When it comes to sleeping supplements, melatonin happens to be one of the most popular in the world.

Statistics indicate that there are more than three million people in the united states who rely on melatonin to help them sleep at night. The hormone occurs naturally in the human body, is safe and compared to the everyday sleeping aids, it is not addictive.

Melatonin dosage information
Melatonin dosage information

Melatonin supplements are relatively safe as long as you use them in small doses. They assist in helping the body remain healthy while making it easier for one to fall asleep. It is, however, very important to ensure that you seek the advice of a medical professional before you start using this supplement to help you with your sleeping problems.

One important thing to note is that you should never use this supplement during the day, or exceed the recommended dosage. Some important facts to note about this sleeping aid include:

  • It is currently one of the most popular sleeping aids in the world
  • There are more than three million people in the US alone who use it every night before going to bed
  • The hormone is naturally produced by your brain
  • It is completely safe to use, as long as you stick to the recommended dosage

In this article, we are going to look at melatonin dosage for adults and children, overdose symptoms, and what to do in case you overdose on the supplement.

How much melatonin should you take for sleep?

Timing is an essential factor for any person that is using melatonin. You need to remember that the body only produces this hormone when it gets dark outside. Therefore, if you take this supplement during the day or in the early evening hours before darkness sets in, you risk throwing your body’s natural cycle off balance. You should always aim to maintain this cycle.

This supplement can be quite beneficial for people whose sleep cycle has already been disrupted. For instance, if you have been flying across various time zones or if you have had a number of successive late nights in the office, and are no longer able to fall asleep.

When you are in such a situation, taking a melatonin supplement will make it easier for you to fall asleep quicker. Another factor that you need to be aware of pertains to your age. As the body is growing older, it starts to produce reduced amounts of melatonin. For a person above the age of sixty who is waking up in the middle of the night, and struggling to fall asleep, the reason may be attributed to having low melatonin levels. So how much melatonin should you take?

Is the dosage by weight a factor?

Dosage by weight is always a factor, particularly when one is dealing with pills. Unlike normal medications, the dosage for melatonin is established in terms of milligrams (mg). You have to follow the recommended dosage for the prescribed condition or else you risk overdosing on this supplement.

Liquid melatonin

Liquid melatonin is recommended for people who would rather not ingest pills. It is considered to have an insane effect on your brain as it gets absorbed into your blood much faster than the tablets.

Many people prefer the liquid form of melatonin as it is simpler to ingest. The liquid comes in a dosage of 1mg, and one is required to take at least four drops of the liquid at least one hour before they have to sleep.

The reason why this form works faster than all the others is because it normally gets absorbed by the mucosa that is in your mouth. As a result, it is able to reach the brain faster than all the other forms. Normally, it takes between three and ten minutes for it to be absorbed and for the reaction to set in.

A recent study has shown that overdosing on liquid melatonin would normally lead to very strong side effects. The reason being that it is absorbed much more quickly than all the other forms, leading to instant discomfort.

Melatonin pills

For people taking melatonin pills, the correct dosage is a single capsule which weighs 1mg. this must be taken at night before you go to bed. The best time to do so would be at least half an hour you sleep.

It is important to note that with melatonin, there are instances when less can be more. For instance, when it comes to the 3mg tablet, you should not take it as a sleeping aid, as it is meant to act as an anti-oxidant.

There are those that are able to get quality sleep after taking melatonin, while others end up with insomnia. If you are uncertain about any information pertaining to the dosage, be sure to consult with your pharmacist or doctor.

What is the correct and safe dosage?

Melatonin dosage for adults with insomnia

Melatonin is available in dissolvable lozenges, topical creams, capsules, and tablets. You can either purchase it in a slow release form or in the rapid release form. The FDA is yet to release a standard dosage for adults taking this supplement.

For any person that is taking melatonin, the best practice involves starting with a small dose before making gradual increases. An increase should only be made if it is noted that the small dosage is not helping one fall asleep.

The supplement can also be found in the extended time release format that provides for gradual release of its ingredients. There are medical experts who have stated that the time release formats at times mimic the release of the hormone from the brain.

The dosage for adults include:

  • For insomnia or sleep: adults taking melatonin to help them combat insomnia can take a dose of between .3 and 3mg at least sixty minutes before they are scheduled to get into bed. If the 3mg does not have any effect even after taking it for a period of three days, then try and increase the dosage to between 5 and 6mg.
  • Disrupted sleep-wake cycle: here, you will need to take between 2 and 12mg each night before bed. You should, however, not take it for more than four weeks.
  • Long-term sleeping difficulties: take between two and three milligrams each night before going to bed. Ensure that you do not take it for more than twenty-nine weeks. It is, however, important to make sure that you consult your physician if you are to take this supplement for a duration that exceeds four weeks.
  • Blood pressure regulation: for those that want to control their blood pressure, they should consider taking between two and three milligrams each night. Such individuals will need to take melatonin in its controlled release form for a period of not more than four weeks. Do not self-medicate. Therefore, ensure that you have consulted a physician before using this supplement for blood pressure regulation.

Melatonin dosage for kids (2 and 3-year olds)

Dosage chart

There are instances where kids are given melatonin to assist them fall asleep, or as an adjunct therapy treatment for ADHD. Kids with autism may also be given this supplement. You must ensure that you do not give this supplement to your child before first consulting with a medical professional.

The dosage for young children will normally be lower than that of small children. A dose of between one and five milligrams is considered to be dangerous to small children and can cause them to have seizures.

According to information available on the natural medicines database, melatonin has safely been used in children undergoing minor surgeries, with doctors using a dosage of .3mg/kg. However, the dietary supplement should not be used by children for a long time as it can interfere with the development of their gonads.

It is essential that you consult the child’s physician before giving your child melatonin. The doctor will examine the child and determine whether the supplement is right for them. If it is, they will recommend the correct dosage based on the kid’s age, medical history, and body weight.

What is the right dosage for pregnant women?

Melatonin is increasingly becoming popular with women who would like to sleep better. It is a supplement that also plays an important part in reproductive health. But to-date, it is still not clear on whether melatonin is actually safe for pregnant women or not.

As mentioned earlier, the hormone is naturally produced by the body, and one of its main functions is to make sure that your body remains on the twenty-four-hour clock cycle. The cycle is commonly referred to as the circadian rhythm which ensures that you get to wake up in the morning and sleep during night time.

The placenta and the ovaries are normally able to produce high levels of this hormone, and utilize it during pregnancy and birth. Their levels will normally rise when the woman is twenty-four weeks pregnant, and rise even further during the thirty second week of pregnancy.

It works hand in hand with the oxytocin hormone in promoting labor as well as delivery. Normally, the levels are high very late at night and in the early morning hours, and is the reason many women go into labor in the morning or in the evening.

This hormone can also be found in the amniotic fluid. Children in the womb will normally rely on the melatonin being supplied by their mothers when they are in the womb and even after birth, until the ninth week. As such, taking these supplements may have an effect on both mother and baby.

Is It safe to take these supplements?

The body produces its own melatonin all the time. The question of whether a woman should or should not take the supplements is, therefore, very debatable. It is important to note that just because something is not natural does not mean that it is safe. In case you choose to take these supplements during your pregnancy, be sure to inform your doctor so that you can be informed of any possible risks or complications.

Currently, the supplement has not been proven safe for consumption during pregnancy. The fact that there is no set dosage for it also makes it tricky for a woman to go to a pharmacy and buy it off the shelf.

If used for a short time, it is considered to be safe, but the effects that it may pose when used for a long time are yet to be proven. A study conducted on animals noted that using melatonin during pregnancy had a negative effect on the baby mortality, birth weight, and maternal weight.

Some of the side effects that were seen included:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea

Benefits

Studies conducted on human beings to determine the benefits possessed by melatonin have shown that there is a correlation between the supplement and the outcome of the pregnancy. Benefits that a fetus can get from melatonin use include:

  • Provides protection against neurobehavioral disorders
  • Assists in the development of the brain
  • It can protect cells from being damaged
  • Reduces the risk of intrauterine growth retardation

For a pregnant woman, some of the benefits include:

  • Improves sleep patterns for women who work at night
  • Increases fertility
  • Improves placenta functioning
  • Decreases preeclampsia risks
  • Reduces the risk of a preterm birth

How to take the supplements

Many supplements come as a pill or liquid supplement that can be taken orally. A normal dose comprises of between one and three milligrams. It is a dose that has been seen to elevate melatonin levels up to twenty times higher than the normal levels in your body. You should ask your doctors the amount of melatonin that you should take before you can start using the supplement.

If you choose to take these supplements, it will be best to make sure that you do not take them daily as this may affect your circadian rhythm.

Where can you buy melatonin supplements

It is essential that you consult your healthcare provider before you start taking any new supplements. For melatonin, no prescription is required. You can easily buy it from your local health food store or drugstore.

You should, however, note that the FDA does not regulate melatonin supplements as it does other medications. As such, you are not assured of getting quality products. But the FDA ensures that the supplement bottles are not mislabeled or tampered with.

The brands are required to ensure that their supplements are pure and safe for consumption. To find a brand that can be trusted, you can carry out a search online, or ask your doctor for recommendations.

How much to melatonin to take for jet lag

An adult can take a daily dose of between .5 and 5mg each night at least one hour before their bedtime. Normally, this should be taken after they have arrived to where they were traveling to. Alternatively, you can take a dose of between one and five milligrams sixty minutes before you sleep each night for two nights before you are due to travel. And for three days after arriving to your destination.

Safety information and tips

Is there a safe dose of melatonin for sleep disorders?

There are certain factors that you will need to adhere to when you are using melatonin to help you sleep. They include:

  1. The supplement should only be taken for short duration of times. If taken for too long, you may experience some side effects which may interfere with the way your body functions.
  2. It increases the blood clotting process. People who have blood clotting disorders should not use the supplement. Additionally, any person that is taking medication aimed at influencing the blood clotting process ought to stay away from this supplement.
  3. Nursing mothers should not use melatonin, unless they receive the proper advice and guidance from their physicians.
  4. A person who is suffering from depression, or whose family has a history of depression should also avoid taking this supplement.
  5. Individuals who work with heavy machines or whose job requires them to concentrate on what they are doing are also advised to stay away from the supplement. Its effects may affect the way they discharge their duties.

Certain medical experts believe that supplements that have been made from the pineal gland in cows could contain some viruses. As a result, there are melatonin supplements that have been banned in countries, e.g., Britain, Canada, and Germany.

The ones that are in use in the United States are the ones that are in synthetic form. Many store owners will, however, tell you that all of them are natural in a bid to boost sales.

Overdose symptoms

People using melatonin supplements normally inquire on whether it is possible for one to have an overdose. What you need to understand is that a melatonin overdose is not life threatening. However, its timed release could cause interactions with other drugs which may prove to be detrimental to your health, and may even lead to death.

As with everything else in life, too much of anything is not good. Overdose symptoms include:

  • Psychotic thought patterns
  • Tremor
  • Speech impairment
  • Drowsiness
  • Seizures
  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Eye issues
  • Disorientation
  • Liver issues
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion

If you suspect that you may have had an overdose, it is best to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This will make it possible for the physicians to address the symptoms being experienced. Overdosing on melatonin could also lower the blood pressure below normal levels.

For patients with high blood pressure, nerve disorders, or liver issues, they need to be screened before they can be allowed to use melatonin.

Side effects of taking melatonin

Taking melatonin will have different side effects on different people. But as long as you are taking the right dosage, you should not expect to experience any side effects.

Like any other drug in the market, this supplement comes with its own set of side effects, even though they are not as severe as those that come with taking sleeping pills. Common side effects associated with taking melatonin include:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Sleep walking
  • Nightmares
  • General discomfort
  • Abdominal cramps

A recent study conducted on women taking melatonin showed that taking too much melatonin causes a reduction in estrogen production. As a result, the melatonin ends up acting as a birth control pill.

In the past, people taking the supplement have complained of more advanced side effects that included:

  • Allergic reactions
  • Seizures
  • Low blood pressure

Many of the side effects named above only last for a short duration and will normally go away with time. Its long term effects are still being investigated by medical professionals. But it is upon you to ensure that you follow the dosage recommended by your physician or the manufacturer.

What to do in case of an overdose

If you overdose on melatonin it is recommended that you immediately get in touch with the emergency services or visit a physician. Normally, treatment will involve discontinuing its use immediately.

Patients experiencing confusion and drowsiness should ensure that they cease taking the supplements as soon as these symptoms have started to manifest themselves. Once the supplements have been discontinued, the patient will then need to be placed under observation where they will be allowed to rest. They should also not engage in any kind of strenuous activity.

While under observation, the physician will be checking for any sign of a seizure, while treating any other symptoms that may manifest.

References:

  • Singh HJ, et al. (2013). Effect of melatonin supplementation on pregnancy outcome in Wistar-Kyoto and Sprague-Dawley rats.
    nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23598870
  • Soliman A, et al. (2015). Placental melatonin system is present throughout pregnancy and regulates villous trophoblast differentiation. DOI:
    1111/jpi.12236
  • Voiculescu S, et al. (2014). Role of melatonin in embryo fetal development.
    nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4316124/
  • Zeng K, et al. (2016). The reduction in circulating levels of melatonin may be associated with the development of preeclampsia. DOI:
    1038/jhh.2016.37
  • Zhao M, et al. (2017). Melatonin prevents preeclamptic sera and antiphospholipid antibodies inducing the production of reactive nitrogen species and extrusion of toxic trophoblastic debris from first trimester placentae. DOI:
    1016/j.placenta.2017.08.001

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