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

Optimize your sleep health by looking for the right dosage and ingredients

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Sleep plays a huge role in your physical health and well-being. Chronic sleep deprivation can increase your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Inadequate sleep on a short-term basis can heighten hunger hormones and affect your athletic performance, decreasing motivation to get to the gym and leaving you feeling exhausted before you even start your workout.

Melatonin, a hormone naturally made by the body, works with your circadian rhythm to prepare for sleep. While research varies, some studies suggest that melatonin supplements may help you fall asleep, stay asleep, and even improve the quality of your sleep. The popular over-the-counter sleep aid is available in many forms, including capsules, spray, gummies, liquid, and tablets. Always make sure to consult with your healthcare provider before using melatonin for any purpose.

Here, our picks for the best melatonin supplements to help you get the sleep you need.

Best Overall: Nature Made Melatonin 3mg Tablets

Nature Made Melatonin 3mg Tablets

Nature Made Melatonin takes the top pick, as this supplement checks all the boxes. The natural acting sleep aid tablets are affordable, made with high-quality ingredients, and easy to swallow. Plus, with the USP Verification Mark, you know that you have a product that contains what is on the label, is made using FDA-compliant Good Manufacturing Practices, and is free of harmful contaminants. The supplement is also free of added colors, preservatives, artificial flavors, and gluten.

Each bottle contains a 120-day supply of 3-milligram melatonin tablets. Note that short-term usage of melatonin supplements may be safe for most people; however, data on long-term usage are lacking. Nature Made recommends taking one tablet with water one hour before bedtime.

Best Budget: Nature's Bounty Melatonin 3 mg

Nature's Bounty Melatonin 3 mg

These 3-milligram tablets are a favorite budget pick. You’ll receive hundreds of tablets for far less than other brands, but they’re just as effective at promoting sleep. The quick-dissolve tablets are perfect for travel, as they can be taken without water.

The vegetarian supplements have a delicious natural cherry flavor that tastes great and doesn't leave a bad aftertaste in your mouth. As a brand, Nature's Bounty is committed to producing guaranteed quality supplements with clinically studied ingredients that are laboratory tested. The tabs are free of sodium, sugar, starch, milk, lactose, soy, gluten, yeast, and fish.

Best Hypoallergenic: Pure Encapsulations Melatonin 3 mg

Pure Encapsulations Melatonin 3 mg

If you're looking for a hypoallergenic supplement, Pure Encapsulations is usually the best option. The certified gluten-free, non-GMO, vegan melatonin capsules are no exception. 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.

Each capsule provides 3-milligrams of melatonin to help you get the most restful night sleep possible.

Best Tablet: Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep Tablets with Vitamin B6

Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep Tablets with Vitamin B6

A great melatonin tablet is easy to swallow, flavor-free, and has a time-release feature to ensure you get a good night's sleep. Natrol’s Melatonin Advanced Sleep two-layer tablets release an initial dose of melatonin to help you fall asleep and then delivers the remaining melatonin over time to help you sleep throughout the night.

Plus, each vegetarian tablet contains 10 milligrams of vitamin B6, a complementary nutrient involved in producing the sleep-inducing neurotransmitter serotonin. While research is mixed, some studies suggest that vitamin B6 may help increase melatonin production.

Best Lozenges: Source Naturals Sleep Science Melatonin 1 mg

Source Naturals Sleep Science Melatonin 1 mg

If you don't like swallowing pills and aren't a fan of gummy supplements, a lozenge is a good alternative. Source Naturals offers a quick-dissolving, orange-flavored lozenge that contains 1 milligram of melatonin. Simply place the lozenge in your mouth at bedtime, and wait for it to dissolve.

The lozenges are suitable for vegetarians and are free of yeast, dairy, egg, gluten, soy, and wheat. They do not contain any sugar, however, they are sweetened with sorbitol and mannitol, two sugar alcohols that may cause gastric distress in some individuals.

Unlike other sleep aids, melatonin supplements tend to be non-habit forming. Although the level of supplementation can affect sleep time or sleep latency, the effect of melatonin supplementation on sleep quality is the same no matter the duration of supplementation or the dosage.

Best Gummies: MegaFood Melatonin Berry Good Sleep Gummies

MegaFood Melatonin Berry Good Sleep

Gummy supplements are an easy, flavorful way to get the vitamins and nutrients you need, especially for people who have trouble swallowing whole pills. Megafood's Melatonin Berry Good Sleep Gummies are a bestseller that taste amazing and have potent melatonin for a more restful evening. Each serving of two berry-flavored gummies provides 3 milligrams of melatonin.

These Non-GMO Project Verified melatonin chews get a boost from organic tart cherry and wild blueberry, making them a supercharged sleep supplement. Studies suggest that melatonin-rich tart cherry juice may help to improve sleep duration and quality in healthy adults. Improved sleep plus powerful inflammation-fighting antioxidants from wild blueberries translates into a fantastic nighttime treat.

Megafood recommends taking two gummies 20 to 30 minutes before bed.

Best Capsule: Now Foods Melatonin 5 mg

Now Foods Melatonin 5 mg

If you're looking to reap the benefits of melatonin but aren't a fan of flavored or dissolvable supplements, capsules are an excellent choice. NOW Supplement's vegetarian capsules are easy to swallow and deliver 5 milligrams of potent sleep-promoting melatonin.

The superior quality supplement received an NPA A-rated GMP certification, meaning that every aspect of the manufacturing process is examined, including lab and testing methods.

NOW recommends taking one capsule around bedtime with water for a healthy sleep cycle.

Best Liquid: Pure Encapsulations Melatonin Liquid

Pure Encapsulations Melatonin Liquid

Pure Encapsulations' liquid melatonin supplement is a quick, convenient way to reap the benefits of the sleep-promoting supplement. The non-GMO liquid dispenses easily and allows you to control how much you're getting. Each 1-milliliter dropper delivers 2.5 milligrams of micronized melatonin with a delicious, naturally flavored apple and black currant taste.

The great-tasting liquid is made with hypoallergenic, vegetarian ingredients, and is certified gluten-free. The product is also sugar-free and is sweetened using stevia.

Final Verdict

If you’re looking for a high-quality, budget-friendly melatonin tablet, Nature Made Melatonin (view at Amazon) is our top pick. It's USP-Verified and comes with a 120-day supply. If you prefer a chewable supplement, MegaFood’s Melatonin Berry Good Sleep Gummies (view at Amazon) are a delicious and highly effective option.

How We Select Supplements

Our team works hard to be transparent about why we recommend certain supplements; you can read more about our dietary supplement methodology here

What to Look for in a Melatonin Supplement

Dosage

Melatonin comes in a variety of doses ranging from 0.2 to 10 milligrams. There is not one recommended dose, and lower doses often work as well as higher doses. Speak with your physician to figure out if melatonin is appropriate for your individual needs, and if so, the proper dosage.

Form

Melatonin supplements come in a variety of types, including capsules, tablets, sprays, gummies, and lozenges. If you don't like swallowing pills, gummies, sprays, or lozenges may be a good option for you. However, if you prefer to avoid added sugar or sugar substitutes in your supplements, capsules or tablets are usually free of sweeteners.

Ingredients

Always double-check the ingredient list to see exactly what is in your melatonin supplement. Some products contain additional components, such as herbs or complementary vitamins. Additionally, some supplements contain soy, gluten, or other common allergens.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does a melatonin supplement last?

    Many factors affect how long melatonin lasts in the body, including dosing and specific sleep issues. How your body responds to and processes melatonin is influenced by age, overall health, body composition, and caffeine intake.

    The half-life of a medication is what determines how quickly it is released into the bloodstream and how long it takes the body to metabolize half the dose. Depending on the formulation, the half-life of melatonin is one to two hours. A typical over-the-counter dose is 0.1 to 10 milligrams and lasts anywhere from four to 10 hours. 

  • Can melatonin supplementation be habit-forming?

    Unlike sleep medications, melatonin is not addictive and has low risk of side effects. It also doesn’t lead to withdrawal or habituation (needing higher doses with increased use).

    There isn't enough research to determine if melatonin is safe to use in the long term, but is known to be safe for short-term help with sleep. As with any supplement, always talk to your doctor to ensure it is safe for you.

  • When should you take melatonin supplements?

    You should take a melatonin supplement 30 to 60 minutes before you would like to fall asleep. Melatonin usually peaks within 1 hour of taking it, so you need to allow enough time to let it peak before you go to sleep.

    It is also important to take melatonin around your ideal bedtime and not after, as this can change your sleep-wake cycle, causing you to fall asleep later than you would like and feel very tired during the day.

    Melatonin affects everyone differently, so there may be a bit of trial and error to find the dose and timing that works best for your body and specific sleep pattern. 

  • Does melatonin interact with other medications?

    Melatonin can interact with various medications, so check with your doctor if you have any health conditions. Certain antidepressants may increase melatonin absorption, causing excessive drowsiness and fatigue. Melatonin interacts with anticoagulant drugs and can make them less effective by slowing blood clotting.

    If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar closely while taking melatonin as it increases blood sugar, decreasing the effectiveness of your diabetes medications. 

  • How are melatonin supplements made?

    Melatonin supplements are typically made synthetically, but sometimes they are made from animals or microorganisms. If they are made from animals, the hormone is taken from the pineal gland, where it is produced in humans as well.
    Melatonin supplements are found in pill, liquid, and chewable forms and the synthetic type is usually recommended by doctors. 

What Experts Say

"Melatonin is naturally made in the brain and is critical for adequate sleep. Melatonin and cortisol (the fight-or-flight hormone) oppose each other, so if someone is super stressed (high cortisol), they will likely have lower melatonin levels. A melatonin supplement may help to restore melatonin levels and promote adequate sleep. Adequate sleep improves control of other hormones, such as hunger and satiety hormones, which can make maintaining your weight more manageable."
Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN

Why Trust Verywell Fit?

A personal note on my recommendations: As a dietitian, I am careful to recommend supplements. In writing this article, I spent time reviewing the most current clinical research on melatonin supplementation and optimal doses, looking at multiple products and brands, and consulting with trusted peers in dietetics. I believe the melatonin supplements in the round-up are made by trusted brands and are composed of high-quality ingredients.
Eliza Savage, MS, RD, CDN

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9 Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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