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How Long Does Melatonin Last in Your Body?

When it is dark outside, our body produces a hormone called melatonin. Melatonin makes us feel sleepy. However, as the sun rises, melatonin production slows down, making us feel more alert. 

People suffering from sleeping disorders take melatonin supplements to sleep well during the night. 

Melatonin supplements are also used by night-shift workers and those who suffer from jet lag. But, nobody knows how long the melatonin lasts in your body.

How to use melatonin, does melatonin help with anxiety, how much melatonin to take for sleep, when should you take melatonin, how to take melatonin? Don’t worry; in this article, we will answer this troubling question.

What Is Melatonin?

Our body produces a hormone, melatonin when it’s dark outside. Melatonin makes us feel tired and sleepy. But as the sun rises, the hormone production lowers, and we feel more active and alert. 

You must be wondering, What does melatonin do? What is melatonin used for?

Melatonin helps regulate our sleep cycle and works as a sleep aid for conditions like jet lag and insomnia

Situations in which people use melatonin:

  • Insomnia
  • Jet Lag
  • Migraines
  • Side effects of medicines 
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome

One of the best benefits of melatonin is sleepiness. Your body naturally produces melatonin and causes drowsiness. Though, taking supplements can boost your melatonin production and help you get the sleep you require. 

We often think of melatonin for adults, whereas kids can also consume melatonin under a doctor’s recommendation.

How Does Melatonin Work? 

When our internal clock sends the proper work signal, our brain’s pineal gland converts serotonin into melatonin. High levels of melatonin lower our body’s blood pressure and temperature, which makes us feel sleepy. 

When your body senses nighttime, eventually, our eyes absorb less light than usual. This is why if you keep the lights on in your bedroom or use electronic devices, your body will find it challenging to produce melatonin, and hence you will not be able to sleep. 

Follow a proper sleep schedule, keep the environment cool, calm, and quiet to experience a good night’s rest.

How Long Does It Take for Melatonin to Work?

Usually, melatonin begins to kick in between 20 minutes and 2 hours after consumption. This is why it is advised to take melatonin 2 hours before bedtime.  

Natural melatonin production increases 2 hours before bedtime. Sleeping at the same time consistently signals your body when it’s time for melatonin production.

There is no fixed answer to how long does it take for melatonin to work. It’s different for different people. 

Regular vs. Extended-Release

There are two kinds of melatonin pills; regular and extended-release pills. Regular pills instantly release melatonin into your body. However, extended-release pills or slow-release pills gradually release melatonin into your body. 

The latter one is similar to the natural melatonin production in your body. It helps keep you asleep throughout the night.

A doctor can suggest what is best for you, regular or extended-release pills.

Melatonin Dosage: How Much Melatonin Is Too Much?

You must be wondering how much melatonin should I take?

The recommended melatonin dosage by weight is 1 to 5 mg. We advise you to start with the lowest dose possible. Slowly increase your intake and determine what’s best for you. 

A melatonin overdose can be counterproductive. It has many side effects, including sleepiness during the day. 

Melatonin is not considered a drug but a dietary supplement. That’s why it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is no safe dosage guideline related to melatonin because it is not regulated like vitamins, minerals, and other medicines. 

It’s suggested to follow the instructions on the package. If you still have any dosage-related concerns, you should contact a doctor.

Can You Overdose on Melatonin?

Melatonin is excellent for sleep; however, consuming too much melatonin can disturb your circadian rhythm and cause various side effects as well.

You can overdose on melatonin, but it’ll be hard to detect as there is still no standard dosage for melatonin. A dose can be safe for one but dangerous for another. 

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You can read our blog on 25 tips to sleep better to get more insights on how to sleep better.

When to Take Melatonin?

The ideal time to take melatonin is different for everyone. Generally, it is suggested to consume melatonin 20-30 minutes before bedtime. 

Start taking melatonin 30 minutes before sleeping. Gradually, change the amount according to your requirements. Make sure you don’t take melatonin at or after your bedtime to avoid daytime sleepiness.

How Long Does Melatonin Stay in Your System?

Melatonin does not stay in your body for a long time. Usually, it stays in your body for about 5 hours. But this depends on whether you have taken slow-release melatonin or not. If you have, then these timelines may not apply to you. 

During this period, you may feel drowsiness. Avoid driving, making decisions, or using heavy machinery during this period. 

Drugs work differently for different people. It mainly depends on several factors like:

  • Age: Metabolism slows with your age. The older you are, the longer it may stay in your body.
  • Caffeine: Study shows that caffeine intake can affect the effectiveness of melatonin.
  • Tobacco: Studies show that nicotine affects the effectiveness of melatonin. 
  • Light Exposure: Exposure to light and blue light from devices can affect melatonin levels.
  • Body Size
  • Whether you are taking medicines
  • Extended-release vs. regular melatonin

If you take melatonin on time, you may not feel drowsy the next day. 

How Long Does It Take for Melatonin to Wear Off?

It depends on the amount of melatonin you consume. Generally, melatonin takes between 4 to 8 hours to wear off so the best time to take melatonin is a few hours before bed.  

Start with taking small amounts of melatonin. It will wear off soon and will not cause you any significant side effects. 

Melatonin Side Effects

Generally, melatonin is safe to consume. Mainly, it causes sleepiness, but this is why we consume melatonin. 

Common side effects of melatonin are:

  • Headache,
  • Nausea 
  • Grogginess

Other Melatonin Side effects:

  • Confusion
  • Joint Pain
  • Sleep Loss
  • Seizures
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Tremors
  • Low blood pressure

You are more prone to experience these symptoms if you consume too much melatonin. 

Avoid consuming melatonin if you:

  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Have kidney disease
  • Have heart disease
  • Have depression

We suggest you talk to your doctor before you start taking melatonin. They will advise you if you need to take any precautions. 

Conclusion

It’s okay to take melatonin. Melatonin does not have any significant harmful effects. Experiment with the dosage, and learn what is best for you. Consult your doctor if you are taking other medications as well. 

FAQ FAQs

Does melatonin make it hard to wake up?

If you take melatonin on time, it won’t cause much trouble. However, if you take melatonin late, you may feel a melatonin hangover. It’s best to take melatonin 20-30 minutes before bedtime. 

Is 10 mg of melatonin too much?

Yes, 10 mg or more of melatonin can cause grogginess or daytime sleepiness in individuals.

How long can I take melatonin for sleep?

It’s safe to take melatonin for sleep for one to two months.

What foods are rich in melatonin?

Foods that are rich in melatonin include:

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Fish 
  • Nuts
  • Goji Berries

Is it wrong to take melatonin every night?

Melatonin is safe if you take less amount for a short period. The side effects of melatonin are mild, so there is nothing to worry about.

Can melatonin cause nightmares?

Nightmares are a rare symptom of melatonin intake. If you consume a large amount of melatonin, you may have side effects like nightmares.

Can melatonin cause insomnia?

No, excessive melatonin may have various symptoms like anxiety, nightmare, joint pain, etc. However, it does not lead to insomnia.