What Is Sleep Answer?
Formulated by Dr. Richard Wurtman, Sleep Answer is a dual stage, low-dose melatonin supplement that promises to help adults over 40 fall asleep faster and reduce nighttime waking by restoring their natural sleep cycle.
Compared to the competition, the supplement uses patented Licaps cap-in-cap technology to deliver two perfectly timed doses of melatonin for uninterrupted sleep.
The first, a fast dissolving shell, releases 0.3 mg of liquid melatonin immediately to help you drift off to sleep. Then, a second dose is administered 3-4 hours later via the inner 0.6mg controlled release capsule.
According to the manufacturer, you only need to take one capsule of Sleep Answer per night, ideally 30-60 minutes before bed. And it’s so effective, the website indicates it’s been shown to improve sleep efficiency up to 88 percent, help reset the body’s internal clock, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed.
Sleep Answer certainly seems different than many other melatonin supplements, regarding both its dose and its delivery method. But will either of these help you “sleep better than you have in years,” as claimed on the supplement’s website?
Let’s start with the basics.
How Does the Sleep Cycle Work & What Role Does Melatonin Play?
According to the National Sleep Foundation, there are five stages of sleep. Since each stage only lasts about 5-15 minutes, our body can go through this process several times per night:
Stage 1: Light sleep that can begin within seconds or minutes of falling asleep. The brain produces alpha and theta waves, while eye movement slows down.
Stage 2: Another light stage where your heart rate and brain waves slow, while your body temperature drops and prepares for deeper sleep.
Stages 3 & 4: Here, the brain starts producing delta waves and eye and muscle movement are limited. This is the stage where the body repairs and grows, and is the most difficult stage to wake from.
Stage 5: This stage involves rapid eye movement (REM) and lasts the longest at around an hour. As the brain becomes more active, dreaming occurs, eyes dart rapidly from side-to-side, breathing and heart rate increase, and the brain forms memories.
As mentioned briefly on the Sleep Answer website, melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland that's thought to play a big role in a person’s sleep-wake cycle. Without boring you to death, this means that as evening approaches, melatonin production will increase and lead to physiological slowing down and eventual sleep.
However, as we age, WebMD reports that our body’s melatonin production can drop, potentially leading to problems sleeping. But will supplementation help?
Are The Ingredients In Sleep Answer Clinically Proven?
According to their summarization of the available clinical evidence, sites like the Natural Medicines Database, WebMD, and Examine.com indicate that melatonin supplementation may help address symptoms related to:
- Sleep disorders in the blind (0.5 mg to 5 mg daily)
- Reducing the length of time needed to fall asleep (0.3 to 5 mg daily)
- Sleep-wake cycle disturbances (2 mg to 12 mg at bedtime)
- Primary insomnia (2 mg to 3 mg before bedtime)
However, outside of what’s been shown in research, there isn’t a recommended daily allowance (RDA) for melatonin, which is why an MIT study back in 2001 found that as little as 0.3mg was the optimal dosage for those over 50.
Even before that, the supplement’s site indicated that Sleep Answer’s creator, Dr. Richard Wurtman, found much of the same during his 1995 study where melatonin improved sleep efficiency and decreased participants’ wake time after sleep onset.
Bottom line: While the reported clinical evidence is strong that melatonin may help address some sleep issues, whether or not it works at all (much less discerning an appropriate dose) can vary widely, depending on the individual.
This is why it’s important to speak with your doctor if you’re experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep, or if you’re thinking about taking any new supplement.
Will Sleep Answer’s Melatonin Cause Any Side Effects?
These same sites report that melatonin has been safely used for up to 2 years, although in some instances (depending on your unique physiology), it could lead to temporary headache, sleepiness, dizziness, and irritability. This even includes instances of accidental overdose.
During our research, we found a handful of articles and clinical trials indicating that melatonin receptors can become overwhelmed (as mentioned on the Sleep Answer site), leading to some of the symptoms mentioned above. However, based on the limited evidence, this didn’t appear to be considered medical fact.
Outside of this, the manufacturer claims the supplement is safe to take every night. If you’re under the age of 40, however, they note that you might not experience the same level of results.
How Much Does Sleep Answer Cost?
If purchased directly through the Sleep Answer website, you’ll pay $6.99 S&H to receive a four-week supply (28 capsules).
If you don’t cancel your AutoDelivery within 20 days, you’ll start receiving a fresh three-box supply of the supplement once every 12 weeks, and charged $59.99, plus applicable sales tax, each time.
However, if purchased through the main Healthy Directions website, you’ll pay as little as $24.99 for the same 30-day supply, with no autoship enrollment. We also found it available for $39.99 (56 capsules) through GNC.
All Healthy Directions products come with a 90-day refund policy, less S&H. To request one, or to change/cancel your recurring shipments, customer support can be reached at 888-349-0397 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are customers reporting a solid value for the money?
What Can We Learn From Online Customer Reviews for Sleep Answer Melatonin?
At the time of our research, Sleep Answer had an average customer rating of 3.6 stars on the Healthy Directions site, based on nearly 80 customer reviews. There, common compliments seemed related to improved sleep without grogginess and that it lasts a long time, while—like most dietary supplements—the most common complaint was no results.
On Amazon, the supplement came with a similar average rating of 3.5 stars, based on 50 customer reviews. Most compliments and complaints seemed to mirror those found on the Healthy Directions site.
From a company perspective, Healthy Directions based out of Montoursville, PA wasn’t listed with the Better Business Bureau, although they’ve been in business since 1985 and manufacture a whole range of supplements.
Who Is Dr. Richard Wurtman?
According to his bio on the Sleep Answers website, Dr. Richard Wurtman is an MIT professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, as well as a researcher that has specialized in the brain and nervous system for more than four decades.
In fact, they claim “he is widely recognized for the discovery that melatonin is the hormone that regulates sleep,” although we didn’t encounter any third-party verification of this.
Nonetheless, Dr. Wurtman has also authored and edited 18 books, authored or co-authored more than 1,000 scientific papers, and holds more than 50 patents. He trained at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, and previously spent more than 20 years as director of MIT’s NIH Clinical Research Center.
Sleep Answer vs. Other Melatonin Supplements
Based on the fact that many of us suffer from sleep-related issues at one point or another, melatonin is an extraordinarily common supplement. In fact, a Google search at the time of our research yielded hundreds of results, with dosages between 3 mg and 20 mg and prices between $10 and $50+.
Even more options can be found at local retailers with a supplements section.
According to ConsumerLab’s Melatonin Supplements Review (note: a subscription may be required for access), they tested 20 different options, all of which passed based on containing the labeled amount, not exceeding lead contamination limits, and disintegrating properly (when applicable).
So, how to choose the right one? Like many other dietary supplements, it largely comes down to your needs and preferences.
New to melatonin? They recommend starting with starting with a low dose (1 mg or less) and working your way up from there.
Looking for fast-acting results? Liquids may act the fastest but often have the shortest duration, while time-release options might take a little longer to kick in (generally within 30-60 minutes) but could help you stay asleep longer.
Again, this is where an appointment with your doctor can pay big dividends in the value department.
What’s the Bottom Line?
At about $0.71 per dose (if you choose the autoship option directly through Healthy Directions), Sleep Answer is dozens of times more expensive than some of the third-party melatonin supplements tested by ConsumerLab, while generally delivering significantly less active ingredient.
Obviously, price isn’t the only indicator of value, but it’s difficult to ignore such a large gap.
With this said, it seems that Sleep Answer comes with mostly positive online customer feedback, so it would appear that many are finding its higher price and lower dosage worthwhile.
Will you experience the same? Ultimately, there’s no way to know for sure without giving it a try, although the company stands behind the supplement with a 90-day refund policy if you’re dissatisfied. Just keep in mind that you’ll need to pay to ship it back to the company.
See Also: 9 Simple Ways to Improve Your Sleep