Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by your body that helps you fall asleep faster, get deeper rest, and wake up refreshed.
It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain but also found in other areas, such as the eyes, bone marrow and gut (2, 3).
It is often called the “sleep hormone,” as high levels can help you fall asleep.
However, melatonin itself won’t knock you out. It simply lets your body know that it is night-time so you can relax and fall asleep easier (4).
Evidence shows that taking melatonin before bed can help you get to sleep (16, 17, 18, 19).
In an analysis of 19 studies scientists found that melatonin helped reduce the time it took to fall asleep by an average of 7 minutes.
In many of these studies, people also reported significantly better quality of sleep (19).
Additionally, melatonin can help with jet lag, a temporary sleep disorder.
Jet lag occurs when your body’s internal clock is out of sync with the new time zone. Shift workers may also experience jet lag symptoms since they work during a time normally saved for sleep (20).
Melatonin can help reduce jet lag by syncing your internal clock with the time change (21).
For instance, an analysis of 10 studies explored the effects of melatonin in people who traveled through five or more time zones. Scientists found that melatonin was remarkably effective at reducing the effects of jet lag.
The analysis also found that both lower doses (0.5 mg) and higher doses (5 mg) were equally effective at reducing jet lag (22).