The 5 Best Melatonin-Free Sleep Aids


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 melatonin-free sleep aids 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 melatonin-free sleep aids, 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.

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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: "This is the best sleep aid I have ever used. I can't use Melatonin (nightmares) but this works great. One suggestion, start with either a 1/2 tablet or one tablet before going right to the recommended two tablets."

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: "This is the only product that actually makes me sleepy. I have no problem staying asleep, but it's GETTING SLEEPY that's an issue for me. This product is so helpful when you have insomnia."

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 tried this to help me fall asleep faster. Little did I know, that two cups of this would completely alleviate waking up and never being able to fall back asleep. This really works. I tried to do without it one night. I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. Never again. I will have this tea every night before I go to sleep."

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: "I've been using the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray for about a month now. Normally, [I] would wake up several times during the night. This stopped. I stopped waking up at all. I also normally wake up for a bathroom trip in the early morning hours and lots of times I cant get back to sleep after that. With the pillow spray, soon as my head hits the pillow, i'm out again and I mean 'out.'"

Studies referenced:

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