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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

What Happens When You OD on Melatonin?

Sleep is an essential part of everyone’s life. You feel sleepy when your brain secrets a hormone called melatonin in response to the darkness around. This hormone is responsible for making you feel sleepy and finally doze off.

When the levels of melatonin are low, it becomes very difficult to fall asleep. A melatonin supplement is used to regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle, so you can function at your optimum level by getting the required amount of sleep. When one does not get enough sleep, they take melatonin for anxiety to relieve themselves of the discomforting feelings and restlessness.

Melatonin overdose

Like humans, a melatonin supplement can be used for pets too. Melatonin for dogs is commonly used to treat sleep and behavioural issues in them. As a mild sedative, melatonin can work well when consumed in moderate amounts on a short term basis. However, because of this supplement’s ready availability without the need for a prescription, it is quite easy to overdose on it. What can be the consequences of such a melatonin overdose?

Can You Overdose on Melatonin?


Caption: Man feeling dizzy, Credit: Pixabay

No one likes to battle insomnia or the symptoms of a jet lag. In such cases, people get frustrated and desperate. In their attempts to fall asleep faster, they take more than the recommended dosage.

A melatonin overdose can lead to unwanted and often harmful side-effects in individuals. Some of the symptoms of its overdose include:

  1. Nightmares

  2. Dizziness

  3. Headaches

  4. Diarrhea

  5. Nausea

  6. Joint pain and anxiety

  7. Stomach cramps

  8. Tremors in the body

How Much Melatonin Should You Take?

Melatonin is naturally produced in everyone’s body. So, taking large amounts of it (more than 10 mg at a time) is certainly not recommended. A melatonin dosage of around 0.3-5 mg can help regulate your sleep cycle and help you fall asleep faster than before.

The right dose of melatonin depends upon a person’s body composition, and a dose that is suitable for one might not be suitable for another. It is generally recommended to start with the lowest possible dose and then gradually increase the amount but not under medical supervision. Most people don’t need more than 3 mg of melatonin. Its effects can be visible by consuming as little as 0.3-0.5 mg.

You might wonder, how long does melatonin last? Well, it does not last long. At max, its effect can be observed for around 5 hours. But if you overdose on it, you can feel groggy and sleepy during the day due to excess amounts of melatonin in your system.

What Should be Avoided with Melatonin?

Tablets and alcohol

Caption: Tablets and alcohol, Credit: Pixabay

Melatonin is a mild drug and can be safely consumed with anything. However, it should not be consumed with certain medications like

  1. Blood thinners

  2. Oral contraceptives

  3. Blood pressure medications

  4. Anticonvulsants

Melatonin and alcohol and melatonin and coffee are two unhealthy combinations and should be avoided under all circumstances. These combinations can alter your natural sleep-wake cycle and, consequently, the brain’s melatonin production.

Melatonin is effective in regulating the body’s sleep cycle. It is a fairly safe drug that can be used by most people. That being said, it is easy to get carried away with this mild supplement and overdose on it. Sometimes the consequences of such an overdose can prove extremely harmful for the health of a person.

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