Melatonin: How Much is Too Much?


Verchmarco (CC BY 2.0)

While melatonin is a common sleep aid, many get hooked on the substance

Melatonin is a hormone used to regulate the sleep cycle. According to, around 3.1 million adults, and over 419,000 children take melatonin as of 2012. Since then, research projects prove that melatonin use has gone up, allowing for many to become dependent on the substance. In addition, melatonin is relatively inexpensive and can be easily purchased. All this considered, how much melatonin is too much? 

Those using melatonin should take no more than five milligrams per day. Consuming more than that may lead to side effects such as a headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and vivid dreams. Also, taking excessive amounts of melatonin frequently can create long lasting effects on a person. For example, taking too much melatonin at night will cause the substance to linger later the next morning, causing extreme drowsiness. 

However, melatonin comes with benefits. These benefits include maintaining a regular sleep schedule and boosting immunity. Due to its anti- inflammatory properties, melatonin gives your body strength to fight against infections and disease. Melatonin even helps with anxiety, nutrition, and illness because of its other healthful components and benefits in increasing sleep.

Recently, The Washington Post interviewed psychologist Jennifer Martin on using melatonin. In regards to her patients using the supplement before seeking medical advice, she said, “I wish that they had come to see me first before they spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on things that didn’t work, and suffered for another year before they got evidence-based help.” Martin concluded that melatonin isn’t 100% effective. That being said, she wishes her patients consulted medical professionals before wasting money on items that don’t always work to explore other solutions to their sleep issues.

In summary, it’s essential to take proper precautions when handling melatonin. Keep in mind that melatonin is meant to be a sleeping aid – not a substance to be abused.