Natrol Melatonin Gummies
Graphic: Shep McAllister

I’ve never been great at sleeping.

When I was a baby, my parents had to put me in the car and drive around the block for hours to get me to fall asleep, only to have me instantly wake up the moment we arrived home. As a child, I was sent to a therapist in the hope that they would come up with a solution (they didn’t). I spent my teens counting backwards from 100, writing out my thoughts in a journal to try to empty my head, buying a noise machines, and even literally counting sheep. Nothing ever worked as more than a very temporary fix, and I was unwilling to get hooked on any kind of medication. So when I heard about Natrol Melatonin Gummies, a natural sleep aide, I was down to try them out, as hopeless as things felt.

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When I first heard the hype surrounding melatonin pills, I was skeptical. They’re currently enjoying a moment in the spotlight as a trendy supplement, which made me think, “placebo effect.” But then I heard that melatonin pills are also supposed to help relax you and maybe even help fight anxiety. Since many of my sleep issues, if not all, are directly linked to my anxiety, this caught my attention.

Here’s the deal with melatonin: your body produces the stuff naturally, and although it doesn’t make you sleep, it does put you “into a state of quiet wakefulness that helps promote sleep,” according to Johns Hopkins sleep expert Dr. Luis F. Buenaver. Melatonin levels rise in your body when it gets dark outside, which is basically your body telling you, “Hey, it’s time to get ready for bed.” Some people have lower levels of the sleep hormone, which can be due to stress, anxiety, aging, and blue light, among other things. But a melatonin supplement can give your levels a boost, allowing your body to prepare for sleep better in a natural way.

There were a few things I immediately liked about Natrol gummies, before I even tried them: they’re made with organic, non-GMO ingredients, they’re vegetarian and gelatin-free (great for me, a vegetarian), and they don’t include any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners. The gummies also seem more fun than a regular pill, so there’s that as well.

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A few nights before I was set to get on a long flight (I’m terrified of flying, and the anticipation gives me serious anxiety and insomnia), I lay in bed, thinking about turbulence until I wanted to scream, and then decided to try two of the melatonin gummies to give myself some relief. They tasted delicious, which was a plus, and I closed my eyes and prayed they would work.

To my surprise, they did - the next time I opened my eyes, my alarm was going off. I had almost gotten a full night’s sleep, which is basically unheard of for me. I felt rested, and although my anxiety came roaring back as the day dragged on, at least I wasn’t exhausted!

From then on, I started taking the gummies whenever I really felt that I needed them, and they’ve worked like a charm almost every time. Two gummies help me fall asleep faster, and actually keep me asleep for most of the night. But if I’m feeling very, very anxious, I still wake up halfway through the night, but the difference is that I’m usually able to get back to sleep. The night before my wedding, for example, the gummies helped me get in a few hours of rest, but I was so nervous that I still woke up several times.

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The point is this: melatonin gummies aren’t a miracle, and my experience with them will not necessarily be the same as yours, but I think they’re pretty damn great. They help me feel a bit more relaxed, and they genuinely do help me sleep. I try not to take them every single night, because I don’t want to become dependent on them - or worse, desensitized to them - but they are great when I really feel like I need them.