Melatonin, sometimes known as the sleep hormone, is a key hormone in your body that helps to regulate your sleep and circadian rhythms. As you get older, your body produces less melatonin. However, you can take melatonin supplements to tackle short bouts of insomnia and sleep problems. If you’re considering taking a melatonin supplement to top up production of the sleep hormone, you may be asking yourself questions like “Is melatonin addictive?” or “Does melatonin have any side effects?”
In this article, we’ll look at supplements for boosting the sleep hormone, what they’re used for, and if they have any side effects. Plus we’ll answer the question “Can you get addicted to melatonin?”
What Is Melatonin Used For?
Primarily, melatonin is a sleep aid, although it is also sometimes used to help with jet lag and headaches. It makes you drowsy and can help those who struggle with insomnia or waking up throughout the night.
Naturally, your pineal gland releases melatonin into your brain at certain times of the day. More melatonin is released at night, and less is released when it’s light outside. Therefore, if you’re using melatonin to help with your sleep, you should take it an hour or two before bed to mimic your natural production.
As well as being pivotal in sleep function, melatonin has other health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, supporting your immune system, and regulating your blood pressure and body temperature.
How Much Melatonin Should I Take?
While the body naturally produces melatonin, some people may want to take a melatonin supplement. As with all supplements, the dosage is important. Taking too little melatonin won’t help you sleep, while too much could cause side effects.
The exact dosage you need will vary based on your weight, age, and your response to medication and supplements. The typical dosage range for insomnia in adults is between 0.2 to 5 mg daily. However, recent research suggests that the timing of taking melatonin is more important than the dosage. The research revealed that taking a melatonin supplement an hour before your desired bedtime offers the best results.
Ideally, you should avoid drinking alcohol or smoking while taking melatonin. This is because alcohol and tobacco stop melatonin from being as effective.
Before taking a melatonin supplement, speak to your doctor.
Can You Get Addicted to Melatonin?
Unlike other sleep aids and medications, studies suggest that melatonin doesn’t cause withdrawal or dependence symptoms. You are also unlikely to build up a tolerance to melatonin. This means that as time goes on, you don’t need more and more to get the same result, which is a characteristic of addiction.
So, if you’ve been asking yourself “Is melatonin addictive?” The answer is “probably not”.
However, if you or a family member has a history of addiction, speak to a doctor about any concerns you may have about how to safely use melatonin.
Is Melatonin Ok to Take Every Night?
It’s considered safe to take melatonin every night, but only for short periods. It’s recommended that you only take melatonin for bouts of insomnia or jet lag lasting one to four weeks.
What Are the Side Effects of Taking Melatonin?
If you take melatonin as recommended, side effects are usually infrequent. However, like with any medication or supplement, side effects can occur.
You may also find that you have side effects if you’ve taken too much melatonin at once. Some people find that the day after taking melatonin, they have a headache, feel tired or sick, or feel more irritable than usual.
Although infrequent, side effects of melatonin can include:
- Mild tremors
- Low blood pressure
- Stomach cramps
- Temporary feelings of depression
What Happens When You Stop Taking Melatonin?
When you stop taking melatonin supplements, you shouldn’t experience any withdrawal symptoms. However, you may find that your symptoms and sleep difficulties resume. If you’re on a high dose of melatonin, you may want to speak to a doctor about the best way to wean yourself off slowly or in stages so as not to risk the return of your sleep challenges.
We know that sleep and health are big topics, and it can be worrying when you’re unsure if the treatment option you’ve chosen will hinder you further down the road. We hope this article has answered any questions about whether melatonin is addictive.
If you’re a man struggling with sleep issues, or you have any questions about melatonin or other supplements, consider speaking with a physician who specializes in men’s health.
At Opt Health, we have a specialized team of men’s health doctors who can help you feel like you again. But did you know that we can help with so much more than just advice around sleep and supplements? Opt Health is a telehealth platform that reconnects men with wellness, fitness, strength, and sexual vitality through scientific preventative medicine.