Melatonin Overdose: Can you overdose on Melatonin?
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone in the human body that is synthesized by the pineal gland. It is closely linked with the body’s circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and is responsible for inducing sleep. Its release in the bloodstream is at its peak during the night and is influenced heavily by exposure to light.
The use of melatonin supplements as over-the-counter medication has become increasingly popular in recent years. It is mainly used to deal with ill-effects of insomnia and jet lag and also for other conditions like cancer, tinnitus, and Alzheimer’s, among many others.
Despite the known benefits of melatonin supplements, there are many questions that have been asked regarding its use. How much is a safe dosage of melatonin? Is it possible to overdose on it? Is there such a thing as a lethal amount of melatonin?
Although there are no cases known of a melatonin overdose resulting in death, there are many unpleasant side effects like drowsiness, headaches, and more.
How Much Melatonin Is Too Much?
Melatonin supplements work differently on different people depending on a number of factors like weight, age, pre-existing medical conditions, and the cause for which they are taking the supplement. This is why there is no ideal dosage that fits everyone, and one should only take it after seeking medical advice. The safest dosage is considered to be anywhere between the range of 0.3 mg up to 10 mg.
Can you Overdose on Melatonin?
These supplements are not considered habit-forming. However, they should only be taken for a short term in small amounts if you regularly take them. Using melatonin for a longer period of time will lead to an excess of the melatonin hormone in your bloodstream that can do more harm than good to your body.
What Happens If You Take Too Much of Melatonin?
An overdose of melatonin in your bloodstream can lead to some issues that you should keep in mind the next time you consider consuming some extra melatonin pills for a good night’s sleep.
Not all lucid dreaming experiences are fun, and some can cause you to feel severe discomfort. You might wake up feeling extremely uncomfortable and exhausted, not ready to get much done in the day.
Melatonin supplements will release the melatonin hormone in your body, which is set to interfere with your other hormones if it is too much in quantity. These can be responsible for reducing libido in both men and women.
Melatonin supplements are often taken to combat headaches. On the flip side, if you end up taking too many pills, then the very thing that you wanted to get rid of is what you might end up waking up with – a severe headache.
It is a widely common side effect of popping melatonin pills whether you take them in a regulated amount or you end up overdosing. Diarrhea, nausea, and an unsettling feeling in the pit of your stomach are largely associated with the consumption of melatonin supplements.
Some other side effects include
· Poor immune function
· Slower response time
· Daytime sleepiness
· Anxiety and depression
· Joint pain
· Mild tremors
· Cramps in the abdominal area
How Long Does Melatonin Stay In Your System?
The range of the melatonin hormone’s half-life is brief and generally lasts from anywhere between 20 to 50 minutes. After this time, only half of the quantity of melatonin that you consumed remains in your system.
It is usually advised to take melatonin supplements about two hours to one hour (even 30 minutes in some cases) before going to bed. However, keep in mind that it can only work for so long. It might help you fall asleep, but the chances are that it may not lead to a long good night’s sleep or help you stay asleep.
Is Melatonin Safe To Take With Other Medications?
Although melatonin supplements are safe to take many people, one should not ignore their effectiveness and capability to interfere with other ongoing medications or certain health conditions. According to a report, the following are some of the medications that one should not combine with melatonin supplements:
If you have diabetes and are taking medications to keep your blood sugar level in check, in that case, you should skip on melatonin supplements as they can interfere with the effectiveness of the medicines you’re taking to control your blood sugar level.
Beta-blockers and other blood pressure medications can adversely affect the body’s ability to release melatonin in the bloodstream naturally. However, you should seek medical advice before deciding to take some melatonin supplements as they can raise your blood pressure levels by rendering your hypertension medication ineffective.
Anticoagulant medication (blood-thinning medications)
Combining melatonin supplements with blood-thinning medications can turn out to be a disastrous combination by outing you at risk of excessive bleeding.
If your body has an excessive amount of melatonin present in its bloodstream while you are also taking epilepsy drugs, the chances are that you might have a seizure because melatonin supplements can turn the anti-seizure medication ineffective.
Immune response suppressors taken to control the symptoms of various autoimmune diseases do not go well with melatonin supplements that can block their effects on the body.
Apart from people having these conditions or taking the medications mentioned above, pregnant women and breastfeeding women should also avoid the intake of melatonin supplements or consult their doctor before taking the supplements.
Melatonin supplements come with a fair share of potential health risks associated with their high usage. It is best to avoid their consumption for the following reasons:
- It can cause allergic reactions in people.
- Approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a dietary supplement, there are no dosage guidelines that have to be followed while consuming them despite having potential side effects related to an overdose.
- Many pills are advertised to have melatonin doses that can vary largely from the actual dosage.
- There is a possibility that these supplements may have many dangerous additives present in them because of being highly unregulated.
- It is unfit for older people as it can stay in them for a longer time and can cause more damage to their bodies, especially if they have already existing medical conditions like dementia.
How To Switch To Producing More Melatonin Naturally?
The best way to substitute the harmful melatonin supplements in the body is to increase melatonin hormone production naturally. You can make use of several natural sleep remedies that will help you get a good night’s sleep without messing with your body’s chemicals and hormones.
Get exposure to natural sunlight.
Serotonin is a precursor of melatonin. The release of serotonin is greatly influenced by exposure to light; getting sunlight during the daytime might be the best first step towards naturally boosting melatonin levels in your body at night. The body naturally converts the excess serotonin into melatonin at night. This is one of the great ways of increasing melatonin naturally.
Reduce exposure to screens
The body interprets the blue light radiating from the screens of our laptops, televisions, mobile phones, and other electronic devices as something resembling sunlight. Thus, they inhibit the release of melatonin and disturb your sleep cycle. By reducing your exposure to such devices a few hours before bedtime, you will give your body the perfect environment to start releasing melatonin.
Use sleep-inducing herbs
Using the right herbs just might be the missing link in correcting your body’s hormonal system for various issues, and an inadequate melatonin release is just another on the list. There are many herbs that will naturally cause your body to release melatonin during the night. Some of these are lavender, valerian root, and chamomile.
Use essential oils
There is nothing better than healing your body by pampering it right. It is quite possible to increase melatonin in the body by merely choosing the right essential oils for your body.
Keep a proper schedule
Depending on your work and how your day typically goes, you should set a proper schedule for sleeping just like you do for other things. Many people underestimate the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep, which becomes the reason for their underperformance at work and sometimes for long-lasting health disorders.
Keeping and following through with your sleep schedule will naturally make you get a nice sleep with just the right amount of melatonin hormone in your bloodstream.
Wrapping It Up
The answer to the question “can melatonin kill you?” is probably a no. However, one should keep potential side effects of melatonin overdose in mind before consuming these pills. The best solution to get a good night’s sleep will always be to naturally boost melatonin in your body.
This article is only for informative purposes and does not aim at providing any medical advice. It will be best to consult a healthcare professional for any queries.