Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. Melatonin used as medicine is usually made synthetically in a laboratory. It is most commonly available in pill form, but melatonin is also available in forms that can be placed in the cheek or under the tongue. This allows the melatonin to be absorbed directly into the body.
Some people take melatonin by mouth to adjust the body's internal clock. Melatonin is most commonly used for insomnia and improving sleep in different conditions. For example, it is used for jet lag, for adjusting sleep-wake cycles in people whose daily work schedule changes (shift-work disorder), and for helping people establish a day and night cycle.
Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19): There is no good evidence to support using melatonin for COVID-19. Follow healthy lifestyle choices and proven prevention methods instead.
Is a Form of:
Also Known As:
5-Methoxy-N-Acetyltryptamine, MEL, Melatonina, Mélatonine
How Does It Work?
Melatonin's main job in the body is to regulate night and day cycles or sleep-wake cycles. Darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare for being awake. Some people who have trouble sleeping have low levels of melatonin. It is thought that adding melatonin from supplements might help them sleep.
- Trouble falling asleep at a conventional bedtime (delayed sleep phase syndrome). Taking melatonin by mouth appears to reduce the length of time needed to fall asleep in young adults and children who have trouble falling asleep. However, within one year of stopping treatment, this sleeping problem seems to return.
- Non-24-hour sleep wake disorder. Taking melatonin at bedtime seems to improve sleep in children and adults who are blind.
- Sleep disturbance caused by certain blood pressure medicine (beta blocker-induced insomnia). Beta-blocker drugs, such as atenolol and propranolol, are a class of drugs that seem to lower melatonin levels. This might cause problems sleeping. Research shows that taking a melatonin supplement might reduce problems sleeping in patients taking beta-blocker drugs.
- A painful uterine disorder (endometriosis). Taking melatonin daily for 8 weeks seems to reduce pain and painkiller use in women with endometriosis. It also reduces pain during menstruation, intercourse, and while going to the bathroom.
- High blood pressure. Taking the controlled-release form of melatonin before bedtime seems to lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. Immediate-release formulations do not seem to work.
- Insomnia. Taking melatonin short-term seems to shorten the amount of time it takes to fall asleep in people with insomnia, but only by about 7-12 minutes. Melatonin might also increase the amount of time that a person with insomnia spends sleeping. But results are conflicting, and any benefit is small at best. Some people say melatonin makes them sleep better, even though tests do not agree. There is some evidence that melatonin is more likely to help older people than younger people or children. This may be because older people have less melatonin in their bodies to start with. There is also interest using melatonin for people with insomnia and other conditions. Research shows that melatonin might improve sleeping trouble related to conditions such as depression, schizophrenia, epilepsy, autism, developmental disabilities, and intellectual disabilities. But it's unclear if melatonin improves sleep problems in people with Alzheimer disease, dementia, Parkinson disease, traumatic brain injury, substance use disorders, or in people undergoing dialysis.
- Jet lag. Most research shows that melatonin can improve certain symptoms of jet lag such as alertness and movement coordination. Melatonin also seems to slightly improve other jet lag symptoms such as daytime sleepiness and tiredness. But, melatonin might not be effective for shortening the time it takes for people with jet lag to fall asleep.
- Anxiety before surgery. Melatonin used under the tongue seems to be as effective at reducing anxiety before surgery as midazolam, a conventional medication. It also seems to have fewer side effects in some people. Taking melatonin by mouth also seems to reduce anxiety before surgery, although some conflicting evidence exists. Furthermore, some evidence suggests that taking melatonin before sevoflurane anesthesia reduces agitation after surgery.
- Tumors without cysts or liquid (solid tumors). Taking high doses of melatonin with chemotherapy or other cancer treatments might reduce tumor size and improve survival rates in people with tumors.
- Sunburn. Applying melatonin gel to the skin before sun exposure seems to prevent sunburn. Applying melatonin cream to the skin before sun exposure seems to help people that are very sensitive to sunlight. But melatonin cream might not prevent sunburn in people with less sensitive skin.
- A group of painful conditions that affect the jaw joint and muscle (temporomandibular disorders or TMD). Research suggests that taking melatonin at bedtime for 4 weeks reduces pain by 44% and increases tolerance to pain by 39% in women with jaw pain.
- Low levels of platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia). Taking melatonin by mouth can improve low blood platelet counts associated with cancer, cancer treatment, and other disorders.
The following doses have been studied in scientific research:
- For disorders that affect when a person sleeps and when they are awake: 0.5 mg to 5 mg of melatonin taken daily before bedtime for up to 6 years has been used in blind people. Also in blind people, high dose of 10 mg taken an hour before bedtime for up to 9 weeks has also been used. 2-12 mg of melatonin taken at bedtime for up to 4 weeks has been used.
- For trouble falling asleep at a conventional bedtime (delayed sleep phase syndrome): 0.3 to 5 mg of melatonin daily for up to 9 months has been used.
- For sleep disturbance caused by certain blood pressure medicine (beta blocker-induced insomnia): 2.5 mg of melatonin taken daily for up to 4 weeks has been used. Single doses of 5 mg of melatonin have also been used.
- For endometriosis: 10 mg of melatonin daily for 8 weeks has been used.
- For high blood pressure: 2-3 mg of controlled-release melatonin daily for 4 weeks has been used.
- For insomnia:
- For insomnia: 2 mg to 3 mg of melatonin before bedtime for up to 29 weeks has been used in most research. Higher doses of up to 12 mg daily have also been used for shorter durations (up to 4 weeks).
- For insomnia occurring together with other conditions: 2-12 mg for up to 4 weeks has been used. Lower doses have also been used for up to 24 weeks.
- For jet lag: 0.5-8 mg of melatonin at bedtime is commonly taken on the day of arrival at the destination, continuing for 2 to 5 days. Low doses of 0.5-3 mg are often used to avoid the side effects of the higher doses.
- For reducing anxiety before surgery: 3-10 mg of melatonin taken 60-90 minutes before surgery has been used.
- For tumors without cysts or liquid (solid tumors) in combination with conventional therapy: 10-40 mg of melatonin daily, along with radiotherapy, chemotherapy, or interleukin 2 (IL-2), has been used. Melatonin is typically started 7 days before the start of chemotherapy and continued throughout full treatment course. 20 mg of melatonin intravenously daily for 2 months, followed by 10 mg of oral melatonin daily, has also been used.
- For a group of painful conditions that affect the jaw joint and muscle (temporomandibular disorders or TMD): 5 mg of melatonin at bedtime for 4 weeks has been used.
- For low levels of platelets in the blood (thrombocytopenia) associated with cancer chemotherapy: 20-40 mg of melatonin daily beginning up to 7 days before chemotherapy and continuing throughout chemotherapy cycles has been used.
INTRAMUSCULAR (into the muscle):
- For tumors without cysts or liquid (solid tumors) in combination with conventional therapy: 20 mg of melatonin intramuscularly daily for 2 months, followed by 10 mg of oral melatonin daily, has been used.
APPLIED TO THE SKIN:
- For sunburn: A gel containing 0.05% to 2.5% melatonin, applied either 15 minutes before or up to 4 hours after sun exposure, has been used. A cream containing 12.5% melatonin, applied to the skin before sun exposure, has been used.
UNDER THE TONGUE:
- For reducing anxiety before surgery: 5 mg or 0.05-0.2 mg/kg of body weight taken 90-100 minutes before anesthesia has been used.
- For disorders that affect when a person sleeps and when they are awake: 0.5-4 mg of melatonin daily for up to 6 years has been used in blind people. 0.5-12 mg of melatonin daily for up to 12 weeks has been used in children and adolescents 3 months to 18 years-old.
- For trouble falling asleep at a conventional bedtime (delayed sleep phase syndrome): 1-6 mg of melatonin before bedtime for up to one month has been used.
- For insomnia:
- For insomnia: 5 mg or 0.05-0.15 mg/kg of body weight taken at bedtime for 4 weeks has been used in children 6-12 years-old with primary insomnia.
- For insomnia occurring together with other conditions: 6-9 mg of melatonin taken before bedtime for 4 weeks, has been used in children with seizures 3-12 years-old.
- For reducing anxiety before surgery: 0.05-0.5 mg/kg of body weight has been taken before anesthesia in children 1-14 years-old.
Melatonin Supplements Frequently Asked Questions
Is melatonin safe to take every night?
If melatonin does seem to help, it's safe for most people to take nightly for one to two months. “After that, stop and see how your sleep is,” he suggests. “Be sure you're also relaxing before bed, keeping the lights low and sleeping in a cool, dark, comfortable bedroom for optimal results.”
How much melatonin should I take to sleep?
Research has found that taking melatonin in low doses is the most effective way to promote sleep if you are experiencing restlessness or insomnia. Recommended doses of melatonin are from 0.5 mg up to 3 mg, which are adequate to promote sleep or treat jet lag.
What are the benefits of melatonin supplements?
Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, which may provide a variety of other benefits. In fact, it may help support eye health, treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, ease tinnitus symptoms and even raise growth hormone levels in men.
Which is the best melatonin supplement?
- Best Overall: Nature Made Melatonin 3mg.
- Best Budget: Nature's Bounty Melatonin.
- Best Allergy-Friendly: Pure Encapsulations Melatonin 3mg.
- Best Time-Release: Natrol Melatonin Advanced Sleep Tablets with Vitamin B6.
- Best Lozenges: Source Naturals Sleep Science 1mg.
- Best Gummy: Megafood Melatonin Berry Good Sleep Gummies.
Does melatonin cause weight gain?
A new study shows that not having enough melatonin, your sleep hormone, messes with your hunger and satiety signals and leads to weight gain. Melatonin is your main sleep hormone in a cocktail of hormones that your body releases to get you to sleep.
What are the negative effects of melatonin?
Melatonin is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth appropriately, long-term. Melatonin has been used safely for up to 2 years in some people. However, it can cause some side effects including headache, short-term feelings of depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, and irritability.
Is 10 mg of melatonin OK?
However, a melatonin overdose can be hard to define since there isn't an official standard safe dosage for everyone. In adults, the standard dose used in studies ranges between 1 and 10 mg although there isn't currently a definitive “best” dosage. It's believed doses in the 30-mg range may be harmful.
Is 10mg of melatonin too much?
Although melatonin is safe in doses up to 10mg per day, more is not necessarily better. Starting with a smaller dose will allow you to see how your body reacts and gauge if your body needs more or less melatonin.
Does melatonin make you tired the next day?
You're less likely to feel a “hangover” if you take melatonin at the right time. If you take it too late, you may feel drowsy or groggy the next day.
Can I take melatonin in the middle of the night?
- Melatoninis not a sleeping pill, so taking it just before bedtime will make things worse, not better. In and of itself, melatonin doesn't make you sleepy or fall asleep. You need to take it 2-3 hours before your planned/desired sleep time.
Is melatonin bad for your kidneys?
Melatonin ameliorates oxidative stress, inflammation, proteinuria, and progression of renal damage in renal mass reduction.
Is it safe to take 5mg melatonin every night?
According to Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, “melatonin is very safe if taken in normal doses,” which is anything between 0.5 mg and 5 mg. .For people who want to take melatonin just before bed, a 5 mg dose is appropriate.
How long does 5mg Melatonin last?
The supplement will last in your body for about 5 hours. Some people need additional melatonin to regulate their circadian rhythm.
Does melatonin help with belly fat?
Spanish scientists have discovered that melatonin consumption helps control weight gain because it stimulates the appearance of 'beige fat', a type of fat cell that burns calories instead of storing them.
Is 25 mg of melatonin too much?
In adults, the standard dose used in studies ranges between 1 and 10 mg, although there isn't currently a definitive “best” dosage. It's believed doses in the 30-mg range may be harmful. In general, it's better to start low and move up slowly and carefully if you see encouraging results.
Does Melatonin make poop?
Although the pineal gland is the main source of melatonin, the gastrointestinal tract also produces some. Melatonin didn't affect the frequency of bowel movements or stool consistency, but it did reduce abdominal pain, bloating, and other symptoms.
Is melatonin bad for your heart?
Taking melatonin supplements alongside sedatives such as benzodiazepines may cause excessive sleepiness. ... Melatonin may also constrict blood vessels, which could be dangerous for people with high blood pressure or heart disease.
Does melatonin actually work?
“It doesn't keep you asleep, but it will induce sleep. When taking a higher dosage, melatonin will actually reset your internal body clock—a useful tactic to avoid jet lag.” “Melatonin will only work if you're promoting a healthy sleep environment,” he said.
How long does it take for melatonin to kick in?
In general, you should take melatonin 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime. It typically takes 30 minutes to start working. Melatonin can stay in your body for about 5 hours, though it depends on factors like your age and overall health status.
Why you should not take melatonin?
Do not use melatonin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have an autoimmune disorder, a seizure disorder or depression. Melatonin supplements may also raise blood-sugar levels and increase blood pressure levels in people taking some hypertension medications.
Is 30 mg melatonin too much?
In adults, the standard dose used in studies ranges between 1 and 10 mg, although there isn't currently a definitive “best” dosage. It's believed doses in the 30-mg range may be harmful. In general, it's better to start low and move up slowly and carefully if you see encouraging results.
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