If you have ever had a hard time falling asleep at night, then chances are you have heard of melatonin. A common question for those who have considered taking the supplement is, ‘how much melatonin should I actually be taking.’ Melatonin dosage by weight is typically what you’ll see. Some other things to consider are age, the potential side effects, additional medications you might be taking, and any health conditions you have or are currently experiencing.
Depending on these factors, melatonin can be a helpful addition to your medicine cabinet. Read on for a breakdown of everything you need to know before taking melatonin.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone in the human brain that produces a response to the dark. Therefore, it helps with falling asleep and the timing of your circadian rhythms, which work like a 24-hour internal clock. Since the “sleep” hormone is produced when the brain registers a specific surrounding (darkness), being exposed to lights at night can prevent sufficient melatonin in the body. As a result, you may struggle with getting to rest and falling asleep.
This lack of melatonin production is why many people choose to take melatonin as a digestive supplement. Some people find that taking a melatonin pill before bed helps them fall asleep faster and more easily. However, it’s important to consider your daily habits and nighttime routine. Do your actions, diet, and wellness habits support a good night’s rest? These daily habits may include regular exercise, whole foods, limited screentime, as well as limited alcohol consumption.
If you feel confident that your everyday routine supports a healthy sleep pattern yet you still can’t fall asleep at night, then melatonin may be a good option for you. Let’s get into how melatonin works, the benefits, and how much you should be taking.
How Does Melatonin Work?
Now that you know what melatonin is, let’s discuss how the dietary supplement actually works. Melatonin acts on receptors in your body to encourage falling asleep, likely resulting in better sleep through the night. Consuming melatonin tablets adds to your body’s already existing natural supply of the hormone. Therefore, taking melatonin pills can help you get to bed and improve your overall quality of sleep.
What Are the Benefits of Melatonin?
The primary benefit of melatonin is to support someone who’s struggling to fall asleep to get to sleep with ease. Those who suffer from occasional insomnia might benefit from the effects of taking melatonin. Melatonin supplements may help with a variety of other situational conditions, such as jetlag, anxiety and depression, chronic pain, dementia, and more.
If you deal with any of these conditions, it might be a good idea to occasionally add melatonin to your nightly routine. Of course, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor and be mindful of only taking the appropriate dosage for you. That leads us to discuss how much melatonin you should be taking.
How Much Melatonin Should I Be Taking?
Time for the main question. Once you decide that you want to try melatonin supplements, how much melatonin should you take? Again, there are several factors to consider when measuring your appropriate melatonin dosage – are you pregnant, breastfeeding, under the influence of alcohol, jetlagged, a minor or elderly person, or taking other medications? Ask yourself these questions before taking melatonin.
As for general dosage guidelines, there is no official recommended melatonin dosage for adults, but between 0.5 to 5 milligrams seems to be safe and effective (according to the Sleep Foundation). It’s best to start with the lowest recommended dosage for your age and weight (check the label for this information) and take note of how it affects you before increasing your dosage. You can slowly increase your melatonin dosage until you find an amount that helps you fall asleep without any side effects.
So, what are the side effects of melatonin?
What Are the Side Effects of Melatonin?
As with any medication or dietary supplement, it’s always important to consider the potential side effects. The unpleasant side effects of regular melatonin use may include:
- Stomach cramps
- Confusion or disorientation
- Low blood pressure
Most of these side effects are rare, but it’s important to pay attention to how your body responds when taking melatonin. If you experience these effects, stop taking melatonin and consult with your doctor.
Are you struggling to fall asleep at night and, considering the points above, believe that melatonin can help you? If so, melatonin can be a useful sleep aid (in addition to your healthy lifestyle habits) that may help you finally get some much-needed rest at night. Always read the label, consult a health care provider, and take the recommended dosage for you.