How much melatonin is safe to take?

Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces to aid the body's circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock)sleep.

But what are the risks of taking melatonin supplements, how often can you take it and what are the side effects?

How much melatonin is safe to take?

A dose of melatonin is the lowest dose that's effective in helping you fall asleep without causing side effects.

In general, between 0.2 and 5mg is considered a safe starting dose.

But the level of safe dosage will differ between individuals and is dependent on a person's body weight, age, and sensitivity to the supplement.

People who are prescribed melatonin to help treat insomnia are usually given a course of 1 to 4 weeks.

In some severe cases it can be prescribed for up to 13 weeks.

Is it OK to take melatonin every night?

Melatonin is generally safe for short-term use.

Unlike with many sleep medications, with melatonin you are unlikely to become dependent, have a diminished response after repeated use (habituation), or experience a hangover effect.

How much melatonin should I take for sleep?

The recommended dose of melatonin is between 1 and 3mg.

When using melatonin for the first time it is recommended you do not take more than 2mg per day. 

It is best to take melatonin supplements two hours before bedtime.

You shouldn’t take melatonin chronically or long term to sleep, primarily because you risk “masking” the real underlying issue that can cause other problems.

What happens if you take melatonin and don't go to sleep?

As melatonin is produced by the body during hours of darkness, it is wise not to take it during the day.

If you take melatonin too close to morning or during the day, you may feel drowsy and groggy – and sometimes feelings of depression.

How long does it take for melatonin to kick in?

It takes around 1 to 2 hours for melatonin to work.

Melatonin tablets begin to have an effect within 30 minutes, when the user should start to feel sleepy.

What are the negative effects of melatonin?

Long term use of melatonin has been found to be non harmful or dependant for up to two years.

But melatonin can cause some side effects including:

  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach cramps
  • Irritability

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