Ideally, you’d like the smallest dose that’s going to accomplish what you need, and an inaccurate label is not helping with that task. It’s a top seller online, and it takes a different approach than many of its competing melatonin supplements. What makes Vitafusion SleepWell Melatonin so popular? First off is its overall approach—it’s not a tablet or a capsule, it’s a gummy.
The gummies provide 1.5 mg of melatonin each, and are flavored with sugar alcohols and the herbal extracts passion flower, chamomile flower, and lemon balm leaf. Though these are listed on the supplement facts panel, they’re really more of flavoring agents than anything else—these same ingredients are common in bed-time herbal tea formulations, as they have a pleasing aromatic flavor without imparting any caffeine like a traditional tea. In terms of quality, Vitafusion SleepWell does not score tremendously well. Its actual content of melatonin per gummy is 25% lower than its label-stated amount—so only slightly over one milligram of melatonin is actually in each gummy chew. On the bright side, chews like this could be a good choice if you can’t or don’t like to swallow pills. Though most melatonin tablets are fairly small and unobtrusive, some people still have trouble getting them down. One final downside to Vitafusion—the gummies are made in a factory that also processes a number of allergens, so they are not guaranteed to be free from cross-contamination. If you’re allergic to egg, shellfish, nuts, fish, or soy, you should look elsewhere. Though Now Foods also makes a standard tablet based melatonin supplement, it also offers a liquid version of the same supplement, which is an interesting take on the concept.
The small amber vial contains an integrated eye dropper to aid measurement—conveniently, a serving is one full eyedropper’s worth of liquid. Each serving contains 3 mg of melatonin dissolved in water, glycerin, and ethyl alcohol, along with some flavoring and sweetening agents: fructose, orange extract, vanilla flavor, lemon oil, and a few natural preservatives. In terms of analytical accuracy, Now Foods’ liquid melatonin solution is a bit off its label-stated amount, but in the direction of excess. Independent lab testing found that each serving actually contained more like 3.5 mg of melatonin. More problematic, however, is the difficulty of getting precise measurements when you are doling out the servings yourself. With tablets, precision measurement isn’t necessary—the manufacturer does that for you. With this supplement, though, you’re relying on the accuracy of the eyedropper, which is not going to be as consistent from serving to serving as an industrially-measured tablet. For most people, a tablet or capsule will be the best choice. A liquid supplement version of melatonin might be a good call if you dislike or have difficulty swallowing pills—for just about anybody else, the extra cost, lessened dosage accuracy, and inconvenience aren’t worth it. Melatonin has a pretty targeted use, but a surprisingly large number of different categories of people find it useful. The sleep-promoting effects of melatonin make it a good first-line treatment for insomnia, and its uses extend to other situations where sleep may be compromised. Older adults, who often have trouble sleeping, are also among the categories of people who may find melatonin useful; indeed, melatonin has been used in clinical research on sleep disturbances in the elderly with good success. Melatonin is a favorite among international travellers too, thanks to its ability to combat the productivity-sapping effects of jet lag. With careful timing, a small to moderate dosage of melatonin can help reset your body’s biological clock and get you into your daily routine in a new time zone after travel. We based our rankings of melatonin supplements on three core aspects of a supplement: clean ingredient design, appropriate dosage, and presence of other potentially helpful natural sleep aids. As always, we prioritized those melatonin supplements that did not have excessive fillers, coloring agents, or flavoring. These are unnecessary ingredients that you don’t need in your body, and plenty of great companies make melatonin supplements that aren’t chock-full of silicon dioxide, sorbitol, and flavoring agents. We cut out some popular products, like 21st Century Quick-Dissolve Melatonin, because there were better options with fewer unnecessary ingredients on the market. Dosage is important, too—according to clinical research, the optimal dosage range for a melatonin supplement is between 0.5 and 5 mg. In terms of their sleep benefits, dosages within this range are equally effective, but higher doses (circa 5 mg) help you fall asleep more quickly. We cut out general sleep aid supplements whose dosage of melatonin was too low, and made sure to rank products with a variety of dosage levels in the appropriate range.
We also included products up to 10 mg, since there are no detrimental effects at higher doses, but we dropped products with excessively high doses, like Carlyle Fast Dissolve Melatonin, with 12 mg per capsule, since you aren’t really getting your money’s worth with over double the highest effective dosage. We also carefully scrutinized liquid melatonin products.
Liquid melatonin has a few distinct advantages, like being easier to administer to children or older adults who don’t swallow well or who already take too many pills. However, the dosage is a lot trickier to get right when you measure with a dropper, and as a result, liquid melatonin supplements ended up lower in our rankings compared to capsule-based supplements. Finally, several of our top-ranked choices outclassed their competitors because they offered something in addition to the modest benefits of melatonin. Often, this was other natural sleep aids, like valerian root and the edible flower chamomile. If you are just looking for chamomile and nothing else, we have plenty of options for you in our rankings, but our top picks were tailored to provide the best possible benefits for sleep quality and duration.