Does This Thing Work? Sleep Experts Share the Truth About 4 Common Sleep Aids

By Erica Patino
Reviewed by Samantha Domingo, Psy.D.
February 01, 2023

Sleep. We all need plenty of it, but the trials of everyday life can make it difficult to get enough sometimes. The result? Nearly one-fifth of adults don't get enough rest each night. When you’re craving a good night’s sleep, it can be tempting to run to the pharmacy or health store to pick up something over the counter to help ease the way to slumber. But do these sleep aids work as promised?

We turned to sleep experts for their insight into the safety and effectiveness of these common sleep aids, plus their tips for getting more restful shut-eye, supplement free.

1. Melatonin

When it gets dark outside, your body naturally produces a hormone called melatonin, which helps encourage sleep. It’s also available as a supplement, and there's some research that suggests it's effective, especially for sleep problems like jet lag.