How Long Does Melatonin’s Effect Last
If you do decide to take a melatonin pill now and then, the timing of when you take it matters.
“Your body absorbs melatonin fairly rapidly, and its half-life meaning the time it takes for your body to eliminate half of what you took is about 20 to 50 minutes,” says Dr. Ramkissoon.
Since its job is to help promote sleepiness, this means you’ll want to take melatonin about 30 minutes to an hour before you plan to fall asleep.
“What you don’t want to do is take melatonin at bedtime since this can shift when melatonin levels peak and, therefore, also when they fall meaning you could be sleepier later into the morning,” explains Dr. Ramkissoon. “Additionally, taking melatonin later than your planned usual bedtime can throw of your sleep-wake cycle.”
When You Take Melatonin Every Night This Is What Happens To Your Body
Think of melatonin as the sandman hormone it helps to regulate your body’s internal clock and its rhythm of sleeping and waking, as explained by Medical News Today. Melatonin as an oral supplement can also help encourage this cycle it has been proven to effectively reduce the average amount of time it takes someone to fall asleep and encourage a more restful state of slumber . What’s more, it has some additional effects beyond its bedtime benefits.
A powerful antioxidant, melatonin can maintain eye health, foster the production of human growth hormone, and maybe even ward off some forms of depression, according to Healthline. Moreover, since it is considered safe, it can be a great alternative treatment or preventative measure for certain ailments, as noted by the publication.
Want to know if you should add melatonin to the mix and start taking this seemingly magical pill daily? You snooze, you lose so learn the facts. This is what happens to your body when you take melatonin every night.
Use Melatonin Sleep Supplements Wisely And Safely
Less is more, Buenaver says. Take 1 to 3 milligrams two hours before bedtime. To ease jet lag, try taking melatonin two hours before your bedtime at your destination, starting a few days before your trip. You can also adjust your sleep-wake schedule to be in sync with your new time zone by simply staying awake when you reach your destinationdelaying sleep until your usual bedtime in the new time zone. Also, get outside for natural light exposure. Thats what I do, Buenaver says.
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When You Take Melatonin Every Night It Might Help With Hair Loss And Dandruff
While a little bit of hair loss is totally normal, people who see a significant amount of shedding can feel alarmed and dismayed. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own hair follicles, leading to excessive hair loss and potential balding .
While there are some treatments available on the market, a more natural alternative might be available and preferable. And it might even benefit those who have not been diagnosed with a form of alopecia, but still want to reduce thinning. An analysis of five clinical studies in the International Journal of Trichology indicated that the use of topical melatonin in the treatment of androgenetic alopecia could be effective. Thirty participants in an observational study reported a major decrease in the “severity of alopecia after 30 and 90 days.” Another study cited indicated that it might be more helpful in women than men.
An added bonus? Participants saw a reduction in scalp dandruff, too.
Melatonin For Eye Health
Several small studies have suggested that melatonin might help treat certain eye diseases that are caused by inflammation and aging.
One review looked at experimental studies and clinical trials done between January 1990 and September 2017. The findings showed that melatonin might be helpful for treating:
- Uveitis: An eye disease that causes sudden redness, swelling, and pain in the eye.
- Glaucoma: A group of eye disorders that are usually caused by pressure within the eye. If it’s not treated, glaucoma can damage the optic nerve, which sends signals from your eye to your brain.
- Age-related macular degeneration : An eye disease that blurs central, straight-ahead vision in people 65 years of age and older. Most of the eye and melatonin research has been on ARMD. In one study, 100 patients with AMD were given 3 milligrams of melatonin a day for up to two years. The researchers found that melatonin helped protect the retina of the eye from more damage. While those findings were promising it was just one small study. More research would be needed to prove that melatonin is really helpful.
Researchers do not know why melatonin might help these eye conditions, but it might be because it reduces inflammation and oxidative stress from unstable molecules that can harm cells and tissues .
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What Happens If You Take Extra Melatonin At Night
Feel like one dose isnt doing the job? Or accidentally took extra? Taking another dose of melatonin most likely wont hurt you, but it may up your risk of side effects like headaches, nausea, tummy troubles, or even low blood pressure.
That said, if a normal dose of melatonin isnt working for you, you should chat with your doc about other sleep solutions. You shouldnt just keep taking more melatonin to fall asleep.
When To Steer Clear
Certain people should be more cautious about melatonin use, particularly if it triggers a negative reaction, including those with:
- Chronic insomnia. Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep that lasts a month or more shouldn’t be managed with melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians. These groups recommend other more proven remedies , noting that there is not enough evidence that melatonin is safe and effective for long-term use.
- Restless Legs Syndrome . The tingling or “creepy-crawly” feeling in the legs that often keeps people awake could be worsened by melatonin. The supplement can intensify RLS symptoms because it lowers the amount of dopamine in the brain, according to the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. If you’ve been diagnosed with RLS or suspect that you have the condition, talk to your HCP about lifestyle changes or medications that could help.
- Dementia. This progressive cognitive deterioration is often associated with insomnia, which can tax both patients and their caregivers. But melatonin may do more harm than good among those with dementia since the condition causes people to metabolize the supplement more slowly, resulting in daytime drowsiness. In people with moderate or severe dementia, melatonin supplementation may increase the risk of falls, according to 2015 guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
If you’ve been drinking alcohol, it’s also not safe to take melatonin.
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When You Take Melatonin Every Night It Could Help Ease Your Anxiety
If melatonin mellows you out for bed, can it also ease everyday anxiety? As noted by Healthline, a majority of research around melatonin’s effect on anxiety revolves around its pre- and post-operative uses versus everyday generalized anxiety. Still, a look at its acute effect on reducing anxiety can lay the foundation for its potential use as a mental health treatment.
An analysis of eight studies helped researchers conclude that, compared to a placebo, taking melatonin before a procedure can significantly decrease a patient’s anxiety. In fact, it can be just as useful as an anti-anxiety medication like midazolam . A 2018 study in Annals of Pharmacotherapy determined that melatonin was even more effective than traditional treatment, oxazepam, in reducing anxiety in patents who had just had heart surgery. Finally, one promising study in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research found that melatonin was more effective than a placebo at treating older adults with behavioral disorders, and helped relieve depression and anxiety. Some participants were even able to trade in their regular prescriptions for melatonin supplements.
The anxiety-fighting potential of melatonin seems encouraging, but more research is still needed.
Is It Safe To Take Melatonin Every Night
While most studies say that melatonin is safe for short-term use, they dont specifically define a period of time. And theres no consensus in the medical community on what safe short-term use means, so you might find mixed messages about how long you can safely take melatonin every night. Some say if youre taking a melatonin supplement as a sleep aid and it isnt helping after one or two weeks, stop using it. And if taking melatonin does help, its safe for most people to take nightly for two to three months.5
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Do Melatonin Sleep Aids Work
The melatonin your body naturally produces and the synthetic melatonin found in over-the-counter sleep aids are the exact same chemical compound. But those gummies and pills might not have the same level of efficacy as the stuff your brain makes, says Dr. Watson. “When you consume melatonin orally, it’s going through your liver,and the issue is a lot of melatonin is deactivated and removed by the liver whereas, if it’s secreted in your brain, it has more of a robust effect because it doesn’t have to deal with the liver issue right off the bat,” he explains.
ICYDK, the liver converts nutrients from your diet into substances the body can use and filters out toxic substances. When a drug or supplement enters the liver, natural chemicals significantly alter the substance, which reduces its bioavailability . For oral melatonin, in particular, this process cuts its bioavailability to just 3 percent, according to a study published in the journal BMC Pharmacology and Toxicology.
People who have irregular sleep-wake disorder a rare disorder that occurs in people with a brain function problem who also don’t have a regular routine during the day don’t sleep with any real schedule. Melatonin can help anchor their circadian rhythm and establish regular sleep and wake times, says Dr. Watson. Though this treatment can often help a person get back to a normal sleep-wake cycle, some people may continue to have symptoms, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine .
Can You Take Melatonin With Alcohol Or Other Drugs
In general, alcohol can interfere with sleep and has been associated with poor sleep quality and duration.9 So, you might wonder if you can take melatonin after drinking. Consuming alcohol before going to bed can reduce melatonin levels and may affect sleep. Furthermore, while low levels of melatonin are seen in those with alcohol use disorder , melatonin supplementation doesnt improve their sleep. 6
As mentioned earlier, melatonin can interact with a variety of medications, including anticonvulsants, antidepressants, blood pressure medication, blood thinners, diabetes medications, immunosuppressants, and oral contraceptives. 6 Its wise to check with your physician before taking melatonin, especially if you have a health condition or take any medications.
The Bottom Line
Generally speaking, melatonin may help otherwise healthy adults fall asleep quicker and stay asleep longer, and its particularly helpful for people with insomnia, jet lag, shift workers and sleep-related disorders. Melatonin is relatively safe to take on a short-term basis, but more research is needed on the long-term effects of melatonin usage.
To harness the sleep-inducing effects of melatonin, practice good sleep habits like avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, dimming the lights, and putting away the screens. Most importantly, talk with your healthcare provider about whether or not melatonin is right for you.
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So Is It Safe To Take Melatonin Every Dayand Is It Considered Safe For Everyone
Both Dr. Peters-Mathews and Dr. Malow believed melatonin is generally safe to take every night, but large studies are needed to determine whether it’s effective and safe for all forms of insomnia and particularly for long-term use.
“Melatonin is used safely by most people for years,” Dr. Peters-Mathews said. However, MedlinePlus notes that the most common time period for daily use of melatonin is up to six months for adults and up to three months for children. Of note, adults should be cautious about child and adolescent consumption of melatonin, as there is a risk of melatonin poisoning if a child or adolescent ingests too much melatonin.
Melatonin isn’t suitable for everyone, per MedlinePlus. You shouldn’t take melatonin at all if you:
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Have depression, a bleeding disorder, or seizure disorder
- Have been a transplant recipient
Further, if you have diabetes or high blood pressure, talk to your healthcare provider before taking melatonin supplements.
And if you are on any medications or taking any herbs and other supplements, check with your physician to make sure melatonin won’t make them less effective or cause more side effects. According to MedlinePlus, there are a number of medicines, herbs, and supplements that may interact with melatonin supplements.
What Exactly Is Melatonin
The brain naturally produces melatonin, a hormone, and it plays a key role in regulating the bodys sleep/wake cycle.2 As it gets dark outside, the brain increases the production of melatonin and as it gets light, the brain decreases production. That explains why exposure to light, especially blue light, in the evening can hinder the production of melatonin.3
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How Much Melatonin Is Too Much
The various melatonin supplements available are typically formulated into doses ranging from 1 mg to 10 mg. Some are even higher.
So … how much melatonin should you take?
Generally speaking, you don’t need a dosage above 5 mg, but, in reality, the ideal dosage isn’t well-established and likely varies from person to person.
“Some evidence suggests that doses below 1 mg are often as effective as higher doses, so it’s best to start with the lowest dose possible and see what works for you,” recommends Dr. Ramkissoon.
If You Take Melatonin Every Night You Could Help Quell Insomnia And Other Sleep Disorders
If you are one of of the 70 million Americans affected by a sleep disorder , you may feel desperate in what seems like a never-ending quest for quality Z’s.
Varying degrees of sleep disorders can affect your potential to snooze soundly on a night-to-night basis, and can lead to several minor and major consequences. Over time, sleep deprivation could inhibit your ability to function, work, or drive, as noted by Healthline. It also puts you at a higher risk for other serious medical conditions.
While there are several insomnia medications on the market, many are linked to “dependence and addiction,” as per an analysis in Neurological Research, which noted, “Moreover, some of these medications can gradually impair cognition.” Melatonin, on the other hand, has no reported side effects. It works to “synchronize the circadian rhythms,” ultimately helping the “duration and quality of sleep.” The report found that it “is effective for ameliorating” several common sleep disorders, including insomnia, some cases of obstructive sleep apnea, and potentially even hypersomnolence . So, it may be a good idea for you to take melatonin every night.
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What Are Possible Melatonin Side Effects
Research shows that the side effects of taking melatonin are mild, including dizziness, headache, nausea, and sleepiness. 3 Though less common, other side effects of taking melatonin might include abdominal cramps, abnormally low blood pressure, confusion or disorientation, irritability, mild anxiety, mild tremor, reduced alertness, and short-lasting feelings of depression.2
Keep in mind that, since melatonin can cause daytime drowsiness, you shouldnt drive or operate machinery within eight hours of taking it. 2
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Who Can And Cannot Take Melatonin
Melatonin is mainly prescribed for adults aged 55 or over, to help for short-term sleep problems.
It can sometimes be used by adults under the age of 55 and by children, if a doctor recommends it.
It’s not suitable for some people. To make sure melatonin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:
- have had an allergic reaction to melatonin or any other medicines in the past
- have liver or kidney problems
- have rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or lupus, or any other autoimmune condition
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Still Not Sure How To Properly Start Taking Melatonin Every Night
If you still have questions on how to proceed, you can use a simple strategy used by nearly everyone that tries melatonin for a few weeks.
- Start with the minimum dose
- Take it 90-60 minutes before bedtime
- Try to relax and see whether it works for you or not
- Increase the dosage to no more than 1.5 milligrams
This is the best strategy that you can use. Sometimes, depending on whatâs causing your sleep problems, melatonin will not work for you. In this case, itâs always good to go see a doctor to determine the root of your problem.
Most of the time, itâs either stress or a hormonal problem.
Now, again, you should not take melatonin every night for more than a few months. If you do decide to do so because itâs doing wonders for you, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor.
Itâs a good idea to get some tests done to make sure itâs not harming your body long-term, although there arenât any majorly bad side effects from taking melatonin.
Is It A Hormone
Melatonin is a hormone. The pineal gland in the brain releases it in cycles. Production increases at night when the light outside starts to fade.
Melatonin acts as a chemical messenger. It tells other organs and tissues how to function. Melatonin signals to the body that it is time to go to sleep.
Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. People with low melatonin levels may not sleep as well as those who have higher levels.
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