Can You Overdose On Melatonin? A Look At The Side Effects And Dosage

melatonin overdoseMelatonin tablets are generally seen as ‘safe’ sleeping pills by most consumers, doctors and scientists. This is largely because Melatonin is a natural hormone which your own body produces.

But is it completely fool-proof safe, or can you overdose on Melatonin? And what kind of side effects can you expect with a normal or high dose?

Technically anything over the recommended dosage can be considered an overdose. The problem is though, Melatonin doesn’t really have an official recommended dosage!

That said, most doctors and researchers say you should take no more than 5mg a day. And preferably less for most sleep problems.

This was also the standard dose we found in most brands during our review of over the counter sleep aids.

So we will look at what might happen if you take more than that dosage. And what symptoms you might expect from a Melatonin overdose.

And if you are interested in more background information, have a read of our article examining how well Melatonin works.

 

Surely there must be a recommended dosage of Melatonin…

There really isn’t a standard recommended dose of Melatonin at the moment. And interestingly most brands sell it in quantities far higher than the body actually produces.

Melatonin is marketed and sold as a dietary supplement or natural remedy. So it has not undergone the rigorous testing of organizations such as the Food and Drugs Administration in the United States. And therefore there is no central body to say exactly how many milligrams you should take.

So you are left to trust the advice of anyone else who speaks up on the matter. Some good advice from the University of Maryland Medical Center for example recommends taking a dose as close as possible to that which the body produces. And the body usually produces less than 0.3mg per day.

They also go on to suggest that a dose of 1 to 3mg an hour before bed works fine for most adults. But even as little as 0.1 to 0.3 mg might work. And if that dosage of Melatonin doesn’t work after a few days, you can increase it to 5 or 6mg.

Even though Melatonin is available over the counter in many countries, you should discuss it with your doctor first. They can tell you if it will be safe for you, and if so, how much to take.

 

Is Melatonin safe at these low doses?

Research in 2005 concluded that taking Melatonin at low doses is safe for periods of 3 months of less. And more recently the Mayoclinic also stated that it is safe at a dose of 5mg for up to 2 years. Although on another section of their website they say it’s best not to take it for more than 2 months.

Even at these low doses though you may still experience side effects. Safe doesn’t necessarily mean no side effects; it just means that it probably won’t cause most people any serious medical damage.

 

What is considered a Melatonin overdose and what might happen?seek help if you take a melatonin overdose

So what happens if you have a bottle of Melatonin 3mg pills which tell you to take one before bed. But you decide to take two or three times that amount, or even more?

Well according to most research, you shouldn’t be in any great danger if you take a small Melatonin overdose.

And in fact it is common for people to take a pill too soon before bed, decide it isn’t working fast enough and take another one. Then in the night to wake up and take yet another.

Whilst this may not cause you too much trouble, it is not the right way or safest way to use Melatonin. The more you take, the more likely it is that you’ll experience unpleasant side effects.

And the more likely it is that you will experience a ‘Melatonin hangover’ the next day. This is because the Melatonin effectively tells your body ‘more melatonin means it’s time for sleep’.

So when you take it in the middle of the night, your body clock is being pushed forwards. If you are very drowsy the next day then you run a higher risk of having an accident which could harm you or others.

There is no medical advice or research stating what would happen if you took a very high dose of Melatonin. It is highly recommended that you do not consider doing this. At the very least you are likely to experience some unpleasant side effects.

Whatever dose you take, if you start experiencing side effects, then you should seek medical attention. And if you do take a large Melatonin overdose, intentionally or by accident, it is advisable to seek emergency medical attention immediately. In the US this could be an emergency room or poison control center.

So what are the side effects of Melatonin that you might experience at any dosage level? Let’s take a closer look.

 

Possible Melatonin side effects

1. Daytime drowsiness

Ok you might laugh, but one side effect is of course drowsiness. Yes, it’s like saying on a bottle of milk ‘warning contains dairy products’. But the point is, if you take Melatonin at the wrong time you can end up being drowsy during the day. You are then a risk if driving or operating heavy machinery for example.

2. Hormonal changes

Again this sounds obvious. You are taking a hormone after all, right? But the effects can be serious in some cases. For example pregnant women are advised not to take Melatonin as it can have negative effects on fetus growth.

But it can also reduce the sex drives of both men and women. As well as interfere with women’s ovulation and men’s sperm count. So if you are trying to get pregnant, Melatonin probably won’t help.

3. Mood changes

This is especially likely if you take too much Melatonin. You may experience a range of mood changes such as sadness, worsening depression or even feeling over-excitable. People who suffer from any kind of depressive illness should not take Melatonin.

4. Hallucinations, paranoia and disorientation

More likely if you take a Melatonin overdose, you may experience hallucinations, delusions, disorientation, confusion and paranoia. These are side effects not to be taken lightly as they can be very disturbing.

5. Increase in vivid dreams and unusual sleep behavior

You may find you have very vivid dreams. It can also increase the possibility of other events such as sleep walking and nightmares.

6. Physiological effects

Melatonin has been found to have several effects on the body. This includes lowering blood pressure, or even raising it if you are taking drugs to control it. It may have effects on blood sugar levels and cholesterol. It can also bring about further problems for type 1 diabetics. This is due to a reduction in tolerance to insulin as well as increasing blood sugar levels.

7. Risk of seizures

This is a particular risk if you overdose on Melatonin or have any existing kind of seizure disorder. Again this can be potentially serious and another good reason to be careful with how much you take.

8. Nausea and other stomach problems

This is one of the more common side effects of Melatonin, even at low doses. You may experience nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and pains, and diarrhea.

9. Risks to infants through breast-feeding

Melatonin is possibly not safe for infants, even though some sources argue that it’s safe for children. Breast feeding mothers should therefore not use Melatonin as not enough is known about its safety at this time.

10. Serious allergic reaction including rashes and swelling

In some rare cases you may experience a severe allergic reaction. This could result in a rash, swelling of any parts of the face, tongue or throat, itching, dizziness and trouble breathing. You should definitely seek immediate emergency medical help if these symptoms occur.

11. Increased risk of contracting immune system disorders

Melatonin may increase the risk of contracting autoimmune disorders such as Hepatitis or Crohn’s disease. For this reason, people who already have an autoimmune disorder should consult a doctor before taking Melatonin.

12. Risk of liver damage

There is thought to be an increased risk of liver damage. This is another reason people who have problems with alcohol misuse need to consult a doctor before taking it.

 

Interactions with other drugs

Melatonin can also interact with other drugs. So you should consult a doctor if you are taking, or planning on taking any of the following:

  • Blood thinners, such as Warfarin or Heparin.
  • Blood pressure medicine, like Nifedipine.
  • Drugs to prevent seizures.
  • Drugs which affect your immune system.
  • Psychiatric medications, especially anti-psychotics or anti-anxiety drugs such as Benzodiazepines.
  • Anything containing caffeine or alcohol. Caffeine reduces the quantity of Melatonin so makes it less effective. And therefore more likely you’ll decide to take more and risk having an overdose.
  • Anything which can make you drowsy, such as sedatives, some cough medicines and anti-histamines, muscle relaxants, other sleeping pills and some pain killers – especially narcotics.
  • Medication for diabetes.
  • Fluvoxamine (Luvox), which can decrease the amount of Melatonin your body can absorb and increase the risk of side effects.
  • Medication that slows blood clotting (anti-coagulants).

For a  extensive list of exact medications which can interact with Melatonin, have a look at the Webmd article here.

 

Conclusion

So can you overdose on Melatonin? It would appear that the answer is most definitely yes. But what might happen will depend on many different factors. As with most substances, two people might experience very different symptoms even when taking the same medication.

You can see that there a long list of potentially harmful effects of taking Melatonin. But there are also additional risks for certain people.

So we recommend you stick to the various recommended doses that major organizations such as the Mayoclinic offer.

But first and foremost speak to a doctor to check that it will be totally safe for you. You can also then get clear advice on what dose you should take and how long for.

And once again, if you do take a Melatonin overdose, please seek emergency medical help straight away.

 

 


191 Responses to “Can You Overdose On Melatonin? A Look At The Side Effects And Dosage”

  1. Rachel says:

    Hi Ethan. I’ve always had problems sleeping so when I heard about melatonin I was really hoping it would work for me. I bought 5mg time release tablets and 3mg fast dissolve tablets. I took one of the 5mg tablets one night, and shortly after felt short of breath and anxious, panicky. My legs felt really restless and I had to keep moving them, was sweating, needing the toilet more and all this lasted for about 6-8 hours. Haven’t dared take any since but wondered about trying half of the 3mg fast dissolve one, as I’m still desperate for sleep.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Rachel,

      I definitely don’t think it’s a good idea that you take the melatonin again, even a lower dose. It sounds like your body very clearly said ‘no’ to it to the first time. If you’re desperate you can always talk to your doctor and see if they can help. I would also suggest trying out some sleep hygiene techniques as there are lots of things you can do which might improve your quality of sleep.
      Regards
      Ethan

  2. Ray says:

    Hi there, this dose barely works, it makes me somewhat drowsy and I use it for shift work, I don’t use it on my days off. Thanks.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi again Ray,
      Thanks for clarifying that. It could be that it’s just not right for you then, unfortunately. You may find it helps more when you try to sleep again at a normal time in the evening, rather than in the daytime, depending on your shifts and when you’ve been trying to use it so far. If it makes you feel a bit drowsy, that’s possibly the best you’ll get from it anyway. It’s not known to be a powerful sleep aid like some prescription ones.
      My advice would be to not take a higher dose, and also try to look at some of the other info. on this site, for example that about sleep hygiene. You might find some other ideas which help.
      Regards
      Ethan

  3. Lyn says:

    I have been struggling with a sleep problem and LTD so normally I take xanax like 1-5mg. (depending on how much I need to sleep) before my bedtime.
    Yes I’ve been using bzd a lot because of anxiety too.It ain’t a good choice tho.
    my friend knows that so she handed me a bottle of melatonin a month a ago because she doesn’t want me to use drug so I give a try without consulting with my doctor and since its dietary supplement I didn’t search for details or any information just listened from her
    then I stopped using bzd and Started melatonin from 9mg to 21mg 2hrs before bed and recently everything is just getting worse. I feel bad like really bad . Weird dreams night after night. feeling tired and more so i just searched about things we call melatonin and found this page so can we really overdose on melatonin ? I m not quite sure but i guess I need to go back to see my doctor real soon

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Lyn
      Thanks for your comment. It could be that you’ve been having problems because of the sudden change from the xanax to the melatonin. I don’t know how long you’ve been taking it for, but it’s usually a good idea to work with your doctor on careful reduction in taking benzos. I would definitely recommend talking to your doctor about it, though it seems you’re instincts have already told you that.
      Regards
      Ethan

  4. Anonymous says:

    Hi, so I have depression and I just took 5 of the 5mg hope I would sleep better than normal but reading this kinda scared me. I’m 17 year old female and I just want to make sure it won’t do anything too crazy since it’s first time taking that many.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi there,
      Thanks for your comment. By the time you read this reply the next day, you’ll have already found out if it will do anything to you or not. If it didn’t help you sleep any better, then I definitely wouldn’t reccommend taking any more to see if it helps. It’s very unlikely to.
      And if it does help you sleep, and you plan on taking that dosage again, I’d recommend talking it over with your doctor just to be on the safe side.
      Regards
      Ethan

  5. Ray says:

    I take between 30-50 mg and haven’t got any side effects. I do it because I barely feel any effect from it and basically no effect from low doses. Sometimes I think it is not being absorbed properly by the intestines, but couldn’t find any reason for the lack of effect. Hopefully this will not lead to any health problem in the future

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Ray
      Thanks for your comment. Do you find that this dose does actually work for you though? And out of interest, are you taking it to help with shift work or travel sleep problems for example, or for general insomnia?
      Regards
      Ethan

  6. MJ says:

    I take more than the recommended dosage, since I tend to have to take more than the recommended dosage for most things. I use the chalky pill form and always allow them to just dissolve in my mouth instead of swallowing them. Figure it’s easier on the liver if it’s getting into my system via the salivary glands. Haven’t had any significant side effects, use a mix of the 5mg + 3mg + DPH. Been doing it for some time since I have trouble falling asleep without it and I don’t want to get a prescription for this. It’s actually the only meds I take other than generic Naproxen (aka Aleve) for pain issues that crop up. Works fine.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi MJ
      Thanks for your comment. I do understand that people do sometimes need more or less than the ‘average’ dose for a medication, based on many different factors. I know I need more than one pain killer for example to notice any effects. Hopefully you’ve found a balance which works for you and won’t cause you any problems.
      Regards
      Ethan

  7. Anonymous says:

    I take 3-4x the dosage of DPH (around 200mg) and drink a ton of booze, works well besides the fact that its a real trippy experience. knocks me out for 10-12 hours.

    DPH is terrible for your heart and liver but in short term use its foolproof. (provided you have a long time to sleep, otherwise you’ll be extremely drowsy during the day.)

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi there,

      I’m not surprised it knocks you out! Diphenhydramine can be quite a strong sedative, especially if you take that much. And it can interact to cause even more drowsiness. I do hope you don’t plan on doing this long term, and even in the short term my personal feeling is that it’s not the best way to deal with any sleep issues you might have. It’s just not worth the risk.
      Regards
      Ethan

  8. Katherine says:

    This is the post I shared in FB today and with my colleagues. I heard about melatonin from a fellow cub leader at camp- she gave her children a low dosage at night to help them sleep. I thought it was a miracle and more was better- never again.
    OK many of you know that the past few months have been the most stressful of my life. I almost let go of my faith but God did not let go of me. Anyhow over the winter I have developed terrible sleeping patterns and tend to roam from bed to bed not sleeping well at all. Anyhow I discovered melatonin and I was taking them two (5 mg)at a time to help me sleep. Recently I found 10mg capsules and was taking the same amount and probably another if I woke up 3 hours later. I have also been battling raccoons on a nightly basis- practically falling asleep in the barn while I wait. Last night I had an awful battle which left me crying, the cats cowering (my chickens alive) and the raccoon dead. I crawled in to bed at 1:07am after ingesting 3 more 10mg pills. The scene an hour later wasn’t good, I tried to get out of bed and fell( which caused peter to roar” what are you doing!) I tried to get up and fell again( by this time peter was up with the lights on- not sure how many times I went flying and hit my head, but water was also running out of every pore of my body- at this point I could not keep my face off the floor and I was convulsing – after vomiting several times and refusing 911, peter got me dressed and into the car- practically non- responsive all the way and never saw the admitting room nurse yet. Anyhow it turns out that the only case studies the Dr could find were from a hospital in Hong kong where women had tried to commit suicide by using melatonin. So I had a closing that I had to be to at 9:30 and I made it- but I am weak and my head is aching and all I can do is deal with the basic stuff today- I can’t chat- I just want to share with you what can happen when you take too much of an unregulated “natural” drug. I thought I was actually on the way out and I could not even get the words out for peter to tell the people I wanted him to how much I loved them.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Katherine

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear you had such an awful experience, but I’m glad you pulled through, and I hope by now you’re back to normal again.
      Fortunately it very rarely happens that people have such a terrible reaction to melatonin. I guess you are particularly sensitive to its effects. That and it sounds like there was a lot of stress and sleep deprivation thrown into the mix as well!
      But your story does highlight the importance of staying within the smaller doses which the manufacturer of the particular brand of melatonin advises. It’s also important not to keep taking melatonin during the night. If you want to know more about why that just doesn’t work, have a read of this other article about whether melatonin works or not.
      All the best and take care.
      Ethan

  9. Mark says:

    I have always had trouble going to sleep and waking up during the night. I’ve had prescription medications but they make me hung over the next day. I heard about Melatonin so I bought a bottle of 10 mg I started taking 2 capsules a night and works great for me. It takes me a while to go to sleep but I sleep sound through the night and wake up feeling good. Melatonin is a great sleeping pill….

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Mark

      Thanks for your comment. I’m glad you found the melatonin helpful, and it’s always useful to hear from people that do find it useful as well as those who haven’t. Just remember not to rely on it for too long.
      Regards
      Ethan

  10. Carissa Parsons says:

    Melatonin doesn’t do anything to me anymore. The recommended dosage doesn’t get me tired at all. I’m 17 years old. I’ve done my fair share of actual drugs though so that may play a part in why this doesn’t work as well for me. I can’t sleep without something though, so I take anywhere from 20-30mg each night. Apparently this can be bad I hear. I haven’t noticed anything yet though

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Carissa

      Thanks for your comment. I’m a little confused by your comment, in that if it doesn’t work any more, why do you continue taking it? Is it for the placebo effect, or do you find that the higher dose does help? Perhaps it’s impossible to say if there is a placebo effect at work!
      Have you tried looking into natural techniques instead of taking things? You might find that by making adjustments to your lifestyle and sleep pattern etc, you can improve your sleep. I recommend having a look at the section I have here on sleep hygiene. You’ll find lots of useful advice, which in my experience can be more effective in the long run than any sleep aids.
      Regards
      Ethan

  11. Nonya says:

    I have been talking melatonin for 3 months now (3mg x 4-5 pills) and have had the best sleep ever. I wake up at 4am for work and it really helps me during my off days. I have never had any “side effects”. I have taken them before too, due to work, and quit them immediately after. I have to say that melatonin is the best sleep aid I have found and would recommend them to anyone. If they cause you to have drowsiness or depression though I would talk to a doctor. I haven’t had these issues so I wouldn’t know. I would recommend 3mg to try first and the 10mg if that fails due to the fact that when I took 10mgx2 I woke up stuck to my pillow lol. Just find what works for you.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Nonya

      Thanks for your comment. With so many negative stories from readers it’s always good to hear from someone who has found melatonin helpful.
      I think in terms of your recommendations though, people would be better to stick to the recommended dose on the particular bottle they bought, and talk to their doctor if they feel like trying more.

      Regards
      Ethan

  12. Nicki says:

    I read almost all of the comments and didn’t see anyone mention melatonin gummies, only pills. I’ve had sleep issues my whole life and I’ve gone 3-5 days without sleep more times than I can count. I have a 60ct bottle of 2.5mg(each) melatonin gummies and I must say, they are amaaazing. I’ve been taking them for a couple of months now and I love them. Every otc sleep aid I’ve tried has failed to work. These gummies work! I find they take 30-45 mins to kick in after chewing them up well. Just wanted to share this since I didn’t see anyone mention gummies. I hate taking any and all pills. I probably would have never tried melatonin if my husband didn’t see the bottle of gummies at family dollar. At $5 a bottle, getting a great nights sleep and feeling fantastic waking up… it’s well worth it. I’d pay $20 a bottle. Lol

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Nicki

      Thanks for your comment. I imagine it’s possible that one or two readers were taking gummies, they just didn’t specify that’s what they were. It’s great that you’ve found something which clearly works well for you. It’s always good to hear from someone who has had a positive experience with melatonin.
      Regards
      Ethan

  13. Athena says:

    Hi, one of my friends used melatonin but she took about 5-8 pills. The pill I have and she has are both 5mg. I want to be cautios about how many I take so that being said what amount of 5mg pills is considered over dosing? Basically I’m asking how many should I not take. If u were to take more then you say what could happen to me?

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Athena

      I think all the information you need to know about what might happen if you take more than the recommended dose is in the article. I think the best thing is to stick with the dose that it says to on the packaging.
      Regards
      Ethan

  14. Jennifer says:

    Hi there. So I am 13 almost 14 year old female and I have been going through A LOT of stress lately. I also have depression through the roof and have thought about overdosing on this sleeping pill. I was thinking about taking 3 of those pills a night could that harm me? What might the symptoms be for me? Please please please respond! Thank you

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Jennifer

      I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with stress and depression lately. Rather than answering your question about how much harm 3 pills might do, I think it’s more appropriate that I try and encourage you to talk to someone about how you’re feeling. You are so young and have your whole life ahead of you, and I’m sure things will get better for you. We all go through very dark periods in our lives at one point or another, and there is generally light at the end of the tunnel. But it’s not such an easy tunnel to walk through alone, which is why I think it’s important to talk to someone you trust about how you’re feeling. Ideally if you can talk to your parents, but if you don’t feel you can, another close family member or friend. And if there really isn’t anyone, then your doctor would also be a good listening ear I’m sure. I’m sure there are many people who would be very upset should any harm come to you, and would want to do their best to help you through difficult times. So give them a chance to help you, and you might be surprised how much support you can find.
      Regards
      Ethan

  15. Jake says:

    I’m 15 and I’ve had ADHD for about 9-10 years and I’ve been taking one 3mg pill every night I’m failing some of my classes at school my dad got really mad and I want to take more I’ve never thought about doing would it be bad to that please respond thanks.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Jake

      I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having sleep problems and difficulty at school, on top of the diagnosis of ADHD.
      To answer your question, my personal opinion is that it’s not a good idea to take more pills. It probably won’t help you sleep any more than 3mg does or doesn’t. My advice would be to talk to your family and also your doctor. If the reason you’re having trouble at school is a lack of sleep, then there are other things your doctor might be able to recommend you try. I also recommend having a look at the sections on this website about ‘sleep hygiene’. It might sounds like a weird name, and it’s got nothing to do with being hygienic! It’s about helping yourself sleep by doing the right things and avoiding the wrong things which can affect your sleep. There is lots of useful advice there, none of which involves taking pills.
      I won’t be able to ring you I’m afraid. I respond to comments, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to call you personally. If you do need someone to talk to, I recommend talking to a close family member or friend who you can trust. And as I said before, your doctor too.
      Take care
      Ethan

  16. Anonymous says:

    Hi, this is sort of a response to the side effects of overdosing rather than a question. I had overdosed on Melatonin while ago. I was depressed, and trying to recover from a panic attack, and overdosing was my “fight or flight” response. Afterwards, I fell asleep, but only for around 5 hrs. The overdosage only caused more problems than I could imagine – I had become jumpy during the day, small hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. I was not thinking straight and was not wise enough to own up to what I did and get checked out by a doctor. The vivid nightmares continued for months, while the small hallucinations only lasted a few days, sort of like a PTSD response.
    If anyone ever overdoses on Melatonin, although not as serious as other drugs such as Anti-Depressents, get checked out immediately.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi there,

      Thank you for your comment, and your advice is very wise I think. My personal feeling is that an overdose on most things warrants getting checked out by a doctor. Whether it’s to check you’re ok medically, or to talk through the reasons behind the overdose, I think getting professional help is always an important step to take.
      Regards
      Ethan

  17. Mark says:

    My 1 year took one got into my girlfriend purse 3mg what do i have to worry about

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Mark,

      Hopefully nothing bad will happen, but I think it would be a good idea to contact emergency services to get their advice, just to be on the safe side.
      Regards
      Ethan

  18. Robyn says:

    I recently had a pineal tumor removed from my brain as well as 70% of my pineal gland. Obviously I don’t have as much melatonin running through my body any longer. What would be a safe dose to take now that I have only 30% of my gland?

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Robyn

      Thanks for your comment. Unfortunately I couldn’t possibly answer your question. The best person, and the most qualified, to help you with this is your own doctor. I recommend speaking to them about it.
      I wish you a speedy recovery from the operation.
      Regards
      Ethan

  19. Wade says:

    Hey, I started taking melatonin (5mg) just two days ago, I’m only 13 and I was wondering if anyone knew if taking two pills would help me achieve a deeper sleep, or just a longer one. Or nothing at all! Please answer, my mom told me to take the pills at eight o clock. But she wants me to take two, instead of one. I’ve only taken melatonin twice. Tonight will be my third. I’m a bit scared to take two after reading a lot of these comments and replies. But I’ve seen a lot of people get help so I want to give it a shot. If someone were to tell me what’s best I’d be thank full. (Don’t know if it matters but I am a boy.) Thanks.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Wade

      Thanks for your comment. It’s a very difficult question to answer to be honest, because I don’t know your medical situation, or the reasons your mum wants you to take two. Did she get some advice from a doctor, or someone else who knows about Melatonin? My opinion would be (and it’s only an opinion – I’m not a doctor!) that 5mg is probably enough to know if it will work for you. From what I know, if 5mg doesn’t work, then 10mg is unlikely to make much difference.
      I think the best step would be to talk to your mum about it more openly. If you’re concerned, as it seems you are, then you have every right to voice your concern. So perhaps find a quiet moment when you and your mum are both relaxed and tell her you want to know a bit more about the melatonin, and what dose you should or shouldn’t take. There’s nothing wrong with telling her you’ve looked online, and have found information which has confused you. Hopefully she will understand and be willing to talk to you about it, and also look into it further herself if she hasn’t. And of course, if you have sleep problems, you can also ask to visit your doctor and speak to them about it.
      I hope that helps, and feel free to pop back if you need more advice.
      Regards
      Ethan

  20. A says:

    I’m 14, I’ve been taking them for a few months (4 pills, probably about 10mg if that’s the average) how many is too many? What will the effect be if I take 15 or so?

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi A
      Thanks for your comment. Can I ask you if you have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder by a doctor? Or has a doctor recommended you take melatonin?
      I think taking 4 pills for several months is probably too much without even thinking about how much each pill is. Unless a doctor has told you that you need to take them so regularly.
      Can I ask ask why you feel the need to take 15? That’s a worrying thing to want to do from my perspective. I think it’s probably a good idea to talk to someone you trust about that. If you can talk to a parent, then great. But otherwise, try and talk to someone else in your family, or an adult that you trust about it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  21. Terri says:

    I’ve had insomnia for about 5 years. My doctor had me on Ambien. I haven’t been able to go to the doctor in several months. I tried melatonin a few years ago to no effect. I tried 3 mg before bed and it did absolutely nothing so I stopped. Recently I thought I would try again since nothing else was working. I read an article that said anywhere up to 18 mg was normal. No wonder the 3 mg didn’t work at all. Right! I started out taking 18 mg and it worked good for about a month. I could fall asleep like a normal person. Now I’m having to take about 24 mg. I bought my first bottle of 5 mg tablets the other day. I am noticing the vivid dreams, low sex drive, and depression. Which is depressing in itself because no sleep will cause a wide range of problems including depression. I’m at a loss now.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Terri

      Thanks for your comment, and I’m sorry to hear you’ve been having such difficulties sleeping, and then the other symptoms you mention.
      My personal feeling is that if it is then melatonin causing those symptoms, then it’s probably not a good idea to continue taking it. But perhaps the best step would be to talk to your doctor and get their advice. I know you said you haven’t been able to get to them, but if you can find a way, I think it would be a good idea.
      Regards
      Ethan

  22. Mark says:

    I have always had trouble sleeping. I have different types of sleeping pills Restoril, Dalmane, Halcion …
    and they never worked very well. Recently I started taking 20 mg Of Melatonin at night and it works great
    I am able to get a full nights sleep without waking up all during the night and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Mark

      Thanks for your comment, and it’s always nice to hear that someone has managed to deal with insomnia in a way which isn’t causing them problems the next day. Remember not to let yourself become dependent on them, and wean yourself off in the not too distant future!
      All the best
      Ethan

  23. Breckyn says:

    well i am 12 and have a hard time sleeping so i have started taking Melatonin but i have trouble with day time drowsiness should i consider a smaller dose that will work as well and if so what would that dose be. i would very much like it if someone would reply.

    Thank you
    Breckyn

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Breckyn,

      My personal feeling is that everyone who takes something like melatonin should take the smallest possible dose which works. But at your age, I think it’s something which should be discussed with your doctor and parents. What do they recommend? Have you told them you’ve been feeling drowsy? I think it’s important you do, so they can work out how to help you in a way which won’t affect your school work, activities and day-to-day life. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about everything you experience if you’re taking medication. It’s a big part of the doctor’s job to make changes until they help you in the best way possible:-)
      All the best
      Ethan

  24. Can't sleep says:

    I have lots of trouble falling asleep, always have. I’m almost 43 and battled it since I was preteen. I have just accepted it. Though it makes for some long days. I crash about every 18 days or so. I tried Melatonin last night. Ended up taking about 70mg 7 10mg pills. I took 2 then two hours later took three then about an hour later one more. Still crashed same time as always. Had high blood pressure today and a headache. Yes dreamed crazy stuff last night too. I don’t remember now but woke me up at 4:00 am. I am going to try to take some earlier and less tonight. Hopefully that works. I took the Kroger brand sleep aid and was up to 10 pills and thought that was no good. I asked the pharmacist and she said it was nothing but Benadryl under a different name. Yikes!! So I took about 500mg of Benadryl I guess so I think I will just go back to my stiff toddy and three shots of Jack. I give

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment and for sharing your experiences. I think that taking less is probably a very wise move! It’s always a good idea with medication to start with a low dose and work your way up if necessary, rather than the other way round preferably! Hopefully taking less will help you sleep, and have less side effects. But if it’s doesn’t, you just may be one of the many people Melatonin won’t help, so I wouldn’t experiment with lots of different doses if I were you.
      And many over the counter sleep aids share the same main ingredients, such as anti-histamines. In a similar way that many pain killers have the same ingredients, but are manufactured by different companies, and with differing quantities of ingredients.
      All the best
      Ethan

  25. Tristin says:

    As an update from my previous comment. I didn’t want to risk 30mg being too much, so I stuck with one 10mg pill and a 3mg pill. The two combined help marvelously and don’t make me feel sick, dizzy, or anything other than sleepy, as they should. I don’t know if it’s me or the pills, but when I use them, I notice I have a five-hour sleep cycle. If it weren’t for the fact that I wake up at generally five in the morning, this’d be great! I wake feeling pretty good, but still wanting more sleep, as I usually do. All things considered, 13mg seems to work wonderfully for me!

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Tristan,

      Nice to hear from you again. As you’ll probably have noticed, another reader has just added some more thoughts on your original comment. I still think you need to be careful not to exceed the dose the manufacturer states, or get some advice from a doctor about upping it. If 13mg works ok now, have a long think before you take even more in the future!
      Regards
      Ethan

  26. Alisha says:

    Hello,

    So after about a week of no melatonin I can honestly say it has been my entire problem. I sleep better, I’m not dizzy or nauseous during the day. My stomach is a tad touchy still but I’ve had a touchy stomach long before melatonin. The first time off was a complete turn around and not just because the sun was out. I had energy! I was literally skipping down the sidewalk like a 5yo with to much sugar. Everything seems clearer both visually and mentally.
    Other then an occasional touch of issues here and there(I’m guessing my hormones are sorting themselves out?)
    I’m doing 90% better than I have in a year.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Alisha,

      That’s great news! Well done for finding the strength to come off them and see how you will get on on your own. I’m very happy to hear that you’ve got a new lease of life. Long may it continue!
      All the best
      Ethan

  27. Tristin says:

    Let’s see… in all the times, though it hasn’t been many, Melatonin has either had no effect, or has gently lulled me to sleep as it should. For those times it did nothing, I considered taking more than one 10mg pill but have been too afraid. I suffer heavily from emetophobia and have this irrational fear of pills possibly causing any form of nausea and vomiting. In your personal experience, have you gotten many people who’ve actually experienced these symptoms at just 20mg?
    I’m the type of person who doesn’t generally get sick, experience side-effects, feel ill, and I haven’t thrown up in over nine years and I’d very well like to keep it this way. Would you recommend I avoid taking more than one pill unless I feel it’s absolutely necessary? Thank you very much!

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Tristin,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m not a doctor, and more importantly not your doctor, so I can’t really recommend how many pills you should take. What I would say though is that it’s best to stay within the manufacturer’s recommended dosage. And if you want to take more, discuss it with your doctor first just to be on the safe side. As for people experiencing those symptoms, I think it depends on the person rather than the specific dose. You might get the same symptoms as someone else who is taking a completely different dose, or take the same dose and have totally different experiences.
      Sorry I can’t help more.
      Ethan

      • Dan says:

        Tristin, I have been taking Melatonin for 20-30 years. Along with Benadryl and other “natural” sleep aids. On those nights where I wake up seemingly incapable of falling asleep I will take a second tab of Melatonin and that usually helps.
        However on those nights where sleep will not come or return, I learned long ago it is better to “rest” than to not sleep at all.
        I also use meditation to find that calm region in my mind that for many the active mind keeps them awake.
        I have never had any “reaction” to Melatonin. So far I have never heard of anyone who has….

  28. Julia says:

    I’m 13 and super stressed out about my day tomorrow. I took a mouth dissolving melatonin strip about 4 and a half hours ago. I fell asleep for an hour or so but I had to wake up to pack for my flight in the morning. Will it hurt me if I am to take another strip? I’m fine with feeling drowsy the next day.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Julia,

      Sorry it took a while to reply to your comment, it’s not possible to reply to questions which need an immediate answer. Anyway, for anyone else reading who has a similar question, or if you find yourself in the same situation again in the future, it’s unlikely that taking another melatonin tablet in the middle of the night will help much. It’s meant to help regulate your sleep cycle, and doesn’t work in the same way as most other sleeping pills which may knowck you out any time you take them.
      Regards
      Ethan

  29. Alisha says:

    For the last year I’ve been pretty sick off and on. The year before I had been getting ready for my wedding, working out, eating well(sometimes not enough). After my wedding I went back to eating normally, and also taking melatonin more often. Anywhere between 1-3mg. My wedding was in July and by August of last year I started getting sick. Nausea, vertigo, tired ALL the time, more forgetful and, anxiety and heart racing also I gained about 15 pounds. I was still taking melatonin but probably around .5-1 mg because even .5mg would make me feel groggy and I just thought that meant it was working. Fast foreword of many doctor visits, anti nausea medicine, allergy medicine, anxiety medicine(severe panic attacks) and a perfect bill of health according to 3 separate doctors. I read an article yesterday about melatonin and weight loss and did some research. Usually I’m good about my research but with all the mixing articles on melatonin I still thought it was safe. I had no idea that it could be the cause to all my problems and I have my fingers crossed that it truly was.

    I went my first night without it last night and I had a terrible time falling asleep(I’m pretty sure my body is addicted). But even though I slept pretty off and on and I’m sleepy today I don’t feel nearly as bad waking up as I do on melatonin. Keep in mind I was also sleeping 9-10 hours a night which I think is the only reason my symptoms got ‘better’ these last few months because I would out sleep the melatonin in my system but even then I would go to bed at midnight and get up at 10am dragging myself out of bed.

    Again fingers crossed but I’m hoping this is my ‘tiny’ problem I’ve had all along.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Alisha,

      Thank you for your comment. Sorry to hear you’ve been having such a difficult time. I hope for your sake that the issues can be dealt with as simply as by stopping the melatonin. Only time will tell I guess, and I’d love to hear back from you in a few days to see how you’re getting on – if you have the time and inclination to share your story more.
      Even if it isn’t the melatonin, then perhaps you could at least take strength from that fact that you’ve got the willpower to stop taking something you may have become dependent on. And that same strength and willpower can be harnessed to find other ways to deal with the stress, anxiety and other symptoms.
      Stay positive and be strong!
      All the best
      Ethan

  30. Tina says:

    Hello,
    I took Ambien CR 12.5 mg for about 10 years. I felt I was out of control because I couldn’t sleep without it but I was also forgetting things, sleep eating (I’ve gained about 30 lbs) So last summer I decided to go cold turkey… I have not taken Ambien since.
    I do however take melatonin on a nightly basis. I took 2 10 mg to start but as I grow accustomed to that I kept increasing the dose to the point that I am taking 12 10 mg a night. I never knew it was not safe, can you tell me what can happen at this dose and is it truly dangerous? I thought this would be safer than the Ambien. Thanks for your input.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Tina,

      Thanks for your comment. Well done for coming off the Ambien. That’s a strong sleep aid which shouldn’t really be used long term.
      As for the melatonin, it’s not my place to advise you on whether that dose would be safe for you or not. I’m not a doctor, and more importantly not your doctor who knows your entire medical history. What I will say though is that even though people do take melatonin in large quantities sometimes and seem to be ok, my personal opinion is that it’s best to stay within the manufacturer’s recommended dose. And if you want to take more, you should discuss that with your doctor. I’d try reducing the dose to the normal level, and see if that still helps you sleep. And I’d also have a look at all the sleep hygiene techniques you can try. You seem to be a strong-minded person, so maybe with some lifestyle changes and positivity you can come off the sleep aids altogether:-)
      Regards
      Ethan

  31. brittanie says:

    Hi Ethan, I have been taking melatonin for about 3 months or more because I use to stay up for days at a time then sleep for hours and hours. I was taking z quil but it didn’t work very well. I started out taking 1 5 mg a night then it progressed until I was taking 6 or 7 5mgs a night. When I ran out I bought the 10mgs and took about 4 of those and now I take 5 10mg a night. The past few nights they haven’t been working and ive been waking up a lot during the night and very early in the morning and I can’t go back to sleep. I know now that my dosage is wayyyyy to high, and I’ve been experiencing mood swings such as depression, and sadness and now I know why. But I thought melatonin was supposed to regulate my sleep and wake cycle? I realized over my few months of taking it that if I dont take it i will be awake until the early hours of the morning. what should I do?

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi brittanie,

      Thanks for your comment. The main point I can make is that melatonin tablets aren’t something which anyone can rely on to take on a permanent basis. Like any sleep aid, the best way to use them is just for a short period of time to help fix a broken sleep schedule and give you some stability again.
      I would recommend trying some natural techniques to regulate your sleep pattern. There are so many practical things you can do to try and improve your sleep, I always believe it’s worth giving that a shot. You can have a look at the main article about sleep hygiene, and I also suggest having a close read of the section on sleep schedules.
      I hope that helps!
      Regards
      Ethan

  32. Vanessa says:

    So last night I took four pills and I’m not sure if melatonin comes in more than one form but the ones I took were the powder capsules. About ten minutes after I did so, the capsule must have dissolved leaving just the powder, none of which have completely passed through my throat apparently because I began to choke on the thick, nasty powder! It was all at the back of my throat, so I’m over here choking, trying to breathe, drinking water trying to swallow it all. I had no idea what was happening because I had never taken a large dose of a powder type capsule before so I didn’t know such a thing could happen. The water didnt help, the powder had covered the back of my throat causing irritation and I threw up quite a bit. I did sleep, not when as early as I was hoping but I did also traumatize myself for the night.

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Vanessa,

      Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear you had such an unpleasant experience! I guess your story is a good reminder for other readers to make sure you take any pills with plenty of water to wash them down.
      I hope you don’t feel traumatized for too much longer because of this.
      All the best
      Ethan

  33. taylor says:

    Hi. I’m 14 years old and I took around 25-30 5 mg tablets last night around 11:30. Did I overdose? If so, is it still worth it to seek medical attention?

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Taylor

      By the time you read this, you will probably have had any serious side effects if you were going to have them at all. If you’re feeling in any way unwell, then I would definitely seek medical help. But I would also consider talking to someone about the fact that you felt the need to take so many pills. Whether that is family or a medical professional, it’s a good idea to get some help for the sleep problem you might have, or whatever reason led you to taking so many pills.
      Take care
      Ethan

  34. amethyst777 says:

    Nice article, but I am quite surprised that not a single person (unless I missed it), or the article mentioned FOOD.
    A lot of medications seem to work better or faster on an empty stomach, but melatonin is one that has increased effects if taken WITH food.

    I can take 10mg to 15mgs on an empty stomach and get no effects at all.
    But as small a dose as 2mgs with food, and I’m sleeping soundly within 30 minutes.

    Also, you have to go to bed. If you aren’t asleep within 30min to about an hour at most, you’ve missed it. So take the melatonin with food and go ahead and lay down within about 30 min (or sooner). Even if you don’t really feel drowsy. I bet you fall right to sleep.
    Hope that helps someone :)

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi amethyst777

      Thanks for your comment. Can I ask where you found the information about melatonin working faster if taken with food? I haven’t heard that before, so was wondering if it’s your personal experience, or if you have read somewhere reliable that that’s the case.
      Regards
      Ethan

  35. xx says:

    I took 51 pills of 0,1mg.
    Last time i took 40 and didnt fell anything except for dizzyness.
    Sigh..

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi xx,

      As I’ve said to many previous readers, it’s probably the case that melatonin just isn’t going to help you, no matter how much you take. My advice would be to try an alternative sleep aid, or look into sleep hygiene techniques to see if you can sleep better using self-help techniques.
      Regards
      Ethan

  36. Brian says:

    Ethan,
    Thank you for this article. However, I have a few questions.
    I am an 18 year old youth, 6’3 and 170 lbs. I’ve been self-medicating melatonin for about 5 weeks, after a bout of suicidal ideation that landed me in ER. I started on about 5mg a night, but it worked less each night. I’ve steadily increased my amount to about 110mg… This is considered dangerous, I’m assuming from your reactions to other comments. However, I feel no change–positive or negative. Any assistance with my insomnia, and an explanation as to why my body seems to have some sort of immunity to this supplement?
    Brian

    • Ethan Green says:

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you for your article, and I’m very sorry to hear about your recent experience. It must be a very difficult time for you, and I hope that you find a way to get through this period.
      To be honest, I imagine that melatonin just isn’t right for you. It only works for some people and in some situations. You might be better off trying a herbal remedy instead. And for the insomnia I highly recommend looking into self-help techniques, otherwise known as ‘sleep hygiene’. If you have a look at that article, you’ll find loads of useful and practical advice.
      Regards
      Ethan

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