Several members of my family have taken melatonin for years, long before "melatonin" was a household word. When I had trouble sleeping for several weeks this winter, my sister brought me a bottle of Nature Made melatonin and suggested I try taking a 3 milligram tablet about an hour before I hoped to fall asleep. I had little hope that it would really help me sort out my sleeping pattern, and I worried that even if I did fall asleep, that I would feel groggy and sluggish in the morning. Before taking the melatonin, I did a little research, as anyone should when considering a new supplement or medication.
I learned that melatonin is a hormone created by the brain that essentially controls the cycles of sleeping and wakefulness. My physician said it was fine to start with a 3 milligram dose, and that I could double that if I found that I was still having trouble sleeping through the night. She said it could start working for me right away, or that it could take a few days for my body to feel the effects.
The Nature Made melatonin has significantly improved my sleep habits, and the quality of the sleep that I get. I started to see results of better sleep the very first night I took it, and I have had no side effects at the 3 milligram dosage. (For a few nights when I took the 6 milligram dosage, I did have very vivid dreams. I've since found out that this is a somewhat common side effect of melatonin.)
Though there are many brands of melatonin on the market, I will stick with the Nature Made brand. There are often coupons in the Sunday newspaper, which makes it more affordable, and I like the easy-open cap on the bottle. The dark brown plastic bottle helps keep light away from the medication, which extends the shelf life. I'd prefer the packaging to contain more post-consumer recycled content, but that applies to nearly all commercial product packaging, not just Nature Made.
Nature Made is a national brand that was recommended to me as a good source for vitamins and supplements, including melatonin. They also have an informative website which includes a program that will help design a supplement plan that meets your individual needs. If you're looking for a non-prescription medication to help regulate your sleep patterns, melatonin is a good place to start.