What’s The Most Popular Dose
“Most individuals will do fine on a two to two-and-a-half milligram dose,” says Dr. Chelsie Rohrscheib, Ph.D., neuroscientist and Head Sleep Specialist at Wesper. “Using more than five milligrams of melatonin per night isn’t recommended unless you’re working closely with your doctor.” Typically, 10 milligram options aren’t available over the counter and would only be recommended for those who suffer from blindness and non-24 hour sleep-wake disorder, explains Dr. Durmer. “Too much melatonin can actually disrupt the circadian rhythm and make sleep more difficult,” Dr. Rohrscheib adds. When you first “start low and go slow,” Dr. Rohrscheib recommends beginning with a half or one milligram one hour before bedtime, then “increasing in small increments until you find a dose that works for you.”
When Should You Take Melatonin
Natural melatonin production in the body typically starts to increase 1 to 2 hours before bedtime. When taking melatonin to sleep better at night, most people find the best method is to take it within two hours of when they want to fall asleep. People who are taking melatonin for shift work or jet lag must calculate the best time of day to take these supplements in order to regulate their unique sleep-wake cycle.
Ensure that you will be able to sleep long enough for the melatonin to wear off when you wake up, and avoid driving or using heavy machinery within four to five hours of taking melatonin supplements.
Know The Potential Side Effects
Possible known side effects of melatonin include feeling groggy or dizzy after taking it or when waking up the next morning. The effect may be more pronounced with larger doses, which can lead to melatonin levels that are not only much higher than normal in the evening, but may also linger into the morning, Martin said.
Won added that older people might be more susceptible to this hangover effect and waking up still drowsy. But experts said these symptoms are generally mild and go away once people stop using the supplements.
Additionally, some people report having strange, vivid or intense dreams while taking melatonin. One theory is that the hormone appears to somehow be related to REM sleep, which is the phase of sleep in which most dreaming tends to occur, experts said.
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What Are The Symptoms Of A Melatonin Overdose
It is important to note that just because a supplement is unlikely to be lethal, that does not mean that unwanted or troubling side effects cannot occur. Concerning symptoms have been reported with higher doses of melatonin.
Possible symptoms of too much melatonin include:
- Worsening of alopecia areata
Because melatonin can affect the cardiovascular, dermatologic, and central nervous systems, those with other conditions may be vulnerable to additional risks. Evidence suggests that melatonin supplementation may induce depression, particularly in people predisposed to or currently experiencing this malady. Research on this topic, however, is conflicting, since some studies have demonstrated the potential for melatonin to treat depression.
People taking blood thinners, like warfarin, and benzodiazepines should be careful, as there is a possibility for interaction. Those with epilepsy should also exercise caution, as melatonin has been associated with increased seizures.
Research suggests that elderly people, who have lower natural levels of melatonin, may be more sensitive to the effects of melatonin supplements. Therefore, older people are encouraged to check with their doctor before taking melatonin and start with the lowest possible dose.
Uc Expert Says Taking Too Much Melatonin Could Disrupt Our Sleep
According to a research letter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, more people are taking supplemental melatonin, and at increasingly high doses. Researchers point out these findings raise safety concerns since the actual dose of melatonin supplements could be nearly 500% higher than the label indicates. In a story published by Healthline, Sarah Gallucci, DO, of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine was one of the experts cited reacting to the letter.
Sarah Gallucci, DO, of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the UC College of Medicine
Melatonin is considered a dietary supplement and is not FDA approved for safety or effectiveness, confirmed Sarah Gallucci, DO, an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at the UC College of Medicine.
She added that there is an organization that confirms the claimed dosage and purity of some brands.
Supplements that are verified by the United States Pharmacopeial convention are the most reliable, said Gallucci. USP verified supplements are tested to ensure that the potency and amounts match the label and that the product does not contain harmful levels of specified contaminants.
Gallucci added that melatonin is considered generally safe, with few serious adverse effects.
The most common side effects are headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue, she said.
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What Are Signs Of A Melatonin Overdose
If you deal with insomnia, you might do anything for relief. Melatonin is a popular go-to sleep aid because its natural and has a low risk of unwanted side effects.
But while side effects are less common with melatonin compared with other sleep aids, you may experience a few if you overdose and take too much.
There dont appear to be any reports of people dying from overuse of melatonin. But while overuse might not cause death, it can cause a few of the below symptoms:
Theres also the threat of rebound insomnia when theres too much of the hormone in your system. Melatonin may stop working after a while, and your sleep problems could even worsen.
Skip Melatonin For Sleep If
Do not use melatonin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have an autoimmune disorder, a seizure disorder or depression. Talk to your health care provider if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Melatonin supplements may also raise blood-sugar levels and increase blood pressure levels in people taking some hypertension medications.
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Side Effects Of Melatonin In Children
When starting any new vitamin, supplement, or medication, it is important to weigh the risks beforehand. Although more studies need to evaluate risks of taking melatonin long-term, reported side effects in children and adolescents include:
- Increased bedwetting
- Mood swings
Because melatonin is a hormone, some health professionals have suggested that taking it as a supplement could interfere with a childs development. However, several studies have shown no adverse effects in reproductive function or child development.
Melatonin may also interact and interfere with other herbs, supplements, and certain medications. A childs doctor should be aware of any supplements or medications the child is currently taking before they start melatonin.
New Research Finds A Higher Dose Of Melatonin Improved Sleep
In a study published in The Journal of Pineal Research, 5 mg of melatonin increased total sleep time compared to placebo.
In a small study of healthy adults aged 55 and older, 5 mg of melatonin increased total sleep time compared to placebo.
Although recent research by the University of Cambridge and Fudan University found that seven hours is the ideal amount of sleep, many Americans get less than that. In fact, data from the CDC from 2014 found that 35.2% of adults in the U.S. get less than 7 hours of sleep. Clearly, many of us could use help to fall asleep faster and sleep better.
Melatonin is one of the most used supplements in the United States. Among older adults, its use has tripled in the last two decades. But there is no consensus on the right dosage of melatonin, and studies of its effects on sleep quality in older adults have had mixed results. Researchers from Brigham and Womens Hospital conducted a study in 24 healthy, older adults to evaluate whether a high-dose or a low-dose melatonin supplement could improve sleep. The team found that the higher dose had a significant impact, increasing total sleep time compared to placebo by more than 15 minutes for nighttime sleep and by half an hour for daytime sleep. Results are published in The Journal of Pineal Research.
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Additional Steps To Improve Sleep
People with sleep problems can benefit from taking steps to develop healthy sleep habits. Even if melatonin offers relief, improving your sleep routines and environment can promote better sleep quality.
- Optimize your sleep hygiene: Sleep hygiene refers to behaviors that affect sleep quality for better or worse. Guidelines for healthy sleep hygiene include going to bed and waking up at the same times each day, abstaining from caffeine and alcohol in the hours leading up to bed, and maintaining a quiet, relaxing bedroom environment that is conducive to relaxation. It may also help to invest in a better mattress and new bedding.
- Limit your screen time in the evening: Cellphones, tablets, televisions, and computers all feature screens that emit blue light, which can interfere with the circadian rhythm that guides your sleep cycle. Studies have shown that reducing your exposure to screened devices can help you fall asleep more easily.
- Schedule quick afternoon naps: Napping is an effective way for sleep-deprived people to catch up on their daily sleep allotment. However, long naps can make it more difficult for you to fall asleep at your normal bedtime. Naps that last between 10 to 20 minutes are considered ideal because they are long enough to help you feel refreshed afterward without allowing you to enter the deep sleep stages of your sleep cycle.
Is There A Best Dose Of Melatonin
“Melatonin isn’t a drug it’s a hormone released naturally in your own body. When you think about it in that way, the ‘average dose’ is all about finding the replacement or supplemental amount that helps your body get good quality sleep,” says Dr. Mike Dow, Psy.D., Ph.D. From there, though, it’s hard to narrow down an exact dosage. “The fact is that there is no ‘good dose’ that is recommended because, without more research, we don’t have enough guidelines,” Dr. Singh says. “But in the world of medicine, we have a saying: Start low, go slow.” Generally, less than five milligrams is considered a safe place for adults to start taking melatonin to treat short-term sleeplessness and insomnialike on nights when you’re experiencing elevated stress and anxiety levels.
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Why Do We All React Different To Melatonin
Your weight, age, and other medications can affect melatonin’s effectiveness, explains Dr. Rohrscheib. Specifically, the optimal melatonin dosage increases with weight, and the hormone can be less effective when you reach elderly ages. “If the patient has other medical conditions or takes other medications that might interfere,” Dr. Singh says, “then the melatonin may not break down easily. You could end up feeling drowsy or nauseous.”
How Much Melatonin Does Your Body Produce Naturally
The production of melatonin signals your body that its nighttime, allowing you to relax and lowering your body temperature. This helps you transition to sleep easier and promote consistent, quality sleep.4 Most people produce adequate melatonin to sleep on their own, with levels increasing at night and then diminishing in the morning, which is when the hormone cortisol increases, that promote wakefulness. The amount of melatonin the body actually produces varies throughout your lifetime, with levels increasing and decreasing during various life stages.5 Further, the aging process, diet, and stress can all disrupt the bodys normal production of melatonin, which may make quality sleep more difficult.
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How To Choose Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is sold in the U.S. as a dietary supplement and not as a medication. This is a vital distinction because it means that melatonin products are not closely regulated by the Food and Drug Administration .
A wide range of brands with varying formulations and dosages are available over-the-counter in groceries and drug stores, but there are important quality differences to look out for. A study that reviewed 31 melatonin supplements found major inaccuracies in dosage information, and 71% of the tested products were not within 10% of their listed dosage. An incorrect dose of melatonin can have meaningful consequences including a higher risk of side effects and reduced supplement effectiveness.
Some products labeled as only containing melatonin contained impurities or other compounds, such as serotonin, that can pose health risks. Melatonin is often combined with magnesium, valerian root, or other natural sleep aids in supplements, which may further affect the accuracy of dosages and labeling.
Melatonin Dosage For Older Adults
Our melatonin levels naturally , disrupting the sleep-wake cycles for many older adults. As a result, older adults may have an increased sensitivity to melatonin. In a meta-analysis of 16 studies, melatonin dosages between 0.1 milligram and 50 milligrams per kilogram were administered to older adults aged 55 to 77 years old. In all of the studies, the melatonin levels remained higher among the older adults when compared to younger adults and stayed higher for a longer period of time leading to increased daytime drowsiness. The more melatonin the person took, the more pronounced these effects.
As a result, researchers recommend older adults start with the lowest dose of melatonin possible. Lower doses may help older adults sleep better without disrupting their circadian rhythms and causing prolonged drowsiness.
Older adults with dementia should avoid melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
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How Much Melatonin Should I Take
Melatonin supplements are available in a wide range of dosages, from 1 milligram up to 10 milligrams, and can be taken in pill form, as dissolvable tablets, liquid drops, or even gummies. However you take it, the best time to use melatonin is about 30 minutes before bedtime.
If youve never taken melatonin before, start small and work your way up if needed. For adults, Dr. Kohli recommends beginning with a 1 to 2 milligram dose daily and increasing the dosage by another 1 to 2 milligrams at a time. For children, the AAP says the dose should remain low , capping out at no more than 3 to 6 milligrams of melatonin. The maximum dosage for healthy adults ranges from 5 to 10 milligrams. If that sounds like a wide spectrum of normal, its because the right dose of melatonin is very individualized. According to University of Missouri Health Care neurologist Pradeep Bollu, MD, while some people respond well to 3 milligrams daily, others may need more or less. If you feel like you need more than 5 milligrams, you should talk to your doctor first before trying a higher dose. The more melatonin you take the more likely you are to have side effects. Melatonin dosage is fixed according to age, and does not vary by body weight.
Melatonin Dosage For Children
Short-term use of melatonin in small doses appears to be safe and well-tolerated by most children. The effective dosage for children ranges from 0.05 milligrams per kilogram to 5 milligrams of melatonin. When children experience side effects from taking melatonin, theyre typically mild and may include:
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What Is Melatonin Used For
People use melatonin supplements to adjust the bodys internal clock. It is used for jet lag, for adjusting sleep-wake cycles in people whose daily work schedule changes , and for helping blind people establish a day and night cycle. Melatonin is naturally-made, has a low side-effect profile, and there is substantial scientific evidence showing its efficacy.
Melatonin has also been studied for the treatment of cancer, immune disorders, cardiovascular diseases, depression, seasonal affective disorder, and sexual dysfunction. The results of most of these studies remain inconclusive. However, it has been shown to clearly ameliorate seasonal affective disorder and circadian misalignment, in studies by other researchers.
Melatonin: Dosage Reviews & Safety
Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body and made synthetically to promote sleep. It is also a popular supplement used for treating insomnia. Even though there is no conclusive evidence on its effectiveness, sales of melatonin in the US exceeded a billion dollars in 2019. Like all supplements and medications, users should understand the drugs uses, side effects, interactions, and dosages.
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Melatonin Dose For Children
Broadly speaking, Dr. Goldman doesnt have recommendations for children when using melatonin. In most cases with teens or younger children, trouble falling asleep is a behavioral issue or it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. In these cases, Dr. Goldman recommends working with a pediatrician or sleep medicine provider to diagnose the problem before using melatonin.
What Are The Long
Minimal research exists on using melatonin beyond a few months. Therefore, there is much we dont know about its long-term effects. There is not even agreement on what constitutes long-term melatonin use.
Most of the concern around taking melatonin for extended periods centers around its potential to affect reproductive hormones. While the exact mechanism of action is still unclear, some reports indicate that melatonin may inhibit reproductive hormones.
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Is Melatonin Safe For Kids
According to current research, melatonin might be safe for most children when taken short-term, meaning about three months or less in duration. At this time, there is not enough evidence to know whether taking melatonin for longer periods is safe for children or adolescents.
Guidelines for melatonin usage in children focus on its use for diagnosed sleep disorders and in children with certain medical conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Currently, there is limited data on melatonin use in children without these conditions.
Experts suggest working closely with a childs pediatrician when deciding whether to give melatonin to a child or adolescent. In particular, medical professionals emphasize that melatonin should not be used as a way to pressure or force a child to sleep, but should only be given to children with a confirmed medical need.