Melatonin—Uses | Dosage | What Are The Side Effects Of Melatonin?

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain [1], and it helps regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles [2].

It is also available as a dietary supplement, commonly used as a sleep aid.

Although Melatonin supplements are generally considered safe, with a low risk of side effects, there is a lack of long-term research on the safety and efficacy of melatonin supplementation, and that’s why its growing popularity has raised some concerns.

Additionally, Melatonin has a wide range of effects as a hormone, which all users may not desire. Nevertheless, Melatonin remains an effective and safe option for many people who struggle with sleep. Still, it’s essential to talk to a doctor before taking them, especially if you have any medical conditions.

Melatonin can be made in laboratories and can be purchased without a prescription. It is available in many forms like pills, gummies, and syrups. Melatonin is known as an over-the-counter dietary supplement in the US and is a prescription drug in the UK and Europe.

Melatonin Uses

Melatonin is a popular sleep aid that can help you deal with the following conditions;

  • Recover from Jet lag—is a temporary sleep problem that can affect people who quickly travel across multiple time zones. Melatonin has been widely studied, and the latest research suggests that it is remarkably effective in preventing or reducing jet lag and helps induce sleep during times when you wouldn’t usually be resting. [3
  • Insomnia—is sleeplessness in which you have trouble falling and staying asleep. Supplementing with Melatonin can help with short-term insomnia. 
  • Melatonin also adjusts the sleep cycle and supports better sleep.
  • Shift work sleep problems—According to a study, Melatonin may be a successful treatment for shift workers with difficulty falling asleep. [4]
  • It may help reduce symptoms of seasonal depression, [5]
  • Your doctor can also prescribe it for chronic pain,
  • Dementia—Is the loss of cognitive functions, and research suggests that Melatonin can treat it. However, experts don’t recommend it for older adults because other prescriptions and approved drugs work better than this one. ­
  • It also improves eye health, [6]
  • Irritable bowel syndrome—Melatonin was identified as possibly helpful in IBS especially for pain associated with the IBS. [7]
  • Provide relief from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD, [8]
  • It may also increase the level of human growth hormone (HGH) in the body and can work as an antiaging agent. [9]
  • It may also be used in cancer treatment and chemo and radiation therapy, but studies on cancer treatment and side effects are limited. [10]

What are the side effects of Melatonin?

what are the side effects of melatonin

Generally, It doesn’t cause any severe side effects. Still, as we know, it affects our hormone levels, so its most common side effect can be drowsiness, which some may notice in their morning hours after taking it late at night or reducing the dosage over time if needed. Here is a list of Melatonin side effects;

  • Dizziness
  • Day time sleepiness
  • Nausea
  • Headache,
  • sleepiness,
  • A cold feeling,
  • Possible allergic reaction risk

It may interact with other medications like blood thinners, antihypertensive drugs, antidiabetics, contraceptives, and antidepressant drugs. So it’s better to avoid concurrent use.

Recent studies show that this ingredient is safe, non-toxic, and non-addictiveHowever, few reported minor adverse effects such as dizziness, headache, and nausea. If you experience any other side effects, you can contact your doctor as soon as possible.

How Does Melatonin Work?

The amino acid L-tryptophan is a crucial building block for melatonin production. This sleep-inducing hormone helps regulate our circadian rhythm and can be used as an effective treatment against insomnia or jet lag.

When it’s dark, the levels of this hormone are high; It lowers your blood pressure and body temperature to induce a mood for sleep.

This hormone binds to receptors in your body to reduce the level of dopamine, a neurotransmitter molecule that helps you stay awake [11]. Melatonin also binds to other receptors in your body to help you relax. 

Is Melatonin Safe In Children?

Melatonin supplements are safe for most children to use, but there isn’t enough research on them, and it’s hard to find information about their long-term effects [12]. Since Melatonin is a hormone that could affect hormonal development, including puberty or menstrual cycles, among other things, we don’t know how this will impact your child until more studies have been completed.

How much Melatonin should I take—Melatonin Dosage?

Melatonin supplements typically range in dose from 0.5 mg to 10 mg per day. The usual recommended melatonin dosage is 1-5 mg, and it depends on the person’s age, weight, and medical history [13]. Melatonin is generally safe for most people when taken at the recommended dosage. However, side effects can occur when taking too much Melatonin or taking it at the wrong time of day.

The FDA does not regulate Melatonin, so we don’t know how it will affect you. If your goal is to sleep better and feel less anxious or stressed during waking hours after taking melatonin supplements (or trying out this supplement), try going low-consuming doses for shorter periods until they find their sweet spot.

Use the lowest dosage, to begin with, children. The dosage for children is often 0.5 to 1 mg taken 1–2 hours before bedtime, though some may need higher doses if they have trouble sleeping after an hour without medicine in their system; increase this by adding another half-mg every few days until the desired effect is achieved.

You will need to take modified-release melatonin pills with food, while the immediate-release formulation should be taken on an empty stomach 2 hours before eating. The ideal time for taking Melatonin is 1-2 hours before bedtime.

Can I take 10 mg of Melatonin?

The optimum dosage for Melatonin in adults has not been determined. In most cases, doses up to 10mg are safely used. However, it is believed that the higher end of this range may be harmful, and people should start low and then move up slowly if they notice encouraging results.

Can I take 20mg of Melatonin?

The dose is still not adjusted, but most studies have safely used 5-10mg per day. 20mg per day may not cause side effects, but it’s better to start from a low dose and don’t overdose to avoid severe side effects. Please note that, taking melatonin above 5 mg is unlikely to help you fall asleep faster. The goal is to find the lowest dose that enables you to sleep.

Can you overdose on Melatonin?

Yes, 100% excess of anything can cause unwanted side effects. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the body, but taking too much supplemental Melatonin can disrupt circadian rhythms and other unwanted side effects. Please consult your doctor if you have overdosed on this ingredient.

  • According to a CDC report, melatonin overdoses in kids are increased by 530%, with 260,435 ingestions reported in the last decade.

Common signs of Melatonin overdose are;

  • Headache
  • Stomach upset
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • High blood pressure

Is Melatonin Safe?

This ingredient is tolerated well and is generally considered safe to use in a specific dose, but long-term studies for safety and efficacy are lacking. So researchers suggest using the minimum possible dose to avoid any adverse events.

Who Can’t Take Melatonin?

Please don’t use this ingredient in the following conditions or consult your doctor before using Melatonin in the following conditions;

  • Pregnancy & BreastFeeding—There are no reported side effects of its use in pregnancy. Still, it’s recommended to avoid it during pregnancy and breastfeeding because of not enough reliable information on its safety and efficacy. 
  • Bleeding Disorders—Don’t take it if you have bleeding disorders because it may further worsen the condition. 
  • Depression—Melatonin can make symptoms of depression worse. So, If you’re struggling with depression, you might want to steer clear of this common sleep aid.
  • Seizure—People who take Melatonin may have an increased risk for seizures, so it’s essential to consult your doctor before using this supplement.
  • Blood Pressure—Melatonin may increase blood pressure in people already taking medications to control it. Avoid using this supplement if you’re on these pills and want the benefits without any risks associated with their side effects. 

Foods That Contain Melatonin

The hormone is found in several foods like nuts or eggs and can be a vital part of achieving good health. It may help regulate sleep patterns and keep us safe from diseases like cancer. Here is a list of foods that contain Melatonin;

  • Goji berries
  • Mushrooms
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Fish
  • Milk
  • Tart cherries
  • Grapes
  • Peppers
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

Bottom Line

Overall, Melatonin is an efficacious supplement for preventing and treating sleep-related issues. This ingredient may offer other benefits as well.

It is generally considered safe to use with very low reported side effects. A low dose of 0.5–1 mg 30 minutes before bed can help with insomnia and jet lag, but you can increase the dose up to 5mg if it doesn’t work well.

Like always, we recommend talking to your doctor or pharmacist before starting this or any other medicine or supplement. They can determine whether it’s right for you or not based on your medical conditions.

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