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Can You Overdose On Melatonin?

Fact Checked
Up to date
Update: April 27, 2023
5 min read

Written by

Rahul Upadhyay
Content Writer
Illustration Melatonin

When it comes to hormones, melatonin is quite a common name. Melatonin flushes from the pineal gland into the bloodstream, responsible for inducing sleep. Melatonin, in recent years, has become a popular sleep supplement to handle insomnia, unpleasant jet lags, and more. But, the popular question is – Can you overdose on melatonin? Yes, you can. 

An overdose of melatonin can be detrimental to the sleep-wake cycle. Since there are no explicitly instructed dosages, melatonin might be taken in ample quantities leading to an overdose. This article will cover how much melatonin is safe to consume, its symptoms, and more. 

How Much Melatonin Is Safe to Consume?

To determine how much melatonin is too much and not lead to melatonin overdose, it is important to consider the condition, age, and purpose of the use. Melatonin supplements, when taken for conditions such as insomnia – for balancing the circadian rhythm or combating jet lag, the recommended dosage is 0.2 to 5 milligrams. But, surprisingly, certain melatonin supplements comprise 10 times that amount in just one pill.

The answer to ‘can you overdose on melatonin’ can be slightly confusing. Since melatonin is generally considered a dietary supplement, it doesn’t hold stringent regulations by FDA as over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions. To clear this dilemma about melatonin overdose, a study was conducted by analyzing 31 melatonin supplements gathered from pharmacies and grocery stores. After analysis, it was found that 70% of the melatonin supplements tested greater or lesser than what was publicised. For example, one chewable melatonin tablet was labelled as 1.5 milligrams but contained a portion of 9 milligrams. 

Melatonin has been banned in a few countries, namely- Japan, the UK, Australia, and some parts of the European Union because certain over-the-counter medications found the presence of serotonin in it. 

How Long Does Melatonin Take To Work? 

The body swiftly absorbs melatonin. Once melatonin is released through an oral supplement, it takes around 1 hour to reach the peak level. So you might start enjoying the effects of melatonin, which is sleepiness, quite early. Though, like every other medication, melatonin supplements affect people differently – it might take more time for some and less for others.  

Melatonin Overdose Symptoms

Melatonin is undoubtedly a beneficial sleep-inducing supplement. But, if taken in greater portions, it might disrupt natural sleep cycles. What happens if you take too much melatonin? It might lead to lucid dreaming, eventually leading to grogginess and restlessness throughout the day. 

When deprived of proper sleep, you will stay unfocused and irritable throughout the day.  Disturbed sleep also leads to poor immune function,  and also late reaction times. Some of the symptoms of melatonin overdose are:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety and Depression
  • Diarrhoea
  • Joint Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Mild Tremors

What To Do In Case Of Melatonin Overdose

The answer to ‘can you overdose on melatonin’ is already known to be positive. However, if you have overdosed on melatonin and started experiencing side effects, there are certain things to note.

  • First thing, you need to calm down as melatonin flows very fast through your bloodstream, and the effects of melatonin won’t even last longer. Melatonin lasts for around 5 hours.
  • Secondly, if you experience slight side effects like nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, or headache, hold on and let the body completely process the supplement.
  • If you feel the symptoms like nausea, joint pain, anxiety, or dizziness are getting serious, then immediately call the doctor or poison control.

Is Melatonin Safe for Children?

Melatonin can be helpful for children who are having trouble falling asleep. Studies have shown that certain researchers have stated that melatonin might benefit children in falling asleep more quickly, and it might also help them increase their total sleep time. Though much research has been conducted, there is limited strong evidence about the benefits of melatonin on children. Therefore, it is always beneficial for the parent to converse with the doctor regarding the melatonin supplements. 

Overdose in the case of your child:

  • In case your child overdosed on melatonin, immediately wipe their mouth with a soft, wet cloth
  • Call the doctor or poison control instantly

What Not to Consume with Melatonin

Melatonin is not to be consumed with certain drugs as it will have a contradictory effect on the body. Let us study a few of the things you shouldn’t consume with melatonin:

  1. Blood Pressure Medications: Blood pressure medications, also known as beta-blockers, prevent the body’s natural way of producing melatonin. Therefore, taking a melatonin supplement with this medicine might prevent the person from experiencing the benefits of melatonin, like sleepiness. 
  2. Anticonvulsants (antiseizure): A melatonin overdose might lead to antiseizure drugs becoming counterproductive in handling seizures. 
  3. Anticoagulant (blood thinner): Taking melatonin with a blood thinner like Coumadin might lead to excess bleeding.
  4. Diabetes Medicine: When you have excess melatonin products in your system, it might make diabetes medicines ineffective for blood sugar control. 
  5. Immunosuppressant: If you have overdosed on melatonin, it might repress the immune response suppressors like corticosteroids, which are used to handle the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis and autoimmune diseases. 

Long-Term Effects of Consuming Melatonin

Consuming melatonin for a longer period might have some detrimental effects on your body. Headaches, dizziness, and daytime sleepiness are some of them. Let us gain knowledge about the different long-term effects of melatonin consumption.

Daytime Sleepiness

It might be risky to overdose on melatonin, especially when consuming the medicine at the wrong time (say morning or afternoon). This overdose might lead to drowsiness while working and can be dangerous for people handling heavy machine equipment, driving, operating, and so on. 

Hormonal Changes

Melatonin overdose might offer hormonal changes as you are already putting hormones in your system. Melatonin supplements might not be the right recommendation for pregnant women as limited research has been conducted. 

Melatonin overdose might also reduce the libido in both men and women. It might disturb the sperm count of men and the ovulation cycles of women. 


Melatonin overdose might lead to headaches in the morning. However, some research has talked about the therapeutic effects of melatonin on migraines. But since melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the brain, supplementing it with additional measures might lead to counterproductivity.  


Another side effect offered by melatonin overdose is dizziness. An allergic reaction to the supplement can cause it. Dizziness can be unpleasant and might affect your daily activities. 

How to Increase Melatonin Levels Naturally?

Why not shift to natural melatonin production rather than focusing on supplements? It is way better to increase your melatonin production naturally by following the below steps.

Consistent Sleep Schedule

The melatonin hormone functions according to light exposure. This means sunlight exposure keeps melatonin levels low, whereas, during the dark, leading to sleepiness. Therefore, creating a sleeping schedule following the natural circadian rhythm is better. 

Sunlight Exposure

When we are exposing ourselves to sunlight, we are reinforcing our sleeping schedule. When you expose yourself to the morning sunlight, you are slowing down the melatonin production, resulting in more alertness. 

Restrain Blue Light  Production

Blue light before bedtime often mimics sunlight, making the brain think it is still daylight. This eventually leads to the brain decreasing melatonin production and increasing cortisol production.  

Melatonin Rich Foods

Certain foods rich in melatonin, like cherries, tomatoes, spinach, nuts, and more. Consuming these in your daily life and as bedtime snacks might increase your melatonin level naturally. 


Melatonin overdose can be quite detrimental to the person’s body. However, after studying the article, it can be concluded that the best way to consume melatonin is natural. Supplements might be healthy for the body, but overdosing on melatonin can also be quite scary.


Can a child overdose on melatonin?

Yes, a child can also overdose on melatonin. The best way to handle the situation is to wipe their mouth with a soft and wet cloth, and immediately take them to the doctor.

Is melatonin bad for you?

Melatonin is fine till the time it is taken in a limited amount. Daily consumption of melatonin might become a habit leading to the person becoming dependent. Headache, dizziness, and nausea are some of the side effects of melatonin overdose.

Can melatonin cause depression?

Melatonin might cause anxiety and depression as hormonal imbalances generally cause it.

What is the best natural sleep aid?

Chamomile is often considered the best natural sleep aid with anti-inflammatory power.

Is 30 mg of melatonin too much?

The standard melatonin dose is 1 – 10 mg, and 30 mg might harm a person’s health.

The standard melatonin dose is 1 – 10 mg, and 30 mg might harm a person’s health.

Melatonin is not related to weight gain in any way.


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Written by

Rahul Upadhyay
Content Writer
10 years of experience as a content writer Previously worked as a copywriter for a health journal Ability to write in a variety of formats, including articles, white papers, and clinical trial summaries

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