For occasional help falling asleep, I've found melatonin is a great alternative to over-the-counter sleep aids. The cost is very minimal also so you're not paying a lot for the help. Effectiveness It takes a little while to work so you should take melatonin at least a half hour before bed, it not a little more. Ease of Use It comes in multiple doses so you can take as little as 1mg at a time. The pills are small so if that is an issue for you, melatonin will be easy for you to take. Immediacy You need to take melatonin at least a half hour before going to bed. Its a gradual sleep aid so you don't instantly feel like sleeping. It helps you calm down and relax to get ready to sleep. Side Effects I've never had any side effects from melatonin so I'm giving this a high rating for lack of side effects. Other sleep aids make me feel groggy the next morning so I don't really feel any better rested. I've heard of some people getting slight headaches when they wake up but they go away pretty quickly. I've never experienced that though.