Tossing and turning night after restless night can take a serious toll on your physical and mental health. This can make you feel irritable, achy, and sluggish throughout the day — so naturally, you might seek a sleep aid for better sleep.
Melatonin is a powerful neurohormone that controls our sleep-wake cycle, and many dosages and formulations are available over the counter. It can be undeniably useful when you’re trying to get catch some zzz’s — but is it possible to overdose? How much melatonin is too much?
You have questions, and we have answers — read on to learn everything you need to know about taking melatonin for sleep. And be sure to check out our blog for even more wellness tips!.
For now, let’s dive in!
Melatonin 101: What You Should Know
Simply put, melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by your brain’s pineal gland. Its main job is to regulate sleep cycles to support a healthy circadian rhythm. Your natural melatonin levels typically rise during the evening, peak at night, and lower as it nears morning. You can also find naturally occurring melatonin in some foods, although it’s usually a relatively small amount. Melatonin supplements are also widely available.
If Our Bodies Naturally Makes Melatonin, Why Do People Supplement With Melatonin?
Great question! Since melatonin regulates the sleep cycle, people who suffer from sleep-related issues (like insomnia) may take melatonin as a supplement. Similarly, travelers may rely on melatonin to reduce jet lag to adjust to different time zones. Graveyard shift workers may also take the popular supplement to make falling asleep during the day or at odd times easier.
When taken before hitting the hay, melatonin supplements increase the amount of melatonin in the body which could make drifting off to snoozeville — or staying there — easier.
Are There Any Proven Benefits of Melatonin?
While melatonin is produced when you sleep, its benefits are not reserved for the wee hours of the night. From slimming waistlines to reducing migraines and boosting thyroid — this little magic pill does more than just put the “beauty” back in sleep.
Melatonin can promote eye health.
Melatonin is really high in body-nourishing antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage and keep your peepers happy and healthy.
A lack of melatonin may cause PMDD.
Yep, you read that right, ladies. If your monthly PMS symptoms have you pulling out your hair — or sending your S.O. running for the hills — you may want to talk to your doc about whether you have PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder) and then take a look at your sleep habits. PMDD is a severe type of PMS which causes physical symptoms and extreme mood shifts.
According to a recent study, researchers found that low melatonin levels play a role in PMDD — this doesn’t just affect one week in the month, however. Compared to their counterparts, those with the disorder had a further reduction in melatonin levels during their symptomatic luteal phase — the second half of their menstrual cycle when the hormone progesterone is at its highest.
Delay signs of aging (at least in animals).
If you didn’t worry about it in the first thirty years of your life, you will in the next thirty — aging. At Love Wellness, we’re all about feeling and looking your best at any age! The great news is that melatonin has been shown to slow down the aging process. A research team in Paris recently found that melatonin-based treatment can slow the first signs of aging in small animals by at least three months.
Ta ta tension!
If you suffer from head and neck tension, chances are you’d try just about anything to put an end to the discomfort and get a solid night’s rest. Well, believe it or not, low melatonin levels have been linked to a variety of headache types and have been shown to alleviate pain. Results from one study showed that 3mg of melatonin significantly reduced the frequency of tension in the head with minimal side effects like weight gain and daytime sleepiness.
Boost a sluggish thyroid.
Women — especially over the age of sixty — are at a much higher risk for hypothyroidism, a common condition where your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones, causing joint pain, heart disease, and obesity.
Researchers found that among peri-menopausal and menopausal ladies between 42-62 years of age, administering 3mg of melatonin for six months before bed caused most of the women to report a general improvement of mood and a reduction in not-so-favorable symptoms of depression and highly significant improvement of thyroid function.
The Benefits Sound Amazing — How Much Melatonin Should I Take?
Since not one dosage fits all, the quantities taken for best results tend to vary. You see, melatonin is pretty excessively metabolized in your liver. Therefore, the effective dose can vary greatly from one person to the next. An older person would need a much lower dose of melatonin than a younger person, in general, because the liver metabolism changes as we get older.
The amount of melatonin an individual usually requires to get back on track is pretty low: between .5mg and 1mg at night, taken a couple of hours right before bedtime. There are some over-the-counter melatonin supplements that can reach dosages as high as 15mg — but that’s too much — especially if taken every night.
Very high doses of melatonin can cause us to feel super sluggish in the daytime and can also cause some impairment of physical and mental performance in the short-term — weighing people down and feeling a little slow the next day, in terms of energy level and some mental slowing as well.
Can You Overdose?
Regardless of age and despite what many people may think, you can’t overdose on the sleepy stuff.
Taking high doses isn’t considered dangerous. However, even though melatonin alone can’t cause overdose symptoms, be careful what medicines you’re mixing together — especially with alcohol — and see your primary care provider before you start taking melatonin if you’re currently taking other meds.
Some of the drugs that may interact with melatonin include:
- Seizure-lowering meds
- Central nervous system depressants
- Immunosuppressants and steroids
- Diabetes medication
So, can you overdose on melatonin?
Not exactly. If you take a lot of melatonin, chances are you’ll just feel extremely sluggish, sleepy, and not as mentally sharp as usual. However, mixing melatonin with certain meds or alcohol can cause overdose-like symptoms, so please be sure to chat with your doctor if you’re currently prescribed anything.
For the best sleeping aid on the market, check out Sleepy Beauty by Love Wellness. This powerful supplement combines clean ingredients to do more than promote restful sleep — it also promotes relaxation (yes, please!).. Sleepy Beauty contains just the right amount of melatonin to improve sleep quality and is also made with magnesium and organic valerian root for that oh-so relaxed feeling.
Love Wellness is an incredible company that likes to keep it simple, keep it fun, and keep it real. We believe wellness is a journey — and we’re here to be with you every step of the way.
For all of your wellness needs, Love Wellness has your back — well, really your whole body!
hMelatoning could improve symptoms of premenstrual syndrom (sleepeducation,.org)
Melatonin: The Fountain Of Youth? (sciencedaily.com)
My Account – The Globe And Mail (theglobeandmail.com)l
Nurses’ Health Study links low melatonin, diabetes (nurse.com)
Randomised clinical trial comparing melatonin 3 mg, amitriptyline 25 mg and placebo for migraine prevention (jnnpp.bmj.com)
Effects of melatonin in perimenopausal and menopausal women: a randomized and placebo controlled study (pubmed.ncbi.nim.nih.gov)