How Much Melatonin Should You Take? 7 Melatonin Dosage Tips – DrFormulas

How Much Melatonin Should You Take? 7 Melatonin Dosage Tips

melatonin dosage tips

Melatonin is a hormone produced by your pineal gland, an endocrine gland located at the base of your brain. Melatonin controls your sleep-wake cycles, or circadian rhythms, by essentially signaling to your body when it is time to go to sleep and wake up. 

Your body’s internal clock and the amount of light you are exposed to affect how much melatonin you create. Generally, toward the end of the day, your body naturally creates more melatonin, making you sleepy. By early morning or sunrise, your melatonin levels drop off, causing you to wake up.1

However, your melatonin can easily fluctuate based on various environmental factors. Shorter, darker days in winter can interfere with your natural sleep cycle by causing you to produce melatonin earlier than usual. Recently, blue light from computer and phone screens has become a big problem as it suppresses the secretion of melatonin, which ultimately prevents you from getting a full, restful night of sleep.2

Whether you have a melatonin deficiency or general insomnia, taking a melatonin supplement can help to support good sleep and return your sleep cycle to normal. However, understanding just how much you should take is key to maintaining good sleep and avoiding drowsiness during the day. Remember that melatonin is a sleep regulator, not a sleep initiator. Read on to learn more about melatonin dosage. 

Optimal Dosage for Melatonin

People struggling with sleep issues often make the mistake of taking too much melatonin at once assuming that that’s the best way to get better sleep. Excessive melatonin can just disrupt your sleep cycle and cause serious side effects (more on this later), so it’s always best to consult your doctor if you aren’t sure.

For insomnia and occasional sleeplessness, the average adult typically takes 0.2 milligrams to 5 milligrams about an hour before bedtime. As a sudden rush of melatonin may be too much, start with the smallest dose of 0.2 milligrams. Once your body adjusts, you can increase your dosage as needed.3  A study from MIT shows that adults over 50 should take 0.3 milligrams of melatonin to maintain good sleep throughout the night.4 

Melatonin Dose Chart

The optimal dosage can differ depending on your needs and the reason for taking melatonin.5 

Usage

Dose

Length

Insomnia

2 to 3 mg before bed

Up to 29 weeks

Sleep problems related to sleep-wake cycle disturbances

2 to 12 mg before bed

Up to 4 weeks

Trouble falling asleep

0.3 to 5 mg before bed

Up to 9 months

Sleep disorders in blind people

0.5 to 5 mg before bed

Up to 6 years

Jet lag

0.5 to 8 mg at bedtime, on the day of arrival

Continue for 2 to 5 days

 

Melatonin Dosage for Kids vs. Adults

Kids can have a variety of sleep issues themselves, but they also tend to be much more sensitive to any supplements, melatonin included. Generally, melatonin should only be taken for children with neurodevelopmental disorders who often have sleep issues. Kids with certain developmental disorders may also take melatonin as needed and as recommended by your doctor.6 

melatonin benefits

Melatonin Benefits 

Although melatonin is best known for its usage as a natural sleep remedy that supports regular circadian rhythms, it offers several other benefits as well. 

  • Managing jet lag – When you’re traveling across time zones, the last thing you want is for your sleep to ruin your trip. Jet lag can work itself out as your body’s clock slowly adjusts, but supplementing with melatonin can help to jumpstart the process and reset your sleep-wake cycle.
  • Antioxidant properties – Studies have found that melatonin acts as a powerful antioxidant that may stimulate antioxidative enzymes and improve the efficiency of other antioxidants. Antioxidants work to fight off free radicals, a natural product of oxidation that can cause cellular damage.7
  • Improved immune system – Along with its effects as an antioxidant, melatonin may help strengthen the immune system. Studies suggest that melatonin may act as an immune buffer that may stimulate immunity and ease inflammation.8
  • Relieve stress – Research show that stressful events can change melatonin levels thanks in part to the effects of cortisol, the main stress hormone. Supplementing with melatonin can help to rebalance melatonin levels and support calm.9 

Can You Overdose on Melatonin? 

Melatonin is generally safe in the short-term and has a low risk for overdose. However, because its effects can vary from person to person, you may accidentally find yourself taking too much of it as a means of overcompensation. While it likely won’t be fatal on its own, taking too much melatonin can potentially cause you to feel sleepy during unexpected and unintended times, which can be a problem if you are driving, operating heavy machinery, or otherwise in a potentially dangerous situation. 

Potential symptoms of a melatonin overdose may include: 

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Diarrhea, upset stomach, and other digestive issues
  • Joint pains10 

Melatonin Side Effects 

Side effects from melatonin are uncommon, and even at higher doses, melatonin is relatively nontoxic. Some people can potentially experience side effects, including: 

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Digestive issues that may include nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, and stomach pains
  • Pain in the back or joints
  • Changes in blood pressure11 

Melatonin and Alcohol 

Alcohol can cause some serious problems when mixed with melatonin. Alcohol disrupts sleep patterns on its own, which can potentially interfere with melatonin’s effectiveness. However, alcohol naturally acts as a depressant, meaning it slows down the central nervous system, which slows down your thinking, behaviors, and actions and makes you drowsy. Given the situation, alcohol could either strengthen or weaken the effects of melatonin. The biggest safety concerns involve: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Passing out
  • Respiratory problems
  • Dizziness 

The combined effects can put you at a greater risk of accidents or losing consciousness.12 

DrFormulas™ Natural Herbal Sleep Aid Pills for Kids and Adults are specially formulated to support healthy circadian rhythms and more restful sleep. Along with 1 mg melatonin per capsule, each pill contains L-theanine, magnesium, and GABA to promote healthy neurologic activity while you sleep for more calm, rest, and relaxation. To learn more about our supplements, contact us today. 

Sources:

  1. https://sleep.org/articles/melatonin/
  2. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side
  3. https://sleep.org/articles/how-much-melatonin-to-take/
  4. https://news.mit.edu/2001/melatonin-1017
  5. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-940/melatonin
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320094.php
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14740000
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3645767/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18410583
  10. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320094.php
  11. https://www.drugs.com/melatonin.html
  12. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319559.php

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