How Much Melatonin to Take

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It tells the body when it is time to rest and sleep. Some people with sleep abnormalities need to take melatonin to overcome the problem naturally. It is important to know how much melatonin to take, so you can get a restful night’s sleep without taking too much of the supplement.

How Much Melatonin to Take for Sleep Problems

If you are having difficulty sleeping, it could be that the pineal gland is not putting out enough melatonin or that the pineal gland is putting out melatonin at the wrong time. This is especially true of shift workers, who must sleep during the day and remain awake at night. The pineal gland is light sensitive so that when you reverse the pattern of sleep and wakefulness times, you can confuse the pineal gland so that it no longer helps you get the sleep you need when you need it. Basically, you can mess up your circadian rhythm, necessitating the taking of melatonin supplements in order to sleep when you want to.

So how much melatonin to take? To answer this question,you must know, as a dietary supplement, melatonin is not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration and companies that make melatonin can use their own discretion as to how much melatonin to put in each capsule or tablet of the substance.

Thus, the actual "correct" dosage of melatonin has not been established, which gives factories free range when it comes to the amount of melatonin to put in each tablet or capsule. It is easy to take too much of the natural supplement. There is also no standard as to actually when you should take the melatonin supplement. This means that, in treating your sleep disorder, you can completely change around your circadian rhythm with high levels of melatonin during the day and lower levels during the nighttime, when the levels should be at their highest.

Fortunately, melatonin is truly a natural product and no one so far has suffered any terrible effects from taking too much of the supplement. If you are really concerned about the dosage of melatonin, bring the bottle of melatonin to your doctor and discuss the amount you should take and the timing of taking it.

The actual amounts of melatonin to take have been suggested for various sleep-related conditions by Mayoclinic. Refer to this chart when thinking about how much melatonin to take:

Sleep Problems in People with (Adult)

Dosage of Melatonin

Macular Degeneration

3 mg

Alzheimer’s Disease

1.5 mg

Inflammatory Conditions

10 mg


3 mg

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

1.5 mg


1-40 mg

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

5 mg


3 mg

Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome

0.6-6 mg


0.5 mg


6 mg

Exercise Performance

5-6 mg

Fertility Problems

3 mg


3-5 mg

Intestinal Disorders

3-10 mg


2-10 mg

Liver Inflammation

5 mg


 1-5 mg


5 mg


0.1-5 mg

Jet lag

0.1-8 mg

Parkinson’s disease

3-50 mg

As you can see, the dosage varies widely between conditions and within the same condition. So, you'd better see a doctor and talk the dosage with him or her in advance.

Is There a Melatonin Overdose?

Since the direct answer to "How much melatonin to take" is not given, it is different to know whether or not you are taking an overdose of melatonin. What is known is that there are some side effects from taking too much melatonin that have been documented. These include the following:

  • Change in mood. You can go from feeling really sad to feeling excessively excitable.
  • Hallucinations, disorientation or paranoia. If you experience these symptoms, stop the melatonin and see your doctor.
  • Seizures. Melatonin should probably not be taken with people who have a history of seizures.
  • Excessive dreaming. This may not be a bad side effect for some but you should take note of the possibility of this happening.

More Precautions of Taking Melatonin

Talk with your doctor if you are considering taking melatonin for sleep. When taking melatonin, you should especially seek medical advice if you suffer from any of these medical problems:

  • Seizure disorder
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hypertension or hypotension
  • Depression
  • Bleeding disorder

In addition, you should know that melatonin interferes with some immunosuppressive medications used in transplant rejection situations. It should be avoided if you are an organ transplant patient. Don’t counteract the effects of taking melatonin by also taking caffeinated beverages such as coffee, energy drinks, cola drinks or tea. 

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