Melatonin dosage – How to know what’s right?

I’m taking melatonin now again, but even after 2 weeks, I’m still in the dark as to how much is enough. I’m on 6 mg per night (2 tablets at 3 mg each), but I’m a little concerned if that is too high in the long term. After all, I’ve also read of people taking extremely high amounts of melatonin and seemingly doing ok.

The main concern with high dose melatonin is whether it will turn off the body’s natural melatonin production after a while. It may also make the melatonin receptors less sensitive to melatonin, seeing that anything over 300 mcg is already considered “excessive.”

But hey, you don’t have much of a choice because between some sleeping drugs like benzodiazepine or hydroxyzine, or melatonin, I’d choose melatonin anyday. In fact, after stopping the drugs, and taking melatonin, I’ve noticed the twitching in my arms and legs prior to sleep largely diminished, so I must assume in my case it was exacerbated by those drugs.

my-melatonin-pillsMelatonin is not a drug – which is a good thing. The bad thing about melatonin is it is easy to render it not-so-effective by taking it in large amounts. Some people find they have to keep taking melatonin in ever larger doses just to experience any effect, over time. That’s why a lot of people say melatonin does not work; but I think one of the reasons is because they overdosed on it over an extended period.

Another problem is due to calcification of the pineal gland. I’m not the only one who is wondering why insomnia rates continue to rise in today’s modern times, while 100 years ago, it wasn’t so. All I can think of is that a lot of chemicals in the foods we eat, and the water we drink contributes towards calcification of our pineal glands. The pineal gland is a tiny gland that can easily get damaged due to a lot of chemicals that we are now exposed to. One good example is fluoride, a highly toxic chemical added to public drinking water (more about it at another time).

The point is how do you get the “right dose” for melatonin? The answer is still – Trial and Error. Other pieces of advice I can give concerning melatonin are:

  • Take melatonin with some sleep herbs like valerian
  • Don’t take melatonin every night. Skip at least one night in a week.
  • Monitor your results closely and adjust accordingly. If you need to take such a high dose, you risk turning off your own bodily production of melatonin after a while.
  • Try to sleep at the same time each night. And avoid late nights. While late nights can be fun, you risk sabotaging your circadian rhythm.
  • Try to drink unfluoridated water if possible. Fluoride is a chemical that messes up your pineal gland. Your pineal gland is the one that is producing melatonin. I’ll go into more detail on this some other time.

34 Responses to “Melatonin dosage – How to know what’s right?”

  1. good repot

  2. Hey,

    I love your writing voice,its so friendly and funny. Could give me any tips or refer me to any material that could help me write on the web just the way you do. It’d be much appreciated. Thanks.

  3. @ Emeka

    Huh? Thanks. I think you just need to be yourself and write on something you are knowledgeable on :)
    Since I went through years sleeping only several hours (or none) a night, I think I know what it is like to not get enough sleep. But I’m mostly sleeping enough right now, thank heavens!

  4. I’ve read that melatonin production in the body peaks when we are 25. By the time we are 50, melatonin production is down to ten percent of our peak. When we reach 80, melatonin production by the pineal gland ceases.

    I’ve read that if you are under 50, one milligram per night is the proper dose. At eighty, you should take six milligrams per night. Use these guidelines to figure out a proper dose for your age.

    I’m 57, so I take 3 milligrams per night. I’ve been taking it for four years and have been very happy with the results.

  5. Poorly written, and provides misleading information. Melatonin IS most certainly a drug – any chemical that we ingest that alters some function of our body is a drug. Period.

    Secondly, fluoride in the concentrations found in tap water is not harmful to you. Fluoride is a naturally occurring ion common to many water supplies. In some cases, where it is too high, there can be health problems. However these concentrations are many times higher than those found in tpa water (on orders of magnitude higher).

  6. @ Jerry,

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but I disagree. You can take the stats or try to look them up on “adverse drug reactions” to give you a better picture. The other side of drugs (pharmaceutical drugs)….which not many know about. Yes, melatonin may be a drug, but wait….between this “drug” and Ambien or Atarax or Valium…you know which one I’d choose. Secondly, fluoride may not be an issue for you, that’s ok, but this is more of a personal choice. I’d say no to fluoride…anytime. Thank you. A good source of reference is this site:
    http://www.fluoridealert.org/

  7. Yea, its an old post but your response to Jerry forced me into replying.

    EPA Regulated limit on Fluoride in Drinking water is 4 mg/L (EPA primary drinking water standards http://www.epa.gov/safewater/contaminants/index.html), with average concentrations of 1 mg/L across the US. This means that any hit above this forces your local government to shut down your public water supply. Send out a boil alert and discharge the contaminated water supply from the hydrants into the storm sewer.

    As for well water, even the highest of concentrations do not typically exceed 10 mg/L. (http://www.freedrinkingwater.com/water-contamination/fluoride-contaminants-removal-water.htm) Again, PER LITRE!!!

    The typical infant drinks 300 ml of fluid a day. Even if you aren’t feeding with breast milk, the chances of you contaminating your child with the tap water while making formula is slim to none.

    The vast majority of fluorosis cases come from people taking fluoride suppliments, and from children using adult toothpaste. It is barely a risk to any child over the age of 8 to take in 10 mg of fluoride daily. (This means you’d have to drink about 10 litres of water to even come up to that limit. Average adult intake of water is 1 to 2 litres a day.

    read this: http://web.archive.org/web/20070307065553/http://www.ada.org.au/media/Fluoridenow/Documents/AmDA+fluoridation_factsRO.pdf

    Your “Reference” websites use about the same amount of data scruteny as the IPCC4 report did.

  8. @Marty,

    Thanks for your comment. Nobody is saying the fluoride found in water is at a dangerous level. But why is it even there in the first place, if it is so minuscule as to be insignificant? The issue is, no matter how little fluoride there is, if taken everyday, it slowly accumulates and crystallizes in the pineal gland, and that may affect it’s proper functioning in the long term. And there is still a lot which we don’t understand of the pineal gland, such as it’s full role in the health of the mind and body. It is definitely NOT a vestigial gland, as declared by some ignorant doctors not too long ago ;)

  9. Fluoride is naturally occuring, and as stated previously, can be found in your well water. Thats why it is there in the first place.

    In the majority of the United States, we don’t add it to the water, its naturally occuring concentration is within the limits regulated by the EPA. Taking it out is not cost effective, and people don’t want the cost of water to be high. It all comes down to price. Why treat for Fluoride when treating for Arsenic, Cyanide, PCB’s and other IDLH constituents are of greater importance? You’re looking at 1 chemical, your view is FAR too narrow.

    As for adding it in, think of this. We run tests on the water distribution system regularly. How would you like it if you turned your tap water on one day and it was pink from running a red dye test? An extremely effective way of testing how quickly contaminates flow through the distribution system is to remove or increase the concentration of fluoride in the water. No one is making calls that their water is tinted, and there certainly aren’t news crews knocking down the door.

    There aren’t many chemicals that are added to drinking water after the filtration process. Sodium Hypochlorite being the most notible one. Deviation from the correct dosing of this chemical disinfection agent can cause serious reprocussions in both your distribution system and in the population. That leaves fluoride as the only variable.

    If you want to scare yourself, take a look at that water bottle in your hand. It makes me crazy that people don’t drink from the tap instead. The EPA does not regulate bottled water at all. It’s all regulated through the FDA, and the water sources are only vetted by the local state or municipality agency. Bottled water is only tested weekly for microbes and YEARLY for chemicals. Your tap is tested daily if not hourly, and is reported monthly to a regulatory committe. An anual report is published to the public. Try and get that from Deer Park.

    As for fluorides affect on the pineal gland, the research is fringe, not done by practicing medical professionals but as doctoral thesis, few and far between, and not peer reviewed. I know I wouldn’t trust my health, or take advice on it from some 25 year old kid still in medical school. Would you?

  10. @ Marty

    I’m not too sure about what you said, about fluoride not being added to the water supply, and yet you seem to contradict yourself later in the next paragraph. For me, I can do without any additional fluoride being added to my water supply. I’m sure I won’t be suffering from any fluoride deficiencies, as fluoride is also added into a whole host of products, like my toothpaste, for example….And it certainly doesn’t seem to be doing much in preventing all sorts of dental problems among the population (for years now). The dentists would have no more business if that were the case.

  11. Melatonin is a hormone. It is NOT a sleeping pill. Melatonin is used to reset the biological clock. It is most often used to overcome jet-lag.

    See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin

  12. Thank you for your insight on melatonin Sleep Enough, it was very helpful.
    I too must digress on your analysis of fluoride, however. I used to be in your camp on water but a class I had to take for my environmental engineering certificate this fall flipped me on my head about that.
    The reasoning for fluoride in our water is two-fold. First, It kills bacteria that would survive without the fluorination of our water, but as stated above, in levels that are not toxic to humans.
    Secondly it contains a specified level of fluoride (not too much, not too little) because of early studies done on natural water supplies. See, early in the history of water treatment it was found that most of the people in some regions had increased occurances of tooth decay almost no matter how they kept their teeth, while in other regions peoples teeth were perfectly healthy but were yellow for some odd reason. Well it turned out that in the different regions where there was widespread tooth decay that the water supplies had no fluoride in them. On the opposite hand, in those areas where people’s teeth were perfect but yellow, they found that the water supplies had high amounts of fluoride (because as stated above fluoride IS indeed a naturally occurring component of water). So what did scientists do next you might ask?? That’s right they played with the concentrations of fluoride to find the levels at which fluoride will keep our teeth healthy and white without being of risk to us (the EPA defines acceptable risk as less than 1 in 1 million people dying over a lifetime as a result of daily intake of a substance at a certain concentration).
    Everything I talked about above can be found in the following book in chapter 6 on water treatment. (I’m not trying to plug this book just I don’t know any online references for you guys, I know it’s expensive but you could probably find it on a peer-to-peer network)

    http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-Environmental-Engineering-Science-3rd/dp/0131481932

    Like I said above, I too used to think all the crap they put in our water had to be bad for us but since I’ve actually learned why it is all in there I’ve completely switched to straight out of the tap, unfiltered water because I found out everything in our water is in there for a damn good reason. Water treatment in the U.S. has undoubtedly saved millions of lives, just look at the drop in cases of typhoid in the U.S. during the 1900’s. I say enjoy the water we’re provided here in the U.S. as it has some of the highest standards for healthy water in the world.

    Also, on a short side note, most bottled water companies take their water from a municipal source aka tap water, so basically you are paying them to fill up a bottle of water that isn’t even held to as strict of standards as the water that comes from your tap. Damn, I could talk about water all day!! Thanks for reading all of this post if you did and thank you again for your article Sleep Enough.

  13. Eileen Dawson on July 6th, 2010 at 12:10 pm

    I lost my job 5 mths ago and I have been going thru a slight depression, but Iwas given a 4 day routine of steriods b/c a lump wasunder my armpit. I did do breast mamorgram and screening; did a biopsy and everything came back clean. The weekend i took the steriods i did not sleep foe the entire 4 days and since then, I have gone from sleeping 2 hrs a night to none at all unless I use Xanax. i have also increased theml using 1.5 to sleep, but only sleep about 6 hrs. I saw a Endricinologist who came me a blood and a 24 hr urine specimen…I do hope he is able to diagose such b/c this is now my 4th month using drugs every single night to sleep( iam surely scared of addiction). pls let me know if tests from an Encdricologist can surely identify that it is probably MELATIN that is out of order. I am working partme now and I need all the sleep in the world as I am a paralegal and do lots of writing and reading every day. pls spread some light on this issue.

    Thx

  14. Hi Eileen,

    I believe your hormones are not balanced anymore, but please be careful when using all these drugs like Xanax. Even melatonin should only be taken at a very small dose if at all. Do you exercise at all? Try going jogging or walking whenever you are able. It helps with the depression and gets your blood flowing. I hope you’re seeing a good endocrinologist; not all are equal, but a good one can help you identify what hormones are deficient.

  15. I’ve recently started taking melatonin for chronic insomnia and so far it works fairly well. But I’m surprised at the high doses that are recommended. One Flexeril doesn’t affect me at all but 300 mcg of melatonin puts me out. I would definately advise anyone to start on the lowest possible dose in case there is a danger in higher doses.

  16. I have been taking melatonin for approximately a month or so now it has worked wonders for me as I have delayed sleep phase disorder. I take it every night approximately one hour before I go to bed and I sleep well and wake up feeling refreshed. Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that has showed to help with many different diseases and disorders. I would take melatonin any day over any prescription sleep medication!! Here is more info on melatonin if any of you would like to know more about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin

  17. Necesito las indicaciones de un experto, soy paciente que viene sufriendo de insomnio desde hace mas de 40 a consecuencia de surmenach,estoy tomando triptanol x 25 mg siempre,hace 20 años lo estuve tomando melatonina, tenía que suspender porque me sentía como mareado, cansado, como sonámbulo etc, por necesidad deseo volver tomarlo 2 mg diario para dprmir haber que pasará. si algún experto me indica mi correo es: eliseo1447@hotmail.com

  18. I am using fluoride post oral cancer, and was wondering if this is why I am not sleeping at night? Had surgery/radiation 4 yrs ago, but have only had sleep problems this past year?

  19. 500mg melatonin pills in China.

    Have been in Weihai, Shandong province, China for several weeks (you won’t be able to contact me via Facebook, which is totally blocked here – see my mail address below). While visiting several local pharmacies (five or six by now), looking for replacement for my inexpensive 1gm (1000mg) time release vitamin C tablets (foolishly left behind thinking I could easily find cheaper replacements here), I happened to look for melatonin and DHE. No one seems to have heard of the latter, but every pharmacy I’ve visited has melatonin, but in only one sizen – 0.5 / 500mg !! I asked about this, as I’ve never even heard of over-the counter pills in this size, nor of any therapy that might use it. I assumed at first that it was a translation error. But the Chinese test “500 hao ke” means 500mg, according to Google Translate, and I have now seen three different brands with the same size pills, according to the labels. And pharmacy staff have informed me there is no other size on the market.

    I’m baffled. I don’t know which is more frightening – the thought that pharmacists, users, manufacturers, and government regulators are so ignorant and or careless as to allow the continued confusion of a standard quantity by a factor of 100, or that Chinese supplement users are actually taking half a gram of melatonin at a pop with the approval of medical and governmental authorities…

    otropogo@gmail.com

  20. I took 6 mg (2 pills) of Melatonin last night. Fell asleep after an hour, but 2 hours later I was wide awake, and didn’t sleep again for the rest of the night. Have you ever heard of this happening??

  21. @ Connie

    Yes, this is not unusual at all. Melatonin is not a magic pill that can guarantee sleep all the time. People whose insomnia is not due to melatonin deficiency may only benefit a little from taking melatonin supplements.

  22. I have the same problem,I fall asleep pretty fast but wake up after 2 or 3 hours, and my mind is racing. I am under alot of stress right now because of moving. Any suggestions? I have been trying melatonin for about a week without much luck.

  23. People who don’t really understand that fluoride is horrible are simply ignorant. Not only is it bad for your teeth, but the calcification it causes on the pineal is horrific!!! A book by a gentleman Dr. Rick Straussman poses that the pineal is the gateway for the spirit molecule (DMT). Now I don’t know about you but I think by the time I die I would like to be able to exit my body, not have an over calcified pineal. Not to mention if you look hard enough you can find information on dental forums (which I confronted my dentist about because he WILL NOT use flouride) which states that flouride lowers your iQ by 10-20 points also causing you to be docile or “go with the flow”. And we wonder why water fluoridation continues in our country. It’s banned in most intelligent countries and yet the American government continues to poison us with the waste of nuclear product, that’s what flouride is. We couldn’t dump it in the ocean it was too poisonous so we started putting it in shot like water and toothpaste. Why do you think if you swallow too much toothpaste (or they make children’s toothpaste safe to swallow because no flouride is added) it’s dangerous. Toxic to the body? Weaken your enamel? Destroy your spirituality? Why the fuck not! I don’t put it passed our shitty government to do such a thing. Educate yourself before you make ignorant posts on how flouride isn’t bad for you…. Fail. http://Www.flouridealert.org

  24. @ Ronnie, thanks!

  25. @Ronnie

    Wow…seriously? Don’t worry, just because you swallowed too much toothpaste doesn’t mean that you will have your soul stuck inside your body when you die. LOL.

    I am amazed at how many people are buying into this “spirit molecule” nonsense. Utter psuedo-science (at best), garabage.

    Do yourself a favor and burn that book, and then hit yourself in the head with a tack hammer…hopefully that will counter what you “learned”.

    Good luck!

  26. @ Lee,
    More people should be made aware about fluoride’s effects on health. Now, as for the DMT stuff, that’s up to one’s personal belief I guess.

  27. I spent over a year foolishly depending on alcohol to help me sleep cuz i don’t have insurance so prescriptions are not an option when i have tried to sleep without alcohol i can’t sleep at all and my mind is racing. i have tried melanin in roughly 5 to 12 mg doses for the las 3 days. only recently have i read that very small doses (0.3-3mg)are better and to much may have an opposite effect. tonight i am trying 2.5mg. i hope this works cuz i have decided if this does not work i am gonna have to try cannibis cuz i am not going back to alcohol. anyone with similar experience with advice please tell me anything you think will help

  28. Melatonin is a drug and classified by the FDA as a supplement. Melatonin can be used as a sleep aid but is not recommended for continual use without talking with your doctor first. This article is a good source of secondary information and by the sounds of it based on personal experiences. Remember that everyone’s body differs from the next and no one result can apply to all. Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body and it is effected by daily activities and environment. Studies have shown that light effect Melatonin production, the best light is sunlight and provides positive responses to the hormone production. (Positive responses = increase in stimulus response) Negative responses are the opposite. Lights that cause negative responses, for example, are non-ambient lights such as LED’s which effect Melatonin negatively. If you are looking to increase Melatonin production without supplementation, get outside for at least 40-60mins a day. Get rid of your LED desk lamp and turn your phones screen off at night. Moreover, exogenous Melatonin, or melatonin you supplement has been shown to reduce testosterone in developing subjects. In other words this is NOT a supplement that you should regiment to your child, teen or young adult. Always refer to a physician prior to using any supplement. Just because it is an OTC drug, it does NOT mean that it is safe. In other words, do all the research you want but rely on scholarly journals or responsible websites were the writers are liable for what they write but do NOT start taking ANY supplement without the consent of your doctor.

  29. To add to my comments. Testosterone is an important hormone in both male and female development. So if you are a female thinking low T sounds good think twice. @JLMI talk with your Doctor, not being able to sleep may not be due to a hormonal imbalance as it pertains to Melatonin. Alcohol is certainly not a viable option and will lead to many more complications. If you are overweight, obese or even underweight hormones can be effected greatly. As for all readers, a proper diet and exercise program are essential to normal body functions. Again, talk with you Doc.

  30. @JLMI cannabis does help and is safe from side effects except a bit of a cottonmouth and sniffy nose but your body can get used to it like anything else, and make sure its from an indica strain .

  31. Quantum-Nano-Meta blah blah... on December 18th, 2011 at 12:28 pm

    “One’s personal belief” vs Reality?
    I don’t know why this is such a debate for some of you…
    I for one would, definitely choose to believe whatever random spiritually enlightened, anti-government crap that comes out.
    Down with Fluoride.
    The ADA has convinced the government to use it to steal our souls for their… something something …device.
    Feel free to put in whatever conspiracy belief you prefer! :-)

    BTW, i just had a strange thought. Moderation may be a good practice…
    Naaa! Down with Fluoride!

  32. Oh my, the ol’ fluoride argument…

    Unless you’re eating incredibly clean (eating organic food from known sources), keeping your lipid profile in check, exercising at a high intensity fairly regularly, not dependent on any substances (inc. caffeine, nicotine, etc), and a whole host of other things…worrying about the fluoride content in tap water should probably be nowhere near your “oh my god watch out “list.

    By the way, please actually READ The Spirit Molecule before talking about it. It’s not a mystical book as much as it is a clinical look at controlled hallucinogenic research.

    Ok, everybody return to their watching the skies for contrails or arguing over the zionist conspiracy and whatnot.

  33. Hey SE

    Im a nurse and I work for a company that performs pharmaceutical research trials so I dont consider myself a sloth in regards to drugs and chemicals. I thought I would toss in my two cents. I thought your advice was helpful. Im having problems sleeping and have ambien, but I dont want to go down that road of getting addicted to it. But there is no adequate body of research to indicate dosage levels or presleep timing of dose for melatonin and thats why I turned to others who have tried the drug for advice. And yeah, I do consider this a drug, but I get where you are coming from in your assessment of its relationship to other drugs like ambien. Melatonin is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body so its hard to consider it a drug. But insulin also occurs naturally in the body and I consider that a drug. But a blog like your is helpful in times like this when I dont have much else to go on and I thank you for your advice.

  34. @ JB

    Thanks for your comment. I do take melatonin almost every night, but I try not to push the dose. You should not have anything to worry about as long as you keep the dose down. Melatonin is not some wonder drug though, it works a lot of times, but sometimes not; your millage may vary.