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What are melatonin and sleep support supplements?

One of our favorite authorities on natural health is Dr. Michael Murray, N.D. He wrote in 2015: “Melatonin is an important hormone secreted by our pineal gland, a small gland in the center of the brain. Melatonin is one of the best aids for sleep. Melatonin supplementation has been found helpful in inducing and maintaining sleep in both children and adults. It appears that the sleep-promoting effects of melatonin are most apparent when a person’s melatonin levels are low. So, it’s not like sleeping pills or even 5-HTP—it will only produce a sedative effect when melatonin levels are low. A dosage of 3 mg at bedtime is more than enough.” For stress and sleep support he also recommends these ingredients with melatonin or by themselves: 5-HYDROXYTRYPTOPHAN (5-HTP), L-THEANINE, branded GABA as PharmaGABA®

Read Dr. Murray's article: Dreaming of Better Sleep: 7 Cures for Insomnia

How We Choose Our Top 5 Supplements (View our Site Disclaimer)

We recommend any of the five products listed below equally and so present our choices in alphabetical order by brand. We do not receive any compensation in exchange for our recommendations. Read more about how we make our selections.

Badger Sleep Balm

Badger® Sleep Balm

For something completely different, try aromatherapy with a sleep-inducing balm applied to the skin. This dreamy night balm will not make you sleepy—it's not a drug—rather it's a calming, soothing blend of essential oils to help ease you into a relaxed state of mind so sleep can come naturally. Available in adult and child formulas.

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All Badger® balms are in an organic base of waxes and oils and are USDA Certified Organic and petrolatum-free.

Badger® Sleep Balm is a good choice for grownups, featuring a sophisticated medley of soothing essential oils that smell great!

Badger® Night-Night Balms is a milder blend for kids and is formulated especially to relax and calm little ones before bed.

Each blend comes in small and regular sizes.

Doctors Best L-Theanine with Suntheanine

Doctor's Best® L-Theanine with Suntheanine®

If stress is keeping you awake, try this Doctor's Best® L-Theanine with Suntheanine® from Taiyo International of Japan.

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Suntheanine® is the original branded form of L-Theanine made exclusively from green tea leaves by Taiyo International of Japan. Many studies on this branded ingredient are found on Taiyo’s website showing that Suntheanine® has higher purity than generic brands of L-Theanine and, when taken without food, helps promote a relaxed state without drowsiness* and eases stress and occasional nervous tension*

Read Taiyo International article: Suntheanine® The Award-Winning, Patented Dietary Ingredient for Stress and Well-Being

Suntheanine® L-Theanine contains 100% Suntheanine, a patented pure form of the amino acid L-theanine produced in Japan from green tea leaves. This award-winning brand of theanine has been the subject of numerous safety studies and human clinical trials. One of green tea's natural health-promoting compounds, L-theanine y-glutamylethylamide, is synthesized in the roots of tea plants and transported to the leaves, comprising about 2% of the total dry weight of green tea leaves. It is the ingredient that is responsible for both the taste and the relaxing effects of green tea. Research shows that supplemental L-theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier within 30 minutes of intake and thus is able to exert its effects directly on the brain.

Other Ingredients Modified cellulose vegetarian capsule.

Does Not Contain milk, egg, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, sugar, sweeteners, starch, salt, or preservatives.

Irwin Naturals Power to Sleep PM

Irwin Naturals® Power to Sleep PM®

Irwin Naturals® Power to Sleep PM® is available with and without melatonin. Both formulas contain extra ingredients to support sleep and stress.

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This is a liquid softgel formula, so it was easy to add 1000mg of flax oil to the mix to support essential fatty acid nutrition besides the targeted herbs and nutrients. Featured ingredients are: Valerian, Ashwagandha, Hops extract, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, GABA and L-theanine.

Natural Factors Stress-Relax Melatonin, Tranquil Sleep

Natural Factors® Melatonin, Tranquil Sleep

This reliable brand features stand-alone melatonin in various strengths from 1mg to 10mg. And for a formulation with melatonin plus other ingredients, including patented Suntheanine®, try Tranquil Sleep in the Stress-Relax® line of products.

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• Natural Factors® Stress-Relax® Tranquil Sleep comes in chewable forms, enteric capsule form and 10 chew travel sizes. Besides containing 3mg of melatonin for immediate benefits, it contains 200mg of Suntheanine® L-Theanine as a natural stress-easer lasting up to 8 hours. And for long-term benefits, it includes 30mg of 5-HTP which is a precursor in the body that is converted into the soothing amino acid tryptophan.

• The “extra strength” chewable version is a one tablet dose instead of two, with 6mg of melatonin and 15mg of 5-HTP.

• The enteric-coated softgel capsule version is a good choice for those who tend to easily fall asleep, but often wake up in the middle of the night because it’s slowly digested and will release ingredients later in the night.

Solgar Full Spectrum Curcumin Sleep Ease

Solgar® Full Spectrum Curcumin Sleep Ease

Solgar offers an unusual combination of curcumin extract, to reduce nighttime discomfort, and melatonin with 2 other stress soothing ingredients.

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Form: liquid extract capsules (Licap®). Two of these capsules before bed provide a good trilateral approach to support healthy sleep: reduce muscle/joint discomfort with emulsified curcumin extract, reduce stress with GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid, PharmaGABA®) and Apocynum venetum Leaf Extract (Venetron®) and support sleep with melatonin. This formula uses best-in-class patented extracts of curcumin, GABA and Venetum leaf. You can expect better results using better ingredients.

What’s PharmaGABA®? Simple GABA supplements have been around for decades. But the Japanese discovered a better, more effective natural source that is extremely popular among Japanese consumers. It’s stress-soothing effects last for about 4 hours. See the research on why and how it works: https://pharmagaba.com

What’s Apocynum venetum Leaf Extract (Venetron®): Another stress-soother developed in Japan in 1999 is a standardized extract of Apocynum venetum L (known as Rafuma in Japan.) It’s safety and efficacy is well documented by its Japanese maker Tokiwaph. Read more: https://venetron.com and https://www.tokiwaph.co.jp/en/achievement-rafuma/

Other ingredients Vegetable glycerin, polysorbate 80 (emulsifier), vegetable cellulose, gamma-aminobutyric acid, apocynum venetum leaf extract, turmeric rhizome extract, melatonin, purpose carrot concentrate (color). Free of: Gluten, wheat, soy, sugar, sodium, artificial flavor and artificial sweetener.

How We Choose Our Top 5 Supplements

Ingredients with measurable efficacy: Some supplement ingredients have had decades of scientific study and thousands of published studies describing their measurable efficacy and benefits to human nutrition. But some are only recently showing up on the market and have little science to explain their properties. Since you can't buy or try everything, we recommend products with studied ingredients.

Added value/complementary nutrients: Much of the cost of supplements is in their packaging, so if a product contains several complementary ingredients for its intended benefit, then we usually recommend that product over a single ingredient product. The exception is a single ingredient product that has special recognition as superior to similar but less effective products.

Different forms (tablets, powders, etc.): Some people just hate to take pills of any kind. So, when there’s a chewable, liquid, powder or gummy option that’s effective, we may also recommend those products.

Good manufacturing practices and reputation: There has been an explosion of supplement brands in the last 10 years. Many of these brands live only online and have ownership outside of USA regulations or ownership whose identity is sometimes hard to determine. We recommend companies that have made and marketed supplements for many decades in the USA and have earned good reputations for closely following FDA, GMP, and FTC guidelines, submitting to protocols that verify purity and potency and refraining from misleading product claims.

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