If you want to know how to make melatonin work faster when you have trouble falling asleep, the first thing to consider is the kind of melatonin supplement you’re taking. The easiest way to make melatonin work faster is to take fast-acting melatonin supplements.
For example, our product MELO Air can be absorbed in less than a minute and only needs to be taken 15 to 30 minutes prior to bedtime.
That said, it’s also important to consider your own habits and sleep schedule. Melatonin is a hormone, not a drug, and its effects can easily be overridden by poor sleep hygiene. So, improving your sleep hygiene can help make your melatonin supplements more effective.
In this article, we'll cover:
What Most People Don’t Understand About How to Make Melatonin Work Faster
The effects of supplemental melatonin depend somewhat on your habits. You produce melatonin in your pineal gland, and the hormone governs your circadian rhythm (internal clock) in tandem with serotonin. The pineal gland decreases serotonin production and increases melatonin production in the evening based on external light cues.
This means that exposure to light (especially blue light from electronic devices) can override the effects of melatonin. If this is part of your evening habits, you may not feel the effects of your body’s natural melatonin – and you’ll also be unlikely to feel the effects of supplemental melatonin.
Other daily habits can also block the effects of melatonin, like working out right before bed. Thankfully, there are habits you can try that will enhance the effects of melatonin, as we’re about to discuss.
How to Make Melatonin Work Faster
In this section, we’ll discuss what you can do to make melatonin work faster, but keep in mind…
The easiest way to make melatonin work faster is to take faster-acting supplements!
Some of the tips here require commitment and patience, but fast-acting melatonin supplements are something you can benefit from right now, in the meantime.
Take Faster-Acting Supplements
While most supplements come in pill form, pills take a long time to be processed by our bodies. An article from Medicare Europe explains that it can take upwards of 30 minutes for a pill to be broken down in the stomach before its contents can be absorbed. The same is true for melatonin gummies, so pills and gummies are among the slowest-acting melatonin supplements.
Not only do pills and gummies take a long time to be absorbed, but we don’t even absorb all of their contents. In fact, we may only absorb an average of 15% of the contents of melatonin pills, according to a clinical trial from the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology.
Thankfully, other melatonin supplements are more fast-acting and efficient.
By far the fastest way to absorb any substance is by inhaling it as a vapor. A randomized controlled trial from the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences suggests we can absorb vaporized substances in as little as 20 seconds.
This makes MELO Air one of the quickest ways to get supplemental melatonin. You only need to take it 15 to 30 minutes before bedtime (as opposed to 1-2 hours for pills), giving you greater flexibility during your evening hours. And with the wide variety of flavors, there’s something for everyone.
If you are wary of using a vaporizer, you do have another option that is almost as fast-acting: liquid melatonin.
Note that MELO Air vaporizers contain very few ingredients, none of which are known to cause harm when inhaled – but the ability to use vaporizers is still very new, and more research is needed to claim 100% safety.
The article mentioned earlier from Medicare Europe suggests liquid supplements can be absorbed in as little 1-4 minutes, and they have roughly 98% bioavailability, making them a great alternative to pills. They are also easier to swallow and often considered more enjoyable.
MELO Labs also makes MELO Sip, a powdered supplement you add to water and drink before bedtime. It’s easier to take than many other liquids, which often come in tinctures and require you to measure the dose using a dropper. With MELO Sip, simply empty the contents of one packet into water and mix thoroughly.
What’s more, MELO Sip also contains additional ingredients to support relaxation and sleep, including L-Theanine, chamomile extract, valerian root extract, GABA, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, and a few B vitamins. This makes it a more complete sleep aid than a supplement that only contains melatonin.
MELO Sip also comes in a few different flavors and tastes great. It contains no sugar or sugar alcohols, and it’s sweetened only with monk fruit extract.
Work With the Melatonin, Not Against It
Unlike other sleep aids, melatonin does not necessarily induce a state of sleepiness. All it really does is trigger your body’s internal clock, letting you know it’s the time of day when the sun goes down. With this in mind, consider what sort of things you typically do in the evening.
To help melatonin supplements work faster, you can work on changing your evening habits to support better sleep hygiene. Habit change is never easy, but keep in mind these habits will help you sleep better every night, and not just on nights when you take melatonin. Try any of the following suggestions to improve your sleep hygiene.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool, Dark, and Quiet
We’ve already seen how light exposure blocks melatonin production, so it makes sense that we should keep our bedrooms as dark as possible to support good sleep. If you need to use lights in the evening, stick to warm-colored, dim lights. Try a pair of blue light blocking glasses if you want to use electronic devices.
You’ll also want to limit extraneous noise as much as possible and keep the temperature of your bedroom between 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to sleep psychologist Michelle Drerup of the Cleveland Clinic. She suggests thinking of your bedroom as a “cave” – cool, dark, and quiet.
Get Sunlight Early in the Day (And Avoid It in the Evening)
Just as darkness triggers the body’s natural melatonin production, sunlight triggers the body’s natural serotonin production. Getting sunlight exposure (or failing that, exposure to artificial bright light) as early in the day as you can will help to reset your circadian rhythm and energize you for the coming day, which will have the added benefit of helping you sleep later.
For this same reason, do what you can to avoid bright light in the evening hours, as this will block melatonin production.
Stick to a Consistent Schedule
Going to sleep at a different time each night confuses your body’s internal clock. In essence, you’re experiencing a different time zone each day, and your body is in a constant state of jet lag.
This is common for those who are shift workers or otherwise have busy and unpredictable schedules, but working on consistency can make a big difference in getting a good night’s sleep. When your natural melatonin levels rise at roughly the same time each evening, the hormone becomes much more effective.
You don’t have to go to sleep at the exact same time every night, but try limiting the range of time in the evening when you usually go to sleep. And if you want to change your typical bedtime, do so gradually, in 15-30 minute increments each night until you get to the bedtime you prefer. This will give your internal clock sufficient time to adjust.
Keep this in mind when you do need to travel to a new time zone, as gradually moving your bedtime in the direction of the new time zone before actually arriving there can help reduce jet lag symptoms. Melatonin works to reduce jet lag symptoms as well, but it works best when you ease yourself into the new time zone slowly and patiently.
Have a Bedtime Routine
One of the best things you can do for your internal clock is create a relaxing bedtime routine. This is especially important if you have trouble sticking to a consistent bedtime, since your bedtime routine can prime your body for relaxation and sleep whenever you need to sleep.
Choose activities you enjoy and find relaxing, and try to avoid anything that might be stimulating. A good bedtime routine will look different for everyone, but it could include meditation, journaling, light reading, yoga, listening to relaxing music, taking a warm bath or shower, etc.
Take Melatonin Alongside Other Sleep-Promoting Supplements
Melatonin helps promote sleep, but it doesn’t provide any nutrients. Its effects are subtle and can easily be countered by blue light, feelings of stress or anxiety, late-afternoon caffeine, or anything else that might stimulate you.
To help melatonin work more effectively, it’s a good idea to take melatonin alongside other supplements when dealing with excess stress, recovering from 6 hours of staring at a screen, or when low on sleep-related vitamins and minerals, etc.
For instance, a meta-analysis from Nutrients suggests vitamin D deficiency can impair your sleep, and another study from Nutrition Research says as many as 42% of Americans could be vitamin D deficient. If you have a vitamin D deficiency, melatonin alone won’t help – but vitamin D will.
Potassium is also linked to sleep. A study from Hypertension Research found potassium levels to be associated with sleep duration. Potassium is an important electrolyte that keeps you hydrated, which is especially important if you regularly consume caffeine (a diuretic).
Along with potassium, zinc can help to regulate sleep, according to a review from the International Journal of Molecular Sciences. Taking zinc and potassium together in the evening can help support sleep even more than taking either supplement alone.
Herbal supplements can also help support sleep and counter the effects of stress and caffeine. Stress and caffeine both stimulate the central nervous system, but certain herbs can help calm it down.
For instance, a systematic review from the journal Phytotherapy Research found chamomile to be effective both in improving sleep quality and alleviating anxiety. Chamomile tea has a mild, pleasant taste, and having some alongside your melatonin supplement will help support and enhance the effects of the melatonin.
Additionally, valerian root has been found to improve sleep problems, according to a systematic review from the Journal of Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine. The authors specifically noted that it could be even more effective when combined with other therapies, suggesting it could work well alongside melatonin.
Conveniently, all these and more are included in MELO Sip. In addition, MELO Sip also contains L-Theanine and GABA, both of which promote good sleep, as well as B and C vitamins. If you’re interested in enhancing your melatonin with additional supplements, there’s no better option than MELO Sip.
How Long Should It Take for Melatonin to Work?
The answer to this question depends on the type of supplement you take. As we’ve seen, pills and gummies take the longest to be absorbed. The recommendation is usually to take these supplements 1-2 hours before you intend to go to bed. Keep in mind you need to be relaxing and winding down during that time for the melatonin to kick in.
When you take melatonin in liquid or vaporized form, it gets absorbed much more quickly. You can take either type of supplement about 30 minutes before bedtime to feel the effects. Again, you need to avoid doing anything stimulating during that time so you don’t counteract the melatonin, but you won’t need to wait as long to feel the effects.
If you’re taking liquid or vaporized melatonin and practicing good sleep hygiene but still not feeling the effects, it’s possible you’re actually taking too much – as we’re about to see.
The Number 1 Mistake that Makes Melatonin Ineffective
If you haven’t been feeling the effects of the melatonin you’ve been taking, it might be tempting to just take more. More melatonin means more sleep support, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way at all.
As it turns out, taking too much melatonin can actually have the opposite of the intended effect. Melatonin dosage works differently than typical drug dosage, because melatonin isn’t a drug. According to Dr. Alex Dimitriu in an interview with Business Insider, too much melatonin can disrupt your circadian rhythm and give you even more difficulty falling asleep.
So, how much melatonin is too much? A systematic review from the Cochrane Library claims the most effective doses are between 0.5 mg and 5 mg. That said, we’re all different, and the most effective dose for one person may not be so effective for another. Finding the right dose for you requires experimentation – and patience.
Start with a low dose, and slowly work your way to higher doses only as needed. The lowest dose that’s effective for you is the ideal dose. You don’t want to take more than you need, not least because doing so is a waste of your money: Your supplement lasts longer when you take low doses.
And remember that increasing your dose should only be done after you’ve tried other methods for improving your sleep. If your sleep hygiene needs work, focus on that before increasing your dose of melatonin.
Try Fast-Acting Melatonin Supplements from MELO Labs
If you want to make melatonin work faster, changing your habits will make a big difference – but it will also take time and effort. It’s worth trying regardless, since it can improve your sleep and overall health even on nights when you don’t take melatonin, but it’s not a great short-term solution.
In the meantime, to make melatonin work faster and more efficiently for you right now, try the fast-acting melatonin supplements from MELO Labs. The melatonin in MELO Air and MELO Sip is absorbed more quickly and completely than melatonin in pill form. Additionally, MELO Sip also contains numerous other beneficial ingredients to promote sleep.