When to Take Melatonin

The pineal gland in the brain is responsible for producing a hormone called melatonin that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Your body increases production of melatonin when the light is low. This makes your body know that it is time to go to sleep. It means that you will have trouble sleeping if you have low levels of melatonin. To resolve the issue, you can increase the levels of melatonin by taking it from supplements. While many people try this option, they still have many questions regarding when to take melatonin, how much to take, and how to take it.

When Should You Take Melatonin?

Melatonin plays a very important role in regulating circadian rhythm or biological clock in humans. That is the reason why it is of immense importance to take special care about when to take melatonin. What you should understand is that it takes about half an hour for an oral supplement to take effect. Here is the timing of taking melatonin as per your condition:

  • If you have a hard time to fall asleep, take melatonin at least 3 hours before bed. But a sublingual or liquid form goes straightly into your bloodstream and acts quickly. So you can take it only 30 minutes before bed.
  • Do not take it if you wake up in the middle of the night or it will disturb your internal body clock.
  • Take melatonin after you wake up in the morning to deal with advanced sleep phase syndrome. This rare condition makes people to fall asleep and wake up several hours too early.
  • Take melatonin close to target bedtime on the day you arrive to your new destination to help adjust your body clock and minimize jet lag. Keep using melatonin for 2-5 days. Melatonin benefits you more if you cross more time zones or travel eastwards.
  • If you have these issues or just want to treat general insomnia or jet lag, you should take 1mg of melatonin or even less in some cases. You should talk to your doctor first if you have severe sleep problems or you are also taking other medications.
  • While taking melatonin supplements, avoid caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, or energy drinks before you go to bed at night. Also, be sure to turn off the lights after you have taken melatonin.

But sometimes you do not need any supplement at all. You just need to change your sleep habits to fix your insomnia.

  • Maintain good sleep hygiene and do things that facilitate sleep.
  • Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
  • Always turn off all lights when you try to sleep at night.
  • Avoid doing exercise, watch TV or do computer work too close to bed.

If after taking all these steps you still experience sleep difficulties, you should also consider taking melatonin supplements.

What Are the Proper Doses of Melatonin?

It is important to know when to take melatonin, but it is equally important to understand how much to take. Melatonin comes in 3 forms: pill for oral use, cream for skin and lozenges to dissolve under the tongue.

When taking melatonin, you should always follow the instruction on the label and take the correct dosages as recommended. You'd better start with the lowest dose at the beginning.

For treating insomnia, the recommended dosage of melatonin is 0.3 mg to 5mg before going to bed. But this dosage varies according to specific conditions, age groups, etc.

How Safe Is Melatonin for Daily Uses?

Melatonin is safe to take because your body produces the same hormone naturally. Moreover, you do not become addicted to it if you use it to treat your sleep disorders. It is, however, important to take some precautionary measures if you are pregnant. Children should also avoid taking it. Always talk to your doctor if melatonin does not help improve your insomnia because it could be due to other conditions, including sleep apnea.

What are the Possible Side Effects of Melatonin?

Melatonin is usually safe, and even if you experience certain side effects, they go way once you stop taking the supplement. Talk to your doctor if side effects persist. Here is more about it:

Common Side Effects

You usually face no issue if you know when to take melatonin and how much to take. Still, some people have reported certain side effects such as depressed mood, daytime drowsiness, headache, stomach pain, dizziness, decreased sperm count, breast enlargement in men, and decreased sex drive.

Drug Interaction

Before you take melatonin, be sure to inform your doctor about it and any other non-prescription, prescription, recreation, illegal, nutritional, herbal, or dietary drugs that you may be taking. Melatonin supplements may interact with birth control pills, antibiotics, narcotic pain medicine, ADHD medications, diabetes medicines, and stomach medications such as omeprazole or lansoprazole. They may also interact with steroid medicines, blood-pressure drugs, and even non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and others.


Keep in mind that taking melatonin supplements may impair your reflexes and change your sleep-wake cycle for several days, especially if you are traveling through different time zones. Therefore, you should avoid operating heavy machinery or driving for at least 4 hours of taking your supplement. Do not consume caffeine after taking melatonin supplements.

Watch the video below to know why and how melatonin helps in helping you get good sleep:

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