Can You Overdose on Melatonin?

If you’ve been looking into sleep aids, you’ve probably come across something called melatonin.

It works pretty well as a sleep aid, but a lot of people are now asking can you overdose on Melatonin?

Melatonin

In this post, you’re going to get an in-depth look at exactly how much Melatonin is safe to take, what to look for in an overdose, and much more.

If you’re thinking about taking it and need some guidance, this post will offer some general information.

But don’t forget to ask your doctor before taking anything, especially if it has to do with your quality of sleep.

Alright. Let’s dig in.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is actually a hormone created in the pineal gland. It helps your brain to know when it’s time to sleep, and when it’s time to wake up.

Your brain is supposed to create Melatonin when it gets dark. On the opposite side of the coin, light inhibits Melatonin production.

Of course, this makes a lot of sense when you take into account how primitive humans have been living for eons and eons.

When daylight hits, our bodies stop producing Melatonin, and we wake up.

When the sun goes down, we start to get tired—and Melatonin production helps us to get to bed at a reasonable time and sleep well through the night.

However, as you can probably imagine, especially in our modern world, a lot of people suffer from low Melatonin levels.

When we use our phones before bed, stare at a computer screen, or work night-shift, it doesn’t take much to see how our natural sleep-wake cycle can get thrown off.

With that being said, some people find that taking extra Melatonin as a supplement helps to re-balance this cycle.

This isn’t a new idea, and people have been doing this for years.

The only real question, then, is this.

How much should you take? And how much is too much?

How Much Melatonin Is Too Much?

As a general rule, you need to be careful about taking more than 3mg of Melatonin. This is not to say that you can’t take more. But, for most people in most situations, 3mg is going to be more than enough to offset the problems they are having.

According to doctors, Melatonin supplements are safe to take when you take them appropriately.

But how much is too much?

The appeal of Melatonin is that it is pretty much an all-natural supplement. So it tends to give you a lesser risk of side effects than you would get with other supplements.

Still, with that being said, it is possible to take too much of it.

How Much Melatonin Should You Take?

A safe dosage of Melatonin usually starts at 0.3 to 0.5mg, and then works its way up to 5mg, depending on the person and the situation.

Melatonin reacts differently within different people, so experimenting with a lower dose first is usually recommended.

One thing to make a note of is that you should never take more than the recommended amount.

What Are the Symptoms of a Melatonin Overdose?

Too much Melatonin can actually make it harder to sleep, and keep you groggy during the day. But there is also a range of overdose side effects to be aware of.

  • Vivid dreams or nightmares at night
  • Daytime grogginess
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint Pain

In some cases, taking Melatonin can also affect your blood pressure.

Now, with all of that being said, we sometimes get questions about whether or not Melatonin reaches toxicity at certain levels.

Let’s talk about that.

Can a Melatonin Overdose Be Fatal?

The short answer to this question is a ‘no.’

An LD50 (Lethal Dose for 50% of Subjects) could not be established in animals during Melatonin tests. And when tested, a dose of 800mg/kg wasn’t found to be lethal for humans.

So can Melatonin kill you?

According to the literature, it doesn’t appear so.

But, here’s the tricky thing about Melatonin supplements.

Investigations into Melatonin supplements have shown that different brands and products may actually contain anywhere from -83% up to +478% of what they claim to contain based on the labeling of the bottle.

In other words, you need to be careful when taking supplements.

It is advised that you only take the directed amount, and that you make sure that you are buying the product from a verified company with a proven track record of safety.

You certainly don’t want to buy cheap Melatonin supplements that don’t have any validation on the marketplace, and rely on them to help you sleep better.

Remember, supplements are loosely regulated.

And they are not all created equal!

So make sure that you are buying products from companies you trust before taking any hormone supplements.

Is 10mg of Melatonin Too Much?

Melatonin is safe in doses of up to 10mg. In fact, it is sometimes sold in doses of this size.

But here’s the thing to keep in mind.

Taking more Melatonin than a certain amount ceases to be useful.

So it is advised that you experiment with lower doses first, and try to see what dosages begin to affect you in a positive way.

Then, you may want to increase that dosage by a tiny amount to make sure that you are getting the full effect of the hormone.

But after that, taking higher dosages just puts you at a risk for side effects without increasing the odds of it working any better.

Can I Take 15 mg of Melatonin?

The highest recommended dosage of Melatonin is 10mg.

But if Melatonin isn’t really dangerous at high levels, why bother cutting it off at 10mg?

Here is what you should look out for.

If you take Melatonin, and still have trouble falling asleep within 20 to 30 minutes, you may need to either further adjust your sleeping habits, or increase your dosage.

But here’s another thing to look out for. If you wake up feeling groggy the next day, after getting a full night’s rest, then it is possible that you took too much, and that you should lower your dosage.

Is It Safe to Take 20mg of Melatonin?

According to answers given on drugs.com, it is said that Melatonin is likely safe at the recommended doses. Usually, recommended doses do not exceed 10mg, though there are some Melatonin supplements that call for dosages as high as 20mg.

There is little to no evidence that there is any major toxicity risk associated with high doses of Melatonin.

But as always, use common sense—and watch for the signs of an overdose.

If you wake up feeling groggy the next day, it is highly likely that you are taking too much.

Is 30 mg of Melatonin Too Much?

According to the literature, there is ‘no definitive “best” dosage’ of Melatonin.

Can you overdose on melatonin? Most likely, not to a ‘fatal’ level. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t experience complications from a super-high dosage. 

It is believed by many that 30mg is where you start to get into the range where you are likely to see negative reactions and side effects.

If you are trying to take Melatonin in 30mg amounts or more, be highly aware of how you feel the next day.

Do you feel drowsy, nauseous, irritable, sleepy, or anxious?

Did you experience especially vivid dreams or horrible nightmares?

If so, you may want to really cut back on the dosage. 

Can I Take Melatonin at 3 AM?

According to medical professionals, you should take 1 to 3 milligrams of Melatonin about 2 hours before you plan to go to bed.

(Some believe that you should make this time-frame shorter, and take it about 30 minutes before bed. For best results, do a bit of experimenting, and see what works best.)

You should also, of course, try to observe other healthy sleeping habits at the same time.

Avoid smoking, drinking alcohol, and consuming caffeine in the hours leading up to bedtime.

Trying to keep consistent bedtimes is another key to getting a quality night’s rest.

You should also avoid looking at your smartphone or tablet screens in the hour leading up to bedtime, as the ‘blue light’ from these devices can inhibit natural melatonin production in your brain.

But this isn’t the only kind of light that can keep you from producing natural Melatonin. Even bright lights within your home can do it.

With all of this being said, you can take Melatonin any time you plan to sleep within the next 2 hours or so.

Whether it is 3 am, 3 pm, or any time in between—as long as you follow the directions and try to keep healthy sleeping habits as well, you should be able to take a healthy dose of Melatonin without suffering any major complications.

What’s the Max Amount of Melatonin You Can Take?

According to most doctors, the maximum healthy dosage of Melatonin falls somewhere between 5 and 10 milligrams.

This may seem like a wide range, but this is because Melatonin actually affects everyone just a little bit differently.

It is also recommended that you start at a lower dose of 1 to 2 milligrams, and then work your way up from there.

You may hear stories of people taking much larger doses—but keep in mind that the supplement is rarely any more useful at such high dosages.

All you are really doing, then, is putting yourself at risk for adverse side effects.

Can You Overdose on Melatonin? The Real Facts

Will Melatonin kill you if you take too much of it?

No.

With that being said, it is not recommended that you give Melatonin to children 5 and under. It is also recommended that you follow your doctor’s instructions whenever taking it or giving it to anyone in your family.

As a supplement, it is still something that you are putting into your body. And even though it is natural, it is important to make sure that you are taking it safely, and that you aren’t putting yourself or anyone else at risk.

Is It Safe to Take Melatonin Every Night?

Most doctors seem to agree that Melatonin is, in fact, safe to take on a nightly basis. In fact, there are many people who report taking it for years without incident.

With that being said, it is also recommended that you stick to the lowest dosage possible.

It is also recommended that you don’t take it if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or suffering from an auto-immune disorder.

You should also avoid taking Melatonin if you suffer from a seizure disorder, diabetes, or high blood pressure.

And if in doubt, make sure to check with your doctor to see how it may affect any medications you are taking.

Does Melatonin Work Every Time?

Melatonin doesn’t always do the trick for everyone.

If you take it for a week or two without any significant changes in your quality of sleep, you may want to discuss some alternatives with your doctor.

Why Is Melatonin Banned In the UK?

Melatonin has been banned for high-street sale by the Medicines Control Agency in the UK because it was decided that the compound was ‘medicinal by function.”

So, it is not outright banned. But you do need to get a drug license to purchase it.

In Conclusion

Melatonin is a pretty common supplement in the U.S. that helps many people with sleeping problems.

It is usually taken in doses of 1 to 3 milligrams, though you can take up to 10mg while still not exceeding the maximum recommended dosage.

But of course, the big fear is this.

Can you overdose on Melatonin?

Thankfully, the science seems to say that even at extremely high doses, it isn’t fatal or toxic—though it can cause a range of negative effects.

It is always better to stick to the recommended dosage (at or under 10mg max) to avoid negative side effects.