Melatonin Supplement Review
Updated October 2017
The Best Melatonin Supplements and How to Use Them
Work deadlines and general busy-life grind fill your calendar. Time seems to slip away with busyness – as does sleep. But there is one thing you can control, it is the quality of your sleep. Quality sleep is essential for bringing your best every day. That is where melatonin comes in.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps nudge your body into sleep mode. Even though melatonin is produced by our body, aging, stress levels, diet, exercise and even exposure to our electronics can affect how our bodies produce it.
By adding melatonin in supplement form, you could drift off faster – instead of thinking about your to-do list – and actually rest once you do start snoozing. Here is how melatonin helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer and wake up feeling refreshed.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland (part of the endocrine system) and has been widely studied for its ability to produce sleep. The body produces melatonin in response to darkness, causing sleepiness and to help regulate the body’s natural wake-sleep cycle.
How and when your body creates and releases melatonin is contingent upon light exposure in the day and the gradual onset of darkness in the evening. Levels start to rise from early evening, remain high and steady throughout the night, and begin to drop off in the early morning hours. Healthy levels give you the ability to fall asleep quickly, reduce or eliminate sleep interruptions, and wake easily at consistent times.
When exposure to light decreases, melatonin increases. Conversely, when light exposure increases, melatonin decreases. The darker it is, the more melatonin your body releases. Any sort of light can interfere with normal melatonin production and negatively affect sleeping patterns. Streetlights, nightlights, and ambient light from cell phones, TVs, computers, and other electronics disrupt melatonin output. If you’re thinking that covering your eyes will solve this, think again. It turns out that light falling on any part of the body will inhibit the hormone. Turn off all lights, turn your alarm clock away from you and close the blinds.
Besides helping with sleep, melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant. It can scavenge free radicals throughout the entire body due to its ability to penetrate cell membranes and navigate the blood-brain barrier. Melatonin is both water- and fat-soluble, which allows this neurotransmitter to reach almost every cell in the body. These attributes suggest this hormone may improve the health of your immune system.
- Immune function
- Jet lag recovery
- Headache reduction (particularly cluster headaches)
- Easing pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome
- Managing sleep cycle disruption due to night or shift work
- Controlling sleep disorders associated with autism, cerebral palsy, blindness, and ADHD
- Reducing withdrawal symptoms after quitting smoking
- Medication or pharmaceutical induced insomnia
- Reducing the side effects associated with chemotherapy
- Helping fight certain types of cancer (particularly brain, breast, colon, lung, and renal)
- Reducing the impact and instance of tinnitus
- Improvement of tardive dyskinesia
- Protection from radioactivity
- Prevention of gallstone development
- Improved fertility
Melatonin may also help with sleep problems in people withdrawing from sleeping medications. It has been shown to improve sleep in people with diabetes, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and in those who are hospitalized.
Most melatonin supplements are synthetically manufactured but chemically identical to the melatonin produced in the body. Supplements are required to list their source of melatonin if made directly from plant or animal sources. An independent lab tested melatonin supplements to determine if they contained their listed amounts of melatonin.
The melatonin supplements selected for testing all passed in relation to their claimed amounts of melatonin. They also properly broke apart during digestion and were found to be lead-free.
The following 23 melatonin supplements are safe for consumption and treating sleep disturbances in alphabetical order: