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How Much Melatonin Is Too Much?

While there are precautions for certain groups when considering using melatonin supplements, it’s safe for most healthy adults. But like any other type of supplement or drug medication, melatonin should be used responsibly and in appropriate doses. 

Although rare, it’s possible for someone to experience some mild side effects if they take too much melatonin. These are some side effects to look out for, as well as when you should be careful about taking melatonin supplements. 

How much melatonin is recommended for an adult?

For most melatonin supplements, 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. 

So how much is too much?

The answer depends. It’s important to note that people have unique thresholds of sensitivity, and will thus require different doses. A dose that’s appropriate for one person might be too much (or even too little) for someone else. 

On the bright side, you can’t build a tolerance to melatonin so you won’t need to constantly increase your dosage after getting accustomed to a certain amount. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t feel side effects from taking an amount that is excessive for your body.  

Start at the smallest dose recommended before increasing the amount. Supplements like Ascent Instant Sleep start at doses as small as 0.2mg while working much more efficiently compared to traditional oral melatonin. 

When should I be careful about taking too much melatonin?

As briefly mentioned, certain groups of people should be careful about the amount of melatonin they take, depending on their unique sensitivity to melatonin. 

Children and elderly people should consult their physician before taking melatonin. These groups might require a different dosage because of their sensitivity to melatonin. People tend to produce less melatonin as they age, so older people may have a different sensitivity to a certain amount

People on medication such as those that affect blood pressure should speak with their physician about possible interactions between their medication and melatonin. 

People who are pregnant tend to have elevated melatonin levels. There are very limited studies on the effects of melatonin on infants and fetal development. Consult with your physician if you are pregnant and are curious about taking melatonin. 

Do not mix melatonin with other substances like caffeine, alcohol, or medication that might interact with its effects.  

Can I take 20mg of melatonin?

Some people might be able to take 20mg of melatonin safely. 20mg of melatonin could be considered within the safe range for people to take without experiencing side effects. However it’s very possible that amount may be too high for other people. That’s why we recommend that you start with the smallest possible dose before you safely increase the amount. 

What affects melatonin sensitivity?

One study conducted on light exposure suppressing melatonin production found that some groups of people were much more sensitive to light than others. Some people’s melatonin production was suppressed at very low levels of light, where others required far brighter exposure to have theirs equally suppressed. 

These results may provide insight into why some people with more sensitivity to light exposure may have more easily disrupted sleep cycles than others. But study results about what makes some people more sensitive to different amounts of melatonin than others are limited.

How will I know if I took too much melatonin?

It’s possible to take too much melatonin and experience side effects, although these cases are usually uncommon and non toxic, even at high doses. Not everyone will experience the same side effects, so pay attention to anything out of the ordinary for your personal condition. Some of those side effects include: 

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or grogginess 
  • Feeling tired in the morning 
  • Elevations or drops in blood pressure 
  • Nightmares 
  • Agitation or mood swings

If you do experience any of the side effects listed- and you haven’t taken anything outside of your regular routine, aside from melatonin- speak with your healthcare physician to discuss if you should consider an alternative sleep aid.