Probably the most comprehensive melatonin usage guide

I have seen many friends suffering from insomnia before. Under the misleading information on the Internet, people are easily deceived into buying melatonin. However, melatonin is often not a good choice and needs to be treated with caution. Therefore, I have long wanted to take the time to talk about the problems of melatonin in detail. let alone a comprehensive article. Therefore, I have collected some information to talk about the problems of melatonin as comprehensively as possible.

1. Overview of Melatonin

1.1 Overview of Melatonin

It can be used to help you fall asleep and treat sleep disorders. It can be taken orally or administered as a spray or transdermal patch. Melatonin is an over-the-counter drug in the United States and Canada, a health food in mainland China (such as the main ingredient of Melatonin), and an unlicensed drug in Taiwan. In some other countries, melatonin may require a prescription or may not be available.

1.2 Mechanism of action of melatonin

Melatonin’s main job in the body is to regulate the night and day cycle, or the sleep-wake cycle. Darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin, which signals the body to prepare for sleep. Light decreases melatonin production and signals the body to prepare to be awake. Some people with sleep problems have low melatonin levels. Therefore, it is thought that getting melatonin from a supplement may help them sleep.

To put it simply, when the human retina finds that the environment has become dim, it will tell the brain that it is time to go to bed, so the pineal gland secretes melatonin, allowing people to fall asleep smoothly. When it is dawn, the retina detects the light information and tells the brain that daytime has arrived, so the pineal gland inhibits the secretion of melatonin and people will wake up.

As an endogenous hormone, melatonin is generally safe for short-term use.

2. Common side effects of melatonin and supplementation precautions


2.1 Side effects of melatonin

The most common side effects of melatonin include: headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness

Other less common side effects of melatonin may include a brief feeling of depression, mild tremors, mild anxiety, abdominal cramping, irritability, decreased alertness, confusion or disorientation, and abnormally low blood pressure (hypotension).

In addition to common side effects such as dizziness and vertigo, long-term supplementation of melatonin will also have a significant impact on hormone levels in the body.

It can inhibit the hypothalamus-pituitary-gonad axis, reduce the levels of gonadotropin-releasing hormone, gonadotropin, luteinizing hormone and follicular estrogen, and can directly act on the gonads to reduce the levels of androgens, estrogens and progesterone.

Translated into human language, the most intuitive manifestation is that women suffer from irregular menstruation or even infertility, men suffer from weakened secondary sexual characteristics and reduced sexual desire, and in severe cases, their reproductive function is affected.

It is an endogenous hormone. Generally speaking, long-term use will lead to dependence, and the body’s own secretion of melatonin will decrease. If it is eventually discontinued, it may affect sleep.

2.2 Interactions between melatonin and drugs

Melatonin supplements may interact with the following medications:

Anticoagulants and antiplatelet drugs, anticonvulsants, birth control pills, diabetes medications, drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants)

If you are considering taking melatonin supplements, talk to your doctor first about whether it is okay for you to take melatonin.

2.3 Recommended Populations for Melatonin Use

⑴ People who sleep during the day and work at night

Such people can take melatonin 1-2 hours before going to bed during the day. At the same time, such people need to be in a completely dark environment as much as possible when sleeping during the day.

⑵ International students or staff who need to adjust to the time difference when returning to China from some foreign regions

Melatonin supplementation can effectively and quickly adjust circadian rhythms

⑶ Those who suffer from severe insomnia and often feel sleepy during the day and have delayed sleep time

For example, elderly people who have less sleep and feel sleepy but do not have to work during the day

⑷ People whose daily life rhythm is affected due to work or other reasons and need to restore and adjust their life rhythm

For example, if you stay up late every day to work on a project for a period of time, when you need to return to your daily rhythm of going to bed early after the project is completed, it is often difficult to fall asleep early. At this time, supplementing melatonin to artificially adjust your biological clock would be a relatively good choice.

2.4 Some details to pay attention to when supplementing melatonin

⑴ Types of melatonin supplements

Common supplements include sustained-release and non-sustained-release types, and there are significant differences between the two.

⑵ Dosage of melatonin

Generally speaking, 0.1mg-0.3mg can improve sleep, and 0.3mg-0.5mg of melatonin can improve insomnia caused by circadian rhythm disorders. In addition, even if insomnia is very severe, it is not recommended to exceed 1mg per day.

The dosage of common individual melatonin supplements on the market is generally as high as 3mg-5mg. The consumption of such high doses of melatonin needs to be treated with caution. For young people, a dose of 0.3mg (ie 300mcg) may be a safer choice. For middle-aged and elderly people whose melatonin secretion is significantly reduced, a dose of 3mg can be tried.

According to reviews on domestic shopping websites, young people who took a 3mg dose reported feeling dizzy the next day.

⑶ Duration of use

It is not suitable for long-term use. Using melatonin to adjust the circadian rhythm of sleep in the short term is feasible and effective. However, if you have long-term sleep problems, it is best to seek other solutions. Relying on melatonin is not a good choice.

3. Some negative comments extracted from the external network

Case number one

The 0.5mg sublingual dose was too high. I was groggy and unable to function the next day. The 0.2mg dose was enough to get me to sleep. Both doses caused vomiting and nausea the next day.

(This case should be a young person)

0.5 mg sublingually was too high a dose. The next day I was very drowsy and unable to work. 0.2 mg was enough to fall asleep. At both doses, nausea occured the next day.

Case 2

I took 5mg for 3 months. When I stopped taking it, my menstrual period was irregular and I had two periods in one month. Similar cases have appeared in some studies. Long-term use is not recommended because it is a hormone that affects the secretion of hormones in your body.

I used melatonin (5 mg) at bedtime every night for 3 months. It didn’t help. When I started to wean off of it, and was completely off of it, it messed with my menstrual cycle that month. Caused me to have 2 periods in the same month (and I am very regular). I have since read studies on it and see that I am not the only one who has experienced this. It’s a hormone so it makes sense (hindsight is always 20/20). If you take this, I do not recommend it for long term use as it can affect your hormones.

Case 3

I started taking 5 mg a few months ago. At first I only used it a few times a week and it worked fine. But in the last month I have been taking it every night. During this time I have had diarrhea which is not normal for me at all. I don’t think it has anything to do with the melatonin as I have never heard of it causing diarrhea. At first the diarrhea was on and off and I thought it was because I only took melatonin twice a week. But in the last month I have been taking it every night and I have had really bad diarrhea after eating anything. I took loperamide HCl and then didn’t take melatonin for two days and when I took it again it was diarrhea again. So I googled melatonin to see if anyone had the same experience and it turns out I was not alone. So I stopped taking it and no longer have diarrhea. It does help with sleep but apparently it doesn’t sit well with my digestive system.

I started taking 5mg a few months ago. I only used it a couple of times a week at first and it worked fine. This last month however, I took it every night. During all this time I had diarrhea which is not normal for me at all. I didn’t relate to the melatonin because I never heard of it causing diarrhea. At first the diarrhea was off and on, I guess because I only took the melatonin twice a week. But this past month taking it every night I got diarrhea so extreme after anything I ate. I’d take Imodium and then I wouldn’t go for two days and when I went again, it was diarrhea. So I googled melatonin to see if anyone else was having this same experience and Lo and behold I saw I wasn’t alone. So I stopped taking it and no more diarrhea! It did work good for sleep but obviously it did not agree with my digestion.

4. Some related sleep suggestions

4.1 Sleeping environment

The sleeping environment should be as dim and ventilated as possible.

4.2 Things to note before going to bed

Avoid strenuous exercise and excessive eating before bedtime

Avoid electronic devices as much as possible half an hour before bedtime (unless you use high-blocking blue light lenses)

Don’t drink alcohol before bed to help you sleep (this will only make your sleep quality worse and make you wake up more frequently during the night)

4.3 Some methods to help melatonin secretion

Create a dim sleeping environment and reduce exposure to blue light emitted by electronic devices (blue light received by the retina will inhibit the secretion of melatonin. A moderate amount of blue light during the day can help us wake up and improve work efficiency, but it will affect our sleep at night)

During the day, you can bask in the sun for about twenty minutes at noon. The sunlight can increase the level of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is the precursor of it. The higher level of serotonin during the day can lay a good foundation for the synthesis at night.

Pay attention to supplementing foods containing tryptophan in your diet, such as chocolate, oats, dried dates, milk, yogurt, cheese, red meat, eggs, fish, poultry, sesame, chickpeas, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, spirulina, bananas and peanuts. Tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin, which can ensure the body’s smooth synthesis of serotonin and thus ensure the synthesis.

4.4 Some suggestions on purchasing

Among domestic supplements, there are very few products with smaller doses such as 0.3mg or 0.5mg. I only found a few from Life Extesion on Taobao.


If you want to buy it yourself, you can go to Taobao. If the quantity is larger, you can consider buying it on iHerb. 100 capsules of 300mcg (0.3mg) capsules.

There are many products with a dosage of more than 1mg on domestic e-commerce platforms. If it is suitable for you, it is worth a try. It should be noted that there may be batch differences in the delivery and proportion of some manufacturers. Some people mentioned in the comments on the Internet that there will be very large differences between different batches of products from different manufacturers, and the actual effects may vary greatly.

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