How Much Melatonin is Too Much?

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Melatonin can be a great, natural way for us all to get some sleep. In our world today, it’s harder than ever to just relax and unplug-we are plagued by work, school, extracurricular activities, screens, and a constant stream of information to take in.

Some of us, then, need extra help getting rest. Melatonin is a great way to do this, but how much melatonin is too much? How can you and your kids stay safe while using it? Check out our article to learn and get information on safe usage.

According to the Mayo Clinic, melatonin taken in appropriate amounts is generally a safe supplement. However, you might experience headache, dizziness, drowsiness, or nausea. Some other side effects that may occur but are generally less common include: feelings of depression (these are short-lived), mild feelings of anxiety, confusion, hypotension (abnormally low blood pressure), cramps and irritability.

Hormonal changes are also part of melatonin’s side effects. It is a hormone after all, and the effects certainly can be serious. If you are a pregnant woman, you should not take melatonin, as it can have an effect on your fetus’s growth.

Furthermore, the libido of men and women can be affected in a negative way, as it affects the sperm count of men and women’s ovulation cycles. If you and your partner are attempting to get pregnant, you should stay away from this supplement. Breastfeeding women should also avoid this supplement.

 You will also want to avoid using machinery and/or driving within five hours of using the supplement.

Headaches are another possible side effect, as previously mentioned. Melatonin is a hormone that’s produced in your brain and taking the hormone may result in a severe morning headache.

Paranoia is another side effect of melatonin that some may experience. Some report feelings of delusions, paranoia, confusion, and hallucinations. Combined with the disorienting feeling that you may get with melatonin, the effects can be rather uncomfortable.

There are some positive side effects when it comes to using melatonin.  One great thing about melatonin is that if you take it correctly, you can avoid the phenomenon known as “sleep inertia”-that groggy, tired feeling you may get after you’ve used a sleep aid.

Another helpful benefit, according to WebMD, is that melatonin might help with winter depression. A small dose of .3 milligrams of melatonin in late afternoon can help with the depression that comes with having shorter days and changing circadian rhythms. However, be sure to talk to a doctor first about this. You will also avoid changing your body clock for the worse.

If you are on certain drugs, you will want to talk to your doctor about the interactions with other drugs. Here are just a few from the Mayo Clinic-talk to your doctor for full information.

Anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs/supplements-Combining melatonin use with these may increase the risk of bleeding.

Diabetes Medications-Melatonin may affect your sugar levels-if you use diabetes medications, use melatonin with caution.

Blood Pressure Drugs-Melatonin can make your blood pressure worse for those taking blood pressure medications.

Anticonvulsants-Melatonin may inhibit anticonvulsants in children affected by neurological disability.

Immunosuppressants-Melatonin can stimulate immune function and thus interfere with immunosuppressive therapy.

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Learn more about: How to Stop Sleep Talking

Can You Overdose on Melatonin and Die?

The answer, to make it fast, is no. You cannot overdose on melatonin. The question is, how much melatonin is too much? And what will happen once you take a very high dosage?

The correct dose amount for each person varies based upon age, your health status, and how you are using the supplement.

So, how much melatonin can you take? It depends on the purpose.  For example, if you’re fighting jet lag or using it for insomnia, the average adult will want to take anywhere from .3 milligrams to five milligrams about 60 minutes before heading to bed. But you must be careful, as there are some supplements that pack ten times that amount into a pill.

You should also be advised that the FDA does not regulate melatonin, as it is a dietary supplement. Therefore, there’s no way to know that what’s printed on the label is what’s actually in the supplement.

One study showed that 70% of the supplements had less, or even more of what they were advertising. One chewable tablet even claimed to have 1.5 milligrams of melatonin, and in reality, it had 9 milligrams. You might even consider purchasing pharmaceutical-grade versions of the supplement online to make sure you are getting the correct amount.

Melatonin is safe to take each night for about one to two months, indicates Buenaver. Make sure to give yourself optimal sleeping conditions, such as keeping the lights low and devices away or filtered so as not to neutralize the melatonin’s effects.

How Long Does It Take for Melatonin to Kick In?

Experts suggest taking melatonin one hour prior to bedtime. Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis Buenaver suggests taking one to three milligrams about two hours before going to bed. This is when melatonin levels begin to rise.

How Can I Optimize My Use?

Making the most of your melatonin will ensure a positive experience for you. Make sure to keep lights on low. Make sure to stop using your smartphone or tablet before sleep, as the blue and green lights from these machines have the capability of neutralizing the effects of melatonin.

If you absolutely must have your smartphone or tablet nearby, download a blue light filter to ease the strain on your eyes. You can check your favorite app store for one, or even purchase a filter in store for use on your device. Says Luis Buenaver, the brain associates this type of light with daytime, which in turn interferes with the sleep-driving effects of melatonin.

Make sure to stay away from the TV by at least six feet. And be sure to turn off bright overhead lights. You can also help your body produce melatonin by exposing yourself to daylight in the morning or afternoon hours. You can sit near a window or door that lets sunlight in or go for a walk outside.

Does Melatonin Make You Sleepy?

The answer is yes, for some people it is more extreme than others. And although you might not feel it at first, the supplement is definitely working. Always be sure to take the appropriate amount. By taking it, you may also modify your internal clock.

An example on WebMD states if you only begin to feel tired at 4 am, you might take a low dose at 11 PM-and you will feel sleepy earlier. You might also use it to get back into a regular sleep schedule.  For example, if you stay up late Saturday and sleep late on Sunday, you could take a dose that afternoon to fall asleep and wake up Monday without the groggy feeling that results from an off-kilter sleep schedule.

Is Melatonin Safe for Kids?

Yes. Children can take melatonin, but it will need to be a smaller dose than what you would give to an adult. Always be sure to speak to their pediatrician to make sure sleep problems are not caused by something greater, like sleep apnea.

However, if your child is going to sleep and then waking up in the night, or having situational sleep problems, melatonin is not the ideal strategy to help treat it. These types of short term problems should be corrected using behavioral changes before using melatonin to treat them.

Children who are afflicted by neurodevelopmental disorders often have difficulty falling asleep, so this is a good aid to help them get rest. Also, children who have developmental disabilities like autism, learning disabilities and cerebral palsy can benefit from melatonin. They can take larger doses. Speak to a doctor for more information about the dose size, and about how much melatonin is too much.


Melatonin is a safe, natural way for you to fall asleep if you are having some trouble. It is non-habit forming, and available at most all of our local pharmacies.  Those of us who keep odd hours due to changing work schedules or jet lag can certainly get some relief with this supplement.

As with anything, you must be safe and smart about your usage to ensure your comfort and well-being. Be sure to follow any and all usage directions on the label for best results. And as with any supplement or drug, be sure to talk to a doctor first before using.

William Smith

William brings over three years of experience to his role as the Lead Reviewer at, specializing in mattresses, bedding, and sleep accessories...Read more

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