Let’s face it, the world we live in is extremely fast-paced and stressful. It’s no surprise that about 50 million Americans suffer from various sleep problems. You’ve certainly gone to bed on several occasions just thinking about work, school, or anything else that kept you from having a good night’s sleep. And the excessive lighting and screens that we’re exposed to daily are certainly of no help. For this reason, many people turn to melatonin supplements. But the big question is, can you overdose on it? In this article, we’ll cover everything on it: what it is, the correct dosage, and how to avoid an overdose.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces naturally to keep a balanced circadian rhythm and help you fall asleep. It is produced in the pineal gland in the brain and production increases about two hours before it’s bedtime.
The production of the hormone is directly related to the light that you’re exposed to: when it gets dark outside, your body begins to produce it. However, if you’re in a light room or are frequently exposed to your computer or phone screen, then melatonin production slows down and you may have trouble sleeping.
In that case you can take various forms of melatonin supplements, which are usually produced synthetically in a lab. Forms of the supplements include gummies, sprays, drops, tablets, or pills. The hormone in these supplements works in the same way that natural hormone produced in your body would. A study by Andersen et. al. confirms that there are generally no adverse health effects in people taking these supplements. This means that when they are taken correctly, they will not cause any unwanted side effects of other sleep medications, such as drowsiness, dizziness, appetite changes, or dryness of the mouth.
What is the Right Dosage of Melatonin?
So what’s the right dosage and how don’t take too much ? Well, it depends on your age, weight, and your overall health. But the rule of thumb is that adults should take 1-10 mg of melatonin daily and children should take 0.5-6 mg daily. By staying within these guidelines, you should be able to avoid an overdose.
If this is your first time, then you should begin with the minimal dosage at first. According to a study by Suhner et. al., even 0.5 mg is effective in many adults dealing with jet lag. So start with a dose of 0.5 mg-1 mg and if it doesn’t work, slowly increase your dose until you begin to notice results. However, it would be best to consult with your doctor before going over 5 mg for adults and 3 mg for children.
1 - 2 mg daily
0.5 - 1 mg daily
5 - 10 mg daily
3 - 6 mg daily
Is It Safe to Take Every Night?
Symptoms of melatonin overdose
However, here are some minor side effects that a melatonin overdose can cause:
- Stomach cramps
- Lowered blood pressure
What’s the Best and Safest Way to Take Melatonin?
As mentioned before, there are many different forms of melatonin supplements, such as pills, gummies, drops, etc. The form of the supplement is not the most important thing to focus on when it comes to effectiveness and safety. What you should focus on are the manufacturer and their accreditations. The thing is, supplement production in the United States is not regulated like medicine is. So you need to make sure that your supplements are all certified by a reliable third party to ensure that they are 100% safe.