What Is Melatonin and Why Does It Help You Fall Asleep?

Daylight savings time and travel may be the culprits in keeping you awake (or in some cases, online shopping is to blame). Whatever the case, you’ve likely considered taking a supplemental sleep aid like melatonin in the form of a capsule or liquid melatonin in tea to fall asleep, right? But what is melatonin, exactly? And, how does it work?

“It’s a natural hormone produced by the brain,” shares Courtney Baron, Thumbtack health and wellness coach, “which lets the body know when it’s time to sleep and wake up. It’s also available as a natural sleep supplement in tablet or capsule form for those who have trouble falling asleep.” Want to understand more about melatonin? Keep reading.

Ahead, Steven R. Gundry, MD, and our go-to Thumbtack health and wellness coaches break down melatonin—how and when it should be used and the number one thing to be cautious of.