Melatonin is a hormonal supplement that many people use for assistance falling asleep.
But can you overdose on melatonin? Melatonin’s effectiveness varies by person, and taking too much melatonin may lead to annoying and undesirable side effects. To avoid this, it is essential that you start by taking the lowest dosage to see if it works for you.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. A person’s level of melatonin increases and decreases during the day. Your melatonin level rises and stays high throughout the night, allowing you to stay asleep. In the early hours, the level falls back down, so you wake up.
Melatonin is produced by the body but there are food sources for melatonin as well. Many fruits and some vegetables contain small amounts of melatonin. It is also possible to get melatonin from an over-the-counter nutritional supplement.
Why Do People Need Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that helps people stay asleep. Taking a melatonin nutritional supplement can help relieve sleep-related issues. People who are traveling abroad often use these supplements to decrease the effects of jet lag. Workers on shift schedules may take a supplement to help them fall asleep during the daytime.
Melatonin can also assist with an assortment of other problems, including helping to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy in people being treated for cancer.
Side Effects of Taking Melatonin
Due to the side effects, it is essential that anyone who starts taking melatonin supplements speak to a doctor first.
Sleepiness During Daytime
Drowsiness is definitely among the most observable and frequent side effects. If you take a melatonin supplement at the wrong time of the day, you’re very likely to feel drowsy, which could be dangerous if you’re operating heavy machinery or driving.
Changes in Hormones
Taking melatonin can lead to hormonal fluctuations, and they can be more severe than you would think. In addition to its role in sleep, melatonin also helps regulate other hormones in the body, including the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. Also, birth control pills may increase melatonin levels, so women who use that contraceptive should talk to their doctors to make sure their melatonin levels remain in the healthy range.
Women who are currently trying to get pregnant should steer clear of melatonin supplements because it might interfere with the ovulation cycle. As with many supplements, melatonin should also be avoided during pregnancy.
Stomach problem is among the most frequent adverse effects of melatonin. They can occur even when you take a reasonable amount of melatonin or just a little more than a regular dosage. You may experience side effects like nausea, stomach cramps headaches and dizziness.
Drugs That Interact With Melatonin
Melatonin can have an immediate impact on an individual’s sleep cycle. People should avoid taking melatonin along with products containing alcohol or caffeine, as both of these can influence your ability to fall asleep.
Melatonin interacts with many medications such as birth control, sedatives and blood thinners. If taking any such medications, it is especially important that you consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.
Is Melatonin Habit-Forming?
Melatonin is not addictive. With this in mind, you should feel free to utilize it as needed. However, taking too much or using it over too long of a period of time may mean you’ll experience unpleasant side effects.
Melatonin Supplements Compared to Medication
The majority of people consider melatonin nutritional supplements a safe sleep aid because the hormone is produced naturally in the body.
It’s important to be aware that melatonin isn’t quite as potent as many of the OTC products or prescription drugs on the market. That might lead you to take more melatonin to get it to work for you. However, overdoing it can lead to the side effects previously mentioned, so it’s important to be careful when taking melatonin supplements.
How Much Melatonin Should You Take?
According to Sleep.org, an adult should begin with a treatment of between 2/10 of a milligram and 5 milligrams. The same dosage may cause undesirable side effects in one person but have no noticeable impact on another. Weight, age, and sensitivity to the supplement influence how much melatonin to take. If you tolerate the initial dosage but find that it’s not strong enough, gradually increase the dosage up to 5mg until you receive the desired benefits.
Melatonin isn’t recommended for children unless they have a neurodevelopmental disorder that keeps them awake at night. If a physician prescribes melatonin for a child, it is crucial to give them only the specific dosage prescribed.
Indicators of an Overdose
Melatonin is very safe. However, the over-use of melatonin may have different adverse effects depending on the individual. Some people may find that large doses of melatonin make them alert and wide awake—the exact opposite of its intended benefit. Others discover that taking too much melatonin will, not surprisingly, result in feelings of extreme tiredness.
Other indicators of melatonin side-effects:
- Feelings of depression
- Upset stomach
People with hypertension, as well as those who are currently taking drugs that reduce blood pressure, should talk to their doctor before taking melatonin. An individual’s natural production of melatonin may decrease because of blood pressure medication.
Anyone considering taking melatonin should speak with their healthcare practitioner beforehand. It’s especially important to let them know what other medications you’re on because of the possible interactions—melatonin may interfere with their efficacy.
When to See a Physician
If you are currently thinking about taking melatonin because you have problems sleeping, you should first talk to a doctor. Your physician can recommend the right dosage and tell you whether any of the medications you are taking may lead to dangerous side effects. Once you begin taking melatonin, report to your doctor if you feel any discomfort or experience unusual side effects.
The Bottom Line
For many people who struggle with sleeplessness, a sleep specialist may offer suggestions besides melatonin. For instance, they might recommend that you decrease your alcohol intake or cut caffeine out of your diet.
Another option may be a different kind of supplement that is not a hormone, such as RECHARGE HEALTH™ blissful sleep, which contains natural ingredients known for promoting restful sleep, such magnesium, chamomile flower, lemon balm, hops, valerian, passion flower, vitamin b-6, l-theanine, and 5-HTP.
About The Author:
Marcia Jordan is a Health and Nutrition Writer at RechargeHealth.com. When she doesn’t write, she loves to walk in the evening, go shopping or watch movies.