On those nights (or weeks) when insomnia takes hold, a melatonin supplement can help you wind down and get a good night's sleep. Not only do the best melatonin supplements contain an appropriate dose of 1 to 5 milligrams, but they also come in a variety of forms — from capsules to powders and even sprays — so you can find the method that works best for you.
While your brain produces melatonin naturally, it can be helpful to take a supplement on a short-term basis if you’re experiencing trouble sleeping or jet lag. If you're wondering how much melatonin to take, experts recommend going for the lowest effective dose, which is 1 to 3 milligrams for most people, but you can increase up to 5 milligrams if a lower dose just doesn't cut it. Beyond that, your choice mainly depends on your intake preference, and this list includes options for melatonin pills, gummies, liquid, powder, and spray. Most methods should be used between 20 minutes and an hour before bedtime, but if you'd rather not plan that far ahead, you can opt for a fast-absorbing oral spray or quick-dissolving tablets.
And a few things to keep in mind: Most supplements aren't regulated by the FDA, but there are third-party testing organizations that offer certifications for safe manufacturing processes and ingredient accuracy. If you want to be fully confident in your purchase, look for products certified by organizations like NSF International or the United States Pharmacopeia. And one more thing: It's always a good idea to go over any supplements with your doctor, and you may want to skip melatonin supplements if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have certain autoimmune or seizure disorders. Melatonin is a natural supplement that affects everyone differently and could have side effects for some, including headaches, dizziness, or nausea.
Ready for a good night's sleep? These are the best melatonin supplements that can help you wind down, so you can get some much-needed shuteye.
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1. The melatonin pills
If you're looking for an easy, no-nonsense way to take your supplement, these Nature Made melatonin pills are the way to go, having earned more than 7,000 Amazon reviews and an impressive overall rating. They’re also third-party certified by United States Pharmacopeia (USP) for quality assurance, as well as dosage and ingredient accuracy. For the best results, take one 3-milligram tablet about an hour before bedtime.
One reviewer says: “I just moved to a busy street and I was getting so little sleep that I felt like a full-time zombie. It took me a few months of this to realize I needed help so I finally purchased the 3 mg size. They work amazing! They knock me out in 20-30 minutes, and I'm finally sleeping through the night. Even better, after using these for a few weeks, I've noticed that I need them less. I still take one every so often when I feel restless, but they work every time! I don't feel any grogginess in the mornings either, so that's great.”
- Other available dosages: 5 milligrams
2. The melatonin gummies
Flavored melatonin gummies might make it easier (and more fun) to take your pre-bedtime dose. And these blackberry-flavored sleep gummies have more than 7,000 Amazon reviews and consistently great ratings. Each serving of two gummies contains 5 milligrams of melatonin, along with other calming ingredients, like chamomile, L-theanine, and lemon balm, all of which can help reduce feelings of stress and promote sleepiness.
The gummies are certified by NSF International to meet quality standards and ensure ingredient accuracy, and you can also opt for other blends, including one that's made with zinc and echinacea for an immune system boost.
One reviewer says: “I started out with one gummie of extra strength, and within 15 minutes I was fighting to stay awake. [...] They put me right out and I am able to wake up the next day without much of a melatonin hangover."
- Other available dosages: 3 milligrams
3. The liquid melatonin
This Natrol liquid melatonin, which contains 1 milligram of melatonin per 4-milliliter serving, can be taken on its own or added to water or juice. The recommended dose is 4 milligrams, but it’s easy to take less — or more — thanks to the the easy-to-measure dropper. The liquid is raspberry-flavored, and Amazon reviewers noted it blends well with beverages (but doesn’t taste great on its own). Also important: Natrol manufactures its products in NSF-grade facilities, so you can rest assured you're getting a quality supplement.
One reviewer says: “I work midnights so this was a huge help falling asleep and not waking up groggy and in a medicine haze because it's all natural. The flavor wasn't terrible and it's easy to use the dropper that comes with it.”
- Other available dosages: 2.5 milligrams
4. The protein powder with melatonin
This nighttime powder supplement contains 4 milligrams of melatonin per dose, but it also has other helpful ingredients, like micellar casein, tryptophan, and tart cherry powder, all of which work together to help boost your mood, increase feelings of sleepiness, and build muscle strength. The powder is also NSF-certified, so you can have confidence that it's been tested for quality and ingredient accuracy. There are two flavors available — vanilla caramel and hot chocolate — and reviewers reported that they both taste great. To use, add two scoops of powder to a glass of hot or cold water, stir, and drink before bedtime.
One reviewer says: “I love the Hot chocolate flavor! It knocks me out in about 20 mins thanks to the melatonin and I sleep throughout the night. I find my recovery has largely improved due to implementing this nighttime supplement in my training regimen and I recommend to all my clients!”
5. The fast-acting melatonin spray
This liposomal melatonin spray offers a quick way to take your dose before bed — just spray one pump into your mouth and hold for 30 seconds before swallowing. The clear formula contains small liposomes that allow for effective absorption and bioavailability, so this is an excellent choice if you want to take melatonin just before turning in for the night.
Each 0.2-milliliter dose contains 1 milligram of melatonin, and it’s easy to increase if you need a bigger dose to fall asleep. Plus, the spray is manufactured in a cGMP-certified facility, according to the manufacturer.
One reviewer says: “This works dramatically better than any other melatonin supplement I’ve tried. Easy to use spray with an appropriate low dose per serving.”
6. The quick-dissolving tablets
For another quick way to take melatonin, you can opt for these Natrol fast-dissolving tablets. Place one tablet in your mouth about 20 minutes before bedtime — each one contains 5 milligrams of melatonin. The tablets are strawberry-flavored, and you don’t need water to take them, so they offer a convenient and pleasant way to settle down for a good night’s sleep. What’s more, these tablets are on the list of USP-verified products.
One reviewer says: “I have been able to sleep better since taking these and I feel like I'm sleeping more. I even found myself waking up at 4am one day thinking I missed my alarm, just because it seemed like I've slept for so long. Before these, my nights seemed so short, like I barely had time to rest. Now I feel more rested in the mornings and I have a lot less trouble getting out of bed.”
Shade, C.W., (2016, March 15). Liposomes as Advanced Delivery Systems for Nutraceuticals. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4818067/