Melatonin can help, but not all melatonin is created equally. Some melatonin is of far better quality. Whether you take it in a capsule or a sublingual liquid can make a difference in how much it affects you. Also, the amount you take really matters. When I was faculty at Yale University School of Medicine, I talked to a few of the top melatonin researchers in the country. Each of them had the same thing to tell me about melatonin: the standard dosage of 3 mg is far too much. They suggested to start with about 1 mg, and further explained that smaller doses are often more effective. This is one great example where more isn’t better.
When I use supplemental melatonin, I take about 0.4 to 0.7 mg. I use a sublingual, liquid melatonin that I can easily titrate to small amounts. Melatonin in this form doesn’t have to be swallowed and go through the stomach before it starts working in the body. A little bit goes a long way. Another thing the experts told me was that if I felt groggy the next morning, I could try taking melatonin earlier or taking less. They assured me that I was the best person to determine how melatonin impacted my sleep and my ability to wake refreshed the next morning. You can do the same and adjust melatonin according to what your body tells you.
I don’t use melatonin regularly, but when I was trying to establish a reliable sleep routine, it was very useful for a period of time. I still use it on occasion when I’m having trouble falling asleep.
There are a number of herbs such as peppermint (leaf, not oil), valerian, passionflower, hops, etc., or herbal combinations that can be useful. But if you use them, remember there are many factors that contribute to sleep. You can’t watch a shoot-em-up on TV while eating fried chicken and chocolate dipped brownies, and then expect that downing a cup of chamomile tea is going to do it.