Can you take too many melatonin pills? What’s considered a melatonin overdose? We’ve all heard that popping a pill before bed is an easy way to drift off into dreamland, but did you know it’s possible to overdose on melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone naturally secreted in our body to regulate sleep. It is created naturally by the pineal gland and is gradually released into your bloodstream as you get ready to sleep. However, if your body isn’t producing enough of this hormone, you can have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep.
In this article, we’ll provide answers about melatonin and how much is considered an overdose. Keep reading to know more. Let’s start.
Table of Contents
Why Do People Take Melatonin?
Melatonin helps to synchronize your body’s internal clock. It also helps lessen the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, increases sleep duration, and improves sleep quality. People with insomnia often use melatonin to help them fall asleep quicker.
People who work night shifts or have jet lag may also benefit from melatonin. It helps adjust to new sleep schedules, improving overall well-being.
For children, melatonin can provide benefits for those with learning disabilities, including ADHD. It helps them to relax and fall asleep faster, improving their overall mood.
Also, in children, melatonin may be beneficial for conditions like epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental problems like autism spectrum disorder, according to evidence from small trials. 
What Happens If You Overdose Melatonin?
Taking too much melatonin is unlikely to cause serious side effects in most healthy adults. Nonetheless, overdosing may have undesirable consequences. When ingested in large doses, melatonin can cause dangerous side effects such as dizziness, headache, nausea, heart palpitations, confusion, disorientation, and irritability.
Also, it may affect your circadian cycles, making it more difficult to fall asleep at night. Daytime drowsiness and sleepiness after an overdose are common, while nighttime nightmares and vivid dreams are other possible side effects.
Is It Possible to Overdose on Melatonin?
Melatonin has a low toxicity level. Therefore, it is quite rare that someone might consume too much of it. It is possible to overdose on melatonin, although the effects are usually not serious or life-threatening. However, taking too much may cause mild discomfort in some persons.
Is 40 mg of Melatonin Too Much to Take?
Limiting your dosage to 10 mg or less is best unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Taking more than 40 mg of melatonin daily can increase your risk of experiencing side effects and is not recommended.
Most melatonin supplements range from 1 to 10 milligrams. The recommended dose for adults is usually between 0.5 and 5 mg, but this may vary depending on age, medical condition, and other factors such as stress levels or timezone changes.
Studies examining melatonin dosages higher than typically suggested are few and far between. The majority of the existing data consists of small studies and case reports.
The U.S. government allows the sale of melatonin in any quantity over the counter. However, there is still some controversy about the optimal dosing regimen for this supplement.
How Many Milligrams of Melatonin Can Cause Overdose?
The amount of melatonin considered an overdose varies from person to person and depends on the individual’s metabolism.
Generally speaking, melatonin overdose is more likely to occur in people who take melatonin supplements daily, as this creates a buildup of the hormone in the body.
Also, finding out how much melatonin a certain person needs involves solving several issues. Although the specific nature of these interactions is unknown, factors such as age, gender, specific sleep problems, other health issues, and time of administration may all play a role in how each individual responds to this supplement.
Signs of Melatonin Overdose
The signs of melatonin overdose include the following:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Rapid heartbeat
- Vivid dreams
Short-term usage in children has been associated with the same negative consequences as in adults. For example, it has been reported that melatonin may cause agitation or increase the likelihood of bedwetting in certain children.
Melatonin may cause allergic reactions or dangerous drug interactions, so it’s important for kids and adults to consult their doctors before starting treatment. People who take certain drugs, such as those for epilepsy or to thin the blood, should inquire with their doctor about the possibility of adverse drug reactions. 
What Should I Do If I Took Too Much Melatonin?
You should contact Poison Control if you suspect a melatonin overdose. No specific treatment exists for a melatonin overdose. However, it is not considered toxic even when taken in high quantities. If someone overdoses on melatonin, a responsible adult should remain with them until they are completely alert and rested. 
The melatonin user should be woken up every half an hour by the same responsible adult. If the victim is not breathing normally or is completely conscious, proceed to the emergency department immediately. Drowsiness is only one of the potential melatonin adverse effects.
How Can I Sleep Better Without Using Melatonin?
Getting enough sleep is essential for good health. Research is still ongoing, but melatonin supplements may not be the best solution to address chronic sleeping problems.
There are other approaches to help improve sleep quality, including avoiding caffeine, limiting blue light exposure from tablets and phones in the evening hours, and establishing a consistent sleep schedule.
Relaxation techniques such as yoga or mindfulness meditation may help restore healthy sleep habits. Additionally, if the underlying cause of a sleeping problem is psychological, professional help might be needed.
In any case, talk to a doctor about melatonin and other sleep aids before starting treatment.
Bottom Line: Melatonin Overdose and How Much Is Too Much?
All in all, getting a good night of sleep is essential for healthy bodily function. If you aren’t experiencing restful and sufficient sleep, melatonin may be a good place to start in your quest for more consistent sleeping patterns.
However, remember that natural melatonin, such as supplements derived from animal pineal glands, has not been tested and approved by the FDA, so you should talk to a doctor before deciding if it’s appropriate for you.
By understanding the possible melatonin overdose symptoms and the potential risks, melatonin users can make informed decisions about their health and well-being.
It is essential to be aware of the potential melatonin overdose effects and to take melatonin as directed. Careful monitoring and consulting with a healthcare provider can help ensure safety and the best sleep quality.
Disclaimer: This article is only a guide. It does not substitute the advice given by your own healthcare professional. Before making any health-related decision, consult your healthcare professional.
Editorial References And Fact-Checking
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- Papagiannidou E, Skene DJ, Ioannides C. Potential drug interactions with melatonin. Physiol Behav. 2014 May 28;131:17-24. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2014.04.016. Epub 2014 Apr 13. PMID: 24732412.
- Potential Uses and Benefits of Melatonin, Melatonin | Poison Control, February 11, 2023, https://www.poison.org/articles/melatonin.