CBD and melatonin can both be used to help you relax and get to sleep, but overall they affect your body very differently.
For example, if you try to use melatonin at 4pm on a Friday, you'll likely just feel groggy and a bit sleepy.
On the other hand, the right CBD product keep you feeling relaxed and mellow for hours so you can enjoy the rest of your day.
If you're actively trying to sleep though, melatonin is likely a much better choice, especially if you're suffering from jet lag or another sleep condition.
That said, they are both safe supplements with few side effects, and it is possible to combine the two or use them alongside other natural sleep aids when treating insomnia.
Read on to learn more about CBD vs melatonin and how to find the best CBD and melatonin supplements for you.
At a glance:
CBD vs Melatonin: Both Effective Sleep Aids
CBD and melatonin can each help you get better sleep, but they do so through very different means.
How CBD Helps You Sleep
CBD, which is short for cannabidiol, is a compound that comes from the cannabis plant and interacts with cannabinoid receptors in our brains. CBD products are relatively new, but preliminary research suggests it can help alleviate anxiety, which in turn can promote better sleep.
A review from the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association that analyzed six small randomized controlled trials found CBD to be effective in treating a few different types of anxiety disorders. Researchers point out that doses varied widely though, and more research with standardized dosing is needed.
Additionally, a large case study from the Permanente Journal tested the effects of CBD on 72 participants, 25 who were experiencing poor sleep and 47 who were concerned about anxiety. Of all the participants, 66.7% reported better sleep, and 79.2% reported less anxiety. However, the researchers note that the sleep benefits were less consistent after the first month of use.
CBD is not psychoactive, so it will not get you “high.” By contrast, THC (short for tetrahydrocannabinol) is the compound found in cannabis that is psychoactive, so as long as a CBD supplement contains no THC, it won’t act like a psychoactive drug, so it won’t cause any sort of addiction or dependence.
How Melatonin Helps You Sleep
Unlike other natural sleep aids, melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by our bodies. Melatonin production happens in the brain’s pineal gland, and it is released into the bloodstream in the evening when the sun goes down – or when we perceive darkness. In this way, melatonin helps to regulate our sleep wake cycle (also known as circadian rhythm).
The effects of melatonin are meant to help prepare us for sleep, but they are subtle, especially compared to stronger sleeping pills and sleep medicine. When you take a melatonin supplement, you may feel a mild sense of calmness, but don’t expect it to knock you out. It works best alongside habits that promote healthy sleep.
A meta-analysis from PLOS One analyzed 19 randomized controlled trials and found melatonin could decrease the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep (known as sleep onset or sleep latency). Additionally, it can increase the total amount of time spent sleeping and improve sleep quality, causing fewer awakenings throughout the night.
Another review from Neurological Research also suggests melatonin can improve sleep onset, sleep duration, and sleep quality. The researchers point out that melatonin has antioxidant properties and is crucially important not just for sleep, but for overall brain health. Melatonin has no serious side effects (unlike many stronger sleeping pills) and is non-addictive.
When to Take CBD vs Melatonin
As we’ve seen, CBD helps you fall asleep primarily by alleviating anxiety. As such, it is ideal for people whose sleep issues are related to anxiety as well as those with anxiety disorders or any sort of chronic anxiety.
By contrast, melatonin helps to regulate your sleep wake cycle, so it’s best for treating insomnia or sleep disorders related to schedule disruptions or circadian rhythm misalignment. For instance, melatonin works well for treating jet lag and other circadian rhythm disorders, as it helps to reset your circadian rhythm – but it’s also great for occasional insomnia.
That said, there’s also some evidence that melatonin can treat anxiety as well. As explained by a study from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, melatonin helps to take your body out of “fight or flight” mode and into “rest and digest” mode, meaning it can both promote sleep and reduce feelings of stress or anxiety.
When dealing with both anxiety and sleep issues, the most effective treatment may be a combination of natural sleep aids. For instance, in addition to melatonin, Melo Sip from MELO Labs contains chamomile, valerian root extract, l-theanine, and GABA, all of which are known to alleviate anxiety and promote sleep. It also contains important vitamins and minerals for sleep.
Another possibility is to combine CBD and melatonin. While no scientific research has been conducted on combining these two supplements, plenty of anecdotal evidence suggests that doing so can be both safe and effective. So you may not have to choose between the two after all.
How to Find Good CBD and Melatonin Supplements
CBD and melatonin are both safe, but it’s important to note here that neither supplement is regulated by the FDA. As such, there’s no guarantee when you buy a CBD or melatonin supplement that it actually contains what it says it contains.
For instance, a study from the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found 71% of melatonin supplements had labels that inaccurately reported the amount of melatonin in the supplement by more than 10%. Additionally, 26% of the melatonin supplements analyzed also contained serotonin, which was not reported on the label (and which makes melatonin less effective).
Thankfully, there are ways you can find reliable supplements. Keep the following in mind when looking for CBD or melatonin supplements.
Look for Third-Party Testing or a Certificate of Analysis
Although the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements, there are independent organizations that will do the same type of rigorous analysis on any given supplement for companies who want to demonstrate the accuracy of their labels.
You’ll typically see evidence of third-party testing on the label of a supplement, in the form of a stamp of approval from the specific organization that tested it. You can also go directly to the organization’s website for a complete list of all the products they’ve tested. For more information about third-party testing, see this article from Consumer Reports.
All of the melatonin supplements from MELO Labs have been third-party tested, meaning you can trust the labels of these products to contain accurate information about what’s in the products.
Look for Highly Reviewed Supplements
In addition to making sure the label is trustworthy, you’ll also want to make sure others have found the supplement useful for its intended purpose and haven’t experienced adverse side effects.
Reading customer reviews is always a good idea to get a sense of how people are responding to the supplement. Even if the label is accurate, a supplement might not be getting effective results – or it might taste so awful that people have trouble taking it.
The melatonin supplements from MELO Labs receive thousands of 4- and 5-star reviews every year, so you can trust that these supplements actually work.
Opt for Liquid Supplements or Vaporizers Instead of Pills
Both melatonin and CBD come in a variety of forms, which may have you wondering which form is best. Hint: It’s not pills.
Though pills are the most common type of dietary supplement, they have the longest absorption time and the least bioavailability of all your other options. For instance, a study from the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found oral melatonin tablets to have an average bioavailability of just 15% – meaning the vast majority of melatonin in the pill doesn’t get absorbed.
This effect isn’t unique to melatonin. As an article from Medicare Europe explains, pills or tablets take 30 minutes just to be broken down by the stomach before they can begin being absorbed, after which only about 39% to 53% of the contents of the pill end up being usable.
Because it takes pills so long to be absorbed, the general recommendation is to take them 1-2 hours before bed. Thankfully, you have other options that will work faster and be absorbed more efficiently.
According to the article from Medicare Europe, liquid supplements take only 1-4 minutes to be absorbed, and you’ll be able to absorb on average about 98% of their contents. This makes them vastly superior to pills in terms of absorption time and bioavailability.
Of course, you’ll need to give yourself a little more than 1-4 minutes for your body to respond to the supplement. As a general rule, you can take liquid supplements about 20-30 minutes prior to bed.
Both melatonin and CBD are available as liquids, generally in the form of tinctures meant to be administered under your tongue. Though these liquids are much more effective than pills, filling the dropper with the right amount may be tricky and take some practice. Additionally, tinctures tend to have a strong, bitter flavor that not everyone enjoys.
Even better than a tincture, Melo Sip is a powdered melatonin supplement that can be added to water. It comes in individual packets (so you don’t have to worry about measuring with a dropper), and customers enjoy the flavors much more so than most tinctures. Moreover, as we saw above, Melo Sip also contains additional compounds to help you relax and sleep.
Though liquid supplements are absorbed quickly, vaporizers are even more fast-acting than liquids. This is in large part because they don’t have to go through the digestive system at all. When you inhale a supplement, it’s able to get into your bloodstream even faster.
Both melatonin and CBD are also available as vaporizers, and these are a good option for those who need a bit of flexibility in their evening schedules. Whereas sleep aids in the form of pills often need to be taken 1-2 hours before bed, someone who isn’t sure when exactly they’ll be able to get to bed will benefit from using a fast-acting vaporizer.
You’ll most likely feel the effects of the vaporizer within 15-20 minutes, though it may be even faster. This way, you can take the supplement around the time you actually need it without having to worry about predicting the future.
Melo Air melatonin diffusers from MELO Labs contain only three ingredients: melatonin, organic vegetable glycerin, and natural flavors. They come in a wide variety of sweet-tasting flavors sure to please any palate.
Use MELO Labs for All Your Melatonin Needs
As we’ve seen, melatonin and CBD work differently, but both can help you get better sleep. They are safe and mild enough that they may be combined with each other and/or other natural sleep aids, as long as you verify that the supplements you’re using are reliable and accurately labeled.
At MELO Labs, we’ve taken the guesswork out for you by getting our products third-party tested. Additionally, we’ve included a variety of natural compounds in Melo Sip that help to promote relaxation and sleep, which also helps the melatonin to work more effectively – particularly when you’re feeling stressed or anxious.