We participate in affiliate programs from some of the companies mentioned in this post and earn a commission when you click over from our site. It won't cost you an extra dime (in fact you'll usually get a discount), and I'll get a small commission. (Full Disclosure)
What’s the proper melatonin dosage? What are the side effects of taking the supplements? And can you overdose on melatonin? If you need answers, then you are in the right place.
Melatonin supplements are used to boost the melatonin level in the body and it comes in different forms. Liquid, tablets, capsules, creams, lozenges and sub-lingual tablets forms.
It is derived from animal pineal gland or made in synthetic form.
Research has shown that you can safely use it for short term purposes, Although there has been no documented disadvantage to using it for long term purposes, medical professionals suggest you don’t.
You can use melatonin for any kind of sleep disorder that involves your not being able to cross over to dream land but in most cases bad sleeping habits could be the underlying causative of not being able to sleep properly.
Before I begin to make melatonin sound like “THE ALL POWERFUL SLEEP PROBLEM SOLVER” I must let you know that if you work the night shift and you are sleep deprived or you travel a lot and occasionally suffer from jet lag, the use of the supplements may have little or no effect on you.
Melatonin supplements only work better for some types of insomnia, such as short-term insomnia i.e. insomnia that is transient in nature and occurs due to depression, stress or maybe the loss of a loved one. They are also good when you have sleep disorders such as delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS).
If you choose to use it you must be careful about dosage and I advice that you either read the manufacturer’s manual or get a qualified sleep doctor to give you a prescription. This mostly applies if you are pregnant or have a seasonal affective disorder. And please do not administer it to a child without a doctor’s consent!
There have been reports of people having side effects from an over dose of melatonin. Some people are reported to having a hang over effect, hypothermia, daytime drowsiness and even reduced sex drive!
Liquid Melatonin is a substitute if you do not want to swallow tablets. They have an instant effect on the brain because it is quickly absorbed into the blood stream.
You can get melatonin supplements over the counter in liquid, tablet and sublingual forms. I prefer the liquid form because it is easier to ingest. Some days I am just not in the mood to swallow pills and the liquid form gives me this soothing effect. Am sure most people will agree with this, though choice differs. It comes in 1mg dosage and I take 4 drops 1 hour before I hit my bed.
I have had questions from some of my readers on the side effects of the liquid version of melatonin. First of all let me say that generally it works faster than other forms. Why, you may ask?
Unlike the other forms, the liquid melatonin is absorbed by the mucosa of the mouth and reaches the brain faster. This could take about 3-10 minutes and its reaction sets in. In tablet form, a melatonin supplement has to be broken down and passes through the blood stream before reaching the brain. This takes approximately 20-30 minutes.
Over dosing on melatonin supplements whether liquid or tablet have the same effects. A recent study showed that liquid melatonin can have a stronger side effect in cases of over dosing. This is due to the fact that it is quickly assimilated by the body and can cause instant discomfort.
Liquid melatonin comes in different brands and can be purchased over the counter. I get mine on Amazon.com. Click here to see my favorite brand.
What are Melatonin Supplements for?
Another mistake people make is to use it as a replacement for their best sleeping pill when it is not available. M.S cannot induce sleep like sleeping pills do. Like I said earlier, melatonin is a hormone in your body that is produced by the pineal gland. The supplement “supplements” the melatonin levels produced by the brain in the case of a deficiency there by preparing the body for sleep.
I’d also advice that it is not used during the day. If you use them you could mess up your sleep cycle and induce insomnia or sleep deprivation effects . It is also advised that you use your melatonin supplement 1 hour before sleep time.
Melatonin as a Sleep Aid
Melatonin as a sleep aid is effective and you will hear a lot of phrases about it like, melatonin and menopause, sleep apnea, cancer, and children sleep disorders. But the facts are evident for all to see.
Some people try melatonin supplements as a natural way to treat themselves. Melatonin supplements are made in either synthetic form or from the tissue of the pineal gland of animals(cows).
Most experts advice that melatonin made from animal tissues should be avoided as they could contain viruses or other medical risk.
Apart from being used for the treatment of insomnia, melatonin supplements also aids bone growth, the treatment of jet lag and can help women in menopause recover from irregular sleeping patterns. It can also be used in the treatment of the following medical conditions;
- Delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)
- Insomnia in older people
- Sleep disorders resulting from Alzheimer’s disease
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Sleep disorders related to Bipolar disorder
- Cancer(To treat the sides effects of chemotherapy)
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and
Please do not try to overdose on your usage of melatonin. It is true that there is no known side effect but since it is a hormone related supplement, side effects may take years to show.
Melatonin for Insomnia; Treatment and Dosage Information for Infants and Adults
I use melatonin for insomnia, but sometimes it is really not as effective as other otc sleeping pills. Lets talk more on the facts, benefits and dosage.
My typical dosage is 3mg, 1 hour before bedtime. There are some nights I just can’t find sleep so I take about 5-6 mg per night. Some folks find sleep with just about 0.1-0.3mg. My counsel is this; try 3mg per night for a start and if you still cannot sleep properly after 3 nights, increase your dosage to 5-6mg 1 hour before bedtime.
Why 1 hour you may ask?
You would want your body to assimilate the supplement and 1 hour or so is the ideal time for that to happen. If you take the ideal dosage for your body system, you should start having a restful night sleep in no time.
Another reason you might want to take melatonin is jet lag. If you jettison around the world, you understand that your body’s clock can get wacky and this comes with a lot of symptoms, the least being insomnia or delayed sleep phase syndrome. Melatonin supplements can be used to get your body clock to work well again but you need to get the right dosage. One system that has worked is to take 0.5-5mg once your arrive at your destination.
Melatonin Safety Tips for Adults, Pregnant Women and Children
Certain factors should be adhered to when using melatonin. I have put together a list of things to watch for on this page. Here we go . . .
- You should only take melatonin for short term and not for long term purposes. The side effects of long term dosage is not known but experts say that it is not safe seeing that the negative effect of a long term dosage is hormonal and might not appear for years.
- Melatonin also naturally increases blood clotting. You should not use it if you have a blood clotting disorder or if you are using medications that influence blood clotting such as warfarin (Coumadin).
- If you are a nursing mother or pregnant the use of melatonin is not advised except under a doctor’s guidance.
- People with a history of depression or a family history of depression are also advised to avoid it.
- If you work with heavy machines such as cranes or you are a pilot or you have a job that demands lots of concentration and alertness you don’t want to be messing around with melatonin either. The effect could be detrimental to you because of the side effects of melatonin supplements.
Medical professionals believe that melatonin made from cow pineal gland can contain certain viruses and so melatonin supplements has been banned in many countries including Germany, Canada, Britain and some other European countries.
Melatonin supplements still being used in the United States are in synthetic form although store owners will tell you that they are “all natural”. In the US today you can buy melatonin only as a supplement and not a drug and it can be gotten over the counter without a doctor’s prescription.
Can I Take 20mg of Melatonin?
Your Melatonin Dosage should not exceed 3-5mg for adults and 2mg for children.
In rare cases some people have taken over 20mg with no visible melatonin side effects. This does not mean you should do the same, seeing that melatonin is a hormonal drug and the side effects could take years to appear.
The truth is that there is no safe or unsafe dosage for melatonin. It’s like they say different strokes for different folks. The general belief though is that normal doses should range between 0.3- 5 mg and should be taken just before bedtime. If this does not work for you, try taking the supplement earlier in the evening for a better effect.
You should not use melatonin supplements for long term purposes. You should avoid using it during the day as this can causes drowsiness or give you a hang over effect.
There is no straightforward path to melatonin dosages, so all you can do is to be careful how you use it. Start with small doses just before bed and watch the results. If you wake in the morning feeling groggy or drowsy you should lower the dosage and if you did not sleep well as you had anticipated, then you should up your dosage a little. The secret is to find what works for you and stick to it.
Can you OD on melatonin? How much melatonin is safe?
Melatonin Overdose is not really dangerous, but the timed release of melatonin can cause drug interactions that can be detrimental to your health and even cause death.
Too much of anything including melatonin is bad. But just in case you plan on “oding” on melatonin here is why you should not.
The human body produces about 0.1mg of melatonin daily. An overdose simply means that you have ingested over 20-50 mg. The basic dosage that most melatonin supplements contain is between 3-5 mg per tablet. The results you get might differ from your next door neighbor due to diverse medical reasons. Symptoms could include the following;
- Liver Issues
- Eye Issues
- Speech Impediment and
- Psychotic Thought Patterns
If you suspect you or someone else has overdosed on melatonin you need to seek medical attention immediately. The symptoms will have to be treated.
Overdose may also lower your blood pressure beyond normal. Patients with high blood pressure, liver or nerve disorders should be pre-screened before being offer melatonin.
Side Effects of taking Melatonin as a sleep aid
The side effects of taking melatonin vary from person to person. There have been little or no side effect, as long you take the right dosage and do not over dose.
Melatonin like most other drugs or supplements comes with it’s own attendant side effects of, though it is not the same side effects of sleeping pills. Sometimes most people are to blame for these side effects. One way you could initiate a side effect is taking melatonin during the day or using a melatonin overdose. Some of the side effects that come with melatonin include the following;
- Lucid Dreams or Nightmares
- Abdominal Cramps
- General Discomfort
- Sleep walking and
A recent study showed that one side effects of melatonin overdose is that it reduces your production of estrogen, such that it acts as a birth control pill.
There have been some cases in the past where people complained about more advanced side effects such as,
- Low Blood pressure ( Thus good for people with high blood pressure) and
- Allergic Reactions.
Most of these side effects are usually short term and pass away before you know it but there can also be other long term effects on you when using melatonin supplements daily as a sleep aid.
Medically speaking, the long term effects they are still being investigated seeing that melatonin supplements are still new to the market. Like with most drugs you just have to be responsible with dosage.
Melatonin and Drug interactions
There is the issue though of melatonin and drug interactions. A drug interaction is simply when the ingestion of a drug reacts with another drug or with your system to produce a hazardous side effects.
Not all drugs would trigger a reaction with melatonin supplements, as melatonin occurs naturally in the brain. In case you are on medication and you want to find out what drugs can possibly react with melatonin and have side effects in your body, this page should answer any question you have.
Melatonin and Drug Interactions
Melatonin supplement is used to balance your sleep cycle rhythm when it is out of order. This could happen because of jet lag or working shifts. Based on this fact, it is not advised to combine melatonin supplements and sedatives as it may cause heavy drowsiness. My advice is that you should stay away from heavy machinery or driving if you feel drowsy.
Melatonin supplements have the potential to increase your blood sugar while diabetic medications are used to lower your blood sugar level. When these two are combined, the diabetic drugs will have little or no effect.
Adequate sleep is good to help the body boost its immune system and melatonin supplements can help your sleep cycle readjust to its normal state when it has been altered. Immunosuppressant drugs are used by those suffering from immune system disorders like systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis. Combining these drugs with melatonin would make them ineffective as melatonin has the tendency to increase the strength of your immune system.
Anticoagulants have also been found to interact with melatonin as melatonin slows down the process of blood clotting. Taking melatonin with anticoagulants increases the chances of less blot clot during bleeding.
People using antidepressants have also been cautioned against the use of melatonin as adequate information has not been gathered about it’s interaction with melatonin. Few studies have only reported that some people complained of serious drowsiness, confusion, memory loss, breathing difficulties, itching and vomiting the day after, due to the fact that antidepressants already increases the level of melatonin production by the body.
Pregnant women or people trying to get pregnant are also advised to stay away from melatonin supplements as they might have a birth control effect. Research is still in progress to find out if melatonin supplements might have any effect on the expected baby.
Breastfeeding mothers should be also cautious about melatonin and are been advised to talk to their doctors about taking melatonin supplements as their sleep cycle could be altered during the first 3 months.
If you take alcohol or drugs or even caffeine, it is advisable to stay away from melatonin as it might cause headaches and also cause a altered sleep pattern.
Here is a list of Melatonin and Drug Interactions.
Aripiprazle (Abilify), Chlrprmazine (Thrazine), Clzapine (Clzaril, FazaCl), Fluphenazine (Prlixin) lanzapine (Zyprexa, Symbyax), Perphenazine (Trilafn), Paliperidne (Invega) , Quetiapine ,(Serquel), Risperidne (Risperdal), Thiridazine (Mellaril), Trifluperazine (Stelazine), Ziprasidne (Gedn)
Amobarbital (Amyta), Butalbital (Fioricet, Fiorinal), Pentobarbital (Nembutal), Phenobarbital(Luminal), Secobarbital (Seconal).
Alprazlam (Xanax, Xanax XR), Chlrdiazepxide (Librium, Limbitrl, Librax), Clnazepam (Klnpin) Clrazepate (Tranxene) ,Diazepam (Valium), Estazlam (PrSm), Flurazepam (Dalmane) ,Lrazepam (Ativan), Midazlam (Versed), Temazepam (Restril), Triazlam (Halcin), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien).
Amitriptyline (Elavil)Amoxapine (Asendin)Bupropion (Budeprion XL, Budeprion™ SR, Buproban™, Wellbutrin SR, Wellbutrin XL, Wellbutrin, Zyban)Citalopram (Celexa)Clomipramine (Anafranil)Desipramine (Norpramin)Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq™)Doxepin (Sinequan)Duloxetine (Cymbalta)Escitalopram (Lexapro)Fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Selfemra™)Fluvoxamine (Luvox, Luvox CR)Imipramine hydrochloride (Tofranil)Imipramine pamoate (Tofranil PM)Isocarboxazid (Marplan)Maprotiline (Ludiomil)Mirtazapine (Remeron)Nefazodone (Serzone)Nortriptyline (Pamelor)Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva)Phenelzine (Nardil)Protriptyline (Vivactil)Selegiline (Emsam)Sertraline (Zoloft)Tranylcypromine (Parnate)Trazodone (Desyrel).Trimipramine (Surmontil) Venlafaxine (Effexor, Effexor XR).
Calcium channel blockers:
Amlodipine (Norvasc),Diltiazem (Cardizem, Cardizem CD, Cardizem LA, Cartia XT, Dilacor XR, Dilt-CD, Diltia XT, Dilt-XR, Taztia XT, Tiazac),Felodipine (Plendil),Isradipine (Dynacirc, Dynacirc CR),Nisoldipine (Sular),Nicardipine (Cardene, Cardene SR),Nifedipine (Adalat CC, Afeditab CR, Nifediac CC, Nifedical XL, Procardia, Procardia XL), Nimodipine (Nimotop)
glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase).
azathioprine (Imuran), basiliximab (Simulect), cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), daclizumab (Zenapax), muromonab-CD3 (OKT3, Orthoclone OKT3), mycophenolate (CellCept), tacrolimus (FK506, Prograf), sirolimus (Rapamune), prednisone (Deltasone, Orasone), corticosteroids (glucocorticoids).
aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven).