A Definitive Guide to Melatonin

A bottle with melatonin - a definitive guide to melatonin


Melatonin is a hormone, secreted by the pineal gland, that regulates the body’s sleep-wake cycle. It’s also a popular sleep supplement, usually taken in the form of melatonin gummies and capsules.


Article Jumplinks:

What is melatonin?

What are the benefits of melatonin?

Melatonin side effects

How can I take melatonin?


Let’s explore what melatonin does to the body, what its uses are, and whether it can have side effects.

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What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland (located in the brain) as a response to darkness. The main purpose of melatonin is to help you fall asleep and maintain the timing of circadian rhythms responsible for the sleep-wake cycle, also known as the 24-hour internal clock.


What Does Melatonin Do in the Body?

Melatonin helps you maintain healthy sleep patterns and can prevent or lessen sleep disturbances. Our bodies produce melatonin from sunset until around 5 am, with production being highest between 2 and 4 in the morning.


What is a Healthy Melatonin Level?

Natural melatonin levels vary from person to person, with average melatonin production ranging from 10 to 80 micrograms per night.

People with low levels of melatonin can experience restlessness, chronic insomnia, and trouble falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night. Meanwhile, people with abnormally high levels of melatonin may experience drowsiness and brain fog throughout the day.


How Long Does it Take for Melatonin to Work?

It takes around 1 to 2 hours for melatonin to work. Therefore, it’s best to take melatonin supplements up to 2 hours before bedtime.

Melatonin Benefits

Research suggests that melatonin supplements can aid in reducing the time it takes you to fall asleep and also in improving sleep quality. Melatonin appears to be particularly useful for adults with sleep issues caused by jet lag, shift work, and various illnesses—as well as children and adolescents with ADHD and autism-related sleep issues.


Melatonin Benefits for Shift Workers and Jet Lag

Melatonin could be an effective natural sleep aid for shift workers and frequent travelers. In research, melatonin reduced the time it took for people to fall asleep after traveling across time zones.

One clinical review, published in 2014, examined several studies related to the use of melatonin as a preventative measure for jet lag. Six studies showed that melatonin worked significantly better than a placebo in reducing symptoms of jet lag after long flights.


Melatonin Benefits for Sleep Disorders in Children

Giving melatonin to your kids is much safer than giving them conventional sleep medication, and studies suggest that melatonin could alleviate sleep disorders in children.

A 2019 review looked at 18 studies on the effectiveness of melatonin in children. These studies show that melatonin could be particularly beneficial for children with sleep issues caused by attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Children with ADHD fell asleep 20 minutes earlier and slept half an hour longer, while kids with ASD fell asleep 37 minutes earlier with sleep times being 33 minutes longer.


Melatonin Benefits for Sleep Disorders in Adults

Medically reviewed evidence on the effectiveness of melatonin seems to confirm that melatonin supplements can alleviate adult circadian rhythm sleep disorders caused by various illnesses.

For example, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, which can be caused by a lack of light exposure, stroke, blindness, and degenerative illnesses (such as Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis), can be significantly improved with melatonin supplements.

A 2015 literature review examined the use of melatonin in people with a delayed sleep phase caused by various conditions. The results of this review suggest that melatonin could help with sleep problems, and the American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends melatonin supplements as a treatment for delayed sleep-wake phase disorder.

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Melatonin Side Effects

Clinical trials on the safety of melatonin conclude that it’s generally safe to use short-term and in appropriate amounts. Still, some people may have temporary side effects like feeling dizzy, tired, sick, or having headaches. If you’re experiencing these side effects, it’s best to take a lower dosage until your body gets used to the effects of melatonin.


Who Should Not Take Melatonin?

People prone to allergic reactions should be cautious when taking melatonin. Melatonin supplements can sometimes cause an allergic reaction. Itching, a rash, and swelling of the lips, face, and tongue are the most obvious signs. If you have any of these symptoms, you should stop taking melatonin right away and talk to a doctor.

Melatonin can also interact with some medications. If you are on any of the following, make sure to talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking melatonin:

    • anticoagulants
    • blood pressure medication
    • anticonvulsants
    • antidiabetics
    • central nervous system depressants
  • birth control
  • immunosuppressants
  • anti-seizure medication
  • drugs used to treat mental health conditions, such as fluvoxamine and diazepam


Is Melatonin Addictive?

In contrast to most pharmaceutical sleep medicines, melatonin is unlikely to cause addiction or dependency. You won’t experience symptoms of withdrawal after you stop taking a melatonin supplement because your body continues to produce melatonin naturally—whether you’re taking a supplement or not.

However, melatonin overdoses are a legitimate concern. If you take too much melatonin, you might feel too sleepy, get headaches, throw up, or have changes in your blood pressure. To prevent a melatonin overdose, always stick with the dose of melatonin recommended by the supplement manufacturer (which is a single gummy if you’re using our melatonin supplements).

Interested in Taking a Melatonin Supplement?

Evidence suggests that melatonin can reduce the symptoms of many sleep issues. If you want to take melatonin for sleep and are looking for a high-quality, vegan supplement, our melatonin gummies for adults may be just what you’re looking for. In addition to melatonin, our gummies also contain CBD and CBN, both of which may aid in healthy sleep as well.

Our sleep gummies with hemp-derived CBD, are vegan and contain nothing but the best ingredients. And, if you want to try THC for sleep, you can do so with one of the many THC-infused gummies we offer.




Jet lag - PubMed. (2014, April 29). PubMed. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24780537/


Pediatric sleep disturbances and treatment with melatonin - PubMed. (2019, March 12). PubMed. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30871585/


Clinical Practice Guideline for the Treatment of Intrinsic Circadian Rhythm Sleep-Wake Disorders: Advanced Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (ASWPD), Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD), Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Rhythm Disorder (N24SWD), and Irregular Sleep-Wake Rhythm Disorder (ISWRD). An Update for 2015: An American Academy of Sleep Medicine Clinical Practice Guideline - PubMed. (2015, October 15). PubMed. Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26414986/


Fiorentino, L., Rissling, M., Liu, L., & Ancoli-Israel, S. (n.d.). The Symptom Cluster of Sleep, Fatigue and Depressive Symptoms in Breast Cancer Patients: Severity of the Problem and Treatment Options. PubMed Central (PMC). Retrieved January 27, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3228259/


FAQ on Melatonin

Can I take melatonin while pregnant?

Taking melatonin while pregnant may be safe in low doses. However, there are not enough randomized, controlled trials done on pregnant people to claim that melatonin is completely safe during pregnancy. So, if you want to be safe, you should ask your doctor if you should take melatonin, or you should avoid taking melatonin supplements while you are pregnant.


Is melatonin a sleeping pill?

While melatonin does promote sleep, it is not a sleeping pill in the traditional sense. The main difference between melatonin and sleeping medications such as Zolpidem (brand name Ambien) is that melatonin naturally occurs in the body while nonbenzodiazepines and other common sleep medications don’t. Because of that, melatonin has a much lower risk profile than commonly prescribed sleeping pills.


Is it okay to take melatonin every night?

It is okay to take melatonin every night if you’re taking it on a short-term basis. If you’re taking melatonin for longer than a month, it’s important to take breaks every 4-6 weeks to prevent unwanted long-term effects of melatonin use, such as drowsiness and headaches. Some experts also believe that long-term melatonin use can result in the suppression of one’s natural melatonin production; hence, cycling off melatonin periodically is advised.


Is melatonin a drug?

Melatonin is not considered a drug. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies this compound as a dietary supplement that promotes sleep. Therefore, you do not need a prescription to buy melatonin.


What foods are high in melatonin?

The two foods most known for their high melatonin content are eggs and fish. Some plant foods, including nuts, mushrooms, and seeds, are also a great source of melatonin for those that don’t eat animal-derived products.


How long does melatonin last?

The effects of melatonin sleep aids last for about 4-5 hours. The effects are strongest in the first two hours and start to fade over the next two to three hours.


What can contribute to sleep issues?

Many things, including stress, frequent travel, your work schedule, evening exposure to electronic screens, and even your sleep position, can contribute to sleep issues. Poor sleep can also be caused by chronic pain and illnesses like sleep apnea and acid reflux.

Cancer treatment can also cause sleep disturbances, especially in cases of prostate cancer and breast cancer. If you would like to determine what’s contributing to your sleep issues, an insomnia symptom checker may be a great place to start.


Can I take melatonin twice in one night?

While taking melatonin twice in one night isn’t dangerous, we don’t recommend doing it often. Taking a second dose late at night can promote side effects such as brain fog and drowsiness the following day.

Therefore, if the melatonin dosage you’re currently taking doesn’t help you fall asleep, increasing the dosage or switching to a more high-quality supplement (such as our gummies) is better than doubling up on your melatonin throughout the night.


Why is sleep important?

Sleep is one of the most powerful health tools in your arsenal and a major part of healthy living. Proper sleep can provide health benefits for anything from men’s health and women’s health issues to physical and mental health concerns. Improper sleep is commonly linked to depression, anxiety, heart disease, and poor eye health.


Should I take melatonin with food or on an empty stomach?

It’s best to take melatonin on an empty stomach about 1-2 hours before bedtime. Melatonin will still work if you take it with food, but its effects may be delayed because your stomach will have to digest the food in addition to the melatonin.

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