The 9 Best Melatonin Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Get your zzz's in with these top picks

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First Look

Best Overall: Life Extension at Amazon

"Keep it simple and natural with a gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly supplement."

Best Budget: Nature’s Bounty Melatonin at Amazon

"This formula is free of common allergens so you can feel good about your way to better zzz's."

Best Gummy: Megafood Melatonin Gummy at Amazon

"If you're a little pickier about the taste of supplements, these berry-flavored, low-cal gummies will do just the trick."

Best Time Released: Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep at Amazon

"Made with vitamin B6 and a two-layer technology so you can fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for longer."

Best Vegan: Solgar Melatonin at Amazon

"Solgar's vegan and gluten-free capsules work to alleviate jet lag, fatigue, or overall sleeplessness."

Best Allergy-Friendly: Pure Encapsulations at Amazon

"If you're prone to allergies, Pure Encapsulations provides a hypoallergenic option in aiding your sleep cycle."

Best Liquid: Now Foods at Amazon

"If it's a little harder for you to ingest tablets, choose a liquid option for quick absorption, no throat irritation here."

Best Spray: Source Naturals Sleep Science Melatonin at Amazon

"If you're on the go, in a pinch, or don't have a glass of water to wash down a pill, melatonin in a spray form gets the job done."

Best Powder: Natural Vitality Calmful Sleep at Amazon

"You're just one teaspoon away from calmer sleep and more relaxed muscles."

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. An important part of many of the body’s natural processes, melatonin is best known for its role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle, also known as one of many circadian rhythms. Levels of melatonin increase in the body as exposure to light decreases. Based on this natural rhythm, it has been proposed that supplemental melatonin can be helpful for those whose natural sleep cycles have been disrupted. Common disruptions include jetlag, night shifts, travel and exposure to light from phone, television, or computer screens. 

Research on the benefits of supplemental melatonin varies but there is a general consensus that it may be helpful in increasing sleep time and overall quality of sleep. Between sprays, lozenges, gummies, liquid and tablets—there is a form of melatonin for every consumer. Though melatonin is considered more natural than other OTC sleep aids, it is always important to consult with your primary care provider before using melatonin for any purpose. Here are a few of the best melatonin supplements on the market, so you can sleep soundly.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Life Extension

Verified by Consumerlabs.com for purity, potency and quality, Life Extension's three milligram melatonin supplements are a solid choice for getting a good night's sleep. These plant based capsules are best consumed 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime or as recommended by a healthcare provider. One serving not only helps you fall asleep faster, but it helps keep you asleep throughout the entire night.

In addition to promoting a restful nights sleep, a three milligram dose of melatonin has shown in small studies to help ease IBS symptoms. This product keeps things simple, containing less than five certified Non-GMO and gluten-free ingredients.

Best Budget: Nature’s Bounty Melatonin

Nature's Bounty Melatonin

 Courtesy of Amazon

For consumers looking for a powerful supplement for pennies per tablet, Nature’s Bounty three milligram tablets are the way to go. These quick dissolving tablets act fast so it is best to take them at bedtime. For those that prefer to not swallow pills, these tablets are no fuss, as they dissolve under the tongue. 

Nature's Bounty is a great option for travelers, as you can easily take these without any water or having eaten a meal. Suitable for vegetarians, they are free of sugar, artificial flavors and preservatives. For those with dietary restrictions, this product is free of milk, lactose, soy, gluten, yeast, and fish. 

Best Gummy: Megafood Melatonin Gummy

Megafood is one of the most trusted brands in the supplement industry because of their commitment to transparency. These berry flavored gummies promote a healthy sleep cycle with three milligrams of melatonin as well as organic wild blueberry and tart cherry for flavor. Free of high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and colors, one serving (two gummies) contains 15 calories and only two grams of sugar. 

It's suggested that this product is taken 30 minutes before bed, with or without food. It's also recommended to brush your teeth after consuming a sugar-containing gummy to prevent tooth decay or gum inflammation. Consumers that are sensitive to gluten, soy or dairy can rest assured that this product is made without these ingredients. In addition to being free of common allergens, the Berry Good Sleep Gummies are glyphosate residue free. Glyphosate, a key ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, has been making headlines recently due to its negative effects on hormones, gastrointestinal health, respiratory health, and immune functioning, among other concerns. In addition to being glyphosate-free, each batch of incoming ingredients is tested for over 125 different pesticides and herbicides—a win-win.

Best Time Released: Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep

The idea behind time released melatonin is that it mimics that body's natural production of melatonin by gradually releasing it over the course of the night. Natrol’s Advanced Sleep tablets feature a two-layer technology. The outer layer releases some melatonin quickly to help consumers fall asleep faster and the inner layer releases melatonin more slowly over the course of the night.

In addition to ten milligrams of melatonin, this supplement contains vitamin B-6, a complementary nutrient involved in producing the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin. It is important to note that ten milligrams is on the higher end of a melatonin dose and that daytime drowsiness may occur with higher doses.

Best Vegan: Solgar Melatonin

Solgar has been in the dietary supplement industry for over 70 years. As a trusted source for supplements that are free of harmful additives and common allergens, Solgar’s three milligram melatonin nuggets are suitable for those on a plant-based diet. Three milligrams has been considered a standard dose in research.

All capsules are non-GMO and certified gluten-free. They are also free of wheat, dairy, soy, yeast, sugar, sodium, artificial flavors, sweeteners, preservatives and colors. Whether you are looking to battle jet lag, insomnia, or get back into a solid sleep routine, Solgar has you covered. 

Best Allergy-Friendly: Pure Encapsulations

Finding a high quality, allergy-friendly supplement can be challenging. Pure Encapsulations manufactures a line of hypo-allergenic supplements that are meticulously tested for quality assurance and compliance. Like other Pure Encapsulations products, they're free of wheat, gluten, egg, peanuts, magnesium stearate, hydrogenated fat, artificial colors, and sweeteners, as well as other unnecessary—and potentially allergenic—ingredients.

Pure Encapsulations is designed to deliver predictable results for the benefit of all consumers (even the most sensitive) by supporting the body’s natural sleep cycle. One capsule is recommended 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime. In addition to its efficacy as a sleep aid, research suggests that three milligrams of melatonin may help with migraines.

Best Liquid: Now Foods

Tablets and capsules not your thing? Now Foods offers an easy way to get the benefits of melatonin without having to rely on swallowing a pill. One quarter teaspoon serving of this supplement provides three milligrams of melatonin. It's recommended to consume just before bedtime and can be taken alone or added to your favorite bedtime drink. 

Now Foods manufactures its products in a Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) facility. This certification is a guideline put in place by the FDA to help ensure the identity, purity, strength, and composition of dietary supplements. Liquid supplements provide great flexibility in regards to dose. A great pick for families where doses among members may vary, this melatonin is also non-GMO and free of wheat, gluten, soy, milk, egg, fish, and shellfish ingredients. 

Best Spray: Source Naturals Sleep Science Melatonin

Spray melatonin is a fabulous choice for those on the go—you don't need to carry around a measuring spoon for liquid supplements and you don't need a glass of water to swallow a pill. Source Naturals Sleep Science Melatonin Nutraspray delivers 1.5 milligrams of melatonin per spray, a dose that is considered low on the end of the spectrum. For consumers who are starting to take melatonin for the first time, it is recommended to start with a low dose and then increase as needed. Flavor options include orange, berry, or chocolate berry. It is important to note that this product does contain soy so for those with an allergy or sensitivity it is best to look for another option. 

Best Powder: Natural Vitality Calmful Sleep

Natural Vitality Natural Calm Specifics CALMFUL SLEEP provides a potent blend of sleep-promoting ingredients including melatonin, magnesium (citrate and glycinate), l-theanine, and GABA. Research indicates that a GABA and l-theanine mixture has a positive synergistic effect on sleep quality and duration. In addition, supplemental magnesium has been shown to increase sleep time and efficiency. 

Consumers are recommended to start with one teaspoon of powder in a warm beverage before bed and slowly increase to the two teaspoon serving size. Free of gluten, egg, soy, wheat, sugar, yeast, dairy, artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives, this product is suitable for most dietary needs. 

Final Verdict

For consumers looking for a no-fuss, affordable melatonin option, Nature’s Bounty 3 mg Melatonin is an excellent choice. It's free of common allergens and is also suitable for vegetarians. If tablets are not your thing, Source Naturals Sleep Science Nutraspray is an easy option for home or on the go. Consumers can also adjust their dose as needed by sticking to one or multiple sprays.

What to Look For in a Melatonin Supplement

Dosage: The dose of melatonin generally ranges from 0.2 to 10 milligrams. Some consumers may see benefits with a lower dose and others may need a higher dose. Higher doses can lead to grogginess the next day, so always consult your healthcare provider for a starting dose.

Ingredients: When choosing any supplement, it is advisable to double check the ingredient list. Some products are allergy-friendly while others may not be. In addition, there are products that may contain additional ingredients such as herbs or complimentary vitamins.

Form: Melatonin supplements are usually sold in pill form, but they're not the only way to get your fill. Gummies, liquids, and sprays are all available as other methods of consuming the supplement. If you're hesitant to add more supplements to your diet, consider using a spray.

Why Trust Verywell Health

As a Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted by her against clinical research, product reviews, and third party testing websites. These are products she would not only feel comfortable recommending to her clients but she would take them herself if needed.

The Ultimate Melatonin Buying Guide

By: Sydney Greene

There is nothing as pleasurable as a restful night's sleep. Unfortunately, sleep Disorders represent some of the most challenging medical conditions and affect 1 in 3 people at some stage of their lives. There are many suggestions for getting a restful night’s sleep that one can try before even stepping into the drugstore or wherever you buy supplements however if those actions have not been effective, melatonin supplementation may help.

Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. The production of melatonin is reliant on the amino acid tryptophan. An important part of many of the body’s natural processes, melatonin is best known for its role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle otherwise known as the circadian rhythm. Levels of melatonin increase in the body as exposure to light decreases. Based on this natural rhythm, it has been proposed that supplemental melatonin can be helpful for those whose natural sleep cycles have been disrupted. Common disruptions include jetlag, night shifts, travel and exposure to light from phone, television or computer screens. In addition to promoting a restful nights sleep, melatonin has shown in small studies to help ease IBS symptoms.

Melatonin is found in small amounts in foods such as eggs, milk, fish, nuts, seeds, cereals (oats, barley, wheat) and some fruits. In addition, it appears that eating animal foods do not just improve sleep because of melatonin but because of high content of tryptophan and vitamin B12, which aids in sleep regulation. Though melatonin intake from food is possible, the amount of melatonin suggested as a therapeutic dose is very difficult to get from food alone.

Research on the benefits of supplemental melatonin varies however there is a general consensus that it may be helpful in increasing sleep time and overall quality of sleep. There are a wide variety of supplement types available. Sprays, lozenges, gummies, liquid and tablets - there is a type of melatonin for every consumer. Though melatonin is considered more natural than other OTC sleep aids, it is always important to consult with your primary care provider before using melatonin for any purpose.

Key Considerations

Time Release vs. Quick Dissolve Melatonin

The idea behind time released melatonin is that it mimics that body's natural production of melatonin by gradually releasing it over the course of the night, helping you not just fall asleep but stay asleep. It is important to note that research on time-released melatonin is less prominent than immediate acting melatonin. Some products such as, Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep tablets feature a two layer technology. The outer layer releases some melatonin quickly to help consumers fall asleep faster and the inner layer releases melatonin more slowly over the course of the night.

Many quick dissolve options are in the form of tablets that dissolve under the tongue. These are great options for those who do not like to take pills or are on the go and need to get shut eye fast. Unlike other melatonin supplements that recommend taking the dose 1-2 hours before bedtime, quick dissolve tablets act fast and should be taken at bedtime. 

Form of Supplement

Melatonin supplements are available in many different forms. Here is what to look out for. 

Gummy

Gummy supplements are a good choice for those who do not like to swallow pills. When shopping for a gummy supplement, pay attention to the grams of sugar per serving, ideally it is less than four grams/serving and contains no harmful ingredients like food dyes and high fructose corn syrup. In addition, because melatonin is taken before bedtime, it is recommended to brush your teeth after consuming a sugar containing gummy to prevent tooth decay or gum inflammation. There are many gummy products available, one of our favorites is by Megafood. Megafood Melatonin Gummy are low in sugar and free of common allergens as well as the the harmful ingredient glyphosate. Gyphosate, a key ingredient in the weed killer Roundup, has been making headlines recently due to its negative effects on hormones, gastrointestinal health, respiratory health, and immune functioning, among other concerns. 

Liquid

There are melatonin supplements available in liquid form. This is another easy to swallow option that is usually free of sugar. It is usually recommended to consume just before bedtime and can be taken alone or added to your favorite soothing bedtime drink. Liquid supplements also provide great flexibility in regards to dose and are a great pick for families where doses among members may vary or for those experimenting with the right dose for them

Spray

Spray melatonin is a fabulous choice for those on the go. Toting around a teaspoon to measure liquid can be frustrating and having to rely on always having a glass of water to swallow a tablet is difficult when traveling. Spray supplements also offer flexibility in the dose of melatonin. For consumers who are starting to take melatonin for the first time, it is recommended to start with a low dose and then increase as needed. 

Softgel, Tablet, or Capsule

For consumers who are comfortable with swallowing supplements, you will find the most variety of options available in softgel or tablet form. If you are following a specific diet such as kosher, vegan or vegetarian, look out for products that feature these special labels.

Labels To Look For

Non GMO

A Non-GMO Project Certificate of Verification (COV) demonstrates that an individual product is Non-GMO Project Verified. The definition of GMOs (genetically modified organisms) is “plants or animals that have had their genetic makeup altered to exhibit traits that are not naturally theirs”. GMO Crops are engineered to withstand application of toxic herbicides which might have negative health effects. 

A Note about Organic

Melatonin dietary supplements can be made from animals or microorganisms, but most often they’re made synthetically. Unless there is a food source used in the production of the supplement, it will be difficult to find a melatonin supplement containing an organic label. 

Third Party Certification

Shoppers might see labels such as “CL, Labdoor, NSF, or USP”. These labels indicate that a company has undergone voluntary third party testing of their products to check for purity, potency and quality. These third party companies will also test for heavy metals and other contaminants. 

Ingredients

Melatonin supplements may contain additional ingredients including complementary nutrients such as amino acids, vitamins or herbs that are thought to support sleep. Always check the ingredient list to ensure that all of the ingredients are safe for your individual needs. Many times supplements that have additional ingredients may be more expensive than others. Consider how you can consume these other nutrients from food to save money and keep things simple. 

Contraindications 

Though it is found to generally be safe, melatonin is a hormone and like any hormone it can have varied effects. 

Medications

Consumers already taking sedating medications or medications for insomnia should be aware that melatonin may increase sedation effects. In addition, consumers with epilepsy and those taking blood thinner medications or insulin need to be under medical supervision when taking melatonin supplements. 

Allergies

Some products are allergy-friendly while others may not be, always double check ingredients and labels. 

Finding a supplement that meets allergy-friendly requirements can be hard. Thankfully, gluten free products are more common than ever however for other dietary restrictions such as wheat, soy, egg, yeast, nut, shoppers will have to check the bottle a bit more closely. Brands like Pure Encapsulations, Klaire Labs, Megafoods, Innate Response and Garden of Life meticulously test their products for allergens. 

Doseage

The dose you need of any supplement will depend on age, gender, presence of deficiency and specific conditions. The dose of melatonin generally ranges from 0.2 to ten milligrams. Some consumers may see benefits with a lower dose and others may need a higher dose. Three milligrams has been considered a standard dose in research. Many are concerned that supplementing with melatonin will affect the body’s natural production of melatonin. Small studies looking at short term use show that melatonin production does not appear to be affected. Always consult your healthcare provider when starting and stopping melatonin supplementation. 

Price

Melatonin supplements do not have to cost an arm and a leg in order to be effective. Shoppers can find high quality products that do not break the bank. In general, supplements that are melatonin-only will be more affordable than products offering multiple ingredients to support sleep. 

Conclusion

Not all supplements are created equal. The right supplement for you depends on your goals, medical history, budget and needs. Poor or disrupted sleep can be frustrating and with the plethora of supplements available it can be easy to believe a supplement is the quick fix. There are many solutions out there when it comes to getting a restful night's sleep. For coffee lovers out there, it may be wise to try decreasing caffeine consumption before taking a melatonin supplement as caffeine can decrease the impact of a supplement. In addition, environmental changes such as decreasing blue light exposure, eating an earlier dinner, turning down the temperature in the bedroom and reducing ambient light can help support a restful nights sleep. Self diagnosing a malady can be harmful and can leave certain illnesses or problems undiagnosed. It is important to rule out severe issues with a healthcare provider. Remember, supplements are meant to be added to already nourishing diets and should never take the place of real foods. Ease into a new regimen, you may not see beneficial results right away. Consider a short trial period of two or three weeks when trying a new product. If it works, you may want to continue with it. If not, stop taking it.

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