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Best Melatonin Substitutes: What To Use Instead of Melatonin Supplements

Posted on December 03 2022


  • Melatonin is a hormone in the pineal gland located in the brain. It helps regulate sleep and wake cycles, so it is often referred to as the "sleep hormone."
  • The amount of melatonin naturally produced by our bodies increases at night when darkness signals that it's time for bed. During the day, levels of melatonin decrease, making us feel more alert and awake.
  • Melatonin deficiency is associated with sleep disturbances, including insomnia. Many people take supplements to help them solve the issue of melatonin deficiency.
  • Natural alternatives to melatonin include valerian root, chamomile, and passionflower. These supplements can be taken in capsules, tablets, teas, or tinctures.
  • Pzizz is an effective sleep app that uses science-backed methods to create soundscapes that help you fall asleep faster without pills or supplements. 


If you use melatonin substitutes, you likely suffer from a sleep deficiency. Perhaps they were recommended by a medical professional or a friend, or you read about the amazing properties of melatonin in an article-just like this one. In any case, worries over your sleep will probably increase if you find that melatonin isn't working for you.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to melatonin. Many of them have been found to be effective in battling insomnia and helping people enjoy a good night’s sleep. Some of these alternatives are other natural supplements, while others aren't even supplements, such as the Pzizz sleep app. Pzizz is an innovative app that uses evidence-based techniques to assist you with falling asleep. It offers personalized soundscapes (mixes of music, sounds, and narration) that can help you fall asleep quickly and naturally with just the push of a button. You can try it out for free by downloading the app on the Apple App Store or Google Play

This article will dive into what melatonin is and why you might be taking melatonin replacement supplements. Then, we'll look at why you might want to try some alternatives for melatonin before listing our top ten natural alternatives to melatonin. We’ll also give you some other ideas to help you get a peaceful night's rest, so let’s get into it!

What Is Melatonin?

Scientists still don't know everything about our sleep cycle, but melatonin is known to play a significant role. Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland of your brain. Its primary function is to regulate our body's internal clock and help control when we fall asleep and wake up. It's often referred to as the "sleep hormone" because its production increases at night, making us feel sleepy.

When we don't get enough melatonin, our quality of sleep is affected, and we may experience insomnia or other problems with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Alongside our sleep/wake cycle, melatonin is known to affect the following:

  • The circadian rhythm: This is our natural 24-hour body clock, which plays a role in determining when to be awake and when to sleep.
  • The menstrual cycle: Studies have shown that melatonin can help regulate a woman's menstrual cycle.
  • Brain function: Scientists have discovered that melatonin helps protect the networks of the brain.
  • The Immune system: Melatonin is believed to help stimulate the immune system when it's low and control acute inflammatory responses.

The hormone is produced in response to darkness and decreases its production in response to light. It's a natural part of the body's sleep/wake cycle. Still, sometimes our bodies don't produce enough melatonin to get a good night's sleep. That's where melatonin supplements come in.

Why You Might Need Melatonin Replacement Supplements

The production of melatonin declines with age, and some people may not produce enough on their own, leading them to take melatonin supplements. These supplements are often used as a natural sleep aid, helping people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Besides age, there are several other ways a person can become deficient in melatonin. For example:

  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of exercise
  • Excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption
  • Exposure to too much light at night
  • Working night shifts regularly
  • Taking certain medications

Studies have also found that melatonin deficiency can also be caused by certain health conditions like Alzheimer's, schizophrenia, and dementia.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Melatonin Deficiency?

Low melatonin levels can lead to several unpleasant and disruptive side effects, including the following:

  • Insomnia or difficulty falling asleep: Insomnia is a condition where one cannot fall asleep or stay asleep for long periods. Many people suffering from melatonin deficiency experience persistent insomnia and wake up frequently at night.
  • Daytime fatigue: Low melatonin levels can leave you exhausted during the day, even if you get enough sleep.

Mood changes: Melatonin deficiency has been linked to depression, anxiety, mood swings, and irritability. The current consensus amongst scientists is that a disrupted circadian rhythm can cause some depressive disorders. 

  • Difficulty concentrating: Melatonin deficiency can lead to difficulty focusing and memory problems. These are only made worse by the lack of sleep and fatigue caused by melatonin deficiency.
  • Weight Gain: Studies have found that melatonin deficiency can lead to an increase in weight. While there isn't any evidence to fully support this in humans, experiments on rats have found that decreased melatonin caused weight gain and increased melatonin caused the reverse.
  • Decreased libido: Other studies on rats have suggested that melatonin may enhance libido in men, with the opposite being true. Melatonin is one of the hormones released by the brain during orgasm. However, it should be noted that other studies have suggested that long-term use of melatonin can reduce sperm count. These mixed results mean that this area of research should be treated with caution until further developments.

If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, it may be worth looking into melatonin supplements. However, melatonin doesn't work for everyone and is usually only suggested as a short-term solution. As such, you may be looking for substitutes for melatonin to help you get back on track with your sleep/wake cycle. Read on!

Why You May Want To Use Alternatives to Melatonin

There are several reasons why you might want to consider natural alternatives for melatonin. For example:

  • You find that melatonin isn't effective for you.
  • You have adverse side effects from taking melatonin supplements.
  • You don't like the taste or texture of melatonin supplements.
  • You want to explore alternatives before relying solely on melatonin supplements.
  • Concerns about long-term safety.

As you can see, there are several reasons why you may wish to look for melatonin substitutes. However, many people taking melatonin supplements would prefer a more natural alternative (preferably chemical free). So, what can be used instead of melatonin? Here are our suggestions. 

Top Ten Natural Alternatives to Melatonin

Herbal supplements can be great natural substitutes for melatonin as they contain natural ingredients specifically formulated to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

If you're wondering what to use instead of melatonin, here are ten of the most common natural melatonin substitutes:

  1. Magnesium: Magnesium is essential for healthy sleep because it helps our bodies relax and get into a deep state of restful sleep. It can be taken as a supplement, or you can increase your intake by eating more magnesium-rich foods like spinach, almonds, and dark chocolate.
  1. Valerian root: Valerian root is a popular natural sleep aid and melatonin replacement. It has been used for centuries to help people get a good night's sleep and can be taken as a supplement or tea.
  1. L-theanine: This amino acid is found in green and black teas and helps relax the mind and body while helping you stay focused throughout the day. Many people find herbal teas excellent as alternatives for melatonin.
  2. Chamomile: Chamomile is an herb often used to make a popular bedtime tea. It's known to have calming effects on the mind and body, making it great for relaxing before bedtime. Chamomile is an excellent melatonin replacement and easy to get started with.
  1. Passionflower: Passionflower is an herb commonly used as a mild sedative, making it great for helping people relax and get a good night's sleep.
  1. 5-HTP: 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that helps the body produce more serotonin, which has calming effects on both the mind and body. It can be taken in supplement form or from foods like eggs, poultry, beef, and fish.
  1. CBD Oil: CBD oil has become increasingly popular as a natural sleep aid. It helps relax the mind and body, making it one of the best natural alternatives to melatonin.
  1. Glycine: Glycine is an amino acid that helps promote restful sleep by relaxing the muscles and calming the mind. You can get glycine from foods like fish, eggs, spinach, and kale or take it as a supplement.
  1. Tryptophan: Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps the body produce serotonin, calming down the mind and body. You can get tryptophan from foods like eggs, poultry, beef, and fish or take it as a supplement.

As you can see, many melatonin substitutes are found in everyday foods. This shows the importance of a healthy, balanced diet. By making smart ingredient choices, you could improve your sleep without the need for melatonin supplements. However, diet isn’t the only positive lifestyle change you could make.

Lifestyle Suggestions For Effective Melatonin Replacement

Alternatives for melatonin don't just include supplements-there are also lifestyle changes you can make to help improve your sleep quality. These positive lifestyle changes include:

  • Exercising regularly: Regular exercise can help regulate your circadian rhythm and promote better quality sleep.
  • Avoiding caffeine late in the day: Caffeine disrupts our sleeping patterns and keeps us up at night. Avoiding it late in the day is always best.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption: Alcohol may make you sleepy, but it also disrupts your sleep patterns and prevents deep sleep.
  • Creating a regular bedtime routine: Creating a consistent bedtime routine allows your body to understand when it's time to rest. As part of your routine, you might include the use of a sleep aid app such as Pzizz.
  • Creating a calming sleep environment: Create a dark, quiet, comfortable sleeping space free of distractions.
  • Reducing stress: Stress can significantly impact our ability to get quality sleep. Reduce your stress levels to promote better sleep.
  • Increasing sunlight during the day: Exposure to natural light helps us reset our circadian rhythm to maintain regular sleeping patterns.
  • Meditating before bedtime: Meditation is a great way to reduce stress and relax your mind and body.
  • Avoid napping late in the day: Naps are great for boosting energy, but if taken too late in the day, they can disrupt your night-time sleep.

By making these lifestyle changes, you can help ensure that your body gets the rest it needs to function correctly and combat melatonin deficiency. However, if you still struggle with sleep problems, it may be best to consult a doctor who can help you find the right treatment plan for your individual needs.

Bonus Melatonin Alternatives

If you’re still wondering what to use instead of melatonin and want other options that don’t involve taking supplements or melatonin substitutes, we’ve got you covered. Here are ten bonus melatonin alternatives:

  1. Using an app to help you sleep: You can use many apps that offer guided meditations, soundscapes, and other calming activities to help you relax before bed. Such apps include Pzizz or Mesmerize.
  1. Light therapy: Light therapy is a great way to reset your circadian rhythm and promote better sleep quality. This kind of therapy involves exposure to natural outdoor or artificial indoor light that mimics the effects of natural sunshine.
  1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT): Cognitive behavioral therapy is a kind of talk therapy that helps address any underlying psychological issues contributing to sleep problems. It may seem like a leap forward as an alternative for what to use instead of melatonin. However, CBT can be very effective in helping with insomnia and other sleep-related issues.
  1. Progressive muscle relaxation: Progressive muscle relaxation is a technique that involves tensing and then releasing various muscle groups throughout your body to help reduce stress levels before bedtime.
  1. Aromatherapy: Essential oils like lavender can be used for aromatherapy which helps promote calmness and relaxation before you go to bed.
  1. Yoga: Doing yoga poses before bedtime helps to stretch and relax your body, allowing it to prepare for restful sleep.
  1. Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese practice stimulates specific acupuncture points to promote healing and relaxation of the mind and body.
  1. White noise machine: These machines create a consistent, soothing sound that prevents external distractions from disrupting your sleep.
  1. Soothing sounds: Listening to calming sounds like raindrops, relaxing music, or natural soundscapes can also help promote relaxation and better sleep.
  1. Calming music: Listening to calming classical music or any other instrumental music can help reduce stress and ease you into a peaceful night's sleep.

By incorporating these alternatives for melatonin into your everyday routine, you can help promote better quality sleep and help combat melatonin deficiency. 

Introducing Pzizz

If you decide to use an app to help you sleep, we recommend our own app, Pzizz. Pzizz provides scientifically developed audio tracks to help you get a better night's sleep. These dreamscapes include a combination of soothing sounds, music, and narration.

Pzizz uses psychoacoustics to help relax your mind and body. It works by gently guiding your brain into the best quality sleep. Regular use can help promote more restful sleep and reduce your reliance on both melatonin supplements and other alternatives for melatonin.

So why not give Pzizz a try? Our app is available on the Apple App Store or Google Play, and we're confident you'll sleep better in no time! Plus, you can try Pzizz "Pro" free for seven days, meaning there’s no commitment!


It can be challenging to figure out what to use as melatonin substitutes, especially if you're looking for something more natural. Thankfully, there are many alternatives for melatonin and other sleep aids, with many not even involving taking supplements.

Valerian root, camomile, l-theanine, progressive muscle relaxation, aromatherapy, yoga, acupuncture, and white noise machines are all great alternatives for melatonin. You can also try listening to calming sounds or music or use an app like our own Pzizz to help you sleep better.

Always consult your doctor before taking any supplement or trying a new treatment for insomnia and other sleep-related issues. With the right combination of natural sleep aids and lifestyle changes, it is possible to combat melatonin deficiency and promote better quality sleep. Good luck!


Are there any natural alternatives to melatonin that can help with sleep?

Natural alternatives to melatonin, such as magnesium, valerian root, l-theanine, chamomile, and passionflower, are all-natural remedies that have been used for centuries to promote relaxation and help people get a better night's sleep.

What lifestyle changes can I make to improve my sleep as alternatives to melatonin?

A few lifestyle changes that can help improve sleep include avoiding caffeine late in the day, avoiding alcohol near bedtime, sticking to a regular bedtime routine, and exercising regularly. Additionally, reducing stress levels through activities such as yoga or meditation can also help to improve sleep.

Are there any side effects associated with using melatonin replacements?

It is important to note that some people may experience mild side effects when using melatonin replacements, such as headaches, dizziness, and sometimes nausea.

Do melatonin replacements work just as well as melatonin?

Melatonin replacements can be just as effective for some people in improving sleep quality. However, this will depend on the individual and their specific needs. Experimenting with different natural remedies and lifestyle changes is vital to determine which works best for you.