The 8 Best Melatonin Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Get your zzz's in with these top picks

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Melatonin Supplements

Verywell / Sabrina Jiang

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 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 consensus that it may help increase sleep time and overall quality of sleep. With various options such as sprays, lozenges, gummies, liquid, and tablets, there is a form of melatonin for every consumer. Though melatonin is considered more natural than other over the counter sleep aids, it is always important to consult with your primary care provider before using melatonin for any purpose.

Here, the best melatonin supplements:

Best Overall: Life Extension

Verified by Consumerlabs.com for purity, potency, and quality, Life Extension's 3-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 night's sleep, a three-milligram dose of melatonin has been shown in small studies to 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 3-milligram tablets are the way to go. These quick-dissolving tablets act fast, so it is best to take them at bedtime. These tablets are perfect for those that prefer not to swallow pills, 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 food. 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 3 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 2 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 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 the 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 10 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 10 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 3-milligram melatonin nuggets are suitable for those on a plant-based diet. The 3-milligram dosage has been considered a standard 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 3 milligrams of melatonin may help with migraines.

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 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 1 teaspoon of powder in a warm beverage before bed and slowly increase to the 2 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 (view at Amazon) 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 (view at Amazon) 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 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 10 milligrams. 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. 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the difference between time-release and quick-dissolving melatonin?

    The idea behind time-released melatonin is that it mimics the 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. 

  • What foods contain melatonin?

    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 may improve sleep because of melatonin, and the high content of tryptophan and vitamin B12 may aid 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.

  • What are some natural sleep solutions?

    There are many solutions out there when it comes to getting a restful night's sleep. It may be wise for coffee lovers out there 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 bedroom temperature, and reducing ambient light can help support a restful night's sleep.

What Experts Say

"Before adding a sleep supplement—such as melatonin—to your routine, consider your overall sleep health habits. If you enjoy caffeine, you may want to cut out caffeinated beverages after 2 pm. Reduce or eliminate your alcohol intake, as alcohol can interrupt sleep. Aim to shut down devices a few hours before bedtime, reduce overall sugar intake, and add exercise to your routine."—Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Health?

As a Registered Dietitian, Sydney Greene takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted 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.

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