The 5 Best Melatonin-Free Sleep Aids

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Given that 80% of adult Americans struggle to fall asleep at least one night every week, you're not alone if you can't get your doctor-recommended seven to nine hours. Between long-term stressors and a hectic lifestyle, sometimes you need a little help, and the best melatonin-free sleep aids are up to the challenge. But, first a little background.

Melatonin gets all the credit for being the end-all, be-all of sleep aids, but it doesn't work for everyone. For one, according to the Mayo Clinic, it tends to work best for short-term use and to address what doctors call a "delayed sleep phase" (read: when you don't get tired in the evening on your own). In addition, those who are pregnant, suffer from certain preexisting medical conditions, and children and early teens should avoid melatonin when looking for sleep solutions. Some people may experience side effects when taking melatonin for an extend period of time, ranging from mild anxiety, headaches, and irritability to even a reduction of its effectiveness over time.

So what's an exhausted person supposed to do to get some good REM if they want to avoid melatonin? Luckily, there are plenty of sleep aids without melatonin that work just as well. As you peruse this list, you'll notice options ranging from sleep aids with magnesium to those with antihistamine. And, to truly lend a hand with sleep, I've gathered up a fantastic nighttime tea and a sleep-promoting pillow mist that can help you get a better night's rest, as well.

Keep scrolling to check out the best sleep aids without melatonin below.

Editor's note: Consult with your doctor, especially if you're experiencing chronic sleeplessness, if you suffer from other conditions, or take regular medication, in order to receive specific medical advice.


The Best Magnesium Sleep Aid

  • Active ingredient: 330 milligrams of magnesium (in a four-gummy serving)

These popular gummies are infused with high-quality magnesium citrate to help reduce stress and promote sleep. Magnesium is used in hundreds of chemical reactions in our bodies, including regulating our natural levels of melatonin. Taking a couple of these gummies every night helps amps up your magnesium supply, which can ultimately help you relax and your brain to calm down so you can get some much-needed rest. Raspberry lemonade flavored, these gummies are delicious and kid-friendly.

According to one reviewer: "I’ve been using this product for three weeks now and I definitely see the difference in my ability to fall asleep and stay asleep longer. I feel much more relaxed. I’ve had difficulty sleeping for a few years and this product is helping me."


The Best Antihistamine Sleep Aid Capsules

  • Active ingredient: 50 milligrams of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (in a two-capsule serving)

This sleep aid can be a good solution for the occasional bout of restless sleep. It's made from antihistamines, or the same ingredient you find in a lot of allergy medications. While antihistamines aren't recommended for frequent use, there's a reason they're so common: Antihistamine-based sleep aids block certain receptors tied to wakefulness, making them really effective at promoting sleep. You should proceed cautiously when using this medication because a tolerance can be formed quickly. However, Amazon reviewers insist this Tylenol-brand sleep aid is really effective, so it may be a good idea to start out with a smaller dose to see how your body reacts.

According to one reviewer: "When I have a problem falling to sleep I use this product with excellent results. No after effects in the morning."


The Best Liquid Sleep Aid

  • Active ingredient: 50 milligrams of diphenhydramine hydrochloride (in a 30-milliliter serving)

If you want to get some sleep ASAP, reach for this tried-and-true OG sleep aid. This is also made with the same powerful antihistamine in the pick above but in liquid form. To use, pour a 30-milliliter serving into the cap and take it 20 minutes before you're ready to sleep. Just be sure to block off a big chunk of time for snoozing — this sleep aid promises to deliver 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.

According to one reviewer: "Works when I need it. Takes about 30 minutes for me to feel it's effects, just make sure to allot time for a full 8 hours of sleep in your schedule before taking this, and definitely don't take it if you're going to be doing anything other than sleeping."


The Best Calming Tea For Sleep

If you're searching for a natural solution that's also melatonin-free, this calming tea definitely does the trick. It's made with calm-promoting chamomile and stomach-soothing mint. And unlike other teas with medicinal qualities, this blend also features hints of spices and citrus for flavor, so it tastes just as heavenly as it makes you feel. Over 3,000 Amazon reviewers rave that this tea is the perfect pre-bedtime drink.

According to one reviewer: "I have been having trouble sleeping ALOT lately, I'm very sensitive to sounds/light to where I wake up frustrated and ready to get out of bed to just get the day done.. now let me tell you that the first night within seconds of sipping on my tea, I was yawning nonstop and ready for bed. Knocked out and didn't wake up/toss or turn the entire night, woke up feeling so much better. Actually woke up smiling, too!"


The Best Pillow Spray For Promoting Sleep

This pillow spray features a lavender, vetivert, and chamomile blend to instantly soothe your nerves as you breathe it in. Simply spray a fine mist over your pillow before you hit the sack. And the best part? If you wake up mid-snooze, you can nestle back into your pillow and breath it in again to fall right back to sleep.

Editor's note: I use this pillow mist and really enjoy it. I spray a few spritzes on my pillow before I fall asleep and have noticed it helps me get in the right mindset to fall asleep at night.

According to one reviewer: "After using the spray i've seen a noticeable change in the quality of my sleep. i've been waking up more refreshed, taking less to no naps during the day, sleeping for longer at night & looking less tired. i even let my boyfriend try it and he said he slept a lot better too!"

Studies referenced:

Srivastava, J., Shankar, E., and Gupta, S., (2010). Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with a bright future,