Why? Because melatonin is not a sleeping aid. It does not help you fall asleep. It’s a hormone (naturally produced by the pineal gland in your brain) that helps regulate your sleep by tricking your body into thinking it is night-time. On average, your body produces between 0.3 mg – 0.8 mg of melatonin per day.
If you are taking melatonin supplements that are over the recommended dosage of 0.3 mg – 1 mg, or multiple pills throughout the night, then you are taking too much and it’s probably diminishing your sleep quality more so than improving it.
So taking 2 mg is 2x the recommended dosage, 3 mg is 3x over, etc..
And you know what?
There’s lot of melatonin products on the market where a single dose is several times over 1 mg. The product from the photo above shows 1 capsule contains 10 mg of melatonin!
So how can they sell melatonin at higher dosages above what the recommended amount is?
Because melatonin supplements are not regulated by the FDA. That’s why there are two asterisks ** next to the “% Daily Value” on the bottle. That is why despite it saying on the bottle, “Promotes Sleep,**” in fine print it also states, ” These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration….”.
That is also why you have to do your own research if you are going to start taking such supplements. Just because it’s “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe. I decided to write this article because I, myself, was taking too much melatonin until I did the research which I should have done in the first place before taking any dose. So do not take them simply because Dr. Oz or some expert said it was okay.
In fact, Dr Oz said it was okay earlier this year to take melatonin for those of us having trouble sleeping. But is was a more recent show where he had sleep expert, Dr. Michael Breus, come back on the show and say that it is not okay for everyone who has trouble sleeping to take melatonin on an ongoing basis, especially not at dosages above 1 mg. In fact, Dr. Oz said himself that he was not aware of the dangers and that many health practitioners are not either.
Don’t get me wrong, I watch Dr. Oz episodes and think he provides a lot of good information and tips…but you yourself have to do some follow-up on supplement suggestions, or any drug for that matter, and research all the pros and cons of each before considering taking it or not. I also don’t take Dr. Breus’ advice as fact either until I check it myself. Here is the video series and info from the show, “Is Melatonin Sabotaging your sleep?”
Too much melatonin (over 1 mg) can cause these side effects:
- Feeling groggy and “hung-over” in the morning
- Disruption of your sleep cycle
Fact: Melatonin does not help you fall asleep. It does not sedate you. It is, again, a sleep regulator in hormone form. Most people are taking melatonin for the wrong reasons and at the wrong dosage. If you are having trouble falling asleep because of stress, anxiety, your mind’s racing with thought, etc.. you don’t need melatonin, rather you need something to calm your mind and feel relaxed. In this case, you may want to try something like progressive muscle relaxation (PMR).
When Can Melatonin Be Helpful:
For temporary usage, up to 2 weeks, melatonin can help restore regular sleep patterns for those experiencing jetlag or a change in their normal schedule – like working the late shift.
Also, because you produce less melatonin as you age, for those over 60 and having trouble sleeping can try a low dose of melatonin and see if it helps.
There are exceptions to melatonin use and dosage as it is has been used to help patients with fibromyalgia, irritable bowl syndrome, ADHD, epilepsy, breast and prostate cancer, autism and more.
Dr. Mercola Explains The Function of Melatonin and It’s Role in Regulating Your Sleep
Recommended Melatonin Dosage For Temporary Use:
Take 0.3-1 mg of melatonin 90 minutes before going to bed. Do not take for longer than 2 weeks in a row unless instructed by a physician.
How I Take Melatonin
When I do take melatonin, I take it in liquid form because it’s absorbed faster sublingually than in pill form which first has to be digested and then absorbed into your blood stream before taking effect.
I take NOW Foods Liquid Melatonin.
I also like it in liquid form because I can completely control the dosage. I have yet to find a melatonin supplement where a single dose is less than 1 mg and sometimes I feel I do not need a 1 mg dose.
But beware! This bottle has a dropper that when filled will give you a 3 mg dose – too much! It even says a serving size is one full dropper or 3 mg. So if you visually segment the dropper into quarters or eyeball half of the dropper (which would be 1.5 mg – still too much) then half of that length, you will get a dosage of approximately 0.75 mg which is under the 1 mg guideline. I like to take the lowest dose that is effective, so I will divide that dose again and take around 0.36 mg.
Liquid and Chewable Melatonin
Below are liquid and chewable melatonin products that can be taken in 1 mg or less doses. Both the liquid and the chewable (dissolve under the tongue), are absorbed faster than tablets. You can divide the chewable tablets in half or even quarters to control the dose.
Use Blue Light
Check out our article about using a Blue Light Therapy Box for insomnia as a drug-free, natural alternative to sleep medication.
There are lots of other supplements marketed as sleep aids (some better than others) as well as techniques and sleeping tips which I will discuss in another article about insomnia, difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
Q: Have you ever taken melatonin to help you fall asleep? Were you taking over the 1 mg suggested dose? Did you experience any side effects? Let us know by commenting below.