How Much Melatonin do You Need to Take

Melatonin has helped millions across the world get the sleep they’ve been craving. If you have been experiencing trouble falling asleep and/or trouble to stay asleep, then this medication might be the perfect option for you. The only thing you need to do is figure out how much you need to take.

While melatonin is safe, there are some things that you should be aware of before determining your dose. Here is everything you need to know to determine how much melatonin you need to take. 

What is Melatonin 

Melatonin is a natural hormone that the human body produces to regulate its sleep cycle. On a schedule, melatonin levels lower during the day and rise when the sun goes down. Reaching peak levels in the middle of the night, the levels will begin to lower again as the sun comes up. 

Like most bodily functions, aging and diseases can prevent your body from properly using melatonin. Resulting in difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep.  

Doses for Adults 

There isn’t an overarching recommended dose for all adults. However, any doses between a half milligram and five milligrams are safe and useful for most people. It’s recommended that adults take melatonin about sixty minutes before going to bed. 

For those that are pregnant, the range of safety is still unknown so it is best to avoid melatonin until you can consult with your doctor.

Doses for Children

For most children, small doses of melatonin appear to be safe and effective. but generally isn’t necessary. The recommended range of doses is between 0.05 milligrams and 5 milligrams. For children, several mild side effects can occur. Here are some examples:

  • Headaches
  • Unusual bedwetting
  • Drowsiness 
  • Agitation 
  • Dizziness  

Melatonin may be useful for children with autism spectrum disorder, insomnia, or ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder). For children, it is best to consult with their doctor before giving them melatonin as there may be better solutions to their sleep issues.

Doses for Elderly 

One major cause for an overarching decrease in melatonin levels is age. As a person ages they may begin experiencing difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Melatonin is a great option for older adults with this issue. However, the dosing is quite different from that of kids or younger adults. 

As you age, you actually become more susceptible to the effects of melatonin and your body will actually hold on to it for a longer period of time. Meaning, if you take too much melatonin, you may find yourself with higher levels than desired throughout the next day. For this reason, it is recommended that older adults start with the lowest dose possible, and go from there. 

Doses for an Individual 

There are several factors that can come into play when trying to determine the best dose of melatonin for you. These include the severity of sleep issues, age, sensitivity to melatonin, and body weight. Melatonin dosage by weight is a great way to determine the dose for you. Remember, it’s always smart to start off with the lowest recommended dose for your age group. For adults that is one-half of a milligram. 

How Quickly Does it Take Effect 

Your brain naturally begins creating melatonin about one to two hours before you typically go to sleep. Taking melatonin around this time is a good idea so it can aid your brain in this process. 

Is Overdosing Possible? 

Melatonin is known to be a relatively safe drug. However, you can take too much of it. With dosage depending on individual elements like age, weight, and sensitivity, it is important to monitor your dosage and take inventory of how you are feeling throughout the next day. One clear sign that you may be taking too much is the continued effects of melatonin throughout the day. Effects like:

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness 
  • Uncharacteristic changes in blood pressure 
  • Headaches

Talk to Your Doctor 

For your continued safety and best results, it is always a great idea to talk to your doctor before taking any type of medication for the first time. This is especially true if you are considering giving melatonin to kids. Your doctor is the best resource in determining the dose that is right for you.

The Rule of Thumb 

Always talk to your doctor before beginning medication. If you are unable to do so, it is a great rule of thumb to start with the lowest recommended dose for your age group and go from there.