Melatonin is a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle, and it's also an increasingly popular sleep aid among adults. Many people use melatonin supplements if they have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep- or just want to sleep a little easier.
Although your body naturally produces melatonin on its own, melatonin supplements should be used responsibly like any other type of medication or drug. This includes taking the right dosage appropriate for any health conditions and other factors that might affect your sensitivity to melatonin.
How does your body use melatonin?
Natural melatonin production in your body is primarily affected by the amount of light exposure in your eye. In the absence of light exposure, your brain’s pineal gland increases melatonin production. Melatonin is rapidly distributed in your bloodstream and travels to distant organs and parts of your body. This onsets your sleep cycle, signaling your body to prepare for sleep.
Oral melatonin supplements, such as gummies, are absorbed very differently. First the melatonin is digested and must pass through your liver before it can circulate your bloodstream.
Your liver is responsible for metabolizing substances that pass through your digestive system, breaking down chemicals and substances (including melatonin you ingest) so that it’s easier for your body to absorb.
While this is a necessary process that’s essential to your health, it also affects the concentration of substances that enter your body. Melatonin you ingest gets metabolized by your liver, and its concentration is greatly reduced. This is known as the first-pass effect.
As a result, only a fraction of the melatonin you took gets absorbed. This process compromises oral melatonin’s bioavailability: the bioavailability of oral melatonin is quite poor, and barely 20% of it gets absorbed.
What is the average dosage of melatonin recommended?
It is recommended to start at the lowest dosage before you increase to a higher dosage. The average recommended dose for healthy adults is anywhere between 0.5mg to 10mg. The dose should be adjusted for children, elderly people, and people who have health conditions that might affect their sensitivity to melatonin.
People tend to produce less melatonin as we age, so older adults might have a stronger sensitivity to using melatonin supplements.
Melatonin supplements are not designed to treat or cure sleep disorders, although they might help some people dealing with some forms of sleep issues.
Is melatonin safe to take?
Melatonin is largely safe for healthy adults to use, even regularly.
Children should not take melatonin unless advised by their doctor. People tend to produce less melatonin as we age, so older adults might have a stronger sensitivity to using melatonin supplements.
If you have underlying health conditions, such as those that affect your blood pressure or respiratory system, please consult with your physician before you take melatonin. Melatonin may interact with other medications.
Can I overdose on melatonin?
Studies point to the general safety of using melatonin supplements. Even in cases where subjects were given large doses, the results did not indicate any toxic symptoms. Most people do not experience side effects, or any they do are mild.
However it is still possible to take too much melatonin and experience side effects, such as:
- Dizziness or grogginess
- Feeling tired in the morning
- Elevations or drops in blood pressure
- Agitation or mood swings
It’s recommended that you avoid using melatonin in addition to other substances, like alcohol or caffeine, and certain kinds of medication.
How is Ascent Lab’s Instant Sleep different from oral melatonin?
Because Ascent Instant Sleep is not an oral supplement, it does not get metabolized by the liver. Instead, intranasal application offers a more direct pathway to your brain, bypassing any barriers that would delay it from being absorbed or degraded such as the blood-brain barrier.
This means you don't require as much melatonin as you do with oral supplements that are poorly absorbed. Compared to oral melatonin, nasal melatonin supplements like Ascent Instant Sleep work more efficiently at much smaller doses starting at 0.2mg.
Additionally, while your traditional melatonin which takes an hour or longer to feel its effects, Instant Sleep works in as quick as 15 minutes.
We recommend you start with 2 sprays before slowly working your way if you require a stronger dose. You can try Ascent Instant Sleep here.