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.

 

 


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

  1. Violeta Vega says:

    Hi Ethan,

    This is a great piece of information about the effects of Melatonin. Especially because my boyfriend and I have problems with sleeping, and we are also considering having a baby. We are not very keen to take pills, but we were considering trying Melatonin.

    Now that I read your article, I might not use it. But still it was good to know more about this hormone.

    thank you, and keep writing!

    • Thanks for your comment and compliments Violeta. Life can be definitely be complicated when you have two aims which might conflict. So I am glad you are a little more aware now of the possible side effects Melatonin can have. It’s up to you and your boyfriend to balance the risks or either taking Melatonin or continuing to suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.

      If you don’t want to take pills, there are natural ways to work on your sleep problems. I highly recommend you have a look at our extensive section regarding sleep hygiene. I know many people feel they’ve heard it all before. So that’s why we have tried to compile a much larger resource than you might normally come across on the internet.

      And on a lighter note, you may also find the following article interesting. I’m sure you can guess from the title why…

      Why Do Men Fall Asleep After Sex? – The Natural Insomnia Cure

    • Byron says:

      Is the diarrhea side effect of Melatonin due to the presence of Magnesium in the tablet?

      Byron

      • Hi Byron

        To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure. After reading your comment I had a look at the research and there is nothing I can find which pinpoints it one way or the other. Magnesium, as you obviously know, is known to sometimes cause diarrhea when used as an ingredient in pills (as in all otc melatonin pills). So you may be right, but I can’t find anything to answer your question definitively.

        Ethan

    • Sky says:

      Hi I’m 14 I think I have depression. I have trouble sleeping so i take 10mg to 15mg which Is 2/3 pills. I never had an issue until the night before last. I had done my nails and decided to go ahead and take some pills. Then I did yoga for an hour or so but I felt like I was out of my body. Almost like i was high. And it’s 4:50am now and I haven’t taken any pills but my stomach hurts and I can’t sleep. I have ADHD so I take pills for that. What should I do ? Plz answer back.

      • Sky says:

        Hi ok I know I have already sent a message but I am thinking about takeing some more because I feel like shit. And if u will just plz respond back wen u can. I’d appreciate it is like to know if 2/3 pills are back for me. And if this will make my self harming worse. Ok I cut so will taking melatonin make any of that worse? Plz respond

        • Hi Sky,

          Sorry to hear you’ve been feeling so bad and having sleep problems. It sounds like you have a lot going on and a lot to cope with. Unfortunately I’m not the right person to give you advice on how many pills you should or shouldn’t take, nor on how it might effect you. But I would say that if you have stomach pain, it’s probably a good idea to get that checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.

          My advice would be to speak to someone about your questions regarding melatonin face to face, if you have someone you can trust. Your parents would be a good starting point of course, and your doctor. If you are taking other medication, then I think it’s a good idea to ask your doctor if it’s ok to also take something like melatonin. Even if you can buy it over the counter, it’s still good to make sure it’s ok for you.

          You may also find that there’s not much point in continuing to take more and more melatonin if it’s not helping you sleep. It doesn’t work for lots of people, because it doesn’t help all sleep problems. So you might just find you get more upset because it doesn’t do anything for you. Taking more probably won’t help you if the dose you’ve been taking hasn’t already helped.

          Again though, I think your first step could be to talk to someone you trust, and your doctor:-)
          I hope that helps.
          Ethan

      • viva says:

        hey I’m viva and Im 14 also. I wanted to sleep this one night because my family was arguing and i couldn’t take it. i take 3mg but i took 5 that night and same with me i feel like i’m high during the day only last for a couple hours but still this is my 3rd day and at school it happened out of no where. I dont know what to do.

        • Hi Viva

          Thank you for your comment. Again, you may find melatonin doesn’t work right for you. This is because it is only believed to work for some sleep disorders. If you just want to sleep, but don’t have those sleep disorders, it probably won’t work. But you might still get some side effects like feeling strange during the day.

          I think the best thing would be to talk to someone about how you feel. It could be that you are feeling upset by things at home. And that can stop you sleeping well. Hopefully you can talk to your family about how it makes you feel when they argue. And if not, talk to someone you trust. It’s better to have it out and spoken than sitting in your head and worrying you.

          Take care
          Ethan

  2. RSN says:

    can you cite your sources for the risks stated. I am having a tough time rationalizing and understanding risks for IBD listed above from taking melatonin when I read where melatonin has been researched for various IBD.

    • Hi

      I’m assuming you’re talking about some of the research in the last decade which has shown that melatonin may help people with a variety of gastrointestinal problems. I don’t discuss that above because the article was intended to be about people taking melatonin for sleep-related problems.

      I had a look after seeing your comment and from the research it seems that the current situation is still that more studies are needed to confirm whether or not Melatonin is an appropriate treatment for gastrointestinal problems. There is a good journal article about that here which you may find more helpful to read as it is specific to your topic. In addition this journal article might be useful to you.

  3. Kathy says:

    I have been taking 25mg each night. Having trouble sleeping since my husband died. I have not had any adverse side effects yet.

  4. Andrea says:

    What about melatonin for children? I have an eight year old that has been having problems falling asleep at night. Once she’s asleep she’s good but it’s just the general falling asleep she has problems with. Although last night she slept for 4 hours. Went to sleep at eight and was awake for the day at Midnite.

    • Hi Andrea

      You’re not alone in considering Melatonin as a sleep aid for kids. It is quite a controversial topic though, and one which I wrote about in this article. The idea being that I wanted to explore the reasons for and against giving Melatonin to children. You may find that useful.
      Regards
      Ethan

  5. Joey says:

    I’ve been taking 40-60mg of melatonin nightly for the past five months after seeing a neurologist to help with my inability to sleep well on my own even though I get tired. He recommended I take around 5mg max, which did nothing to help me. I have CPAP machine, sleep in a dark room with no distractions and only the sound of a fan. It’s rather frustrating when I take as much as 60mg and still don’t even become the slightest bit drowsy.

    • Hi Joey

      Did you read the other article on Melatonin which discusses the situations/sleep disorders it’s most useful for? I assume you’ve had good medical advice, but it’s possible that melatonin just won’t help you, no matter what dosage you take. It’s not like most sleeping pills which are designed to relax you, or knock you out. It only works in certain circumstances, and even then not for everyone. So you may want to have another chat with a doctor if you still feel that you need something extra to help you sleep.
      Regards
      Ethan

  6. Misty says:

    Melatonin made me sick! I was taking a low dose to help me sleep.. About a week after I started taking the pill, I started to get real dizzy while at work. Another week and I could barely function at work because the dizziness and constantly feeling like I was going to black out. Finally I went to my doctor only to find out he had no clue what was going on. I had to have an echocardiogram and wear a halter monitor for 24 hours. By the time they started all these tests, I had already stopped taking the melatonin. Slowly the dizziness went away on it’s own. All my tests came back fine, but I continued to suffer from lack of sleep. The doctor never confirmed that it was the melatonin, but it was the only new medication in my life. For the record, the doc never denied it was the melatonin either. Am I just a strange case?

    • Hi Misty

      Thanks for taking the time to share your story. The problem with testing sounds like something I’ve experienced – when you have tests done because of a medical problem, but you’ve already stopped doing whatever it was that you thought might be causing it. It makes it quite tricky to give you any firm answer much of the time, and probably the reason the doctor couldn’t confirm either way.
      It’s your choice whether to try it again – under medical guidance – but it sounds like you already know enough.
      I don’t think you’re necessarily a strange case, no! Dizziness etc is such a common symptom, with so many possible causes. It doesn’t mean you’re strange.
      I hope you don’t experience this again, with or without the melatonin.
      Regards
      Ethan

  7. John says:

    I’ve taken sixty 10 milligram tablets in a span of 4 days. Hasn’t done anything for me.

    • Hi John

      That really is quite a lot. Can I ask why you decided to take so much? And if that much hasn’t done anything for you, then you can probably assume that no amount is going to work for you. Maybe have a word with your doctor to see what they recommend.
      Regards
      Ethan

  8. Stephen says:

    I have been taking 10mg every night. I dont have most of the side effects beside the fact i have recently woken up in my sleep and I am completely confused of where I am and what are my surroundings. I feel like I am in another place that is not familiar to me. Then I stumble around to find a light and everything’s is fine again. I am not a couple different medications and I am not sure if that’s the cause. I have been taking this dose for more then 5 months.

    What should I do?

    • Hi Stephen

      Thanks for your comment. I’m a bit confused by the part where you say “I am not a couple different medications and I am not sure if that’s the cause.” I’m assuming you meant to say you are on a couple of others. The best thing to do, as far as I am aware, if you ever feel unsure about a medication you are taking it to talk to your doctor about it. If you have a serious reaction, then obviously call the emergency services. But if you are having less serious side effects, then you can talk to your own doctor at a normal time. Or of course you can just stop taking the melatonin and see what happens. If you continue having the confusions when waking up, then it might be an indicator that one or more of the other medications is causing it.
      All the best
      Ethan

  9. Anonymous says:

    I took 170 mg of melatonin at once a couple nights ago. I still took a very long time to fall asleep. I’ve never taken a pill that has had noticeable effects (Prozac, Wellbutrin)…..I guess I didn’t take this seriously enough since I expect pills not to work..? I was pretty tired the next day but I couldn’t tell if that was because of the melatonin or if it was how I normally feel (probably the melatonin). It’s weird to me that a pill I can’t feel can have so many dangerous side effects. I’m 16. This is ridiculous. I won’t do it again.

    • Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment, and I definitely recommend not taking so much again, though it sounds like you don’t need any recommendation not to.

      The thing with side effects and medication is that there is very often an extensive list of side effects for most medications. This is because of the legal obligation of a company to warn people of all potential side effects which arose when the drug was tested and in subsequent use. But it certainly doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone who takes a drug is going to experience the same, if any side effects. So I wouldn’t worry about it. But I also wouldn’t take that much either:-)
      Regards
      Ethan

  10. Anonymous says:

    I took 170 mg of melatonin at once a couple nights ago, what’s going to happen to me? I won’t do it again.

    • Hi again,

      I imagine nothing is going to happen, especially if it was a couple of night before you wrote your comment (and now quite a long time ago since I haven’t been able to reply to comments recently – sorry!). If you are still following this thread, then you can of course always talk to a doctor if you are worried about anything you have taken, or planning to take. It might help set your mind at ease.
      All the best
      Ethan

  11. bobby joe says:

    hi I am about 14 and have taken melatonin since I was 8, I haven’t had any side effects to 3 to 6 mg and it still helps,so are there any hidden side effects.

    • Hi Bobby Joe,

      I think I have listed the known side effects. Have you been taking it every night then for the last 6 years, or just from time to time when you need it?
      Regards,
      Ethan

  12. Andrea D. says:

    Thank you so much for this article! The information given was very helpful in my case. I’ve heard a lot of people say melatonin helps them sleep soundly and wake refreshed. I bought a bottle and didn’t pay attention to the mg. I followed the directions on the bottle and woke up dizzy and exhausted, despite getting 8 hrs of sleep. Really freaked me out and I felt awful. Turns out I got 5 mg capsules and that’s way more than a first timer needs to start with. Just relieved to know why I felt so off!

    • Hi Andrea,

      You’re welcome, and I’m glad you found it useful. As I said in the article, it’s difficult to know exactly where the line is between the ‘right’ amount and too much. I’d be really interested to hear how you got on with a lower dose following your comment. If you have the time to come back it would be interesting to know if a lower dose produced the same feelings for you, or if you were ok with it.

      Many thanks
      Ethan

  13. Suzie says:

    I have been taking about 5 mg a night for some time. Within 2 weeks of starting it, I stopped having panic attacks, and in fact, I find that I am rarely anxious. I have been battling anxiety and depression since I was 22; I am 49 and in menopause. My doctor was about to double my antidepressant, but it hasn’t been necessary, and I have to say, this is the best I have felt in a very long time.

    • Hi Suzie,

      Thanks for your comment, and it’s great to hear a positive story like this. It’s interesting that Melatonin has had such an effect on you. Do you think you have been feeling better because you’ve been sleeping more due to the melatonin, or because it has directly impacted on your anxiety and depression? I would be interested to know what your thoughts are.
      Regards,
      Ethan

  14. theblocktvinc says:

    one time I took 3 or 4 and I went to sleep and it was the most vivid dream. it felt like it actually happened. it was pretty cool. I was in Bora Bora. laying out on the beach. holding a girls hand. while drinking scotch. I have never felt more at peace and calm. I’ve thought about taking one pill every night. just because how good I feel that night and the day after.

    • Hi theblocktvinc,
      I can understand the sentiment following such a nice dream! But I personally wouldn’t advise taking Melatonin for that reason.
      Regards
      Ethan

  15. Leonie Carter says:

    I’ve been on melatonin now for quite a few years, when I first started taking it a few years back it worked perfectly. But now it’s not working at all :(. What would really happen to me if I took more than ×6 of my actual dose? Would I die? Would it make me really ill? I’m so confused :/!

    • Hi Leonie,

      It’s not really for me to try and predict what would happen if you took that much, and it’s impossible to say. My advice would be to speak to your family doctor and see what they recommend in terms of finding a dose which helps you. It may be that after so long, assuming you’ve been taking it continually, you’ve developed a tolerance to it. Or possibly your sleep problems are now such that melatonin wouldn’t be the right choice of ways to tackle it.
      Regards
      Ethan

  16. Craig says:

    I’ve been taking 10mg of melatonin for sleep. Last night I also took 50mg of diphenhydramin along w/ t/ melatonin. I woke up with an awful “melatonin hangover.” I almost had to leave work early. I was real dizzy, drowsey, and sick to my stomach. I honestly thought I was going to pass out and have to go to the hospial. The dizziness lessened but I still felt like my head was full of sand for the rest of my shift. Have you heard of this happening before?

    CB

    • Hi Craig,

      It’s very possible that the combination of two things which can cause sedative effects is what led to the problems you had. They can both cause dizziness and drowsiness, so it wouldn’t surprise me if they left you feeling strange. It’s never a good idea to mix sedatives unless under medical advice.
      Regards
      Ethan

  17. Rhianna says:

    I’m only 16, and I take 30mg or melatonin every night. About three days a week I have to take two pills, so that’s 60 mg and I have had no problems besides being drowsy for about a half hour after waking up. However, if I wake up and have a cup of coffee the drowsiness goes right away. I am also in anti depressants and other medications not listed as a problem above, and none of these side effects seem to be happening to me besides drowsiness and very vivid dreams(which I view as good thing, but if you are prone to nightmares I can see where that would be bad). Anyway, my point is if you suffer from any kind of sleep disorder, I would definitely try melatonin before any other heavy insomniac drug, for I have had no trouble with it at all, and without it I would never sleep. Sometimes you don’t even feel that you need to take them. I have a very addictive personality and I have had no trouble with these at all.

    • Hi Rhianna,

      Thank you for you comment and sharing your experience of Melatonin. That does seem to be quite a high dose. Are you self-medicating, or was it prescribed to you at that dosage?
      Whilst I agree that Melatonin can be helpful for some people, I think it’s important to note that it will only work for some sleep problems, rather than any kind of sleep disorder.
      It is good to hear from people who have had good experiences with Melatonin though, so thank you for sharing your story.
      Regards
      Ethan

  18. john says:

    ok so I was told to take 6 of Melatonin so I took 6 tabs witch turned out to be 6 6mg tabs so a total of 36mg of Melatonin a night for the last 6 months maybe more and now have had a host of problems once I quit taking it not sure how long it is going to take to get out of my system two weeks and counting any one have any ideas please help

    • Hi John

      It should be out of your system by now – especially as I have been slow to reply to your comment! Hopefully you’re OK and not worrying about it any more.
      Regards
      Ethan

  19. David says:

    What about your two year old eating ten or more doses?

    • Hi David,

      Sorry it’s taken so long to reply. I assume though that you would have done the right thing and taken your child to A&E to ensure they were OK. I hope nothing serious happened.
      Regards
      Ethan

  20. David says:

    What is A&E? Yes, she’s fine.

  21. Anonymous says:

    I’m 14 and took 6:5mg tablets while I took 24:200mg ibuprofen pills the day before… could that make the pill act differently? Melatonin:30 mg ibuprofen:approx 5,000 mg

    • Hi,

      That’s a really large amount of ibuprofen to take at once. I strongly recommend not taking that much again, and talking to someone in your family. I don’t know why you took so much of course, but whatever the reason, I personally think it would be good to communicate with someone you trust about it.

      Regards
      Ethan

  22. Carol says:

    I think you should do a little more research on Melatonin and the new findings. Also check in on a Dr. by the name of Dr. Pierpaoli. Considerable progress has been made during recent years in the research of melatonin and melatonergic signaling.

    • Hi Carol,

      Thanks for the comment. Which new findings are you recommending I take a look at? Some specifics would be very helpful. I do know of Dr. Pierpaoli, being a melatonin expert and also someone involved in the creation of a particular melatonin tablet.

      Regards
      Ethan

  23. William says:

    I am a kid with ADHD and an ASD, I am taking other mood-altering medications. I have been taking an increasing dose of Melatonin every night for 5 years. I started at about 3mg and now I am taking 10mg every night. It’s very relieving to read this article, seeing as I’ve had many daytime worries that I’m going to end up in the hospital. I read a comment here that said that the writer had to go tothe hospital due to dizzyness. I’m confused because I am taking other medications that cause dizzyness, and I only have a sudden burst of dizzyness when I stand up, and I black out for a second. It goes away right after that. Odd, seems like everyone’s experiences are different! Well, thank you for the article Ethan. Hope you have a great day.

    • Hi William,

      Thank you for the comment and sharing your experience. That sounds like a very long time to be taking melatonin – is it prescribed by your doctor, or have you been getting it over the counter or online?
      As for the dizziness, there could be lots of causes. I occasionally have it and am not taking any medication at all, in my case I believe it’s the sudden loss of blood pressure from standing up too quickly after a long period of sitting or lying down.
      If it happens regularly then I would get it checked out by your doctor.
      Dizziness is a possible side effect of lots of different medications as well, which is another reason it’s important to be monitored by a doctor to ensure they are not interacting in a way which causes you problems. And you are right in that people can have different reactions to medication.
      Anyway, my advice to you would be to talk to your doctor about the dizzy spells, and the melatonin you’re taking (if they are not the one prescribing it). This will hopefully put your mind at ease as it’s not nice to spend your time worrying that you’ll end up in hospital. And of course, they can double check that your health and combination of medication is all being taken care of properly.
      Have a great day too:-)
      Ethan

  24. Peace says:

    I’ve been on the pill for a while now. And I started at 3mg and then went to 6 mg and now I’m at 10.. But the one I’m taking now gives off 5mg the first few hours then the rest later on. However tonight I took two 10mg pills.. Is that okay?

    • Hi Pearce,

      Thanks for the comment. It’s not really for me to tell you whether it’s ok or not to take a certain type or quantity of melatonin. I doubt it will do you any great harm, but if your intention is to continue with the increase in dose, I would recommend talking to a doctor about it, and getting their opinion on how well you will tolerate it based on your personal medical history. And it’ll also give you some peace of mind.
      Regards
      Ethan

  25. Julia says:

    Hi Ethan,

    Thank you for this article, it’s been really helpful :) I was prescribed Melatonin a few days ago (2mg) and so far it’s been working really well! The only issue I’ve had is that I’m having really vivid dreams which aren’t very helpful because I struggle to tell the dream apart from the reality (an issue I had before hand, I’m being treated for SAD and ‘morbid’ depression, I’m 15) so is there anything I can do to try and stop the dreams?? Thank you

    • Hi Julia,

      Thanks for the comment, and I’m glad you found the article helpful. Sorry to hear you’ve found a useful sleeping pill, but at the same time is causing your problems. I would say that if you were prescribed it, probably the best thing is to talk to the doctor who prescribed it. The vivid dreams might stop naturally, or you could just be unlucky and you’ll always react that way. And it could be that it’s interacting with another medication you may be on. Maybe they will reduce the dose, as even smaller amounts can still be helpful, or they may take you off it. That’s between them and you.
      Otherwise, you can have a look at this article explaining how to stop nightmares. But it may be that for all the advice in there, the only thing that would stop them is stopping the thing which is causing them.
      Hope that helps
      Ethan

  26. ralph says:

    i just took 9mg of melatonin then saw that the recomended amount is only 1mg!
    Im worried i might hurt myself? do i have anything to be worried about? thanks

    • Hi Ralph,

      It’s unlikely that anything terrible will happen to you, though you might experience some side effects from taking it. But by the time you read this reply, you will know that for yourself!
      If you’re worried you can always talk to your doctor about the amount you should be taking to put your mind at ease.
      Regards
      Ethan

  27. mike says:

    It would seem that Melatonin doesnt work that well for me. Yes i know sounds dumb. I have taken 100mg at one time and i still cant sleep. And i havent had any noticeable side effects. I need something that will help me sleep. Off 100mg i got 3 hours of sleep and then i was right back up agin. So lying here trying to sleep I looked at your report. I took it at 10pm got to sleep by 2am and back up at 5am. Ya this sucks.

    • Hi Mike

      It could just be then that your particular sleep problem is one which isn’t solvable with Melatonin, or that you’re one of the unlucky people who it won’t help even if it does for others. I would suggest giving up on the Melatonin, especially if you’ve taken so much and not found it helps. Perhaps look into a different sleep aid instead of melatonin, of which you do have quite a lot of choice.
      Hope you get some sleep soon!
      Regards
      Ethan

  28. Yelena says:

    I started taking Melatonin because of breast cancer. Some doctors recommend to take it for relax and better sleep. I took 3 – 5 mgs each day for more than 6 months and after reading your article got confused. Should I stop it? I have only stomach cramps after taking Melatonin and feel a little bit dizzy after 30 min. I had info that Melatonin also works as Antioxidant. Am I in trouble since had Melatonin for more than 6 months?

    • Hi Yelena

      Thanks for the comment. Did your oncologist or doctor recommend it specifically to take on an on-going basis? The best thing would be to discuss it with them if you’re concerned. It’s not uncommon for people to take sleep aids for very long periods of time, even though it’s not the best thing for you. If you get stomach cramps and feel dizzy I’d definitely talk to a medical professional about it.

      All the best if you’re continuing to undergo cancer treatment.
      Regards
      Ethan

  29. Perry says:

    Hey, so I enjoyed your article but I wanted to ask a question. I’m a third shift worker that takes 5mg a night. 7 days a week for 5+ years. Are there any negative side effects that come from long term usage? I saw you recommended some people to not use it for an extended period of time.

    • Hi Perry

      Unfortunately the long-term effects of taking melatonin are still unclear. The reccommendation not to take it long-term comes more from a general point of view that sleeping pills shouldn’t be used long-term, not matter what type they are. Beyond that, I guess it’s a personal decision whether to take something long-term if researchers haven’t yet provided clear information about what could happen. My advice would be to speak to your doctor about it, and also have a look at all the basic sleep hygiene techniques which you could put into place. If you have a stable shift patter, then you may be able to find a way to sleep naturally by developing good sleep habits. It may even be that you find you don’t actually need the melatonin and that you sleep fine without it!
      Regards
      Ethan

  30. Ashie says:

    Hello! I took 3 tablets once, before reading this. Nothing happened. Also, ever since taking melatonin, I haven’t had any dreams at all.

    • Hello Ashie,

      How strong were they out of interest? And do you miss your dreams?

      Regards

      Ethan

      • Ashie says:

        They were 5 mgs apiece, and only slightly. They always turned into nightmares if I didn’t wake fast enough, though. If I take enough at once, I don’t have to take it for the rest of the week. Melatonin hangover gets really bad. But then again, I like the feeling.

        • Hi Ashie,

          Ok, I guess nightmares is something you would want to avoid! With hangovers being another thing. Perhaps Melatonin just isn’t for you.
          Regards
          Ethan

          • Ashie says:

            I meant that I get nightmares when I don’t take melatonin. And it works as long as I take one tablet!

          • Hi again,

            Ok I see. Well, I guess it’s up to you to decide what works and what doesn’t taking into consideration the various positive or negative effects it can have on your sleep.
            All the best
            Ethan

  31. Jeremy says:

    When I’m really having troubles sleeping, I feel like I have to take the entire bottle to get some rest. 42mg in one night was the most I’ve ever done.

    • Hi Jeremy,

      Thanks for the comment. It could be though that if you’re having to take so much, it might not be the right kind of sleep aid for you. Have you thought about trying something else instead? You don’t want to go from feeling like taking the whole bottle to actually doing it!

      Regards
      Ethan

  32. Taj says:

    I bought Nature Made 5mg Melatonin gummies to try, since I’ve had mild success with melatonin in the past and my therapist recommended it. I took the recommended dose for a few nights, then increased it when it didn’t work. Eventually I figured it has no effect on me, so I stupidly just ate the rest of the bottle (as its like candy) which totaled about 100 mg. That extra high dose seemed to make me drowsy, but it could be a coincidence. I slept for about 2 hours…but I guess this means that melatonin might just not be right for me…

    ….but I can’t take most other sleep aids due to contraindications.

    • Hi Taj,

      Thanks for the comment, and sorry to hear you’ve been having sleep problems and can’t find anything which helps by the sound of it. It could have been a coincidence, or just psychological. It’s impossible to say.
      If you can’t take sleep aids, have you tried herbal remedies? They don’t work for everyone, but some people have success with them. And of course you always have the option of sleep hygiene, which to be honest is potentially much better in the long run than any sleep aid!
      All the best
      Ethan

  33. Mike says:

    I have been taking Melatonin every day for the last 27 years. YES 27 years. I also am taking benadryl for that long as well.
    I never get sick I do not have allergies and have seen no “side effects” other than aging and guess what I do not have wrinkles at age 57.
    My wife also 57 has skin that looks like old worn out socks. She does not take either . . . .

    • Hi Mike,

      Thanks for your comment – though I hope your wife never reads this article!
      You must have been one of the first people taking it, even before it was patented as a sleep aid! I’d be interested to know what got you started taking it.
      It is known to have some anti-aging properties, so your story is definitely interesting. But why have you been taking Benadryl for so long?
      Regards
      Ethan

  34. Mike says:

    Ethan, I was in the NAVY and a light sleeper from PTSD. The navy would only allow benadryl and because melatonin was a “supplement” it was considered a vitamin and they said nothing about it. I also have worn earplugs to sleep since then as well. All since 1983. I got the PTSD in a combat outfit in the USAF from 74 to 1980.

    I research everything and really needed sleep. I worked with DARPA in the Navy and had access to all sorts of research and melatonin popped up way back then.

    • Hi again Mike,

      That explains it a bit better then! I thought there must be some unusual circumstance back then for you to be taking melatonin. Thanks for popping back and explaining. I still think taking melatonin long-term is an unknown, with no research published on the long-term safety of it. But if you’re convinced that it’s responsible for your youthful looks and heath, then I’m not surprised you don’t mind taking it still! It’s still a risk though until more research is published. Perhaps you know of some current research that you could point me in the direction of?

      Regards
      Ethan

  35. Mike says:

    Ethan, Well I am as gray and as bald as I should be soo even no wrinkles does not mean much . . LOL! However as for the safety 31 years ain’t bad . . .
    I also went on line to find any reports of side effects and there are none other than the conjectured “possible” side effects.

    Mike

    • Hi Mike,

      Well, I didn’t think you were telling me you still looked like a twenty year old! But no wrinkles is still good going…
      As for the side effects, well the short-term side effects are possible because some people have experienced them. Though to find out the statistics, you of course need to read medical journals to see the exact numbers of people who experience any given side effect for any given medication, and at what dose and in what conditions.
      Regards
      Ethan

  36. stephanie says:

    My son has aspergers and takes .2mg of clonodine a night.. When he is out I give him between 12&15mg of melatonin. He is with me at all times.. He does not sleep as soundly. But he does thankfully sleep. Without it he would stay up days on end.

    • Hi Stephanie,

      Thank you for your comment. It’s good that you’ve found something which helps your son sleep. Hopefully though it won’t have to be a permanent thing, and that in time you can help him sleep well without any sleep aids! That would be the ideal situation, as I’m sure you know.
      All the best
      Ethan

  37. emmy says:

    My 5 yr old girl has very hyper tendencies and for the first 4 1/2 yrs she did not sleep more than 4 hrs a night which really was getting to me as I have 2 other children..one who is 2 yrs younger than her..my other 2 children sleep fine and always have..I starting giving her melatonin as the Dr said they couldn’t do anything until she was in first grade..I started her out with 2.5 mg and that had no effect…I gradually increased this each week until we got to 30 mg…this amt seemed to work the best as it takes her only an hr and a half to fall asleep after taking it..I was told today that I am giving he too much..that she should only have 2mg a night and that 30 mg is too high even for an adult..I don’t know what to do now..this seems to be the only way to get her to sleep at night…I have been a single mother for two years now and work full time…I cannot do four hours a night..she doesn’t seem to have any bad effects on her but I’m not sure if I should continue this since I was told she is taking way too much…what should I do?

    • Hi Emmy,

      Thanks for your comment and sorry to hear you’ve had such sleeping difficulties with your daughter.
      To be honest it’s not my place to give you advice on whether or not you should give melatonin to your children, or how much. That’s really between you and your doctor. My advice would be to tell your doctor how much melatonin you’ve been giving her and ask what they think about it. They are the best person to tell you whether it’s a safe amount or not. It does seem like a high dose for a child, just going from what is usually recommended. If you think about the dosage that manufacturers say you should take, it’s well below 30mg. My advice would definitely be to get some medical advice on the melatonin.
      All the best
      Ethan

  38. Zoidion says:

    Hnahh.. My girlfriend was quite worried for mean few nights ago when I took eight (Natrol) Melatonin tablets… Which would amount to 40 mg. Nothing happened to me. I tend to do this a lot.. Take any number (never over eight) a night. I feel it helping and working… But is this going to cause any long-term problems..?

    • Hi Zoidion

      Thanks for your comment, and you’re definitely not alone in taking larger amounts of melatonin, nor in not having any problems from doing so. As for the long-term problems, it’s impossible to say as there is still no definitive answer to that question. Researchers are still looking into that, but we just don’t know yet. So my advice would be not to over-do it, and also look into natural techniques for improving your sleep, which come under the umbrella label of sleep hygiene.
      All the best
      Ethan

  39. Angel says:

    I have taken up to 10-15, 3mg tab at one time and it doesn’t work.

    • Hi Angel,

      It won’t work for everyone, and I think if a small to medium dose doesn’t work, it’s unlikely a larger dose will. If you still need something to help you sleep, I suggest trying something different – maybe even a herbal tablet containing Valerian for example.
      Regards
      Ethan

  40. worried mother says:

    My two year old just got into our bottle of melatonin and ate about 5 of them is she going to be ok she went to sleep within 5 minutes

    • Hi there,

      It’s not really my place to speculate on the potential result of your child taking those pills I’m afraid. I would suggest speaking to a doctor, though I imagine by the time you read this, you will have decided what to do long before. And
      So the only real advice I can give you is to do what I would hope is obvious to you after this and ensure that all medication is kept safely out of her reach in future.
      I hope she’s fine.
      Regards
      Ethan

  41. 5WarVeteran says:

    Excellent answer Ethan.

    I would be more worried about how and why the child was able to gain access to any pill/medicine/supplement.

    Please make sure your guns are locked away where no child can access them. Do not use a key/lock safe. Keys can be found. More importantly when the child it 4 years old take them to the gun range and let them watch you destroy a watermelon.

    The bang will immediately enforce the idea they should not touch. It is a lack of parental responsibility when it comes to child gun safety and child related gun accidents.

    Why do I mention this here? Because you were not thinking about the child’s access to the melatonin and I have learned if a mistake can happen at that level it can happen at any level.

    Children do not think like adults, do not expect them to understand like adults. While we (hopefully) learn to accept the mistakes of others and use that knowledge to prevent the same mistake in our lives, children are a hands on learn from personal mistakes situation.

    A parent telling a child “Don’t touch it is hot!” means little to a child that does not understand the meaning of hot. But a personal experience burnt fingers immediately reinforces why you should not touch.

    That is how they learn. If adults were as well learned as we are supposed to be, how do we explain the last 70 years of trusting politicians over and over again with the same disastrous results?

    • Hi 5WarVeteran

      Thanks for your comment, even though it goes a little off topic!

      I’m sure the mum has already thought about what can be done in future to keep things out of the way of her daughter that she shouldn’t be touching. But in all fairness, people do make mistakes, and kids can be extremely good at finding their way into places they shouldn’t venture! Perhaps in this situation it’s the mum who is burning her fingers on the child’s behalf and taking necessary precautions for the future.

      I like the idea of keeping potentially dangerous items locked in a way which doesn’t involve keys. Whether people have the resources or motivation to organize such a thing in their house is another matter!

      Regards
      Ethan

  42. Kay Owl says:

    I haven’t had to much just the 2mg tablet, but feel very tired mid morning. Should I take the tablet earlier so it has more time to go through the body. I take it at 9pm and go to bed at 11pm.

    Very helpful article very enlightening.

    Thanks

    KO

    • Hi Kay Owl

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the article. I think if you’re taking just 2mg and feeling tired mid morning when you take it at quite an early time of 9pm, then there are several possible explanations:
      1) the melatonin is having some effect on you which is lingering into the morning.
      2) the melatonin isn’t really helping, and you’re tired because you’re still not sleeping too well.
      3) something else is causing you to feel tired.

      I think it’s very hard to say which it is. If you’re feeling drowsy or groggy, then it would be easier to think it’s a sleeping pill. But if it’s the same kind of tiredness as you feel if you haven’t slept well, then it could just be that that’s it – you haven’t slept well!

      Perhaps try taking it earlier. And also try not taking it at all and see if you have the same feeling of tiredness.
      All the best
      Ethan

  43. Eric says:

    Hello……I have been laying here for a few hours worrying about my friend who has trouble sleeping so she decided to take a melatonin based sleep aid. It is called Natrol Advanced Melatonin Calm Sleep. Each pill contains 25mg of L-Theanine and 6mg of Melatonin. She took 10 pills at one time. So that cones out to 2500mg of L-Theanine and 60mg of Melatonin. What immediate adverse side affects can come from this. And is that a fatal dose. I’m a grown man but I am so scared right now and I need some type of advice on this. Then You.

    • Hi Eric,

      Sorry it’s taken so long to reply, but unfortunately I’m not able to respond immediately to comments such as yours, where if there is any serious risk involved, my advice would possibly be useful in the moment.
      It’s also not really my place to speculate on the possible effects of individuals taking large doses of any medication or combination of substances.
      Presumably by now your friend has either slept it off, or had some side effects and then dealt with them either alone or through medical help. And that would be my advice for anyone who is worried about something they’ve taken – seek medical attention immediately.
      Having said that, all I can say is that 60mg of melatonin is not known to be a dose which will have severe effects on everyone. Some might react to it, but not everyone. As for the L-Theanine, it’s not something I know a lot about. I’ve just had a look around online now, and it seems to be that there isn’t much known generally about the possible effects of taking a very large dose. At least nothing which can be conclusively said.
      Hopefully your friend will be ok – let me know what happened if you like.
      Regards
      Ethan

      • Eric says:

        She woke up after a looooooong period of sleep lol. She is OK now but did have a melatonin hangover for a little while. Her appetite is low and she is kinda having some clinical depression issues but she is fine. I’m monitoring her and taking note if there are any changes. I appreciate your advice and concern.

        • Hi Eric,

          I’m glad to hear that, thanks for letting me know. It does sound like a visit to the doctor might be a good idea still. But it’s great that she obviously has a good friend there for her in you. Social networks are one of the most important ingredients for dealing with any kind of mental health issues.
          All the best and I hope she’s ok.
          Ethan

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