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Do Melatonin Gummies Work?

UPDATED

Written by Lucy Bryan

Reviewed by Dr. Michael Breus

Our Editorial Process

Table of Contents

Melatonin is a hormone that the brain typically releases when it gets dark outside. It serves as a cue that it’s time to sleep. Melatonin can also be manufactured in a lab, and it is sold as an over-the-counter supplement that many people use to treat sleep problems, ranging from jet lag to insomnia. 

An increasing number of adults and children have been using melatonin supplements, although there is limited evidence verifying its safety and effectiveness. These sleep aids are sold in several forms, and melatonin gummies are one of the most popular. We discuss how melatonin gummies work and offer information to help you decide whether they are right for you.

How Do Melatonin Gummies Work?

While some melatonin products, such as tablets that dissolve under the tongue, may be faster-acting than gummies, melatonin is quickly absorbed in any form. Melatonin gummies are absorbed through the digestive tract, where the liver metabolizes it, and it passes into the bloodstream.

Melatonin gummies are also available in slow-release versions, intended to prolong sleep. While some evidence suggests slow-release melatonin can improve sleep quality for some people, melatonin supplements are generally better at helping people go to sleep than staying asleep.

Melatonin supplements, including gummies, are relatively inexpensive and easy to access—and unlike some other sleep aids, they are not believed to be habit forming. Many people prefer to take melatonin supplements in gummy form because they taste good and are easy to swallow. 

It is important to discuss dosage with your doctor before using melatonin gummies. Most of the time, the recommended dosage for melatonin will fall between 1 milligram and 5 milligrams, and evidence suggests that low doses may be just as effective as higher concentrations. Recommended dosages may be smaller for children and for individuals with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder. 

Recent investigations have revealed that the quantity of melatonin often does not match and sometimes far exceeds the concentration advertised on the label. For this reason, it is important to find a product with United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verified mark or a good laboratory practice (GLP) or good manufacturing practice (GMP) label. 

Are Melatonin Gummies Safe for Everyone

Evidence suggests that, for many adults and some children, melatonin gummies are safe for short-term use in doses equivalent to what the body naturally produces. More research is needed to determine the safety of larger doses and long-term use of melatonin.

Experts recommend that some people avoid melatonin supplements, including:

  • Children under the age of five 
  • People who are pregnant, trying to become pregnant, or breastfeeding 
  • Individuals with dementia
  • People taking certain blood pressure medications

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or if you are taking any other medications, make sure to talk to your doctor about the safety of using melatonin gummies. 

Because melatonin can make you drowsy, you should not drive or operate equipment for at least four hours after taking it. Additionally, while there is little research about drinking alcohol and using melatonin, experts generally recommend that you avoid combining the two.

Potential Side Effects of Melatonin Gummies

Melatonin supplements have few side effects, and those that do occur tend to be mild. In adults, melatonin gummies may cause:

  • Sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea

In addition to these side effects, children who take melatonin gummies may be more likely to feel agitated or wet the bed. 

How to Choose the Right Melatonin Gummies

With so many melatonin gummies on the market, it can be difficult to know which product to choose. There are several things you can do to make sure you find the right one for you.

  • Talk to your doctor. It’s important to talk to a healthcare professional about whether melatonin is the best option for treating your sleep difficulties, and if so, what dose and product type will work best. Make sure to mention any medications you’re taking and any other health conditions you have.
  • Look for marks of quality. Many melatonin supplements can contain inaccurate dosages and contaminants. To ensure you’re buying a high quality product, look for a United States Pharmacopeia (USP) verified mark or a good laboratory practice (GLP) or good manufacturing practice (GMP) label.
  • Consider other ingredients. Check both the active and inactive ingredients to make sure you’re getting a product that will work for you. For example, if you are diabetic, you may want to look for a sugar-free option.

About The Author

Lucy Bryan

Contributing Writer


Lucy Bryan is a writer and editor with more than a decade of experience in higher education. She holds a B. A. in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an M.F.A. in creative writing from Penn State University. In addition to writing in the domain of public health, she’s also a fiction and nonfiction writer whose first book, In Between Places: A Memoir in Essays, debuted in June 2022. She lives on a homestead on Ohio’s Appalachian Plateau, where she enjoys gardening, hiking with her kids, cooking with her husband, and napping with her cat.

  • POSITION: Side sleeper
  • TEMPERATURE: Hot Sleeper
  • CHRONOTYPE: Bear

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