Melatonin has quickly become a commonplace sleep aid that can easily be found on the shelves of your local grocery store, online, anywhere you go.
A large number of studies have supported the safety of using melatonin as a supplement for sleep. Though melatonin is an efficient sleep aid, there are still precautions for certain groups of people who would like to use melatonin.
What’s in a melatonin supplement?
Natural melatonin is produced in your brain's pineal gland.
The melatonin found in most melatonin supplements is manmade and chemically synthesized.
Additional ingredients depend on the kind of supplement you’re taking. Many oral melatonin supplements come in gummy form, which usually include some form of sugars, coloring agent, and/or gelatin.
If you have allergies or dietary restrictions, check the ingredient label of your melatonin supplement to make sure it’s safe for you to consume.
What are the dangers of taking melatonin?
For the most part, melatonin is safe to take for healthy adults. Side effects are rare, and even then the reported symptoms tend to be non-toxic. Still, it is significant to note that melatonin can possible interact with some drugs or substances.
Side effects that are reported tend to be mild. However it is still possible to experience side effects of taking too much melatonin such as:
- Dizziness or grogginess
- Feeling tired in the morning
- Elevations or drops in blood pressure
- Agitation or mood swings
Avoid driving after taking melatonin, as you might feel drowsy and impact your reaction time. Don’t drink alcohol, take caffeine or other substances like medication that may interact with melatonin.
Speak with your physician if you intend to take melatonin in addition to any other medications that you’re already taking.
Who can take melatonin?
Melatonin is generally safe to use for healthy adults. The average recommended dose for healthy adults is anywhere between 0.5mg to 10mg.
Everyone has a unique sensitivity to melatonin, so it is generally recommended to start at the lowest dose before increasing to a higher amount.
Elderly people and children should consult their physician before taking melatonin. These groups might also 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.
Pregnant people 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.
If you have any concerns about being able to use melatonin safely, consult your physician first before doing so.
Can I take more melatonin than is recommended?
There is no single dose that works the same for every person.
Some people may require more or less, depending on their unique sensitivity to melatonin. People with certain health conditions or in different age groups might also have different needs.
One study found that naturally produced melatonin in children is more sensitive than that in adults to light at night.
Melatonin does not have an official recommended dose. The suggested dosage recommended by most melatonin supplement labels describes an amount that an average healthy adult would need to sufficiently feel its effects. The amount of melatonin can vary between supplements.
While there are no reported toxic side effects in studies conducted on taking melatonin, it’s not suggested that you take more melatonin than you need. You could still experience side effects as previously listed.
Like any other medication or drug, it’s important to use melatonin responsibly. If you experience increasingly negative side effects after taking too much melatonin, go to a hospital.
Do not mix melatonin with other substances such as caffeine or alcohol.
Overall, it is safe to take melatonin if you are a healthy adult.
While mostly safe for short-term use, healthy adults should start with the lowest recommended dosage first before adjusting to a higher amount. Compared to oral melatonin, nasal melatonin supplements like Ascent Sleep start at doses as low as 0.2mg.
If you are a child or elderly person, consult your physician before continuing to take melatonin.