Is it safe to take 10mg of melatonin?

Melatonin is a popular supplement used by many people to help fall asleep faster and get better quality sleep. The standard dosage is usually around 1-5mg taken before bed. However, some people take higher doses like 10mg trying to get an even stronger sleep-promoting effect. But is it safe to take 10mg of melatonin?

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle by making you feel drowsy as levels rise in the evening. Melatonin levels naturally increase around 9 pm which promotes sleepiness at night.

Melatonin is available as an over-the-counter oral supplement in doses from 1mg to 10mg. Many people take melatonin supplements to help treat insomnia, jet lag, and other sleep issues. It can help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and improve overall sleep quality when taken at the right time.

Is 10mg of melatonin safe?

For most adults, taking 10mg of melatonin is considered safe in the short-term. This higher dosage can lead to better sleep onset and quality in some people. However, there is limited research on the long-term safety and effectiveness of chronic melatonin use at this higher dosage.

Potential side effects and downsides of a 10mg melatonin dosage may include:

  • Next-day drowsiness: Some people may experience lingering drowsiness, brain fog, or impaired motor coordination the next day.
  • Vivid dreams or nightmares: High melatonin doses make dreams more vivid or even cause nightmares in some users.
  • Hormone fluctuation: Long-term use could potentially disrupt your body’s natural melatonin and other hormone production.
  • Tolerance buildup: Your body may adapt to high doses, making it less effective over time.
  • Interactions: Melatonin can interact with various medications including blood thinners, diabetes medications, antidepressants, and sedatives.

For these reasons, it’s recommended to start with a low dose of 1-5mg melatonin to assess your body’s response. Only increase the dosage if the lower amount doesn’t adequately improve your sleep issues.

Benefits of 10mg melatonin

While not right for everyone, taking 10mg of melatonin may benefit some people in certain circumstances including:

  • Jet lag: For adjusting to a new time zone, short-term use of 10mg melatonin may help reset your internal clock faster.
  • Delayed sleep phase disorder: People with a delayed circadian rhythm may need higher doses to promote earlier sleep onset.
  • Sleep disorders: Some research shows 10mg helps increase total sleep time and efficiency for people with insomnia or sleep apnea.
  • ADHD: Higher melatonin doses may improve sleep disturbances in children with attention hyperactivity disorder.
  • Smoking cessation: 10mg melatonin has helped with sleep issues during nicotine withdrawal.

Talk to your doctor before using 10mg melatonin for any extended period to ensure it’s appropriate for your situation.

How long does 10mg of melatonin last?

Melatonin generally stays in your system for 12 hours after ingestion. So a 10mg dose taken at 9 pm will likely remain present until the morning.

But melatonin only has a very short half-life of around 30-50 minutes. This means levels can peak rapidly but then will decrease significantly within one hour of ingesting it. The effects on sleepiness can persist longer even as actual melatonin levels decline.

Even though 10mg has a short half-life, taking higher doses too often may lead to extended high levels in your system. Long-term buildup could cause adverse effects on hormones and other biological processes.

When to take 10mg of melatonin?

The timing of when you take melatonin is very important. You should take it about 30 minutes to 1 hour before your target bedtime.

Here are some general guidelines on when to take 10mg melatonin based on age:

  • Adults: Take 10mg around 9 pm if your ideal bedtime is 10 pm.
  • Older adults: Take around 8 pm for a 9 pm bedtime.
  • Children: Consult your pediatrician, but 10mg around 7 pm may be appropriate if bedtime is 8 pm.

Take melatonin at the same time each evening according to your natural sleepiness patterns for best results.

Take the dose immediately before getting in bed as melatonin can cause drowsiness within 20-30 minutes of ingestion.

Be sure to account for the 30-60 minute onset delay by taking it at the right time relative to your target bedtime.

How to take 10mg melatonin

The proper way to take 10mg melatonin includes:

  • Take it 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
  • Always check the label and take the exact dosage recommended.
  • Swallow the tablet whole with a glass of water.
  • Avoid eating a heavy meal close to ingesting melatonin.
  • Avoid bright lights, screens, and stimulating activities before bed when taking it.

Melatonin should be taken daily at the same time each night for best effectiveness. You can keep taking it nightly for several weeks or months if it continues to help your sleep.

But give your body a break from melatonin every few months to avoid building up too high of levels.

10mg melatonin side effects

Some potential side effects of taking 10mg melatonin include:

  • Daytime drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vivid dreams or nightmares
  • Mild anxiety or depression
  • Irritability
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Stomach cramps
  • Reduced libido and fertility

Higher 10mg doses are more likely to cause side effects than lower 1-5mg doses in sensitive people.

Daytime drowsiness and impaired alertness are most common. This can increase the risk of accidents if driving or operating machinery.

Melatonin can also interact with various medications and health conditions. So be sure to consult your doctor about potential risks.

Risks of long-term use

There are some potential risks associated with taking 10mg melatonin regularly long term including:

  • Disruption of natural melatonin cycle
  • Hormone changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Vivid nightmares
  • Foggy thinking
  • Low blood sugar
  • Reduced immune function

There is no official recommended long-term dosage guideline for melatonin. Experts warn against taking any dose nightly for more than a few months.

It likely causes hormone alterations, tolerance buildup, and loss of natural melatonin production after extended nightly use. Periodic breaks from supplementation are advised.

Warnings for 10mg melatonin

It’s important to be aware of these warnings before taking a 10mg dose of melatonin:

  • Not intended for children unless prescribed by doctor
  • Start with 1-5mg dose to assess effects
  • Avoid with antidepressants and sedatives due to excessive drowsiness risk
  • Don’t operate vehicles or machinery when taking it due to impairment
  • Don’t ingest with alcohol or other sleep aids
  • Talk to your doctor if pregnant, breastfeeding, have an autoimmune disorder, diabetes, taking medication, or have a health condition
  • Don’t drive or perform activities requiring full alertness on the morning after taking it

See a doctor right away if you experience signs of an allergic reaction like face swelling, difficulty breathing, or hives.

Does melatonin cause dependence?

Melatonin is not habit-forming and does not cause any physical dependence or addiction. You cannot become addicted to melatonin or experience withdrawal effects after stopping supplementation.

But there is some risk of building up a psychological dependence after taking melatonin regularly. Some habitual users may feel unable to sleep without first taking it.

To reduce dependence risk, limit melatonin use to short periods of a few weeks or months. Allow your body to produce natural melatonin again after each period of supplementation.

How much melatonin is too much?

There is no established toxic dose or upper limit for melatonin intake in healthy adults. But research suggests keeping it under 20mg per day.

Doses above 10mg could potentially lead to next-day drowsiness, irritability, nausea, confusion, headache, nightmares, or hormonal changes with long-term use.

Ultimately it depends on your individual response. Start low at 1-5mg to see how one dose affects you before increasing.

Adverse effects are more likely if exceeding 10mg regularly for months. It’s ideal to take periodic breaks and minimize long-term use.

Can you overdose on melatonin?

It is possible but very rare to overdose on melatonin. There are no reports of fatal overdoses.

Signs of a melatonin overdose may include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Altered consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Disorientation
  • Rapid heart rate

Seek emergency care if experiencing serious side effects like breathing issues, chest pain, severe vomiting, or seizures.

Overdose likelihood increases with doses over 20mg. But even large single doses up to 200mg appear to be tolerated, especially under medical supervision.

Who should not take melatonin?

The following groups should use caution or avoid melatonin supplements:

  • Children under 18
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • People with autoimmune disorders like lupus, arthritis, irritable bowel disease
  • People taking immunosuppresants
  • People with depression
  • People with diabetes
  • People taking sedatives or anticoagulants
  • People with epilepsy or seizures
  • People with liver disease

While melatonin is generally well-tolerated, these groups should consult their doctor before supplementing due to potential complications.

Does melatonin decrease libido?

Melatonin is not known to directly decrease libido or sex drive. But it can potentially contribute to lower libido indirectly.

First, the natural sleepiness caused by melatonin may lower energy levels and desire for sex.

Second, melatonin influences reproductive hormone levels like estrogen and testosterone involved in regulating sex drive. Prolonged use could alter sexual desire through hormonal effects.

However, these side effects are not very common in the short term at normal 1-5mg doses. More research is needed on the sexual side effects of long-term melatonin use.

Can you take melatonin every night?

It’s generally recommended to limit melatonin use to several weeks or months at a time. Taking it nightly long term is not advised.

Your body’s natural melatonin production may slow down or shut off entirely if taking supplements every single night. Tolerance buildup is also more likely.

To avoid dependence and allow normal melatonin levels to return, take a break from supplements for 1-2 weeks after 3-4 months of continual use.

It’s best to focus on improving sleep naturally through exercise, stress reduction, limiting blue light at night, and keeping a consistent bedtime routine.


Taking 10mg of melatonin for short periods is likely safe for most healthy adults. It can help improve sleep quality and duration in some people struggling with insomnia or other sleep disorders.

However, potential side effects are more likely at higher 10mg doses. Use the lowest effective dose starting around 1-5mg.

Melatonin should not be taken nightly long term due to risks like next-day drowsiness, vivid dreams, hormonal disruption, and loss of natural melatonin production.

Talk to your doctor before supplementing with 10mg melatonin, especially if pregnant, have medical conditions, or take other medications.

Use melatonin to help adjust your sleep cycle but focus primarily on improving sleep hygiene habits naturally for optimal rest.

Dosage Uses Side Effects
1-5mg Helps fall asleep faster
Reduces jet lag
5-10mg Severe insomnia
Circadian rhythm disorders
Vivid dreams
10-20mg ADHD sleep disturbances
Smoking cessation
Hormone changes

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