We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
People often call melatonin the sleep hormone. The human brain makes melatonin when it gets dark to set in motion the process of falling asleep. Some people who have difficulty sleeping say that melatonin patches help.
This article will look at what these patches are, how they work, and whether or not they are effective.
It will also highlight five available products, outline the possible risks of using melatonin patches, and suggest some alternative sleeping aids.
Please also note that the writer of this article has not tested these products. All information in this article is research-based, and we do not intend to recommend certain products over others.
The brain produces melatonin to help prepare the body for sleep. The hormone helps regulate the body’s internal clock, or its circadian rhythms. Exposure to light stops this process.
The body does not make any melatonin during the day; it only happens as it starts to get dark. As the body releases the hormone into the blood, a person starts to feel less alert and more sleepy.
The brain produces the hormone all night then stops in the morning.
Lots of people have difficulty sleeping. Working night shifts, experiencing jet lag, and having sleep disorders such as insomnia can all affect how well the brain produces melatonin. Also, people tend to produce less melatonin as they get older.
Transdermal melatonin patches are similar to nicotine patches. People can apply them to their body at night, and they release melatonin into the body through the skin.
Some people say that melatonin patches help them fall asleep quicker and stay asleep for longer. That said, there is not yet enough scientific evidence to confirm their effectiveness.
One small study found that the patches may work to some extent for people who have irregular sleep patterns, such as those who work night shifts and may be trying to sleep in opposition to their normal circadian rhythms.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) do not evaluate the safety of melatonin patches. This is because they are a type of supplement.
There are lots of melatonin patches on the market. The sections below will list some popular products available in the United States.
Live To Shine Melatonin Plus GABA Sleep Patch
This patch contains melatonin and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that plays a role in relaxing the nervous system.
Users can apply the patch to hair-free skin on the upper body or ankle 30 minutes before going to bed and take it off 8 hours later, when they wake up.
Klova Sleep Patch
The Klova Sleep Patch contains magnesium, hops, valerian, L-theanine, skullcap, melatonin, 5-HTP, GABA, passionflower, and tetrahydropiperine.
People over the age of 18 can stick the patch to their skin 1–2 hours before bedtime and remove it 8 hours later.
They should rotate the application sites between the back of the shoulder, the top of the arm, the forearm, the abdomen, the inner and outer thigh, and the top of the foot.
Respro Labs Natural Melatonin Patch Sleep Aid
This company manufactures a range of sleep patches in different doses and formulations.
Examples include 3-milligram (mg) and 7-mg melatonin patches, a melatonin patch that also contains lavender and chamomile, and an ashwagandha and melatonin patch.
The Good Patch Nite Nite Patch
The Nite Nite Patch is a product in The Good Patch range. It contains 3 mg of melatonin as well as 15 mg of hemp.
People can apply the patch to hair-free skin for up to 12 hours.
Steven Gabriel MD Sleep Topical Patch
This sleep patch contains 5 mg of melatonin as well as valerian root, hops, and 5-HTP, which the company says helps regulate sleep/wake cycles.
The FDA do not evaluate melatonin patches for safety. For this reason, most companies selling melatonin patches advise people to talk to their doctor before use.
Melatonin supplements do have some potential side effects. Scientists are not yet sure if these risks extend to melatonin patches. Some believe that patches are safer than supplements because people do not ingest them.
Some possible side effects of melatonin supplements include:
Experts are not yet sure if melatonin has any long-term side effects.
Some tips for improving sleep hygiene include:
- limiting naps to 30 minutes
- avoiding caffeine and nicotine near bedtime
- exercising daily
- avoiding heavy, rich, fatty, fried, and spicy foods before bedtime
- getting plenty of exposure to sunlight during the day
- reading a book, taking a bath, or setting another relaxing bedtime regimen
- keeping the bedroom cool and removing bright lights
- using blackout curtains, eyeshades, or earplugs
- removing humidifiers, fans, and other devices that produce white noise from the bedroom
The brain makes melatonin when it starts to get dark. This is a hormone that tells the body that it is nearly time to go to sleep. Work patterns, jet lag, sleep disorders, and getting older can all affect how much melatonin the body makes.
Some people use melatonin patches to help them fall and stay asleep. The products stick to the skin and release melatonin into the bloodstream as the person sleeps.
Scientists have not yet conducted enough research to confirm if these patches work, which doses are best, and whether or not they are safe.
Anyone who wants to try a melatonin patch should speak to their doctor first.