What Are Sleep Gummies?
As the name suggests, sleep gummies are a supplement to help you fall and stay asleep, in gummy form. These products are relatively new to market, according to Michael Breus, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Manhattan Beach, California, who specializes in sleep disorders, and part of what he calls the “gummy craze” sweeping the supplements industry. Sleep gummies contain active ingredients to induce sleep, most commonly melatonin, L-theanine, and CBD. Perhaps the only benefit sleep gummies have over supplements in capsule or tablet form is that they are easier for people who cannot swallow pills, says Dr. Breus, who is also the author of The Power of When, a book on understanding your body clock and circadian rhythms.
Common Questions & Answers
What Are the Active Ingredients in Sleep Gummies?
These over-the-counter sleep aids usually use one or a combination of three major ingredients to induce sleep: melatonin, L-theanine, and CBD.
While melatonin is generally safe for adults and children, Gans notes that a daily dose of melatonin should not exceed 10 milligrams (mg). “Follow instructions for use on the label,” she says.
Further research is needed.
What Are the Touted Benefits of Sleep Gummies — and Which Are True?
The biggest benefit of sleep gummies is that they can help you sleep. Since sleep gummies are relatively new to the market, there are no specific studies supporting their benefits. There is, however, research surrounding some of the active ingredients, as mentioned above.
Experts unanimously point out that any potential benefits of sleep gummies are only a short-term solution. They do not treat the root cause of sleeplessness.
Who Should Take Sleep Gummies?
Sleep gummies, specifically those with melatonin, may also help children sleep. “Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that is important in regulating the sleep-wake cycle; levels are low during the day, rising to a peak in the middle of the night,” says Carl Baum, MD, a professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the Yale School of Medicine in New Haven, Connecticut. “Some children with neurodevelopmental disorders do not produce normal levels of melatonin, so in theory, oral administration of melatonin can help regulate the sleep-wake cycle.”
What Are the Risks and Side Effects of Sleep Gummies?
The biggest issue with sleep gummies is that, like all dietary supplements, they are unregulated in the United States. “Since the passage of the federal Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA) of 1994, any product labeled as a dietary supplement escapes FDA regulation,” explains Dr. Baum. “Other pharmaceuticals, including over-the-counter products, require evidence of safety and efficacy before they are approved by the FDA.” This means that once a product enters the market, the FDA bears the burden of proving whether it is mislabeled or dangerous before they can be withdrawn from the market. “The bottom line is that if you take a dietary supplement, you have absolutely no idea what is in the product: The active ingredient may not be present in the labeled dose — if it is there at all — and disclosure of contaminants and adulterants is not required.”
Gans adds that melatonin can negatively interact with some medications, “and therefore should be reviewed prior to use with one’s physician,” she says. “If you are on any prescribed medications or have any medical conditions you should always check with your physician first before starting on any supplements.”
Breus notes that, as a general rule, “you can put more stuff in a gummy than a pill,” including sugar and flavoring and unnecessary ingredients. “This can easily lead to over dosages,” he says, adding that “very few, if any, supplement makers actually have the correct dose of any herb or supplement.” Additionally, any product in gummy form may lead to candy confusion. “We are seeing lots of accidental overdoses and kids taking things thinking they are candy,” he says.
How Long Do the Effects of Sleep Gummies Last?
If your doctor gives you the go-ahead to take sleep gummies, make sure to take them as directed. Most gummies should be taken shortly before bedtime. If you take them in the morning or afternoon, you may become drowsy.
How to Choose a Sleep Gummy
Also, she recommends a dose of 1 to 3 mg of melatonin per day, with 10 mg being the limit.
Sleep gummies may help some individuals get a better night's sleep in the short-term. Sleep gummies are not a long-term solution to insomnia, however. If you are struggling to fall or stay asleep, experts suggest consulting a doctor in order to determine the root cause of the issue.
Also, as with all supplements, one should choose their brand of sleep gummies with caution and always discuss with their physician prior to use.
Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking
- Sleep and Sleep Disorders. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. April 15, 2020.
- Melatonin and Sleep. National Sleep Foundation. April 8, 2022.
- Rao TP, Ozeki M, Juneja LR. In Search of a Safe Natural Sleep Aid. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. March 2015.
- Hidese S, Ogawa S, Ota M, Ishida I, Yasukawa Z, Ozeki M, Kunugi H. Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. October 2019.
- Thinking About Melatonin to Help Kids Sleep? Ask Your Pediatrician. American Academy of Pediatrics. July 1, 2021.
- Melatonin. Mayo Clinic. March 3, 2021.
- Tordjman S, Chokron S, Delorme R, Charrier A, Bellissant E, Jaafari N, Fougerou C. Melatonin: Pharmacology, Functions and Therapeutic Benefits. Current Neuropharmacology. April 2017.
- Erland LA, Saxena PK. Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. February 2017.
- Melatonin: What You Need to Know. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. July 2022.