Vitafusion SleepWell is a sleep aid containing melatonin, passionflower, chamomile, and lemon balm.
It’s sold over the counter in the US, where melatonin doesn’t require a prescription as it’s considered a supplement rather than a medicine.
I decided to test it for a week to see if it would help regulate my sleep pattern, which was disrupted by traveling.
And that’s the key point about melatonin – it’s not like a typical sleeping pill. Instead, it helps your body clock get back on track in situations like jet lag or shift work.
In this review, I’ll be describing my experience taking SleepWell for the week. And I’ll also discuss some useful points if you’re thinking of trying it yourself.
I took SleepWell the night I got back from a trip abroad. My sleep pattern was around 3 hours in advance of what it usually would be. So I hoped the melatonin would help shift my bedtime earlier.
The label just says to take them ‘prior to sleep event’. I interpreted that as 30 minutes before, and on an empty stomach.
I took 2 gummies, which is the suggested dosage. They have a nice sweet flavor and are enjoyable to chew.
I’ve had comments from readers before about children who’ve found a bottle of melatonin gummies and eaten several. And with the similarity to sweets, I can see why it’s a risk.
A noticeable sedative effect
I then went to bed and read a book, which is what I always do so I can keep an eye out for any noticeable sedative effect.
I wasn’t honestly expecting to sense anything physical, but I did. In about 45 minutes I started to feel quite drowsy. I was admittedly tired anyway, but I couldn’t read any longer and turned the light off.
Disorientated in the night
I remember waking up a few hours later and going to the bathroom. I was still half asleep (or more!) and kind of stumbled out of the bedroom in a daze.
I went back to sleep almost instantly and then woke up 7.5 hours after first falling asleep. That’s the ideal amount of sleep for me, so I was quite happy about that.
Some grogginess in the morning
When I woke up, it felt like I was waking from a very deep sleep. I usually wake up feeling instantly alert, but it took me around 30 minutes to shake the groggy feeling.
No other side effects
Other than a briefly cloudy head and heavy eyes, I didn’t notice any other side effects. I didn’t remember any vivid dreams either, which is often reported with melatonin.
The rest of the week
I took the same dosage of SleepWell every night for the rest of the week. On 5 of those nights, I got between 7 and 8 hours’ sleep, which is great. On 2 nights, it dropped back down to 6.5, which is still ok for me.
Interestingly, I had the same effects as the first night all week. Disorientated when waking in the night to go to the bathroom and a brief heavy feeling upon waking.
Sleep tracker data
I don’t usually report what my sleep trackers say about my sleep stages when I review sleep aids, as they are never 100% reliable.
However, there was a strong pattern this week which interested me. Every day, without exception, my total REM sleep jumped significantly.
I actually felt on fine form all week during the day, and was able to perform consistently well in my sports. So perhaps there was an increase in REM sleep, and it was doing me good.
Conclusion for the week
I feel that the SleepWell gummies worked well for me. I got a good amount of sleep all week, and my sleep schedule adjusted to the local time quickly.
I felt good during the day, could work and exercise well, and the side effects were minimal.
My only concern was the disorientated feeling when waking in the night. On reflection, I think I stumbled to the bathroom on a couple of occasions with poor coordination.
I’d also be very wary of keeping them anywhere children can get to them. They seem to glow attractively in light, look like sweets and definitely taste like them.
The label lists the active ingredients per serving (2 gummies) as:
- Melatonin 3 mg
- Passionflower extract 4.25 mg
- Chamomile flower extract 4.25 mg
- Lemon balm leaf extract 4 mg
Additional non-active ingredients listed are:
- Citric acid
- Color (annatto extract)
- Fractionated coconut oil (with beeswax and/or carnauba wax)
- Lactic acid
- Natural flavors
Note that the gummies are gluten-free, but do contain tree nuts.
The suggested dosage is 2 gummies prior to sleep. I found that taking them 30 to 60 minutes before bed worked well.
Who is Vitafusion SleepWell intended for?
This is an interesting question. Since it fits into the category of food supplements, it doesn’t have the same regulation as medicines.
The label says the melatonin in the gummies provides:
- Help with jet lag
- Sleep cycle regulation
- Awake refreshed
Bu then the label also states:
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease…this product is not intended to treat insomnia or other sleep disorders.
And that’s the kind of labeling you’ll find with many over the counter sleep aids containing melatonin and/or herbal ingredients.
So essentially, they sell a product and suggest what it might help with. But it’s up to you to decide if you want to try it to help with a sleep problem you might have, based on your own research into the effectiveness of the ingredients.
What does melatonin help with?
So if Vitafusion themselves aren’t legally allowed to say what it helps with, it’s useful to look at what scientific evidence there is for the ingredients themselves.
And indeed melatonin is a strange one. It’s not a one-size-fits-all cure for insomnia or other sleep disorders, as Vitafusion state themselves.
It has been found to help in specific situations:
- Jet lag
- Shift work
- Circadian rhythm sleep disorders
- Insomnia for some people, with stronger evidence for older people.
As for the herbal ingredients, there’s inconclusive evidence for them. But some studies do suggest that chamomile can help with anxiety and sleep.
Precautions and side effects
The label comes with little information about possible side effects and interactions.
It has the following advice:
- Not for children under 16
- Don’t exceed the suggested dose
- Don’t take when driving, operating machinery or conducting any activity requiring alertness (it causes drowsiness of course)
- You should take to a medical practitioner before using it if you are pregnant or nursing, taking any other medication or have any medical condition
As it’s a supplement and not a medicine, there’s no requirement to list possible side effects. However, melatonin can cause many different side effects, even though most people tolerate it well.
My advice is to research and understand the risks before you decide to take this, or any other melatonin product.
You can find out more about possible melatonin side effects and overdose information here.
What others say
At the time of writing, Vitafusion SleepWell gets good customer reviews on various online stores. At Amazon.com it has a rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars, from 300+ customers.
There are a low number of 1 and 2 star reviews, which is quite unusual for sleep aids and speaks well for the product.
140+ customers on Costco.com give it an average of 4.4 out of 5, again a respectable score.
Have you tried the SleepWell gummies? It would be helpful to hear your experience in the comments below.
And if you have any questions, feel free to ask.