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Can I Make Melatonin Work More Quickly?

Many people are familiar with melatonin as a supplement to help you fall asleep more easily at night. But sometimes, even quality melatonin supplements can take hours to work. For many, this doesn’t help their sleep issues. After all, what’s the point if it’s not going to work quickly?

Sometimes melatonin takes a while before you feel its effects. Here’s why, and here’s how to choose melatonin that works more quickly for you. 


How quickly does melatonin usually work?

When you take melatonin supplements, it takes longer to work as opposed to the melatonin you naturally produce in your body because of how it is absorbed. 

When your body naturally produces melatonin, it’s secreted in your brain’s pineal gland. 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. 

Melatonin supplements are processed differently. Oral melatonin especially (like gummies or tablets) takes a long time because they're digested. For many people, oral melatonin can take up to 1 to 2 hours to feel its effects. 


Not only that, but the digestive process tends to compromise oral melatonin's effects.

After it passes your stomach, melatonin that's ingested is metabolized by your liver in what’s known as the first-pass effect. First-pass effect describes when substances, like melatonin, are greatly reduced in concentration before they reach systemic circulation.

Because of this metabolizing effect, you absorb less than 20% of the melatonin you take. So if you ingest 5mg of melatonin, far less than that will actually reach your bloodstream.

Oral melatonin’s poor bioavailability, in addition to its long wait period, makes it less effective overall if you’re looking for a quick sleep aid solution. 

Can I make melatonin work more quickly?

One option is to up the dosage you’re taking; although minimal, there's some evidence to suggest that taking more melatonin might affect how long it stays in your system, which may have an effect on how long it works.

However, changing the dosage won’t necessarily impact the speed at which it works. If you’re ingesting more oral melatonin, it still goes through your digestive system in the same manner as it would if you only took a little. 

Because of the risk of side effects from taking too much melatonin, it's best to start on the smallest dose and adjust from there. Since everyone has a unique sensitivity to melatonin, a single recommended dosage isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. 

A more conclusive option is to use a different type of melatonin supplement. 

Why nasal melatonin supplements work more quickly

One of the most effective ways to absorb things is through your nasal cavity. The receptors in your nose 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

A study comparing methods of absorption found the greatest potential in intranasal absorption, which was absorbed much more quickly compared to other methods including oral and transdermal melatonin.

Should you use nasal melatonin over oral melatonin? 

If you're looking for a quicker way to fall asleep, the answer is yes. Compared to the average 1 to 2 hours it takes for oral melatonin to work, it takes between 15 to 35 minutes for Instant Sleep to be absorbed. 

Additionally, the bioavailability of nasal spray melatonin is greatly superior to that of oral melatonin because it's not metabolized before it can circulate your bloodstream.

Intranasal application like Ascent Instant Sleep optimizes your body’s natural physiology to improve both the efficiency and speed in which melatonin is absorbed. For this reason, you only need to start with 0.2mg of melatonin to be just as effective as an average dose of 10mg of oral melatonin. 


Is there a range for how quickly melatonin supplements work?

Everybody has a unique tolerance and sensitivity to different hormones and supplements. Different people will thus require different doses. A dose that may be appropriate for one person might be too much (or even too little) for someone else.

As we've discussed, an important factor is the kind of melatonin supplement that you’re using. Nasal application works faster than other forms of melatonin, including oral and transdermal melatonin

Melatonin comes in a variety of forms and applications thanks to improved technology looking for ways to make melatonin better. That’s precisely why Ascent Labs is continuing to research and discover the best supplements for better sleep.