before we get into the list, it’s important to note that using high-dosage melatonin products will not necessarily give you better results. In fact, taking a higher dose of melatonin than you need can actually make it impossible to sleep and keep you awake.
Most people should start with 1-3 mg and work up from there. We’ll explain this in more detail later on, but for now, realize that a higher melatonin dose does not make one product more effective than another.
At a glance:
Best Fast-Acting Melatonin for Sleep
By far the fastest way to get melatonin into your bloodstream and help you fall asleep as soon as possible is to use a vaporizer. Melatonin diffusers have gained popularity in recent years, and though scientific research has yet to catch up, early anecdotal evidence so far seems to suggest they can be safe and effective.
Melo Air Melatonin Diffuser
The Melo Air melatonin vaporizers from MELO Labs contain melatonin, organic vegetable glycerin, natural flavors, and nothing else. It comes in a variety of sweet flavors that are all very highly rated.
Ten inhales is equivalent to roughly 1.3 mg of melatonin, which is a very low dose, but note that you’ll only need a small dose when using a fast-acting product: That low dose will be absorbed quickly and efficiently.
Of course, you can take more inhales if you need a higher dose, but it’s a good idea to start with as low a dose as possible, slowly increasing your dose over time only if the lower doses are ineffective.
LUVV Air CALM Melatonin Inhaler
The melatonin diffusers from LUVV Air have a slightly higher dose of melatonin, around 3 mg per 10 inhales. In addition, they also contain passionflower extract, valerian root extract, chamomile, and l-theanine, all of which help to relieve anxiety and promote sleep.
While the specific effects of inhaling all of these sleep aids are not entirely clear, the supplements are highly rated, and people find them very effective for sleep.
Best Melatonin for Anxiety and Sleep
For those whose sleep issues are related to anxiety (but who would prefer not to inhale their melatonin or their chamomile), there’s a considerable variety of melatonin supplements that also contain numerous natural sleep aids, mainly herbal ingredients. Here, we’re going to compare these melatonin + bonus sleep aid supplements by type.
Best Melatonin Drinks for Anxiety and Sleep
Liquid supplements are absorbed almost as quickly as vaporizers, and they’re a better option for those who prefer not to use vaporizers (or are waiting for more research to be done).
Melo Sip Melatonin Powder
Melo Sip from MELO Labs is a powdered melatonin supplement with a blend of chamomile extract, valerian root extract, l-theanine, and GABA. All of these help to alleviate anxiety and promote sleep, making this a great overall sleep medicine. It also contains important micronutrients for sleep and hydration, including vitamins B, C, and D, potassium, and zinc.
Melo Sip contains no added sugar or sugar alcohols – it’s sweetened only with monk fruit extract. It comes in three flavors that are all highly rated, and it can be mixed into water in any concentration you’d like. It comes in individual packets, and each packet contains 4 mg of melatonin.
Beam Organics Melatonin Powder
The Dream Powder melatonin supplement from Beam Organics is unique: It’s a packet you mix into hot water with a frother. In addition to melatonin, it contains reishi mushroom powder, l-theanine, magnesium, and nano hemp (enhanced CBD oil). A serving is one scoop, which contains 3 mg of melatonin.
It also contains cocoa powder, coconut milk powder, tapioca flour, natural flavors, sunflower lecithin, and monk fruit extract. The idea is that it mimics hot cocoa, but it’s much healthier than an actual cup of hot cocoa, with no added sugar plus helpful herbal supplements and magnesium.
However, one major drawback to this supplement is the expense. One packet (30 servings) will set you back $95, and it doesn’t come with the frother unless you subscribe. By contrast, a 20-serving bag of Melo Sip is just $20, no frother required – but if money is not a concern, you may enjoy trying this one.
Best Melatonin Gummies for Anxiety and Sleep
While gummies are not as fast-acting or readily absorbed as liquids, they can still be an effective way to get your melatonin and herbal supplements – plus you get the fun of having a piece of candy before bed. Many contain added sugar, but if this is no concern to you, they can be a nice addition to your evening routine.
Olly Melatonin Gummies
The Occasional Sleep Support gummy from Olly contains 3 mg of melatonin in addition to l-theanine, chamomile, lemon balm, and passionflower. In addition, each gummy contains about 2 grams of added sugar. It only seems to come in one flavor (blackberry), but customers found the product effective in improving their sleep.
Note that these gummies contain gelatin, so they are not vegetarian (or Kosher), but other gummies are available that don’t contain gelatin.
ZzzQuil Melatonin Gummies
Note that the melatonin gummies from ZzzQuil do not contain doxylamine (the active ingredient in regular ZzzQuil), nor any other drugs. Each serving contains 6 mg of melatonin, which is on the higher end, so it may be best to wait to try these gummies until you know you need a slightly larger dose. They also contain 5 grams of sugar and some artificial colors.
In addition to melatonin, these gummies also contain chamomile, valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, and ashwagandha. These are the only melatonin supplements we’re including that contain ashwagandha, a unique adaptogen that can help promote sleep, so they’re a good option if you’re interested in trying ashwagandha.
These gummies also contain pectin instead of gelatin, making them safe for vegetarians and vegans.
MidNite Sleep Health Chewable Melatonin Tablets
While not technically gummies, these chewable tablets still fall into the category of supplements you can chew that are sweet-tasting. Unlike the gummies we’ve looked at, though, they contain no added sugar. They’re sweetened with mannitol and sorbitol (sugar alcohols) as well as sucralose. Customers weren’t huge fans of the flavor but did find these effective.
Each serving contains lemon balm, chamomile, and lavender in addition to 1.5 mg of melatonin. This is a lower dose of melatonin, so it has the potential to be a good starting dose, though increasing it over time may not be the best option considering it contains other herbal ingredients.
Best Melatonin Capsules for Anxiety and Sleep
While pills have the slowest absorption time and bioavailability of all supplements, they can still be effective, particularly when in capsule form. Capsules have a slight advantage over solid pills when it comes to absorption.
Luminite Sleep Support Melatonin Capsules
The sleep support capsules from Luminite contain 4 mg of melatonin per serving in addition to niacin (vitamin B), l-tryptophan, GABA, l-glycine, skullcap root extract, passionflower, hops flower, and chamomile. The inclusion of GABA and other bioactive compounds in addition to the herbal ingredients makes this most similar to Melo Sip, but in pill form.
Overall, customers have found these pills effective for sleep. However, the capsules contain gelatin, so they are not vegetarian or vegan.
FutureKind Vegan Melatonin Capsules
If you’re looking for a melatonin capsule without gelatin that also contains natural sleep aids, the vegan melatonin capsules from FutureKind are a great option.
As with both Melo Sip and Luminite capsules, it has a combination of herbal supplements as well as bioactive compounds. Each capsule contains 3 mg of melatonin as well as passionflower, valerian root, hops flower, chamomile, lemon balm, l-theanine, and 5-HTP. Customers rated it very highly overall.
Best Pure Melatonin for Sleep
For those who’d prefer to keep their herbal supplements separate from their melatonin supplements (and don’t want to try vaporizers), there are a variety of melatonin supplements that don’t have any extra sleep-enhancing ingredients.
If you already drink chamomile tea every night, for instance, you may not want extra chamomile in your melatonin supplement. Or if anxiety isn’t an issue for you but you’re traveling to a new time zone, perhaps you just want pure melatonin. Here, we’ll look at some of the best high and low dose pure melatonin supplements.
Best High Dose Pure Melatonin for Sleep
If you know you need a higher dose of melatonin, you may want to go with one of these supplements that have higher melatonin levels per serving, so you don’t have to take multiple servings of a lower-dose product.
Note that you probably shouldn’t start with these if you’re trying melatonin for the first time. Save the higher doses for when you already know the lower ones don’t work, to avoid the risk of taking too much melatonin (which can have the opposite of the intended effect).
Nature’s Bounty Quick Dissolve Melatonin Tablets
The quick dissolve tablets from Nature’s Bounty work faster and more efficiently than pills. Each tablet contains 10 mg of melatonin as well as non-caloric sweeteners and natural flavors, including mannitol (a sugar alcohol) and sucralose. It does not contain any additional sleep aids, nor does it have any micronutrients.
Customers were happy with the taste and found this to be a very effective supplement.
Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep Tablets
The controlled-release tablets from Natrol are designed specially to have two layers: a fast-absorbing outer layer and an inner layer that gets absorbed more slowly to help you stay asleep throughout the night. In addition to 10 mg of melatonin, these also contain vitamin B6 as well as calcium, but they don’t have any additional sleep aids.
They do contain a few other ingredients to achieve the right consistency, but there’s no added sugar, sugar alcohols, or other sweeteners. Most customers found this product very effective.
Best Low Dose Pure Melatonin for Sleep
Other than vaporizers, melatonin liquids and sprays are a good option for lower doses. Both supplements we’re about to discuss are liquids. Liquid supplements are absorbed more quickly and efficiently than pills, meaning these low doses will still be very effective.
Melatonin levels decline naturally with age (according to a study from Drugs and Aging), so older adults may need slightly higher doses of melatonin. That said, all adults would benefit from finding the lowest dose possible that works for them.
Allergy Research Group Liposomal Melatonin
The liposomal melatonin liquid from the Allergy Research group contains 1 mg of melatonin per one pump. The only other ingredients are water, glycerin, ethanol, vitamin E, and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs).
Of course, you can make the dose higher if you need to, because this contains no other sleep aids or micronutrients (the amount of vitamin E is negligible). This means you don’t have to worry about overdosing on anything, making the dosing for this product highly adjustable.
ONNIT Instant Melatonin
The instant melatonin spray from ONNIT contains 3 mg of melatonin per serving, which is six sprays. However, the manufacturers note that you can start with a smaller dose: Two sprays would give you just 1 mg of melatonin. As with the melatonin from the Allergy Research Group, this gives you a highly adjustable dose.
In addition to melatonin, the product contains water, glycerin, ethyl alcohol, natural flavors, and stevia leaf extract (for sweetness). It also contains lavender extract, but this is just for flavor, not an additional herbal supplement.
How and When to Take Melatonin for Sleep
As we’ve seen, many factors need to be considered when taking melatonin for sleep. Apart from choosing the right melatonin supplement, here are a few additional things you can do to help it work as effectively as possible.
When to Take Melatonin
Depending on the type of melatonin you’re taking, the right time to take it may vary quite a bit. Since melatonin is a hormone that regulates your circadian rhythm (sleep wake cycle), it’s important to time it right, based on your desired sleep schedule.
As these are the fastest-acting supplements, you can take them 15-20 minutes before bed, but you may feel the effects even sooner. These give you the most flexibility in your evening routine, since you only need to figure out your bedtime 20 minutes in advance or less.
While more research needs to be done on the effects of inhaling melatonin, it seems to be well-tolerated and effective so far. The Melo Air vaporizers from MELO Labs have been designed to be as safe as possible, with just three ingredients.
Almost as fast-acting as vaporizers, liquid melatonin supplements are a great option for those who prefer not to vape. These are recommended to be taken about 20-30 minutes before bed, giving you nearly as much flexibility in your evening schedule as melatonin diffusers.
As we’ve seen, many melatonin liquids also contain bonus herbal ingredients and bioactive compounds. Melo Sip from MELO Labs has l-theanine, GABA, chamomile, and valerian root in addition to melatonin, and it also contains several helpful vitamins and minerals, making it the most complete sleep medicine of all the melatonin liquid supplements.
Most melatonin supplements come in pill form, but these are the slowest-acting of all types of supplements. As an article from Medicare Europe explains, it takes up to half an hour for your body just to break down the supplement before it can even be absorbed (and then, only about a third to half of the contents might be absorbed).
Melatonin pills should be taken 1-2 hours before bedtime, so they do require a bit of advance planning. However, some pills are more fast-acting than others.
For instance, the melatonin capsules from FutureKind are more effective than solid pills and may only need to be taken an hour before bedtime. Additionally, they contain a variety of herbal ingredients to promote sleep as well as l-theanine and 5-HTP.
How Much Melatonin to Take
To determine the best dose of melatonin, experts recommend starting with a small dose (somewhere around 1-3 mg) and gradually adding more only if the small dose isn’t effective for you. This is to avoid taking more than you need, or worse, taking too much.
Ironically, taking too much melatonin can have the opposite effect of taking the right amount, in that it can cause anxiety and make it harder to fall asleep. For this reason, you don’t want to start with a high dose (6-10 mg) when trying it for the first time.
How to Help Melatonin Work Better
When melatonin isn’t working for you, consider what else you can do to help it work faster and more effectively, including trying a different supplement.
Remember, melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep wake cycle, not a strong sedative or sleeping pill. It’s produced by the brain’s pineal gland and released into the bloodstream in response to darkness as well as certain daily habits. As such, it can be either enhanced or overridden by a few important factors.
Combine with Other Natural Sleep Aids
To help melatonin work more effectively, you can try taking it alongside other herbal supplements known to be effective for treating insomnia and anxiety. This is perfectly safe, as long as you’re not combining these with sleeping pills or prescription sleep medicine.
Many melatonin supplements contain multiple additional sleep aids, such as Melo Sip. As long as you’re not taking these same herbal supplements elsewhere, taking a melatonin supplement that also contains these as a bonus is likely to improve your sleep problems even more so than taking melatonin alone.
If you already take other medications, you’ll probably want to check that they don’t interact with melatonin before trying it. A list of drugs that may interact with melatonin can be found here.
Avoid Bright Light and Vigorous Exercise in the Evening
When taking melatonin, it’s important not to work against it. Using bright light (especially blue light, which comes from electronic devices) in the evening can block melatonin production, tricking our brain into thinking it’s daytime. Vigorous exercise can also interfere with melatonin, delaying the time when we’ll be able to fall asleep, so it’s best saved for earlier in the day.
This is especially important to think about when you’re trying to figure out the right dose. If you take 3 mg of melatonin, then play video games on your laptop without using the nighttime setting (or blue light blocking glasses) for an hour, you might mistakenly think you need more melatonin.
Try limiting bright light and blue light in the evening as much as possible to help melatonin work more effectively, and to make sure your dosing experiments are giving you reliable data.
Use Reliable Supplements
Melatonin is considered a dietary supplement, and not a drug. Dietary supplements do not need to be approved by the FDA, and they are also not officially regulated by the FDA. This unfortunately means melatonin supplements may not always contain accurate information on their labels.
In fact, a study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine suggests most melatonin supplements have inaccurate labels. The study found 71% of melatonin supplements to have labels that were more than 10% inaccurate. What’s more, about a quarter secretly contained serotonin, which interferes with melatonin.
To find trustworthy melatonin supplements, it’s important to look for third party testing labels on the supplements you’re considering. These are independent organizations who can issue an official Certificate of Analysis, signifying that what’s on the label is what’s actually in the supplement.
Note that all of the melatonin supplements that were listed above have either been approved by the FDA or tested by at least one third party testing organization, so you can feel confident when you buy them that you’re actually getting what you think you’re getting.
Try MELO Labs Melatonin Supplements for Sleep
As we’ve seen, there’s a lot to consider when looking for a good melatonin supplement. Any of the above melatonin supplements may work for you, but melatonin supplements from MELO Labs have been specifically designed to address a wide variety of needs in the most effective ways possible. With both liquid and vaporizer options, there’s something for everyone.
Melo Air melatonin diffusers contain just three ingredients, all of which are known to be safe when inhaled. Customers love the sweet flavor profiles and find these supplements to be very effective and fast-acting.
For those who prefer to avoid vaporizers, Melo Sip melatonin powder is an excellent option that works almost as quickly. Plus, with the addition of chamomile, valerian root, l-theanine, and GABA as well as important vitamins and minerals, it has just the right combination of natural sleep aids to help you relax and fall asleep in no time.