Having Trouble Sleeping? CBD vs Melatonin Supplements

Updated March 1, 2019

If you're regularly suffering the discomfort that comes with restlessness at bedtime, you're not alone. According to studies, at least one-third of Americans are not getting enough sleep and many are turning to supplements to help. The two top contenders are melatonin and cannabidiol, which is more popularly known as CBD. There are a few differences between the two aids and how they function within your body to help you fall asleep.


Melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the body's sleep cycle, works as a short-term supplement for those times you struggle to fall back into your regular sleep patterns. However, it's not an immediate effect like a sleeping pill. Melatonin takes approximately 90 minutes to start working, so if you're looking for quick relief, it likely won't be an adequate solution. You also have to time it correctly, because if you take it too late and you have to be up early, it can leave you in a fog.

Melatonin comes in pill form, and it's not regulated as a drug by the FDA, but rather as a supplement which means that the dose listed on the bottle may not be what you're actually getting. Since you really only need a small amount of melatonin, around 0.3 to 1.0 mg, the supplements may provide too much of a dose.


CBD works in a much different way than melatonin. It's not a hormone, for starters, it's better known for its anti-inflammatory properties. It's these properties that make it attractive as a sleep aid. CBD interacts with the body's Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and serotonin receptors which calm the nervous system and regulate anxiety and mood, respectively. According to Bustle, the studies on CBD are a bit contradictory. Some list that it can help with sleep while others say that it helps combat excessive sleepiness during daytime hours.

More research is definitely needed to further evaluate the effectiveness of CBD when it comes to addressing sleep problems. However, like melatonin, it's only meant to be a temporary aid, not a long-term solution.

When it comes to choosing a sleep aid, it's important to look at what's causing the disturbances in your sleep patterns, first. If you're battling insomnia, these supplements likely won't do much for you, and seeing a doctor is your best course of action. If you're looking to reset your cycle, however, CBD or melatonin could be viable options.