Melatonin is the name of the hormone that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle. The brain’s pineal gland produces it, and the body’s secretion of it is sensitive to sunlight and disruptions in the body’s circadian rhythm, like jet lag and inconsistent bedtimes.
Sold as an inexpensive, over-the-counter supplement, supplementing melatonin can be helpful for people experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep. However, it should always be taken under the advice of a medical specialist. Here are the best picks for those deciding to take it.
Best Melatonin Supplements
- Best Melatonin Supplement: Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
- Best Sleep Supplement Blend: Legion Lunar
- Best Melatonin Gummies: Nature Made Melatonin Adult Gummies
- Highest Dose Melatonin: Puritans Pride Super Strength Rapid Release Capsules
- Best Melatonin Spray: Onnit Instant Melatonin Spray
- Best Liquid Melatonin: Natrol Liquid Melatonin Tincture
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended to diagnose, prevent, and/or treat health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Best Melatonin Supplement
Sleep is vital to performance, mental health, and survival. It’s been referred to as a magic pill for athletes, and a study on Stanford basketball players proved that more sleep undoubtedly improved their performance. (1) If you have trouble falling asleep, that’s likely a problem, but there are supplements designed to lure you into a slumber.
Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
One three-pill serving offers up to three milligrams of melatonin. A standard serving size is usually in the range of one to ten milligrams. Taking extra melatonin has been shown to help those with sleep difficulties, but a larger dose isn’t always better. (2) This sleep aid also comes with tart cherry, which contains melatonin and tryptophan, another sleep helper. Also, zinc and magnesium, two ingredients in the Transparent Labs formula, have considerably improved sleep when paired with melatonin. (3) Though, for some, melatonin can cause headaches and daytime sleepiness.
A solid night's sleep is essential for your recovery and to optimize performance in the gym. Transparent Labs sleep time formula offers up tried-and-true ingredients such as melatonin and zinc and a couple of extras like tart cherry and vitamin B6. The end result: great sleep without that groggy feeling. Save 10% with the code BARBEND10.
Who Should Buy Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
- People who have trouble getting to sleep regularly.
- Those who want a multi-ingredient sleep aid.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Transparent Labs Sleep Aid
- Folks who aren’t comfortable or don’t like swallowing multiple pills.
- People are easily susceptible to headaches.
Overall, it is pretty tough to bet against Transparent Labs when it comes to melatonin.
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Best Sleep Supplement Blend
In addition to the 500 micrograms of melatonin in a single-scoop serving, Legion touts a product that can help you sleep longer and, therefore, awake, feeling more rested. The likely reason for that is the additional ingredient blend that it provides in addition to the micrograms. It includes 27 milligrams of calcium per serving, which has been shown to promote better sleep. (4)
Additionally, it incorporates three grams of glycine per serving, which “induces non-rapid eye movement sleep accompanied by a decrease in core temperature.” (5) If that wasn’t enough, Lunar also has lemon balm leaf extract, which can improve mild-to-moderate anxiety disorders, which would hinder sleep.
This supplement provides 500 micrograms of melatonin in a single-scoop serving. Its ingredient list also includes calcium, glycine, and lemon balm leaf extract.
Who Should Buy Legion Lunar
- Folks who struggle to sleep due to suffering from anxiety.
- Those who find they get hot when they sleep.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Legion Lunar
- People who don’t need or want any ingredients beyond melatonin in their supplement.
- Those who would prefer just taking a pill.
When it comes to powder-based melatonin options on the market, Legion is doing it right. The combination of ingredients with a focus on core body temperature is worth the buy.
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Best Melatonin Gummies
Nature Made has a lot of competition on the melatonin gummy market but can still rank highest in our view due to great third-party testing and flavor. Those are likely related — ensuring quality ingredients is likely to impact flavor and being free of yeast, preservative, and synthetic dyes allows for the strawberry flavor to really come through.
Nature Made Melatonin Adult Gummies
Each single-gummy serving provides 2.5 milligrams of melatonin with only one gram of sugar. This is a lower dose than what most pills might provide, but it allows the user some flexibility in how much melatonin they want at a time.
Tasty gummies that are well dosed and receive high marks from third-party testers. They are free of preservatives, yeast, and synthetic dyes.
Who Should Buy Nature Made Melatonin Adult Gummies
- Anyone who appreciates strong-flavored gummy supplements.
- People who value their supplements being third-party tested for purity.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Nature Made Melatonin Adult Gummies
- Those who prefer taking pills rather than chewing gummies.
- Folks who want a stronger dose of melatonin per serving.
If you are the type of person who dislikes taking pills or mixing powders into liquids to take your supplements, then Nature Made is an excellent alternative. The flavor is such that if you didn’t know it was a melatonin supplement, you might think they were regular fruit snacks.
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Highest Dose Melatonin
When it comes to dose versus price, Puritans Pride is unmatched. Each capsule provides 10 milligrams of melatonin, and the only other ingredients are what is used to make the capsule itself: vegetable cellulose, gelatin, silica, vegetable magnesium stearate. The option to buy in bulk is also a smart move for anyone looking to get melatonin for the long haul, which could bring the price down to a nickel per capsule.
Puritans Pride Super Strength Rapid Release Capsules
Although it should not disrupt the efficacy of the capsules themselves, when shipped in the summer months, they may arrive warm. They are said to remain “in accordance with manufacturers’ recommendations,” but it is something to be aware of.
This is potent melatonin with a good reputation from third-party testers for purity and label accuracy. The price tag is uniquely low compared to other competitive alternatives.
Who Should Buy Puritans Pride Super Strength Rapid Release Capsules
- Those who want a very high dose of melatonin per serving.
- People working with tighter budgets.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Puritans Pride Super Strength Rapid Release Capsules
- Folks who want a smaller dose of melatonin per serving.
- Anyone weary of shipping in their area during the summer months.
If you are happy to have a strong-dose melatonin supplement at a much lower price than most of the market, Puritans Pride is an easy pick. If you have never taken melatonin before, it may be best to check with your doctor if 10 milligrams is too strong of a dose to jump into.
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Best Melatonin Spray
Not everyone is comfortable swallowing a pill or mixing a supplement powder into their drink when it comes to melatonin. Luckily, there is the alternative of a melatonin spray like the offering from Onnit. Available in two flavors — lavender and fresh mint — each six-spray serving provides three milligrams of melatonin.
Onnit Instant Melatonin Spray
The addition of lavender may also help the user sleep better. Lavender has shown to be “an effective and reliable approach to enhance…sleep quality.” (6)
Available in two flavors, this melatonin spray also contains lavender oil to enhance its effects.
Who Should Buy Onnit Instant Melatonin Spray
- Anyone who finds sprays more convenient to use than swallowing a pill or mixing a powder.
- Those who want access to smaller doses of melatonin.
Who Shouldn’t Bu Onnit Instant Melatonin Spray
- Anyone looking to avoid preservatives (this spray includes natural citrus extract).
- Folks who would prefer a supplement in pill, powder, or gummy form.
If you can appreciate the addition of lavender and are more content using a spray than any other form melatonin is available in, then look no further than Onnit. The dose is good for the price point, and the science is there to back up the addition of lavender.
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Best Liquid Melatonin
This liquid melatonin provides one milligram of melatonin per four-drop serving. Although the dose is smaller per dose than other options ranked on this list, each drop equating to a quarter of a milligram of melatonin allows the user to get a much more specific dose. This could also benefit those who are taking melatonin for the first time and are allowing their body to adjust to higher doses over time.
Natrol Liquid Melatonin Tincture
Although it is not mentioned anywhere on the product, if you have never used a dropper before, it may be wise to practice with it first to ensure you don’t take more drops than you want. The product does have accolades to back up its quality — it is a two-time winner of Consumerlab.com’s top-rated melatonin supplement.
This is tasty liquid melatonin that absorbs quickly and contains no artificial flavors or sweeteners. These droppers could be a great option for anyone in need of a lower-dose melatonin supplement.
Who Should Buy Natrol Liquid Melatonin Tincture
- Those who prefer liquid supplements over pills or powders.
- Anyone who wants a lower-dose melatonin supplement that is easy to adjust.
Who Shouldn’t Buy Natrol Liquid Melatonin Tincture
- Folks who want a higher dose of melatonin.
- People who are concerned the price per dose is too high.
If you dislike dropping the liquid directly into your mouth, you can also drop this into a liquid beverage and consume it that way as well. The dose is low in a single serving, but the quality of melatonin is high, and this should be a high consideration if you prefer liquid supplements.
[Related: The Lifter’s Guide To Magnesium: What This Nutrient Does For Strength]
What to Consider Before Buying
In many countries, melatonin isn’t available over the counter — this is because it’s a pretty potent hormone, and side effects can include dizziness, nausea, and excessive sleepiness, among others. For these and other reasons, it shouldn’t be taken without first speaking with a physician. Liquid melatonin appears to absorb more quickly than capsules.
It’s generally recommended to take this one to two hours before bedtime. Experts vary in their recommendations for the ideal dose. It depends on the individual’s body weight and sensitivity. Still, it’s generally understood to be useful to start with a small dose — say, half a milligram — and gradually increase if the effects aren’t felt.
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Of all the sleep aids on the market, melatonin is generally considered relatively safe and effective because it mimics the body’s natural hormones. The range of products above should be useful, but remember to speak with a physician before making any changes to your supplement routine.
- Cheri D. Mah, et al. The Effects of Sleep Extension on the Athletic Performance of Collegiate Basketball Players. 2011. Sleep. doi: 10.5665/SLEEP.1132
- Fiona Auld, et al. Evidence for the efficacy of melatonin in the treatment of primary adult sleep disorders. 2017. Sleep Medicine Reviews. doi: 10.1016/j.smrv.2016.06.005.
- Mariangela Rondanelli, et al. The effect of melatonin, magnesium, and zinc on primary insomnia in long-term care facility residents in Italy: a double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. 2011. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. doi: 10.1111/j.1532-5415.2010.03232.x.
- Nobuhiro Kawai, et al. The Sleep-Promoting and Hypothermic Effects of Glycine are Mediated by NMDA Receptors in the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus. 2015. Neuropsychopharmacology. doi: 10.1038/npp.2014.326
- Yawen Zeng, et al. Strategies of Functional Foods Promote Sleep in Human Being. 2014. Current Signal Transduction Therapy. doi: 10.2174/1574362410666150205165504