Melatonin is a popular supplement used to improve sleep quality and regulate the body's internal clock. However, it's important to take the right dosage to avoid potential side effects. In this guide, we'll cover the recommended melatonin dosage for adults and children, as well as safety considerations and potential interactions with other medications.
What is Melatonin and How Does it Work?
The process of melatonin production is tied to the amount of light around you12. Your melatonin level usually starts to rise after the sun sets and stays high during the night12. It then drops in the early morning, which helps you wake up12.
Melatonin helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle by increasing drowsiness and lowering body temperature4.
It also helps reduce anxiety and stress levels4.
Melatonin supplements are commonly used to treat insomnia and other sleep disorders, as well as to alleviate jet lag and shift work sleep disorder5.
Factors That Affect Melatonin Dosage
There are many factors that can affect melatonin dosage2.
Some of these factors include:
2. Body weight
3. Sensitivity to melatonin
4. Type and severity of sleeping disturbances6
5. Nutritional factors6
6. Exposure to daylight and nighttime darkness6
7. Alcohol consumption2
9. Caffeine consumption2
10. Shift work2
12. Certain medications2
13. Exposure to too much light at night including blue light2
It is important to note that there are no official dosing recommendations for melatonin as it is not classified as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)2.
More research is needed to determine the optimal melatonin dose for different age groups and health conditions2.
Recommended Melatonin Dosages for Different Conditions
Melatonin dosages vary depending on age, body weight, and sensitivity to melatonin7.
The right dosage also depends on the type and severity of the sleeping disturbances you may be experiencing7.
For general sleep support in adults, a dosage of 0.3 to 5 milligrams is typically recommended8.
Older adults may find doses lower than 1 milligram to be effective8.
For jet lag, a dosage of 0.5 to 8 milligrams taken at bedtime in the destination time zone is recommended8.
For shift work disorder, a dosage of 1.8 to 12 milligrams taken before bedtime is recommended8.
Children should not take melatonin unless recommended by a doctor8.
Melatonin dosage for pregnant or breastfeeding people should be avoided without first consulting their doctor8.
It's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your specific needs.
Once again, it must be noted that there are no official dosing recommendations for melatonin as it is not classified as a drug by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)9.
Potential Side Effects and Risks of Taking Too Much Melatonin
In rare cases, it can cause an allergic reaction10.
If you experience any of the following side effects after taking melatonin, you should contact poison control or your local emergency number immediately13:
Extremely high blood pressure
Shortness of breath
Sudden chest pain
It’s important to note that melatonin can interact with certain medications such as blood thinners and antidepressants10. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your doctor before taking melatonin if you’re on any medication10.
Tips for Safely Using Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin is generally safe to take, but it can have side effects and shouldn’t be used by everyone14.
If you find you need more, you can slowly take more over time1.
Select a product with the USP Verified mark, as it’s more likely to be of higher quality17.
Talk with a healthcare professional before adding OTC melatonin to your routine15.
If you’re having trouble with sleep and can’t take melatonin or it doesn’t work, you can do things like work on improving your sleep schedule and sleep environment14.