|December 19, 2023

Melatonin for Sleep: Does it Work?

By Molly Apel
Reviewed by Theresa Greenwell for Scientific Accuracy

Melatonin for Sleep: Does it Work?

  • Cortisol, the stress hormone, may be impacting your sleep issues, as well as how melatonin works to wind you down each night.
  • Your body may not be producing enough natural melatonin, but a proper supplement can help you work toward healthy sleep patterns.
  • Going for a walk, limiting your screen time and proper self-care are components of a healthy routine that alleviate sleepiness.

When you have low energy and feel groggy in the morning, consider taking melatonin for sleep. According to the CDC, more than a third of us in the United States aren’t getting enough quality sleep.[1] Things in our everyday life, from stress and excess screen time to jet lag and diet, can make it tough to sleep.

The key to quality sleep is a hormone called melatonin. And if you aren’t producing enough of it, your body can’t get you ready for rest. From sleep disorders to sleep problems related to work and family stressors, added melatonin is worth your attention. In supplement form, melatonin can help improve sleep quality, naturally and effectively.

Cortisol vs Melatonin

Your circadian rhythm is your body’s cycle of waking you up in the morning and winding you down at night. Depending on the time of day and amount of light, your body alternates the release of either cortisol or melatonin. A burst of cortisol begins your body’s wake-up routine, while an increase in melatonin for sleep gets your system ready for bed. And so, the sleep-wake cycle goes.[2]

Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone,” which sounds like something to avoid. But in reality, cortisol uses its powers for good. The hormone works to boost your body awake to get you moving each morning.

Your body doesn’t always produce melatonin

Yellow clock on nightstand next to white bed

It’s true. Your body does not always produce melatonin for sleep. This can make for an irritable and unpleasant next day. Daytime drowsiness is never pleasant—no matter how much Bulletproof Coffee you drink!

Here’s the good news: If you learn how to take melatonin, you can make great strides toward sounder sleep—especially if you are not producing enough melatonin on your own. Not sure if you need it? Take a look at the following scenarios.

1. If stress keeps your body from relaxing

When you’re under stress, your body produces more cortisol to keep it ready for action.3 If your cortisol levels stay elevated, your natural circadian rhythm may get interrupted. Corticotropin-releasing hormone, the main driver of the stress hormone system, teams up with cortisol to inhibit melatonin production in humans.[3]

2. If unnatural light makes your body think it’s daytime

The body releases melatonin in response to darkness. Lighting, artificial blue light emitted from computer or phone screens, and even televisions emit enough light to decrease or inhibit melatonin release. It tricks the body into thinking it’s still daytime by promoting wakefulness.[4]

This means if you’re exposing yourself to a lot of unnatural light as the sun goes down, your body won’t get the message that it’s time to produce melatonin and hop into bed. In other words, blue light can negatively impact your sleep quality.

3. When Daylight Savings Time or Jet Lag Interrupts Your Melatonin Release

Daylight Savings Time and jet lag from travel can also work against your sleep. Did you know your body has an internal clock that releases melatonin at the same time every day? This means that when the sun suddenly sets at a different time, your body will keep pumping out cortisol based on what it’s used to.

Whether it’s a new time zone, Daylight Savings Time or a shift in your routine, a dose of melatonin may be the remedy that allows your body to get the sound rest it needs.

How does melatonin work?

Bulletproof Sleep Collagen Protein, a scooper and a tea cup

Supplementing with melatonin can help you sleep when the body cannot produce enough of its own melatonin.

Additionally, melatonin is easily accessible as a natural, over-the-counter sleep aid. Because it is categorized among other dietary supplements, you don’t need a prescription for melatonin, unlike some sleeping pills. Melatonin doesn’t contain the same types of side effects associated with prescription sleep medication.

The amount of melatonin for sleep can vary. The recommended dosage ranges from 3mg to 5mg. It’s important to check in with how you feel the next morning. If you’re feeling extra groggy, you may want to consider cutting back on how much melatonin you take nightly. Need more sleep support? Consult with your healthcare provider about taking a higher dose.

Supplementing with Bulletproof Sleep products

hand grabbing sleep gummies

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, short-term use of melatonin is safe for most people.[5] This includes the melatonin utilized in several Bulletproof Sleep Support product formulas, such as:

  • Bulletproof Sleep Mode: A great starter product, this supplement contains 0.3mg of melatonin, along with L-ornithine to help you wind down and rest up.
  • Bulletproof Sleep Collagen Protein: This easy-to-mix Lucuma vanilla collagen powder contains 3mg melatonin, chamomile and magnesium, which lends to a perfectly calming sleep tonic to complement your nightly ritual.
  • Bulletproof Sleep Gummies: Bedtime is more fun when chewing on a science-backed blend of 3mg melatonin and 100mg GABA. Our new Sleep Gummies have nothing to hide, contain 0g sugar and are made without fillers.

One of the best things about Bulletproof Sleep supplements is that the melatonin contained in them mimics the melatonin produced by the body. Sleep Mode contains a physiological amount of plant-based, bioidentical melatonin, or an amount like what your body normally makes. Sleep Collagen and Sleep Gummies have more melatonin (3mg) for people who may need a bit more.

How to take melatonin for sleep

When to take melatonin for sleep is a question for many seeking a good night’s rest. Our recommendation is to take your sleep supplement of choice 30 minutes before bed. This gives your body the time it needs to power down and prepare for some healthy, restorative sleep as the effects of melatonin kick in.

Pro tip: At Bulletproof, we believe in maintaining open lines of communication with your personal network of health care providers. Always seek medical advice if sleep is an ongoing issue, or before starting a new health regimen—this includes taking melatonin for sleep.

Key tips for better sleep

A person meditating at sunset

If you’re dealing with sleep problems related to stress or other health conditions, fret not. In addition to integrating when to take melatonin for sleep, there are other solutions. Get the good night’s rest you need to remain healthy and productive by:

  • Going for a walk: Get outside at dusk. This will give your body a chance to feel the temperature cooling off and the sun going down.
  • Turning off screens: From work to social media to binging your favorite shows, you need a break from screen time. Try reading a book, or at least turning your screen on night-mode so you’ll get more red-toned light than blue light.
  • Making time for relaxation and self-care: Your wellness routine should be a priority, too. First, learn about how Bulletproof Zen Mode can help bring you calm. Try taking a bath, meditating with the help of an app or consider giving yoga nidra a try. Do the things that help you wind down, get your mind off work and clear your head so your mind and body can nestle into the sleep zone.
  • Taking melatonin for sleep: Take Sleep Mode in the evening when you can tell you’re going to have trouble getting to sleep, and you’ll feel the effects just a half hour later.
  • Boosting your immune system: Sound sleep and strong immune health go hand in hand. Stay committed to immune support for better sleep, as well as your overall health.

Want to learn more about how supplements support sleep? Find out if collagen can help you sleep better and how to integrate it into your nightly routine!

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