How long does it take for melatonin to work? Well, this varies from person to person. There’s no exact answer to this question. But generally, it is considered that melatonin starts working within two hours.
However, if you want to know more about melatonin, this article is for you. Here we will consider everything from how long does it take for melatonin to work, proper doses, its safety and any potential side effects.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by our brain when we are exposed to darkness. Its main job is to make us feel sleepy and maintain our 24-hour-internal clock which is known as circadian rhythm.
But, if someone is suffering from sleep disorders and their body can’t produce enough melatonin hormone, melatonin supplements can be helpful.
Research has also found that melatonin can be helpful to people with sleep disorders, especially in cases of jet lag and insomnia.
According to Healthline, people in the United States use melatonin without any prescription to aid their sleep. But in some other countries, melatonin is considered to be a proper drug and should be taken only with a prescription.
What Is Melatonin And How Does It Works?
Melatonin is a supplement that is used to treat sleep disorders. It generally comes in two forms. The first one is a pill and the second one comes in a form that can be kept under the tongue or cheek. It can be used to treat the following conditions:
- Insomnia – Melatonin is mostly used to treat this condition.
- Jet lag
- Delayed sleep phases
- Controlling the circadian rhythm (24 hours of our internal clock)
- It may also help in the sleep disorder of children. Research indicates that melatonin can be used to treat sleep disorders in children. But before giving it to your child, talk to your doctor. They will probably advise you to implement good bedtime habits first. Click here to know more about melatonin for kids.
OK. So how does melatonin work in our body?
When we consume melatonin, its main work is to control the sleep-wake cycle of our body. Generally, when our body gets exposed to darkness, it produces enough melatonin to help us fall asleep. But, if someone gets exposed to light or has a sleep disorder, their melatonin level drops, thus making it difficult to sleep. But, by consuming melatonin supplements, melatonin levels can return to normal and allow you to have a good sleep.
How Long Does It Take For Melatonin To Work?
Melatonin takes between 20 minutes to 2 hours to display its effect. Our body can absorb it very easily, so there are also chances that it may make you feel sleepy within just 1 hour.
However, as you know that all medicines affect each person differently, so the same applies to melatonin. How long it takes for melatonin to work totally depends from person to person.
How Long Does Melatonin Stay In Our Body?
Melatonin stays in your body for around 5 hours. To be more precise, a drug takes around 4-5 half-lives to get completely eliminated from the body. One half-life of melatonin is usually around 40 to 60 minutes, according to Healthline.
Again, this was just a general answer. How long does melatonin last in the body will, once again, vary from person to person because it is influenced by other factors like consumption of caffeine, age, other health issues, etc.
Is It Safe To Take Melatonin?
Melatonin is generally known to be a safe supplement only if you use it for short term. Still, it can cause some allergic reactions.
Melatonin is not considered to be safe for long-term use. It may lead to some experiences like a hangover.
Women who are breastfeeding and pregnant should avoid taking melatonin. Currently, not much research has been conducted on the safety of melatonin in pregnant or breastfeeding women.
If you are already taking other medicines, then make sure to talk to your doctor before taking melatonin.
Also, some melatonin supplements may not contain the content that’s listed on the product label. Research held in 2017 studied 31 melatonin supplements of different companies. They observed that certain products contained entirely different amounts of melatonin than stated on the product’s label.
What’s The Proper Dosage Of Melatonin That You Should Be Taking?
The appropriate dose of melatonin lies between 2mg to 5mg. Many people overdose on melatonin with the assumption that it will work more effectively. But unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. In fact, it can make you sleepy in the daytime and decrease your overall productivity.
If you are just getting started with melatonin, then it’s highly recommended to start slowly and increase the dosage gradually with time. It will assist you in discovering what’s the proper dose that helps you to fall asleep.
Lastly, if you still have doubts about the dosage of melatonin, talk to your doctor. You can also ask them if you are having any other doubts regarding melatonin.
What’s The Best Time To Take Melatonin?
Besides of how long does it take for melatonin to work, it’s also important to consider the best time to take it as it plays a major role.
The best time to take melatonin is at least 1 hour before going to bed. Because melatonin takes about 30 minutes to 2 hours to start working.
Keep in mind that you should never take melatonin just before going to bed. Its effect can carry over to the next day as well. For example, you may feel drowsy and sleepy.
What the best time is to take melatonin is also dependent on other factors, varying from person to person as everyone has their own ability to absorb the hormone.
To find out what’s the best time for you, start by taking a melatonin supplement at least 30 minutes before your bedtime. By the time, you can adjust the timing by analyzing how the melatonin is affecting you.
What Are The Side Effects Of Melatonin?
Melatonin is considered to be a safe supplement. But still, many side effects can be experienced, which includes:
- Stomach cramps
- Feeling depressed for short periods of time
- Low blood pressure
- Mild tremors
- Decreased alertness
Things That You Should Know Before Taking Melatonin
Here are some of the most important things that you should know before taking a melatonin supplement:
- If you are pregnant or trying to become one or breastfeeding, then completely avoid taking melatonin as there’s not much evidence available about the safety of melatonin for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Melatonin is considered to be safe for children. Still, it’s yet to be fully confirmed. There’s a lack of proper evidence on whether melatonin is safe for children or not. It should be given to children only after confirmation from the doctor.
- If you are taking medications to control your blood pressure, then avoid taking melatonin as it can result in an abrupt increase in blood pressure.
- Consumption of melatonin can also increase the risk of seizures.
- Signs of eminent or existing depression can even become worse.
- People with bleeding disorders should also avoid melatonin as it can worsen the condition.
Habits To Increase Melatonin Level In Your Body Naturally
If you are not able to sleep at night properly and it’s not caused by any underlying disease, you are probably lacking the good habits in your daily lifestyle that help in getting qualitative sleep.
Our body is capable of producing enough melatonin without any supplement. You just have to make some changes in your lifestyle. Here are some habits that can help you out:
Expose Yourself To Light In The Daytime
When you expose yourself to light, it helps the circadian clock function properly. The light may be artificial or natural sunlight. It’s recommended to get sunlight, but if it’s not possible, artificial bright lights will also work fine.
It will help you to stay energetic throughout the day and also help you have a deep and restful sleep at night.
It can also be helpful in treating insomnia or other severe sleep issues.
Say A Straight ‘No!’ To Caffeine After 4PM
I’m sure you already know about this. But, in case you don’t, hear us out. Caffeine can worsen your sleep quality if you consume it around 6 hours before going to bed.
It stays in your blood for several hours (approximately 6-7 hours). So, if you are having sleep issues, then caffeine after 4PM is a big no-no.
However, caffeine has also some added benefits. For example, it increases energy levels, improves focus, and even sports performance. But to avail these benefits, you have to consume it at the right time.
So, avoid drinking large amounts of caffeine when it’s late afternoon or evening.
Try Reducing The Use Of Electronic Devices In The Evening
Every electronic device produces blue light. If you expose yourself to them in the evening and before going to bed, it can be a huge interruption to your sleep.
Try to avoid using electronic devices for at least 1-2 hours before sleep.
But wait, let’s just accept it, nowadays it’s slightly difficult to avoid using our smartphones or computers as it has become a necessity. So, regarding this, here we are mentioning a few ways that may help you in decreasing your exposure to the blue light:
- Get yourself computer glasses – If you spend long hours sitting in front of your computer, then computer glasses are for you. They contain special type of lenses that can decrease the effect of blue light.
- Take breaks – Taking a break from your computer, mobile or TV screen can help in limiting the blue light exposure. It also allows your eyes to rest. Try taking a break every 20 minutes by looking away from your screen and focusing on an object for at least 20 seconds.
- Use blue light filters – There are many screen filters available on the internet that you can use. These can help you have a good sleep at night and also ease the digital eyestrain.
Wake And Sleep At The Same Time
Waking and sleeping at the same time every day can be very helpful in getting quality sleep.
If you successfully build this habit, then you will barely struggle with your sleep as the system to sleep and wake has been ingrained into your body. And due to this, you may also be able to wake up without requiring an alarm of any sort!
Whereas, if you keep waking and sleeping at irregular times, this can cause changes in the body’s internal clock and melatonin levels which ultimately affect the quality of sleep.
Avoid Taking Long Irregular Naps In Your Daytime
Taking long naps during the day can confuse the internal clock. A study discovered that long-day naps can make you sleepier throughout the day.
However, you can add naps to your day, just make sure they are 30 minutes or less.
Some Additional Tips That May Help You:
- Avoid drinking alcohol at night – Alcohol can reduce the production of melatonin in your body which affects the quality of sleep at night. Check out this article to see if you can take alcohol and melatonin together or not.
- Make the environment of your room relaxing – Try to keep your room as dark as possible, eliminating the external lights and noise. Just make sure that you get the feeling of relaxation when you are in your room. You can also add slow and classical music.
- Set an optimum room temperature – If your room temperature is too hot, it will be very difficult for you to sleep. About 20°C is known to be a perfect temperature for most people. However, it may vary from person to person. You can try different temperatures to find out what’s the best for you.
- Avoid having large meals before sleeping – Having large meals before bed can disrupt the hormones which lead to poorer sleep. You should eat at least 3 hours before going to bed. Try opting for small meals like veggies, fruits, complex carbs, etc.
Check this article for some more effective methods to fall asleep fast!
Conclusion | How Long Does It Take For Melatonin To Work
A melatonin supplement is generally taken as a sleep aid. It can help with many illnesses like insomnia, jet lag, delayed sleep phases, migraine, etc. It starts working in our body between 20 minutes to 2 hours.
Generally, melatonin is known to be safe. Still, it can cause some side effects like low blood pressure, nausea, dizziness, etc. But this occurs rarely. Take the proper dosage at the right time and you will be fine.
It can be taken without any prescription in most countries. But if you are suffering from any disease, already undergoing medical treatment, or having any doubts, then make sure to consult your doctor before taking melatonin.