Warning: Are You Taking Melatonin As A Sleeping Aid? You Shouldn’t. Here’s Why.

too much melatonin overdose 1mg

Sleep experts recommend taking no more than 1 mg of melatonin per day. But there are products that sell melatonin in much higher doses. 10 mg is 10x more than you should be taking.

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:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • 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.

Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. Always consult a physician before starting any treatments and before taking any medications or supplements.

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  1. I have disrupted sleep because of late night anxiety attacks. I tried everything out there, and melatonin was the only thing that worked for me. ask your doctor if it is right for you because it can be useful to the right person

    • I agree, Laura. The danger is when people purchase melatonin and the dosage is above the recommended range of 0.3-1mg. I have seen bottles of melatonin where the dosage is 10mg which is dangerously high. The best bet is to discuss your options with your doctor, like you did, to know what is best for you. A recent study has also shown that taking melatonin at bedtime helped those with chronic acid reflux, so yet another use you can discuss with your doctor.

      • My acute acid reflux stopped completely with taking BLACK COHOSH because I am 65 and started minimal hot flashes.
        I take 10 mg melatonin and have for decades. Wake refreshed and ready to go!!!

    • I am bipolar and never slept well. I take 9 mg daily and have no bad side effects and sleep well. Perhaps because bipolar people are deficient in melatonin it’s enough. I am considering increasing the dose. But this is for a bipolar person with sleep apnea, deep depression, and anxiety attacks. It seems not enough research has been done on melatonin. Without special needs I would listen and be cautious in taking melatonin. Rick M

      • Rick – How did you arrive at taking 9 mg? Was this a doctor recommendation or did you gradually increase the dose on your own until you were able to sleep well? You certainly have greater challenges than the average person who has trouble sleeping. I imagine being bipolar along with having sleep apnea, depression and anxiety would make things very complicated. I’m sure you have tried a lot of treatments. Have you tried light-box treatment which has been shown to be effective in treating bipolar affective disorder?

  2. I’ve taken it before in small doses, though, when I brought up problems sleeping a few years ago at a doctors visit they were selling capsules with 25mg dosages. Reading this I now realize that was way too high, and hope that doctor has done further research into it since then. 25mg’s can’t be good.

    • Gary – 25 mg of melatonin in one dose is crazy! I can’t believe they were selling it at a doctor’s office. Just goes to show you that you have to do your own research before taking any medication whether it be prescription, OTC or natural. You have to become your own expert.

  3. I just started taking 5mg of Melatonin. Yes I should have done more research and consulted with my doctor…Melatonin is not for me. I’ve endured chronic headaches, dizziness, nausea, anxiety. ….ugh, bad side effects. The supplement works, but the side effects don’t work for me.
    Lesson Learned.

    • Lindsay – I take Melatonin for short-term use and only take up to a 0.5mg dosage – max. While 5mg produced bad side effects for you, a lower dose – under 1mg, may not. You could try it on a short-term basis to help you with your sleep.

    • Pat Wayne says:

      I have 10mg of Melatonin, but split it in half, then half again…and it’s still too much.
      I only recently found out about the higher dose being risky…I have been taking it for several weeks…recently I am getting up couple times a week with a splitting headache with dizziness…the headache is almost like a migrane…plus I have noticed depression being worse also…yes it does help me sleep, in fact too much and too hard with vivid dreams..A doctor said no matter how much is said about natural ingredients, people just don’t understand there is no such thing as natural ingredients being safe or without side effects and I do believe this now!!!..I am over 75yrs old and have a very hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep…so what is there to take without the horrible side effects?…anyone know?… and thanks

      • Pat – Even after splitting a 10 mg tablet into quarters, you are still taking 2.5 mg of melatonin. The general recommendation is to start with 0.2 mg and adjust as needed. The headaches, dizziness and other side effects may go away with the lower dosing for you. And yes, just because supplements are natural, doesn’t mean they don’t come with side effects. Before you choose some other natural sleep aid, you may want to give the lower dose of melatonin a try.

  4. Im so glad there is information like this on the net. I wonder now what may have happened if I took 25mg??
    That is crazy…..and scary……
    Thanks guys….

  5. I have taken 30mg every night for years. Say what you will but it helps me fall asleep with no I’ll effects.

    • Jeff – Unlike some, you may not have experienced any bad side effects from taking 30mg/day, but I would be concerned with the long-term effects of taking that much of a hormone in excess. Our bodies, if functioning properly, naturally produce 0.3 – 0.8 mg per day for sleep. Multiple studies have shown that the lower dosage works better than taking anything over 1mg. You may find you sleep just fine by taking 0.5mg/day. I’m assuming you haven’t tried the lower dose since you are used to taking 30mg?

  6. I started taking 3 mg. Made me feel groggy and drugged next am, then went to 1.5 was not enough so I went to 2 perfect. Is this OK to take on daily basis???

    • Denise – The very best dosage varies from person to person depending upon how much their body is producing or not producing naturally. As this article cites, some studies say you shouldn’t take anything over 1 mg while others will say 5 mg if fine. This is the problem with an unregulated supplement. The best thing to do is to start with the smallest dosage and slowly increase it until you get the desired effect. It appears yours may be 1.5 mg.
      Is it okay to take on a daily basis? Melatonin is generally recommended only for short-term use for up to two months.

  7. I took Melatonin for the first time yesterday. The guy at the Vitamin store said he takes 3 tablets every time he uses it. Like a dummy i followed his advice. I woke up later that day feeling hung over for no reason. Not realizing it was the Melatonin until I read some of the articles on this website. I’ll give it another try. The tablets I bought are 3 mg. so I’ll cut them in half. It did help me sleep but at a high price. Hopefully the reduced amount won’t give me that hung over feeling. If that happens again, then I’m done with it.

  8. Oh fascinating read. My 16 year old son has been taking 2.5 mg to help him fall asleep. He’s been experiencing unexplained nausea first in the morning and now all day long. Also are random intestional cramps and headaches. The GI doc has no idea what this is from. I think we’ll stop this. Any side effects from stopping?

    • Lori – I haven’t found much scientific research regarding withdrawal symptoms/side effects after stopping melatonin. Dr. Ray Sahelian, MD wrote in his book, Melatonin: Natures Sleeping Pill this:

      When deciding to stop the use of melatonin or any sleeping medicine, it is best to taper off over a period of 1 to 2 weeks to avoid any sleep disturbances. Melatonin may in some individuals cause rebound insomnia, as do some other sleeping pills, but to a much lesser degree. Only a small percentage of people feel any withdrawal symptoms. Marilyn, a survey participant, writes, “I stopped taking melatonin last summer after regular use and noticed no withdrawal symptoms at that time. Most recently, I have noticed that if I stop taking it after a few days (usually 3 or 4), I have more trouble falling asleep. I also wake more often during the night.”

    • mary anne says:

      I took 5 mg melatonin about two weeks apart, once each time. Both times i woke with pain in my upper body. Second time was exactly like a gall bladder attack. Won’t try this again.

  9. I have been taking 9 mg or melatonin (three 3 mg tablets) regularly for awhile. I have been experiencing irritability and depression lately that is not normal for me. Now I’m wondering if it is the melatonin. I also take wellbutrin which is not great for your sleep cycles, i was instructed by my doctor to use the melatonin to help with the insomnia.

    • Kathy – Yes, melatonin side effects (at any dosage) include depression and irritability. It can also interact with antidepressant medication, but most of the studies are related to SSRIs which Wellbutrin (bupropion) is not. I’m assuming your doctor instructed you to take the 9 mg?

  10. My 91 year old Mother with dementia was having trouble sleeping when first going to bed and was afraid of falling out of bed. Her doctor recommended 3mg to help calm her and as a sleep aid taken 1/2 hour before bedtime. 1st night she got sleepy and went to bed at 8PM without any problem but woke up at 3 AM wandered around confused. Got her back to bed. Next night she got up at 3:30AM & after getting her back to bed was up again at 5AM going through her drawers and closets until 6:30AM when we get up. Then she was more confused than normal, ate breakfast but didn’t want to eat lunch. We stopped the Melatonin and she is back to normal. Maybe if we gave her a quarter or less of a pill it may work OK.

    • Gary – Did her doctor suggest taking a lower dose? It is possible that an amount less than 3 mg would be helpful. The Mayo Clinic suggested melatonin dosages for problems with insomnia and alzheimer’s/cognitive decline in the elderly range from 0.1-5 mg and 1-10 mg, respectively:

      For insomnia in the elderly, melatonin has been taken by mouth in doses of 0.1-5 milligrams at or two hours before bedtime for up to several months, in the form of melatonin-rich night milk or slow-release Circadin®. A dose of 0.5 milligrams has been placed in the cheek for four nights.
      For Alzheimer’s disease or cognitive decline, melatonin has been taken by mouth in doses of 1-10 milligrams daily for 10 days up to 35 months.

      • We tried 1/4 of the 3mg tablet. It worked well getting her to sleep and she didn’t get up until morning, but she was totally confused the rest of the day. She is confused enough without this pill, we aren’t going to use it anymore. Gary

        • Thanks for the update, Gary. Sorry to hear the lower dosage didn’t work for your Mother. Hopefully, the severity of confusion diminishes after stopping the melatonin.

  11. Hey my name is Desiree and I am a student. I wish I could have read this article before taking Melatonin. I started taking it about a month ago, only when I wanted quality sleep. Then I started taking it daily for about three weeks straight and I am on a slow summer vacation which not much occurs in the day, leaving me to sleep in until midday. I forgot to take it for a week when I started to notice withdrawal symptoms which were vivid and frightful dreams. My sleeping schedule is thrown off. I used to sleep no later then 1 AM but now I do not sleep until 3 AM. Just curious would these side effects be because of my sudden stoppage of Melatonin?

    • Desiree – What dosage of melatonin were you taking? When stopping melatonin, there can be a variety of withdrawal symptoms one may experience, although some people experience none. This study concluded that when patients stopped taking melatonin, “withdrawal delayed sleep onset time”. So yes, it may be the reason why you are unable to fall asleep earlier as you have in the past. Melatonin is a hormone that affects your sleep-cycle/internal clock/circadian rhythm, so taking too much or not having enough can disrupt your sleep.

  12. Hi I’m Heather, I’m an insomniac, I have a few auto immune conditions that cause chronic intense pain and fatigue, this disrupts my circadian rhythm. I’ve been taking 10mg of melatonin (combined with lemon balm and valerian, some nights it’s so bad I’ll even add an ambien or restoril, tizanadine or robaxin help too) every night for a few months now and I’ll admit noticing an uncommon spike in my day time depression episodes/mood swings. Any of the other side effects are to tough to discern the origin, be it my health condition or other meds.

    What worries me is quitting the melatonin and how to safely when you’re on a 10x dose? Or 20x or 30x in some cases. My approach will likely be to titer down by 2mg each week, then do 1mg for 1 week then 0.5mg for 2 weeks and maybe even 0.25mg for 1-2 more weeks. Meanwhile documenting changes you notice like how often you get head aches and what time of the day are the mood swings etc. Looking forward to a Melatonin Vacation 🙂

    I heard some where that long term melatonin use shrinks your pineal gland basically rendering it useless, when you need to put it back into action it can’t produce the hormone itself anymore because the gland went on vacation and dried up in the sun when you decide to take the synthetic supplemental hormone,
    I think I’m done with this one, I like the Valerian Root and Lemon Balm combo supplements for sleep amongst other alternative homeopathic remedies…arsenicum album.

  13. Hi, I have sleep apnea and insomnia. I take 1 mg. Ativan at bedtime and if I still can’t sleep I will take 1/4 mg. aroung 1-2:00 am. Talked to my sleep Dr. and he said to add 3 mg. melatonin with the Ativan. 1 mg of Melatonin and 1 mg. of Ativan and I am still waking 2-4 times during the night. I added 1/4 more of Melatonin last night and feel drowsy. My apnea numbers are wonderul with cpap therapy so that is not the problem (at least I don’t think). Dr. wants me to try 1 1/2 mg Melatonin and 1 mg. Ativan. Kinda afraid to as I don’t want this drowsy hangover effect. Not sue what to do.

    • Kathy – Just to clarify, your doctor said to add 3 mg of melatonin and you tried 1.25 mg, but it made you drowsy – did you sleep through the night or still woke up several times as usual? And now your doctor recommends 1.5 mg of melatonin – instead of the 3 mg he originally wanted you to try?

      • I still woke up 3-4 times a night with 1.5 mg. I also take 1 mg. Ativan. I am going to see him on Tuesday. He didn’t recommend 1.5, I was just trying to work my way up to the 3 mg. he wanted me to try. I was drowsy all day, sick stomach, slight headache. This medicine is not for me, not going to take it anymore.

  14. I used to take 5-7 mg as my doctor recommended for me. I took it for 3 years. I always woke up dragged and my brain would not function until around 12ish. I finally stopped taking it. I’ve been off it for 2 years now and I still can’t sleep. I don’t fall asleep until 4 or 5 in the morning due to this shitty medicine. I highly recommend not taking this.

  15. Hi, I’m 54 and have trouble sleeping during the winter. I’ve been taking 1.25 mg melatonin for about 2 months and have been sleeping well and waking refreshed, and I think it’s been helping with anxiety and depression too. BUT, ever since the day I started taking it I’ve had upper-back pain, around the kidneys, that I’ve never had before. I stopped taking it a few days ago and the back pain disappeared but I had a lot of sleep trouble and a considerable increase in depression/anxiety. I took it again last night and the back pain has returned. Has anyone else experienced back pain when using melatonin or depression when stopping? Thanks for this forum.

    • Amanda – Depression is one of the many withdrawal symptoms some people can experience when they stop taking melatonin in addition to headaches, muscle aches, body pains, irritability, ringing ears, and others. Side effects when taking the drug are similar to withdrawal symptoms – headache, stomach pain, dizziness, etc.. Melatonin also may cause symptoms from interactions with certain drugs such as NSAIDs, antipsychotics, steroidal medications, birth control, antidepressants, blood thinning and blood pressure medications. I haven’t found back pain as a specific side effect, but since “muscle aches” are listed, it may be how it affects you.

    • I stopped Melatonin on Jan. 8 and still have the most tremendous upper back ache. Went to the Chiropractor twice and it didn’t help. Going to GP this morning, maybe get an MRI. It’s odd that the backache occurred after stopping Melatonin. I feel it must be related but who knows.

    • mary anne says:

      I also had the back pain after the first dose, 5mg. Two weeks later i took it again, being unsure whether or not it was pain from the melatonin. I take no other meds. The second time i had terrible back and then front pain, exactly like a gall bladder attack. This lasted for hours, in the middle of the night.

  16. My mind wonders too much at night and Melatonin has helped me through these years to fall asleep. It even has helped me stay asleep. I get vivid dreams but I don’t feel groggy. I get broken sleep as I use the restroom frequently and melatonin helps me stay asleep. No side effects actually and I never take more 6mg day. I know it seems too much but at times I take 2mg helps me. It actually saved my sleeping. I feel I’m dependent on it now but least I know I’m sleeping and have quality sleep. Having sleep is the best thing for me and I have to say Melatonin hasn’t caused me harm and I’ve been on it 2 years. I won’t stop and I feel if people drink caffeine to stay awake why can’t I take supplement so that I can rest my body? I don’t need coffee to keep me going.

  17. I have fibromyalgia and take 3mg of melatonin at night with magnesium and zinc (I call it my sleep cocktail). I have been taking it for almost 3 months and it has reduced my pain (from improved sleep) drastically. I still get flares when I overdo it or have serious stress, but the everyday normal pain level is manageable now. I have read a lot of conflicting information on melatonin, but finally decided to try and it am am glad for it.

  18. So I’m still unclear on how it is “bad” for a person. There seems to be very little research at all. Sure, if we take anything in large doses it may give us nausea, headaches, etc. And if we say that taking it can give a placebo effect as far as helping us to sleep then couldn’t the supposed negative effects also be a placebo? Again, I have tried researching effects of melatonin but the only places stating it’s “bad” are blogs and not one cites actual scientific research. Interesting.

    • Ellen – Double-blind placebo-controlled studies will account for negative side effects as well. It will be easier to find research studies on google scholar than your typical search engine search on google, yahoo, msn, etc. This article from the University of Maryland Medical Center cites supporting melatonin research at the end. And yes – “if we take anything in large doses it may give us nausea, headaches, etc.” – and that’s the point. Because melatonin is not regulated by the FDA, supplements are produced in higher doses and consumers should be aware that severe side effects from such high doses may be experienced.

  19. For how long can i take 1mg of Melatonin? It really helps me sleep and I’ve been taking it for the past 2 months.. I have no side effects and i was wondering if i should stop or not. Is it dangerous to take 1 mg every night since i’m only 20? I also want to mention that i had really bad insomnia before I took it in December and I don’t want to be addicted to it.

    • Carina – The general recommendation is to take melatonin on a short-term basis, no longer than 2-3 months. It is also recommended that the lowest possible dosage be taken, 0.1-0.3 mg. Andrew Westwood, M.D., a board-certified sleep physician and assistant professor at Columbia University says this about long-term melatonin use:

      It can de-sensitize your receptors so they’re no longer responsive to lower doses of melatonin. Then, if you come off [the melatonin supplement], you might have difficulty sleeping and require more and more melatonin to fall asleep.

      You may want to lower your dosage and at the same time try to keep improving all aspects of your sleep hygiene – avoid blue light before bedtime, keep your room completely dark or wear a night mask, don’t use your bedroom for awake activities – reading, watching TV, etc., avoid caffeine 8 hours before bedtime, get up and go to bed the same time every day, exercise regularly – best if done in morning or at least 4 hours before bedtime, no alcohol within 3 hours of bedtime, expose yourself to sunlight for at least 15 minutes in the morning or use a blue light.

  20. I’ve been using liquid sublingual melatonin for 10 years. I take 1 ml about 10 minutes before I go to bed and I sleep very well. I’m not groggy at any time from it and wake up refreshed and well-rested. I also go to bed and rise at the same times every day and am into body-building, so I get plenty of exercise. I also wear an eye mask when I sleep to block out all light, and have a small fan going for some calming “white noise”. I am 64 years old and am in excellent physical shape and health.

    • Leslie – Just curious, because different dosages obviously works for different people, how much melatonin (mg) is in the 1 ml dose you are taking? For example, I have taken a liquid melatonin product where a 4 ml dose provided 1 mg of melatonin.

      • 1ml of liquid provides 1mg of melatonin. I think it’s just one piece of the puzzle and it works in combination with everything else I do to sleep through the night. I haven’t noticed it doing much to help with jet lag, though.

        • Leslie – In a study on using melatonin for the prevention and treatment of jet lag, they found that daily doses of melatonin between 0.5 and 5mg are similarly effective, except that people fall asleep faster and sleep better after 5mg than 0.5mg. Doses above 5mg appear to be no more effective. So perhaps using a higher dose, temporarily, might work better for you when using melatonin fo jet lag. The study’s reviewers noted, however, that for many people, 5mg may be more than needed and suggested starting with 2-3mg.

          • Thanks! I travel a lot and will try increasing the dose next time I’m halfway across the world. I’ll start with the lower dose and see if that does the trick.

  21. Leroy Even says:

    I am 80 yrs old with a long history of severe anxiety/OCD and insomnia. For several years I have been taking melatonin 13mg thinking it had no downside. I would like to stop it. How fast can I reduce the dosage? I currently have bottles of 10 mg and 3 mg.
    Thank you for your informative article.

    • Leroy – Studies have shown that people over the age of 55 can benefit from taking melatonin since its natural production decreases as we age. If you personally don’t have any side effects (anxiety, irritability, daytime fatigue, headaches, nausea, etc.) from taking that dosage and it helps with your insomnia, then I don’t see any reason to change the dosage. With that said, have you ever tried a lower dosage? Is the 13 mg dosage what your doctor recommended? The general recommendation when taking melatonin is to use the lowest dosage possible to achieve restful sleep with no side effects. And you definitely don’t want to stop cold turkey or you may experience withdrawal symptoms. If you want to lower your dosage, I would suggest consulting with your physician first.

      • The reason I want to lower my oral melatonin is I that I’m concerned it may be decreasing my pineal glands natural production of both melatonin and DMT. I have not found answers to this question anywhere so far. Do you know?
        Because of my anxiety and OCD it is very difficult for me to experiment without having validating data.
        I live in a remote rural area and my local M.D. has no experimental or acquired knowledge of (or interest in) the use of ‘supplements’.
        Thank you for your helpful and informative response.

        • According to several studies, the production of melatonin by the pineal gland is not affected by oral supplementation. In this study, patients were given 50 mg of melatonin which did not alter their pineal melatonin secretion. Examine.com also states this based on several studies:

          Regulation of melatonin secretion from the pineal gland does not appear to be negatively influenced by melatonin supplementation over the long term (multiple days) and no negative feedback from melatonin supplementation (less natural secretion after a period of supplementation) has been observed.

          So you don’t have to worry about melatonin supplements decreasing your natural production. Synthesis and secretion of melatonin by the pineal gland is affected by light exposure and not how much melatonin you take – which includes natural edible plant sources such as tart cherries, tomatoes, barley, walnuts etc.. and any dietary souces of the amino acid, L-tryptophan, which converts to 5-HTP, to serotonin, and finally to melatonin.
          Also, older adults, as mentioned before, may not only produce lower amounts of melatonin, but possibly none at all. Supplementation may be the best method of helping with your insomnia.

  22. utahred says:

    I have taken 5mg ever night for five years. love it. no side effects. I have a hormone deficiency so maybe that’s why it works for me.

  23. I haven’t slept in a week. 3-4 hours maybe every night and I can’t pass out till 6am. Benadryl, Nyquil doesn’t work. I was on visatril that stopped working leading to this insomnia. Tried melatonin 1mg fast dissolve tonight and that only allowed me to sleep for two hours. Now I’m up stressing I have no idea what to do I’m gonna freak out I hate this.

    • I started having serious sleep issues when I turned 50. Terrible nights! Then I started taking 25mg of Amitriptyline about 2 hours before bedtime and then taking 1mg of liquid sublingual melatonin about 10 minutes before hitting the sack. I keep the liquid in my mouth under my tongue for about 60 seconds to get the most exposure to veins and blood absorption. I’ve slept great ever since with very few off nights. I don’t feel any effect from the amitriptyline other than when my head hits the pillow, it never takes more than 3 or 4 minutes to fall asleep. I sleep through the night, too, and get a good 8 hours. I also wear an eye mask to make sure no light hits my eyes while sleeping until I’m ready to wake up. I recommend at least giving this combo a try for one month and see if there’s any improvement.

  24. I tried melatonin at least five years ago because I had to wake up early for school and I have sleep problems. It was sublingual which was sold by Dr. Mercola. The dosage was close to how much we would produce. It seemed to work for the first night. If I take it the next nights, I wake up too early. I don’t remember very much about it.

  25. My son is blind and suffers from non 24 where he can go to sleep but has difficulty STAYING asleep. He has tried several melatonin that made him feel groggy and dizzy. Then we found another that he likes. He takes 1/2 to 1 tablet depending on how he feels (it is 4.2mg per whole tablet). Instead of taking a break every 4-6 weeks he takes it 5 nights in a row with 2 days off. This helps reset his system without messing up his sleep routine. He never feels groggy or hung over and won’t go without it. He takes it about 1 hour before bedtime. He has been doing this for over 6 months and refuses to go without it now. This has been a God send for us.

  26. denise rice says:

    I take 4mg every night with no effects in am. Slow dissolve table, strawberry flavoured, been doing it 2 years now

  27. I am so glad I looked melatonin up before I took any. I was told to take 5 mgs. Thank you for the important information.

    • Yes, it’s better to start at a lower dose of melatonin and then adjust. It has been recommended to begin with either 0.25 or 0.5 mg and then increase as needed. For some people, a higher dose of melatonin can actually make them feel more awake rather than sleepy.

  28. I’m 57 and began taking melatonin 3 years ago. I buy sublingual tablets that are 2.5 mg. and cut them into quarters. At bedtime, I take one of these quarters (a little more than half a milligram). Additionally, I take a 100 milligram capsule of 5 htp (precursor to melatonin). If I take only the melatonin, or only the 5htp then when I wake up I will stay awake for 1-3 hours. When I take them together, this is the sweet spot for me. I will fall right back to sleep after getting up for any reason. I feel wonderfully rested the next day due to deep, restorative sleep. The couple of times I have raised the melatonin even slightly to 0.5 mg., I woke during the night with horrible “spinning” dizziness and hangover the next day. This combination of low dose melatonin and 5 htp has been a game changer for me.

    • Teri – Thanks for sharing. I think it’s best to start at the lowest recommended amount and then adjust to find the “sweet spot” which you have. I just wanted to make sure I understood. So you divide a 2.5 mg table into fourths and take one of those which would be 0.625 mg. When you say the times you have raised the amount of melatonin to 0.5 mg (which gave you negative side effects), do you mean in addition to your 0.625 mg dose?

  29. I’m going to take 5mg each night for 8 weeks because I’ve read a few studies where it’s been very helpful in reducing reflux symptoms. In one study, 100% of the treatment group reported improvement. 100%! This is my own treatment plan. I have not consulted with any Dr. because they are not at all interested in anything other than PPIs. I am currently not on any other medications. I’m two weeks in and so far no side effects, maybe a little sluggish in morning, but totally gone by noon and I actually feel great the rest of day.

    • Mike – Let us know how it goes for for you, especially at the end of the 8 weeks of treatment. I know a lot of people are looking for alternatives to PPIs, H2 blockers and antacids for the treatment of reflux. Was the 5 mg melatonin dose used in the study on the treatment group or is that of your own choosing?

  30. mg measures solids. need to know the density of liquid melatonin to convert from the 1 mL dose. can you help?

  31. I started taking one Mature Made Sleep soft gel (3mg melatonin) once a night due to anxiety and panic attacks, it really helped. Then I started having a vertigo feeling while laying down,even before I would take my nightly pill, after 2 weeks it progressed into a 24/7 feeling. I went to urgent care 3 times, was given antibiotics for 5 days for a possible inner ear infection which did nothing, was told it’s not actual vertigo and to take motion sickness pills but was told they will make me drowsy so I don’t take them because what’s the point if I can’t take them while I’m awake? Anyway I’m finally approaching an appointment with my doctor for blood tests and a CT scan but I’m wondering if the dizzy feeling is because of the melatonin.

    • Chrisstina – Melatonin can cause dizziness, especially at higher does. Did you continue to have the dizziness even after you stopped (or have you stopped?) taking the melatonin?

      • I stopped about 4 days ago but am still dizzy.

        • If the melatonin was causing the dizziness, I would think it would stop once you discontinued use of melatonin, especially 4 days later. Dizziness can also be a withdrawal symptom. How long were you taking melatonin before you began having the vertigo symptoms?

  32. I have been taking 10 milligrams of melatonin for several years. I am type 2 diabetic and take medicine for that as well as blood pressure medicine. I also take antidepressants and I have been noticing I am getting more and more depressed. My doctor never told me to take melatonin I just did it on my own I also take Trazodone and Xanax. I am weaning off the Xanax now but I am very very depressed and have had IBS for a long time and as well as colitis. Should I taper off of the Melatonin? Or just stop abruptly

  33. I’m confused by this because both my doctor and therapist recommended for me to take melatonin for my insomnia 2 last year and now I take 5 mg every night and I fall asleep withing 20 minutes and stay asleep all night, the only problem is that I literally can’t fall asleep without it, but it definitely does make me fall asleep and works as a sleep aid.

  34. Ok, you are making a mistake in the very beginning by assuming supplemental melatonin is 100% bioavailable. In fact, oral melatonin is only 15% bioavailable, meaning that to get the “recommended dosage” of 1mg, you’d actually have to take upwards of 6mg of melatonin orally.

    • Rene – Bioavailability of melatonin varies from person to person, and if it is ingested orally or sublingually, which is why it it recommended to start at a dose of 0.3 mg and increase the dose until the desired sleep improvement is attained.

  35. I’m on 2mg because I’m on a cocktail of meds for bipolar disorder – it is the only thing that works for me. It actually does help me fall asleep – it takes me 15 mins or so rather than 3+ hours. It also allows me to sleep for more that 3 hours at a time.

    I do think it should be treated with caution and should be prescribed by a doctor, but in doses above 1mg it can be more effective. For me, the 1mg didn’t help me with staying asleep which is why my dosage was increased.

  36. Does anyone else experience diarrhea the following morning? Does it contain xylitol? If so, is there a brand that does not contain xylitol? I’ve tried 1, 2 & 3 mg.

  37. I have been taking 3mg of melatonin. It makes me feel not sleeping well and nightmares during the day. What should I do? Can I speak to my doctor when I am having nightmares during the day? I have been waking up at 2 yesterday. Does not feel well during the night.

  38. I have been taking Melatonin for about 12 years. I took 3mg daily for 10 years then gradually lowered my dosage down to 2mg for roughly a year, than lowered down to 1.5mg for 5 months than lowered to 1mg for 3 months than lowered to .5mg for 2 months. All the while no issues with going to sleep or staying asleep.

    I decided right before Christmas that I wanted to stop completely as I didn’t feel I needed them to fall/stay asleep anymore. So I stopped from a .5mg. The first few days were fine, I was sleeping okay then it went downhill fast!

    Within a few days-to a week (exactly how many days I am not 100% sure as this has been a very rough three weeks) I had the worst anxiety I have ever felt in my life. Daily panic attacks for over a week, then turned into extreme physical exhaustion, nausea and dizziness, medium – high level anxiety accompanies the dizziness, which then turned into a migraine which I am about five days into. The strange part is I think I would probably be able to sleep on my own if I wasn’t in pain from migraines and anxiety.

    I have long been a supporter of melatonin instead of prescription sleep aids but never in my life did I think I was going to feel this bad discontinuing something that I felt like I no longer needed. I want to thank whomever created this forum. I felt like a human instead of an anxious mess when I read these comments. I am hoping and praying, with my fingers and toes crossed that I feel better soon as I work a full time job and go to college part time (nights).

    I have actually started an anti anxiety pill (Lexapro) in hopes that this will help with the anxiety so I can live a normal life. My suggestion to those who don’t need melatonin for a medical condition of any sort would be try something else or keep dosage low and only take it for a short period of time.

  39. Warren, San Clemente CA says:

    Lower doses did nothing for me. I have REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and restless leg syndrome and have settled on 5mg with the council of my neurologist (sleep disorder specialist) I am hearing too much concern about 5mg.

    • The concern is only for people who want to try melatonin and start at too high of a dose. As mentioned above, the very best dosage varies from person to person depending upon how much melatonin their body is producing naturally. Someone may need to take 10 mg of melatonin for the desired results, while others may only need 0.5 mg. But if someone starts taking 10 mg of melatonin (without consulting with a physician first) when physiologically they only need 0.5 mg, then they most likely will disrupt their hormonal balance even further and experience undesirable side effects.

  40. I am taking 20mg , my doctor put me on it because I am bipolar and I have bad depression, I get to where I can not sleep at night and cry and think about things I’m going through which is very rough for me. Is this to much?

    • Tandrs – 20 mg of melatonin is not too much if that is the dosage your doctor decided upon and if you are not experiencing any bad side effects. Has the melatonin helped with your sleep?

  41. I have bad dreams when taking melatonin, does anyone else experience this side effect?

  42. Never really suspected my weeks-long dizziness would return when I started melatonin 3mg/day a week ago. I have dizzy spells and tachycardia for which I take beta blockers. But since starting melatonin I began having the dizzies all day long, and heartbeat is a wee bit faster. Could it be that supplement? Should I stop cold turkey?

    • Katrina – In addition to side effects from taking high doses of melatonin, it can also cause reactions when taken with other medications, including those that affect blood pressure, like beta blockers. The withdrawal symptoms that some people have when they stop taking melatonin usually occur only after long term use. Regardless, if you think melatonin is causing your symptoms, you should stop taking it. There’s no way to know for sure that it is the melatonin, but having symptoms of dizziness and increased heart rate isn’t something to take lightly. I would consult with your physician if your symptoms persist.

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