Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Nov

Why Melatonin Is a Dangerous Supplement

Melatonin is a popular supplement for the sleep-deprived, namely because it carries rather innocent associations. Melatonin is “natural” and “safe” and “herbal”, right?

Wrong. I’ve been arguing with the melatonin prophets for years because I believe the image melatonin has, and what melatonin really is, are vastly different. Like so many things that we trust in, consume or think we understand, the truth may not be what we want to believe.

My caution with melatonin is simple: melatonin is a hormone.

That’s right – a hormone. Like estrogen. Like testosterone. And just like taking estrogen (whether it’s Hormone Replacement Therapy or the Pill) or testosterone therapy, melatonin comes with risks. Frequent melatonin use – especially in the typical dosage of 3-6 milligrams – can trigger a bit of a vicious cycle in the brain. Supplement with melatonin regularly to get to sleep, and your body is going to produce even less, creating even greater need for the hormone. It’s not that you can’t ever take melatonin; but I think it’s important that people understand the facts.

A caveat: While I am generally against using hormones (it’s not nice to fool Mother Nature), I am in favor of using the natural version of the hormone melatonin to “reset” the diurnal clock when traveling across time zones. Because, after all, you got there by fooling Mother Nature in the first place! Humans did not evolve a mechanism to adapt to changing time zones. Jet travel can be some of the most destructive stress you can encounter, especially the older you get.

In fact, a recent article in ScienceNow Daily News reported on the growing concern in the scientific community over the dangers of jet lag. Turns out it’s more serious than we previously realized. Jet lag increases risk of cancer, ulcers, and sleep disorders, as well as weakening the immune system. Now, this isn’t reason to stop traveling; simply be aware of the risks and take some smart precautions (drinking alcohol on the plane: not a good idea).

I travel frequently, and I don’t suffer from jet lag, because I use melatonin judiciously in these instances. I also have a few rules about travel (feel free to crib my notes):

– Once you’ve landed and checked in to your lodgings, immediately get an aerobic workout. This will help stimulate circulation, hormones and serotonin production – it’ll just be that much easier adjusting to the new time zone. Don’t tuck into a glass of wine or take a nap. Spend 30 minutes getting your heart racing instead.

Eat a small, protein-rich meal that also includes some fiber. But keep it light so your body isn’t further stressed.

– Reset your watch and then… lie to yourself. Don’t think about it; just immediately adapt to the new time zone.

– Of course, the goal is to adjust as soon as possible to your new time zone. If you’re flying overnight or flying to a place where everyone else will have just finished sleeping, by all means, do what you can to nap on the plane or otherwise refresh yourself.

Drink at least a quart of water your first day there (4 glasses).

Go to bed when everyone else in your new time zone goes to bed, and take 3-6 milligrams of melatonin an hour before you plan to fall asleep to make that possible.

Here’s the ScienceNow clickativity.

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  1. I think melatonin should be banned or at least have warnings on it.I used it every night for 3 months and I gained 20 pounds!
    I’m someone who has always been in shape and never weighed more then 120 pounds,so that kind of weight gain was unheard of for me.
    I really think the melatonin played a role in that weight gain.I was also crying and sleepy all the time.I thought it was safe to take because it is marketed as a natural supplement.But it in fact gave me symptoms of being bipolar or having a mental illness instead!

    julia wrote on March 24th, 2010
    • I just saw your post about melatonin and weight gain on marksdailyapple. com. Were you able to take off the weight you gained? I have been taking a heavy amount of melatonin for the last five weeks… and I have put on almost ten pounds. I never thought it could be the melatonin… but I am quitting it cold turkey.

      Diana Dahl wrote on November 29th, 2010
      • Yes,I did lose all the weight :)
        It took about a month for the melatonin to get out of my system and then the weight just started melting off quickly.

        Julia wrote on April 2nd, 2012
        • Melatonin was not the reason for your weight gain. You should look into what you ate and what you didn’t do during those times. Now, if your meals and portions stayed the same and you exercised regularly, and the ONLY change was the supplement, then you could come to the conclusion that is was melatonin.

          It bothers me when uninformed people inform others.

          Mita wrote on June 28th, 2012
        • This is true! I have increased my exercise, and not changed my eating habits and I too experienced dramatic weight gain, increased depression and anxiety after taking 3mg, 3-4 times a week for about 2 months! I thought I was losing my mind, then last night after I took my supplement I thought “It must be the melatonin”! It’s the only thing that changed ( other than my pant size …………I have had really intense dreams too!!!

          l Velazquez wrote on August 27th, 2012
        • I have to agree with mita, although I am 19 and I have had serious sleep issues and it is extremely hard to sleep at night. So I took a Melatonin and sleep great, in fact never sleep better i did have very strange dreams but i would have to say that could be because of my deep sleep. I am in fact very worried about gaining weight on this hormone but I guess I will have to wait and see because my main concern is sleep and if i cant sleep I will definitely take this every night until my body is back on the right sleeping clock. lol

          Amy wrote on September 8th, 2012
        • Thanks for your post. I need to gain weight so I’m going to increase my melatonin dosage ASAP.

          Kelly wrote on March 27th, 2014
        • >It took about a month for the melatonin to get out of my system…

          Ha ha ha. You mean within a month your pineal gland stopped producing all melatonin! Magical!

          Melatonin is a sleep regulator, and has little to do with fat storage or weight gain.

          Teech wrote on June 11th, 2014
        • Higher doses of melatonin have been shown to increase the production of insulin in your body. Insulin just takes the glucose you get from eating foods and stores it in your cells. So while you were taking the melatonin your body could’ve been producing more insulin which would mean you could be eating the same amounts of food but storing much more glucose in your cells. Since you would have more of these sugars to burn off unless you also except sized more while on melatonin you would gain weight. On the bright side studies on mice have shown that melatonin may significantly decrease your chances of getting diabetes.

          Jerry wrote on August 12th, 2014
        • How did you quit taking it?
          How long did it take to adjust back to sleep?
          Did you take anything else instead?
          I’m gaining wt w it too.

          Laura wrote on September 2nd, 2014
        • I have actually been eating less since I have been on the Melatonin. When I had problems sleeping, I would snack all hours of the night and early morning, now I sleep through the night….no eating!

          Jessica Williams wrote on September 15th, 2014
      • Blaming melatonin for weight gain is just another way of abdicating personal responsibility for what you put in your mouth.

        Although it cannot directly cause weight gain, large doses of melatonin could conceivably affect the metabolism so the body doesn’t burn fuel as efficiently. Regardless of the reason, weight gain is STILL going to be a case of putting more food in your mouth than your body requires.

        Shary wrote on August 1st, 2012
        • Shary, I’m a very health conscience person. I don’t eat meat or poultry, just a little fish. I take a slurry of supplements. I exercise regularly doing lite weights, cardio boxing, yoga and pilates! I’m an active mother of 4 kids and work and have always maintained a size 6 (other than 25-30 pounds of weight gain during pregnancy) Recently I used malatonin 3mg 3-4 times a week for 2 months and I have jumped to a size 8. I have increased my exercise and decreased my carbs and I still gained weight. Yes, I am responsible for putting that pill in my mouth at night! I assure you it’s not my diet or lack of movement!!!

          l Velazquez wrote on August 27th, 2012
        • You’re a judgmental, ignorant fool.

          Every body is different and responds differently to every substance, and even to the route of administration, time, and a myriad other variables. Some people, amphetamines make sleepy. That’s the funny thing about evolution and homeostasis. Every individual responds differently every time to every stimulus.

          Did an overweight person beat you up or something? Did your mother make you starve and call you fat while you were growing up? Where is the animosity towards people who gain weight and are looking earnestly for a correlation, using a combination of inductive and deductive reasoning plus communication?

          Here’s one fact. Melatonin supplementation is correlated with hypothermia and somnolescence the following day in sensitive individuals. Seems that would imply that their metabolism is running slower than usual.

          How do I know this? I read.

          Another fact: melatonin is known to exacerbate autoimmune disorders. People don’t always know when they have one of those- I didn’t for the first 19 years of my life. It suppresses the action of cortisol.

          I know, I know. You’ve seen infomercials talking about how cortisol makes you fat. If that’s your main source of medical information, keep your potentially dangerous and ill-researched opinions- because, lacking any kind of independent verification, that’s all they are- to yourself.

          Another fact: anorexia is a great way to lose weight in the short term. But we spent far longer in evolutionary time dying of starvation than dying of McGriddle-clogged arteries. So our bodies see we’re not taking in enough calories and go into starvation mode. They store every bit of energy they can get as fat and crank down the metabolism.

          I dropped from the middle of the “overweight” BMI group to the middle of the “normal” BMI group. Know what changed? I started getting up, doing some VERY short exercises- maybe 10-20 jumping jacks- eating a VERY large, greasy meal, and taking a good multivitamin and making sure to stay hydrated. I continued to eat throughout the day. I realized that my body weight had far more to do with the frequency and size of meals than the sheer amount of calories.

          My body weight. I am an individual. Every person, as I’ve said, is different.

          For years before that, I would sit and starve and only eat when my stomach hurt so bad I couldn’t take it any more. And I kept gaining weight. “This is ridiculous! It’s so unfair! Skinny people eat constantly, and they never gain weight.”

          Then it dawned on me. You starve, your body tries to save itself.

          Hell, melatonin even increases prolactin and estrogen levels. You know, the hormone that makes you GROW BREASTS? Sure that wouldn’t be a reason to gain weight.

          And more recent studies have shown that melatonin supplementation damages retinal cells in rats and causes tumor formation. OOPS! Yeah, that’s not a reason to gain weight either, a nice, fatty tumor.

          It also decreases blood flow to the brain and overall nerve activity. No reason to worry there. Actually, that might explain it. I’m guessing you’re a big proponent of melatonin…

          What you are spreading is demoralizing and potentially harmful. Educate yourself and make an informed decision instead of spewing the same hateful, ignorant rubbish you’ve been fed your whole life that’s based more on emotion than logic and could potentially cause cancer, infertility, circulatory dysfunction, neurological impairment, daytime sleepiness and psychological disturbance (which could be particularly dangerous when combined with activities such as driving). You obviously aren’t educated in this matter. I don’t even purport to have all the answers. Maybe melatonin has done nothing but good things for you. That’s great. Keep it up. Every body responds differently, and we don’t exactly know the whole picture.

          You probably just don’t realize that you could potentially kill someone with your “advice”.

          Here’s a thought: start with light therapy. That’s the natural cue for melatonin and cortisol production. It doesn’t involve putting chemicals in your body. Dim the lights after sunset. Get a sun lamp. Get proper nutrition and regular exercise. See a PHYSICIAN. Do some RESEARCH. Eh? Nah. Too logical. Just watch some infomercials, starve, and pop a pill.

          Barry wrote on December 4th, 2012
        • Unfortunately, I feel that Shary and Mita are in the wrong for jumping to the conclusion that it’s NOT melatonin, while simultaneously belittling those that think it could be. Sure, it may or may not be the melatonin, but be open to the idea that it could be. This sort of close-minded thinking is the entire reason CW is just that, CW.

          Future_PB_Dr wrote on February 11th, 2013
        • I strongly disagree with your dismissal of changes in hormone increasing weight gain. When you add a hormone to your body that is not naturally produced it can change the balance of other hormones too.

          Im no where near an expert but that’s why I’m here too to further look at the implications of taking melatonin supplement

          Bman wrote on July 2nd, 2013
        • “putting more food in your mouth than your body requires” is a tad insensitive. If it were that simple, compulsive eaters and the morbidly obese would simply be able to “choose” to stop killing themselves with food. Medical professionals know that’s not how it works.

          Certain medications make it impossible to stop eating (see: Seroquel, Risperdal, Remeron, cyproheptadine). Like drug addiction, it becomes impossible to simply stop with willpower alone. Anything that affects hormone levels is capable of causing weight changes, usually in the “up” direction.

          MelaNOnin wrote on January 26th, 2014
        • I have been taking Melatonin for about three years because I travel all over the world and my body has no idea what time it is. I must say that it works great but this past year I put on around 25 pounds of unnecessary weight. I recently took another position in my company and I no longer have to travel so I decided to stop taking Melatonin every night. Other than that I have not changed any of my habits (eating or exercise) but the weight has started to come off very fast. SO I am either dying or long term use of melatonin can cause side effects that are not widely known. I believe it is the latter but I am not a Doctor nor am I a biologist and I suspect that you are not either.

          Lirpa wrote on June 5th, 2014
        • But Bman your body does naturally produce melatonin

          Jerry wrote on August 12th, 2014
      • I have been taking melatonin for quite a while, and I need to gain weight, and I have not been able to. It helps me to sleep,but I started taking it after reading Dr Pierpaoli and DR Regelson’s book.

        Patricia Gragg wrote on February 2nd, 2013
    • But you thought wrong.
      Melatonin does NOT make you gain whaight, not more than any other hormone anyway.

      John wrote on September 14th, 2011
      • what is your problem? are you a doctor? no, you arent.

        michelle wrote on October 22nd, 2012
        • And are you a doctor? I don’t think so either. Now being a paramedic and an emt, melatonin is completely safe and normal to take by recommended doses as anything else is. Think before all you uninformed people speak like you know the topic

          Cam wrote on July 5th, 2014
    • Yeah, you’re the type who dosen’t fully understand the way to use something, uses it improperly, blames the substance you used then decides sence it was the substance’s fault it should be ridden of. Iv you were sleepy all the time clearly you were taking to much which caused it to be effective untill the next day (The durration depending on your metabolism) causing a sort of synthetic sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can give you a variety of mental instabilities which can make you have the symptoms of a wide variety of mental illnesses (bipolar and schytzophrenia are two rather common examples). Instead of banning everything that COULD, POSSIBLy harm someone why don’t we edjucate the general public so that they might have the sence to use something as it should be used. I understand your warning thing aswell but this would only lead further into the banning of this substance as this would not edjucate the general public very well. No, that would take decades and several generations of human life to complete.

      Mehman wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • Amen, sir. Melatonin isn’t poison anymore than diphenhydramine (the other most common sleep aid which is actually just Benadryl). Besides, even if a substance is harmful, it won’t get taken away or properly regulated so that the ignorant are completely safe. Ignorant people are ALWAYS at risk because they do what feels good or what they’re told feels good . . . that’s why we still have cigarettes and alcohol for sale. Ironic that there are so many people incensed about substances like melatonin, St. John’s Wort, and even Acai. People, your way of thinking and behaving is the issue, not the substance itself when it comes to initial effectiveness. If you don’t know how to use, whether or not to use, or for that matter how it even works, then you shouldn’t be doing ANYTHING without your physician’s presence (which is still a good idea even for people in the know . . . I always let my doctor know even if I start taking a new vitamin and he praises that). Good on you, just don’t get too frustrated with the masses. Remember, only 10% of humanity truly make it to being intelligent and it’s up to us to gently and kindly guide the rest, they’re not bad after all, just uneducated and happy to be so.

        Elizabeth wrote on July 2nd, 2012
        • I’ve been taking Melatonin (started out with 3mg, now taking 5mg), for about 2yrs now. It works 90% of the time. Personally, I love it. BUT, the very reason that I’m on this site right now is that I was wondering if it has anything to do with the weight gain that I’m experiencing. I’ve gained about 12 lbs. I have considered other contributing factors, BUT I really must say that I believe it is the Melatonin. I really don’t know what I’ll do now, because I simply can not sleep with out taking something. I’ve tried Benadryl(I feel terrible the next morning and it stays with me throughout the day), I’ve also tried Advil PM and Tylenol PM. I really don’t want to take prescription strength medication. Perhaps I’m being foolish. I’ve had problems sleeping for more than 20years!.

          Booker wrote on July 5th, 2012
        • the reason alcohol is still for sale is becaue of “ignorant” people. hahha what an idiot. Who’s the ignorant one? (yes…its you)

          peter wrote on November 29th, 2012
        • So you’re trying to say that St. John’s Wort is safe? Because it’s been proven to affect – RADICALLY – other medications a person might be taking.

          Besides being not very effective for moderate to severe depression, taking it can lead to manic states, can increase the risk of getting a sunburn, and it has been linked to erectile and ejaculatory dysfunction in men, as well as lowered sperm count. In women, It may drastically reduce the effectiveness of progesterone-containing contraceptives, including the traditional birth control.

          Lastly, it has a higher profile of potentially problematic reactions than some other supplements, especially if taken with multiple other over-the-counter supplements such as Kava or 5-HTP or Tryptophan.

          Talk to your doctor about taking St. John’s Wort and dollars to donuts he’ll tell you to NOT TAKE IT.

          Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
        • The original post didn’t say melatonin was “poison”. People react differently to the same substance, so to dismiss someone’s experience is beyond disrespectful.

          The problem isn’t that melatonin exists but that it’s promoted as a “natural” supplement that’s no more harmful than drinking water or taking vitamins. There needs to be a balance of information–good, bad and ugly–for people to make an informed decision.

          MelaNOnin wrote on January 26th, 2014
      • Someone that wants to educate people should BE educated enough to spell properly.If you cannot write in simple English then you should not be commenting on anything beyond your level of education. As for the pill, it can have negative side-effects, but that is no reason to get rid of the drug. The side-effects are generally small and not unfixable. If you have concerns then consult your doctor for instructions about the dosage you should take, or whether you should quit taking it altogether.

        Marissa wrote on September 24th, 2012
        • Marissa, your hypocrisy is astonishing! How about using proper punctuation? If you are going to critique the spelling of others, then you need to brush up on comma usage at the very least. You need a comma following each of your dependent clauses when they begin a sentence. Moreover, you should write “someone who” not “someone that.” The relative pronoun “that” is reserved for animals or things, not people.

          Katy wrote on September 24th, 2012
        • I take exception(did I spell that right?)to you calling someone uneducated because they didn’t spell something right. I am a great speller but I know someone who is not, but she is very very smart and educated. Also,
          A person knows their own body and they know when something is different, and what they may have been doing to cause that difference. People have different reactions to things.

          Barbara wrote on October 30th, 2012
        • Well out of date i know but come on, the you’re stupid if your grammar and spelling are incorrect retort. It’s a post on the internet, get over it. Did you understand what the person was communicating? Could they be dyslexic? It’s petty and detracts from any argument you are trying to make, which is ironic when you say the shouldnt be making an argument because they can’t spell.
          Feel free to proof read my post.

          greg grok wrote on March 8th, 2013
      • ummm ya. insomnia doesnt create “bipoolar” (manic depression) its the other way around. If your talking about bipolar which is the invented disorder then sure whatever you say its psychological anyway. alot to learn

        aaron wrote on December 9th, 2014
    • Melatonin is actually linked to *weight loss* and a reduced risk of cancer and other health problems, but I think if you take too much, you are sleepy all the time and then the opposite can happen with sleep… if you are sleepy, you eat and don’t get enough exercise.

      Jennifer wrote on January 6th, 2012
      • No,it is not linked to weight loss.Do more research.It is a hormone your body produces when it is dark.You produce more in the winter.This causes people to be sleepy,cold,and withdrawal,as well as pack on weight.Why do you think the average person gains 7 pounds in the winter? It isn’t all that holiday food.

        Studies have been done and even hamsters given melatonin gained weight.

        The sale of it has been banned in many countries except the U.S.
        It is a hormone!

        Julia wrote on April 2nd, 2012
        • I am with you on this one. (although a year too late.) I have been taking high doses of melatonin for two years following treatment for breast cancer. It is meant to be preventative. I put on 12kgs (25pounds??) since treatment which I put down to the after effects of chemo and cortisone. I exercised like a demon and couldn’t lose weight. I recently went on a two week holiday. I ran out of melatonin before and couldn’t find my favourite brand. I therefore had two weeks without melatonin and no exercise and despite all the holiday food, I have lost weight!!! Therefore I suspect it is the melatonin that has caused my weight gain. Time will tell. I am still a big fan of melatonin for jet lag. I have been an advocate for the last 15 years. You have to experiment to get the right brand and dose for yourself – otherwise side effects like weird dreams, morning moods etc can occur.

          kals wrote on April 20th, 2012
        • That’s right Julia, you’re a hamster! Don’t ever forget it too. “even hamsters gain weight” Are hamsters somehow known to be unable to gain weight? This holds bearing on ANYTHING you do in life how?

          Every time someone gains weight they want an excuse. It MUST be the melatonin if you gained weight, I mean after all; even hamsters gain weight on melatonin! Surely you will? There could not possibly be any other reason than the melatonin itself! Seriously? Nope, no stress, no cheating, didn’t miss a workout and I didn’t plateau either, I took melatonin and gained weight! Yes sir, that’s what I did.

          The simple statement you made about it taking a month to get out of your system shows your inadequate knowledge and experience. I’m sorry, but you’re foolish and should never speak on something unless you’re actually educated on the topic. There are people who actually read what you write and think it has merit. You’re not a doctor, not educated in the field at all, yet give advice that would and could effect someones health in any number of ways, people should be able to sue you for malpractice just as much as a doctor. Really think about this before you spout nonsense. Same goes for everyone else who want to “inform” the people with there silliness.

          Jen wrote on July 13th, 2012
        • How about this. Melatonin, like Ambien, can cause sleepwalking. Users of Ambien have also reported sleepeating. Could melatonin also cause sleepeating? Could the weight gain be caused while in a sleepwalking state? Just wondering….

          Lynne wrote on March 7th, 2013
        • This is a reply to Jen, who said, “There are people who actually read what you write and think it has merit. You’re not a doctor, not educated in the field at all, yet give advice that would and could effect someones health in any number of ways, people should be able to sue you for malpractice just as much as a doctor.”

          Well guess what, Jen – YOU aren’t a doctor either. YOU must not be educated in the field at all, either (if you would be, you’d be able to cite scientific evidence of your claims and you haven’t – just your OPINIONS), and yet YOU are the one giving people questionable advice – especially since others have and DID site actual scientific evidence to back up their claims, along with a lot of people citing anecdotal evidence that backs up those stories.

          In fact, not one person has written in to say, “I take melatonin not to get to sleep but to lose weight! I’ve dropped 4 lbs and 3 inches in just 24 minutes after taking it!”

          My GAWD how the hell can you look in a mirror and not see the harpy face of a hypocrite staring back at you?

          Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
        • “The sale of it has been banned in many countries except the U.S.”

          Unfortunately, it’s hard to conclude anything from that alone. It’s also true that a lot of things banned in the U.S. are not banned in most other countries (not counting the ones the U.S. twists the arm of to get them to do as we do).

          M. Pace wrote on November 23rd, 2013
        • Great advice – do more of your own research:

          “Melatonin helps control weight gain”

          “Melatonin May Aid Weight Loss”

          And a variety of finding from the NCBI:

          So, people who correlate melatonin with weight gain are either a) experiencing “atypical” side effects (a totally valid and possible scenario), b) drawing incorrect conclusions about “causation” between two concurrent observations/events or c) are confusing personal observation with the scientific method.

          rhutzul wrote on June 3rd, 2014
      • Er, it’s actually the healthy sleep, not the melatonin, that those things are linked to. Look up the science of sleep itself and it’s effect on metabolism and our immune system.

        You do bring up something interesting, though.

        Melatonin is being used to treat autoimmune and degenerative disorders. My autoimmune deficiency is treated by it, ALS (Lou Gherig’s) is treated with it, Multiple Sclerosis, and even some types of Fibromyalgia are showing great improvement when being treated with melatonin.

        As for weight loss and cancer fighting, that is where sleep comes in. Sleep deprivation leads to weight gain and an increased chance of cancers or other illnesses.

        Elizabeth wrote on July 2nd, 2012
        • I started taking melatonin a couple of months ago. I have many auto-immune conditions and these are my symptoms since starting melatonin: sinus congestion, hair loss, and a complete flair up of all of my conditions. My symptoms were so subtle in the beginning that I didn’t realize it was the melatonin. Then after doing some scientific research, melatonin inhibits the TH1 pathway and can also boost the TH2 pathway. It can be dose dependent with regards to the immune response. Since I am TH2 dominant, this is not good for me and explains my present health issues. Because this is a hormone, can anyone tell me how long it will take to clear my body? Will a liver cleanse help?

          Sandie wrote on February 12th, 2014
        • Thank goodness for an intelligent response! I was beginning to wonder if the nastiness evident on this thread (until I came across your posting) was the result of massive sleep deprivation.

          Victoria wrote on February 19th, 2014
    • I think human’s should stop saying everything is bad and use their brains, If you are used to having a cup of coffee every morning you are teaching you body to rely on caffine, just like with melatonin or anything else, If you abuse it everyday your body will expect, Just be smart, Dont down 2-3 pills a night becuase you can’t sleep, Plenty of ways to help you get to sleep, Most ways are simply mental exercisers. Stfu you nay sayers and simply accept the fact that people bitch about things that stupid people don’t realize every chemical you intake can affect your body negatively or positively, And their are far more common abused addictions than this to bitch about, Caffine being the number one case.( May be why ppl turn to a supplement like this anyway.)

      Wes Dudley wrote on May 16th, 2012
      • Actually pills can mess you up. Melatonin Shades are probably the safest option because its more about light exposure than anything else. I spend at least 2 hours on my laptop before passing out and my doctor suggested i don’t, but hey be realistic.

        simple wrote on April 8th, 2014
    • I have been taking melatonin for sleep for sleep for the last 3 yrs and haven’t gained weight I have lost it. That being said everyone reacts different to medications.

      ksd wrote on February 25th, 2013
    • I am now CURED OF MY INSOMNIA after fighting it for 15years. To make a loooong story short I went from the pill form of melatonin 1/2mg…to Liquid Form 100% Vegetarian by Natrol. I started using same amount as pill form- 1/2mg. Slept SO MUCH MORE soundly on liquid form I tried taking 1/4mg after a week. Same result. Then 1/8mg after a week. Great!!! 1/8Mg = 16Drops…. I kept reducing – 16drops -> 12 -> 8 -> 4 -> etc…. cuz I’d start to feel over medicated and a little groggy after a few days on lower dose. Well I kept seeing improvement in my sleep quality on less and less melatonin. FINALLY Over the past 2Wks I’m down to one single drop!!!!! I started again to feel over medicated even on one drop!!!!! Last night I put 1Drop in water and drank 1/2…. I slept fine…. I consider myself cured. I posted this 03/05/13… Look below for posts of mine showing some of my older post. You’ll see my fight. Look for Frank B. I been saying all along… with Melatonin LESS IS MORE. Your best sleep is achieved on the smallest possible dose. You may have to start high, & on liquid melatonin you’ll be able to ween yourself OFF IT TOO. For me it took 15Yrs to figure it out. Hopefully my experience will help others with dreadful insomnia find their own CURE. Doctors only offer strong narcotics. You are no longer on your own. Hopefully this information helps someone.

      Frank B wrote on March 5th, 2013
      • Now here is a person actually trying to help his fellow readers. BTW, I like to read Yahoo news just to try to get a pulse on the “low information readers” in this country and I am constantly amazed at the ugliness, meanness and ignorance of most commenters. This is my first time to read comments on a “medical” site and I never dreamed I would see haters here, too.

        I have 2 comments – Proper use of the words there/their, to/too, your/you’re are dead. I think it is not taught in schools anymore. Sad.

        I tried Melatonin and every other suggested sleep aid for years. Nothing helped. My doctor finally prescribed Xanax and it is unbelievable how well I sleep now! I have slept like a dead woman since the very first night (5 years ago). I still can’t believe it when I wake up in the morning. I have no drowsiness and no other side effects. It is an addictive drug, but I have had 2 doctors who are happy to prescribe it (not at the same time) because they know that I am not an abuser and because the benefits of sleep far outweigh any other reason not to prescribe this drug. This is my experience. That’s all. My experience.

        An audiologist suggested Melatonin to help with tinitis (ringing in ears) which is why I am on this site. I think I’ll skip it.

        Carol Willson wrote on January 21st, 2015
        • Would never try regular medication with longer term side effects every one of them are suspect of. If they work they fix the symptom but not what is wrong in the first place. Magnesium – supplement, baths, almonds, pumpkin seeds – is relaxing for everything and makes sure calcium goes into our bones instead of into soft tissues like arteries, joints and even into organs (prostate!) where it does not belong. A spanner in the works that could also disturb sleep?. Seems it works for me. Vitamin E can also be missing. The older we get the shorter time before all those cheap omega-6 oils we consumed reaches it best before date inside our bodies. And when the Vit-E that came with them is used up more is needed on a daily basis, and we are what we eat. With good maintenance tools over night at least my body has no need to wake me up. So much is going on while we sleep, including melatonin being naturally dispensed to sleep and open up all our capillaries, derived from just spending an hour in the middle of the day outside (!) our nice windows!

          sten wrote on January 22nd, 2015
        • Mark’s readers are typically much more informed and better behaved, and display better critical thinking skills. I have never seen the comments section get so hateful before–it’s like reading YouTube comments. Really unpleasant. Please don’t judge this blog based on this particular post!

          On the subject of melatonin, I would like to share this: I see a psychiatrist who specializes in sleep disorders. I had battled insomnia off and on for my entire life, until I finally decided to get a sleep study done at age 40. Turns out the problem was a kind of restless limb syndrome (not going to share all the details but that is the gist of it) where my body moved so much during sleep that I prevented myself from going into the delta sleep phase, which is the most restorative period of rest.

          The solution for that problem was to take a drug call neurontin, which is a nerve pain medicine prescribed off-label for my disorder. It stopped my restless body from moving, and wow! I experienced truly restorative sleep for the first time in my entire life.

          The only problem was, that drug did nothing to INDUCE sleep, which was what I had originally gone to the doctor for. And, to make matters worse in a sense, he made me get off the tiny amount of trazadone, an antidepressant commonly prescribed for sleep, that I had been taking for the previous 18 months, given to me by a different doctor of course, because most other drugs that induce sleep actually just knock you unconscious and prevent the natural sleep cycles from occurring, and these different cycles, particularly delta, are what the brain needs to maintain psychological health.

          So I weaned myself off that drug (it was a miserable 3 weeks) and was told that to induce sleepiness, I could take diphenhydramine (i.e., benadryl) whenever I wanted, or, that I could take a few milligrams of melatonin but only 2-3 times week.

          THE REASON FOR LIMITING THE MELATONIN, he said, and this is the point I want to emphasize the most, is that if you take the hormone more often, your body will stop making melatonin (i.e., it will stop producing “endogenous” melatonin). That’s right, if you take melatonin every night for an extended period, your body will eventually stop making it on its own. Mark hints at this in his article, saying the body produces “less,” and one poster mentioned it as well, but I really think this fact should be emphasized a great deal more than it is, both on this blog and in general. Moreover, my shrink said my body would *stop* production, he didn’t say it would make less melatonin, and he was referring to what is known generally about supplementing this hormone, not to my specific situation.

          I do indeed take melatonin occasionally as my doctor says I can, but I think any substance that will cause your body to stop producing a hormone IS dangerous and should be labelled as such. It doesn’t mean it’s bad, just dangerous.

          Melatonin isn’t just for sleep, but for a variety of functions in the body and it seems common sensical to me that we’d want to keep our body’s ability to make it intact.

          The other point I want to make here is that if you’re really suffering from insomnia, you might benefit from seeing a sleep specialist rather than treating the condition on your own. In my case, I was convinced it was all about *falling* asleep, and I even had another psychiatrist prescribing me sleep drugs (the aforementioned trazadone and others) when all the time, these drugs were preventing my from reaching the deepest phases of sleep and were doing long-term harm. So it must be a sleep specialist, rather than a g.p. or even a regular psychiatrist. Plenty of doctors will give you a mild antidepressant or sedative to help you sleep without thinking twice about it. But those drugs prevent truly restorative sleep.

          And moreover, FALLING asleep wasn’t even my real problem. I would never have known about my real issue had I not seen a specialist.

          I know it’s such a conventional-wisdom-party-line to say, “see a doctor and don’t self-treat” and I am so against that way of thinking for the most part, this idea that only a doctor is qualified to make an evaluation about an individual’s health, but we can’t really see ourselves objectively when it comes to sleep, can we? It’s much different than what we can observe when awake.

          I especially want the people who have suffered with insomnia/bad sleep for a decade or more to consider seeing a specialist–science has made many advances in this area of study and continues to do so.

          If anyone wants to know, my doctor is Jory Goodman in Beverly Hills. He’s an odd duck, but a brilliant diagnostician.

          That’s my share. Hope someone finds it useful!

          tkm wrote on February 3rd, 2015
    • Melatonin actually assists in weight loss.

      Simon wrote on May 2nd, 2013
    • Yeah Melatonin doesn’t make you gain weight, nice try

      Lenny Funghoul wrote on June 17th, 2013
    • doctor recomended me take one 10 Mg tablet of Melatonin per night. i stay up late and drink lots of high caffene drinks and they make me awake. to try to get to bed easily i usealy take more than the amount of melatonin the doctor rcomended. i often take instead of one of the 10 mg tablets of melatonin the DR. recomended me to ( the bottle of melatonin also says only to take one melatonin pill per night) i usaly take about 2 tablets of of Melatonin which = 20 mg of mellatonin! sometimes i take up to 50 mg of melatonin! i not sure that good idea. i am actualy a teen with bipolar. i never gotten into anything illegal. i was almost sure that the extra melatonin would do no harm. i guess i was wrong. :( certain medical websites said it does not matter how much melatonin you take.

      Francis wrote on June 17th, 2013
    • Are you serious? You’re going to suggest banning a naturally produced chemical, and blame it, for your weight gain. How about stop making excuses of why you gained weight, and do some research. In no way whatsoever can melatonin effect your weight. Infact just mentioning that as a reason of our problems, is simply pathetic.

      Hayden wrote on October 4th, 2013
    • Just out of curiosity, is melatonin the only single factor in your life you can attribute to your problem? You take no other supplements…have no other dietary issues…no other activities in your life…melatonin is the SINGLE thing in your life that you’ve changed and instantly over 3 months your life has changed this much? Nothing else at all? Most people have an average of 3 to 5 lifestyle changes which can include diet, exercise, supplements, mental health, family, work, etc that all occur at one time. It is, for an average person, very hard to narrow down the impact of one’s lifestyle on a life output. It takes a controlled environment over a period of 3 to 9 months, at the minimum, to discover the possible impacts and root cause of environmental/lifestyle issues. That doesn’t even include therapy to uncover psychological issues with no environmental/physical impact.

      Ryan wrote on October 28th, 2013
    • Wow. Lots of rhetoric on here. I think the points stated in the original article hold merit. While I think the original shock headline is off base.

      Supplements should always be used as such, and never for long term. Key word: Supplement.

      If you are starving yourself and gain weight it is because you are putting your body into starvation mode.

      If you are dieting and not losing it is likely the food combinations you are choosing and when you are eating.

      If you are female, sorry, but you absolutely NEED to add all day activity to your routine. This, by the way, is a good idea for everyone.

      Pick an 8 hour period during the day to eat, and stay with it. It’s OK to cheat from time to time as long as the habit is towards good discipline.

      Be nice to yourself. Love who and what you are.

      If somebody hates you, are you going to follow their advice?

      Chill out. I could only spend a moment glancing through the replies before I had to stop in self defense. It is amazing how negative some are. Some…. Not all.

      Peace all. Good fortune in your endeavors.


      P. Royal wrote on January 28th, 2014
    • “I gained weight while taking it for 3 months straight, it needs to be banned!”

      Retards like this actually exist…

      ItsAChemical! wrote on May 26th, 2014
    • What do you think natural means?

      Alanna wrote on June 29th, 2014
    • I finally figured out that melatonin caused a significant weight gain with me too, therefor i threw the bottle out. Everyone experiences different side effects to meds. I cant wait to be thin again.

      connie wrote on September 8th, 2014
    • I react very poorly to melatonin. I took 1.5mg supplement of it last night as a test and woke up with my whole body feeling like a brick and a bad headache. Throwing out the bottle when I get home.

      Jacob wrote on November 19th, 2014
    • The same happened to me i started taking melatonin and i rapidly gained 3-5 lbs while eating only 1300 calories.,so im convinced it was the melatonin so i stopped taking it but the weight stayed: (

      sonia wrote on March 20th, 2015
  2. ought ohhh. So i just switched to a primal way of living and am somewhat worried about my melatonin use now. i have been taking it regularly for 4 years at about .5 mg’s a night. any recommendations for how to wean myself from it? I’m pretty sure i will have trouble sleeping without it. I started taking it for sleeping problems, but was also told that it would help boost my seratonin production, does anyone know if this is true?

    Bram wrote on April 13th, 2010
    • Eh, well. As there is no real “withdrawal” from it just stop taking it. You may have a slightly harder time falling to sleep but it will return to normal before long. No real weaning needed just a small amount of time. Your body was ment to adjust acordingly to diet and .5mg’s isn’t a whole lot (I know melatonin is potent) and would be possible to get out of your daily diet so your body should adjust fine. Melatonin really isn’t THAT dangerouse if used right and in low amounts from my experiance and study.

      Mehman wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • .5 is an extremely low dose…I doubt if you had to ween off anything. I take 1.2mg, well now I do 1.5mg. But not every night. Only when I need to get to bed earlier than usual.

      Mita wrote on June 28th, 2012
    • you really need to ask your Dr or naturalpath,it is a low dose but its best to ask, that goes for ALL taking it or stoping it, you should never take a dose of anything that is not recomended and read up on things check out medical websites also.

      renee wrote on September 6th, 2012
      • I have been taking upwards of 30 to 60 milligrams of melatonin almost every night for the past 5 years and I have neither gained weight nor sprouted horns. Furthermore, if I feel tired enough to not need any… I don’t take it…..there is no need to wean off melatonin because there is no withdrawal. I have run out of it and gone without for many days with no ill effects. I hope it remains an over the counter product….. so many of the remedies that were always helpful are being snatched away from us so that we have to rely on prescriptions; and now the DEA is taking those away from us also.

        Jenga wrote on November 21st, 2013
  3. It worked for me.Everyone is different.It helped with my sleep and I lost weight.

    kelly wrote on November 5th, 2010
    • How relieving this comment was to me. I just pray that it does the same for me as well.

      Amy wrote on September 8th, 2012
      • Interesting. I sleep good. Although I am always having dreams. Tried melatonin because someone suggested I give it to my 2.5 year old son who is only sleeping 9 hours or less including naps.

        I am so glad I talked to his paediatrician first.

        The melatonin I slept good, no dreams. When I was a wake, I had more energy for daily activities. Think it’s defiantly something that maybe beneficial for some people and not for others.

        Something that should maybe only available through prescription.

        Lindsay Cummings wrote on October 8th, 2013
        • I do feel more energized as well. I hated feeling tired.

          Jessica Williams wrote on September 15th, 2014
  4. Melatonin, Effexor, Lithium, Zoloft, Prozac and weed… they’re all the same — they make me fat, depressed, stupid and see stuff that isn’t there.

    ChazWhiz wrote on March 10th, 2011
    • It is highly unlikely that the reason you’re fat, depressed, and stupid is due to melatonin use.

      Studies show that weed can be linked to weight loss actually. (Notice how stoners are usually thin?)

      However, all of your problems are closely linked. Problems sleeping can make you depressed, and fat (over time, if untreated.) You’re most likely not “stupid,” but if you’re truly depressed you may think you are.

      Shawn wrote on February 9th, 2013
    • I gained 15 lbs since i am taking melatonin, depressed and crying for stupid things.

      Antonietta wrote on May 28th, 2013
    • “Hormonal supplements, benzos and mild hallungenics are all the same to me”

      You should probably get your head checked

      ItsAChemical! wrote on May 26th, 2014
  5. You don’t need all these drugs! Faith in God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and healthy dose of daily laughter are the best meds out there!

    Thereminized wrote on March 10th, 2011
    • Amen Sam!

      Mike wrote on November 29th, 2013
  6. Faith in God the Father, Son and Holy spirit along with marijuana and melatonin is the best med I’ve ever have.

    Jerry wrote on April 9th, 2011
    • I have an extremely delayed circadian rhythm, my “comfortable” bedtime is some where after 5 am to about 8 am. I can’t lock it closer because I’ve never had enough time to free sleep. In any event nelson didn’t do it for me, it couldn’t. So I deified to ambien. Them my doc added rozerem (synthetic melatonin agonist) and that did help done, and I was FINALLY able to lose weight. I’ve also been experimenting with blue light from ten to noon, and blue blocking glasses at evening. The blue blocking is supposed to simulate melatonin production. Alrighty it is something that is finally letting me rest, which it does have a side effect of easier weight loss and weight maintenance for me.

      Erin wrote on August 30th, 2012
    • I have an extremely delayed circadian rhythm, my “comfortable” bedtime is some where after 5 am to about 8 am. I can’t lock it closer because I’ve never had enough time to free sleep. In any event nelson didn’t do it for me, it couldn’t. So I switched to ambien. Then my doc added rozerem (synthetic melatonin agonist) and that did help some, and I was FINALLY able to lose weight. I’ve also been experimenting with blue light from ten to noon (that late and long power docs orders due to significant sleep delay), and blue blocking glasses at evening. The blue blocking is supposed to simulate melatonin production. Alrighty it is something that is finally letting me rest, which it does have a side effect of easier weight loss and weight maintenance for me.

      Erin wrote on August 30th, 2012
      • I like you, have an extremely delayed circadian sleep rhythm. I usually seems to get sleepy at around 4 0 5 AM..
        I have talked to my family physician & she recommended me to see the sleep specialist….this one had recommended me to use either the artificial light (lamp) and or melatonin…
        I must admit I am very concern about the side effects of both, the melatonin as well as the artificial light (lamp).

        I am wondering if anyone has try using BMT (Behaviour Therapy modification) would that be helpful at all?….

        Any good suggestions would help.

        Much appreciated.

        Aussie wrote on November 4th, 2013
  7. I have been taking melatonin for a while now. I only weighed 120. Since I have been taking melatonin, I have gained 10 lbs. I have never weighed 130 lbs. Should I discontinue taking melatonin? It does help me sleep, because before I was having sleeplessness nights. I’m working out at home a lot. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!!

    Barbara Hale wrote on April 17th, 2011
    • It’s just 10 pounds.. It happeneds don’t just up and blame the melatonin. Look at lifestyle and diet first. Plus after I reached a sertain age I started to gain and lose 5-10 lbs all the time.

      Mehman wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • Im in the same boat but I would not blame Melatonin. I just look at weight gain with age you will gain weight its normal I think that is the hardest part for people to deal with especially women. I am now 130 and 19 years old i was always 115 but I would like to think will happy sleep there comes hapy healthy weight gain no worries its NORMAL PEOPLE!

      Amy wrote on September 8th, 2012
    • Not to poo-poo the idea that melatonin could be a contributing factor as other anecdotal evidence supplied here have mentioned, have you considered that you’ve been “working out at home a lot”.

      Muscle mass weighs MUCH MORE than fat does. If you’ve been exercising a lot, the weight gain could be a factor of working out. Have your BMI (body mass index) taken (a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women).

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  8. i bought some melatonin for my sleep disorder and it didnt work at all. it makes me feel tired and sleepy but i still couldnt get a good nights sleep and i still wake up the next day feeling likke crap..
    anyone know why?

    slimjim wrote on April 18th, 2011
    • take a little bit higher dose than you did before. and while you take it you should be in bed at least trying to fall asleep. it will wear off if you’re really into a tv show or playing on the computer.
      if you say you woke up feeling like crap, it probably meant you slept too long or as i say it, slept too hard.

      liz wrote on April 5th, 2012
      • you need to read some atricles on sleep and dont recomend a higher dose, do you know how much this person was taking in the first place ?

        renee wrote on September 6th, 2012
        • sorry about the typo.

          renee wrote on September 6th, 2012
    • Liz is right, melatonin is sensitive to light, so you have to shut your house down to actually drift off. I like complete darkness and silence anyway, so it knocks me right on out.

      Mita wrote on June 28th, 2012
    • Melatonin isn’t for everyone.

      If you don’t move around enough each day, you’re likely to have too much energy to fall asleep at night. That is why people with tedious office jobs, students in high school, etc have sleeping issues. You need to exercise more, go out more, and use up more energy during your day. Not only will it help you sleep, but it will give you more fulfillment and purpose in life.

      If you try that and it doesn’t work (unlikely, but possible I guess- since nothing is 100% true), I suggest trying an OTC sleep medication, or even getting a prescription to ambien. Ambien can have negative side effects, but if used properly and sparingly it may help.

      still the best thing anyone can do to get more sleep is EXERCISE and use up energy throughout their days!!

      Shawn wrote on February 9th, 2013
  9. I have had sleep disorder for 11yrs now. As time goes on my intake of melatonin has gone from 5mg to 3mg down to 1mg. As I reduced my intake I continued to feel droggy and tired the next day – i felt as though i needed more sleep. It was only after I reduced to 1mg that now I feel great. —- NOTE: while the melatonin helps me sleep all night, the “trigger” I need to actually put me to sleep is another supplement called Doxylamine Succinate. Same as found in Nyquil. Costco sells it as Kirkland SleepAid. Also CVS Walgreens WalMart. I take either 1/4-1/2 a pill. I take both about 1Hr before bed. Never fails. The warnings mentioned above talk about taking 3-6mg. I believe 1mg may be safe for now.

    Frank B wrote on April 24th, 2011
  10. I take .3 mg a night and have for a year and it works great. I fall asleep quickly, stay asleep (or go back easily if I wake up to use the bathroom). No grogginess in the morning, no weird dreams. I started out at 1 mg and felt horrible the next day til at least noon. I was also having unsettling dreams all night. So I have reduced and reduced and found the perfect amount for me. I have read to stay away from the time release, even at 1 mg.

    Of course when people are taking high doses they will have problems. Same with anything, right? When I read of people increasing their dose rather than decreasing, I realize they have not done proper research. Once you have excessive levels in your bloodstream, it stops working. Keep it at a low dose that the body naturally produced at one time (or should have).

    Annie wrote on May 21st, 2011
  11. Just to clarify that amount I take is .3.

    NOT 3 mg!

    I actually cut a 1 mg tablet in 3 parts, so it is a bit give or take.

    Annie wrote on May 21st, 2011
  12. Frank B back,  from -2- comments above. This is updated information. My recipe for amazing sleep after being an insomniac for 11 horrible years. A Nutritionist recommended 100Mg 5-HTP All Natural Plant Extract – I take TWO — ONE @noon & ONE  1Hr before bed. ONE may be enough for some people. Learn more at __ and decide for yourself …  PLUS I still take Melatonin – Again I have continued to reduce from original 5Mg down to only 1/4.Mg – I buy 1Mg and cut in 1/2 and cut again into 1/4’s and take chew it, just before bed. I too have tried & I agree – Stay Away from Time-Release. It stays in your system toooo long leaving you droggy…. No more Doxylamine Succinate after being hooked for 11yrs …. 5-HTP plus a little Melatonin worked that well.

    Frank B wrote on July 1st, 2011
  13. I take it for:
    1/insomnia, 2/weight loss, 3 cold feet.
    I think the increased metabolism is the key.
    My cold feet was warm in the middle of the night and by morning I had kicked off all beddings down there. Have read that core body drops about 0.5 degree while peripheral temp can increase up to 5 degree. At least I note the latter.
    The dose confusion is probably due to how it is taken: If chewed I think 10% is same as swallowed, depending on how long time it is chewed. Chewing is similar to sublingual. I guess the 1/4 mg is right for this, for me! A great one, in moderation of course. I am 65 and my cold feet just got worse and a blood relative got her feet amputated for similar reason when she was over 80 and died then shortly after.

    sten bjorsell wrote on July 13th, 2011
    • I would like to talk to you about what you did. I have read that seratonoin is made in the morning so it would make sense for you to take it during the day.

      Would you call me? Rene 720-329- 1171

      Renada wrote on September 24th, 2012
  14. Hello,
    Your tips for jet lag are very helpful. However, I do believe that the title of this article is misleading.
    Melatonin has not been proven to be dangerous, even in excessive doses. Also, the argument about the brain making less melatonin simply because one is supplementing it does not have a source, and appears to be an assumption.
    My own experience with melatonin has left me pretty satisfied. I have been taking 10 mg, every 4 days to help me get great rest, and I have not gained weight, I have had great dreams, and I wake up feeling refreshed. As with anything, everyone reacts differently, but it seems unreasonable to call it “Dangerous” when it’s far from it; also since searching “taking melatonin daily” on google will bring up the article, and potentially mislead many people searching for accurate information. Sources would really add credibility to the claim. Other than that, great article.

    mudflips wrote on July 23rd, 2011
  15. I’ve been taking melatonin 5mg on and off the past week and I have noticed that I alway feel more awake in the morning when I dont take melatonin. I’m done taking melatonin, it does help me fall asleep but I feel much shittier the next day than I usually do.. Not worth it.

    Nate wrote on August 8th, 2011
    • Have you asked yourself why they make lower doses? Maybe you should start somewhere in the 0.x range and work yourway up untill you find the right dose for you. Could take a while but would be worth it if you aren’t getting good sleep currently.

      Mehman wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  16. I have been taking melatonin almost every night for about 6 months or so. I was 105lbs, now I am 130lbs. I suspect it is the melatonin as nothing else has changed other than that. I don’t think the melatonin is supposed to be taken as much as I did take it but it does work well. I am going off of it now to see if the weight will drop.

    Candace wrote on August 17th, 2011
  17. I take melatonin from time to time – about 2-4 times a month. I take 1/2 of a 3mg slow release tablet – that’s sufficient to bring me to sleep.

    I don’t think that melatonin is good for promoting long, deep sleeps – all it seems to do is bringing me to sleep, not keeping me asleep. But the good thing is that I don’t have any noticeable side effects from this use.

    In order to stay asleep I use magnesium – which is known to be muscle relaxing.

    smgj wrote on September 22nd, 2011
    • Sorry everyone for all of the comments but I feel the need to do it once again… You can not split something “slow” or “time” released and it still be time released. It breaks what makes it time released. The pill itsself. Maybe you do need the time released to keep you asleep. Try a 1.5mg time release if you want. Depending on metabolism depends on how fast its excreted. Normaly the larger dose the long time and larger effect. So maybe try a larger dose or as you were a time release. I would prefer the first rather the last option untill you find what I’ve seen many call the “right dose” for you.

      Mehman wrote on November 23rd, 2011
      • Do not agree. Have a look at a picture of swanson’s time release meatonin and you’ll understand why. The tablet consists of two parts, one “slow” and one “fast”. Not your average, hardened “time release” tablet. That’s why you can split _this one_ (but for the most reagarding your average time-release, I agree).

        smgj wrote on November 23rd, 2011
  18. I have been taking melatonin nightly for almost 20 years. How’s that for long-term ! Before melatonin it took me 2-4 hours to fall asleep no matter what but I’ve mostly slept like a babie ( 8 good hours) ever since taking melatonin. I always use liquid version and do 1mg upto 3mg nightly.

    Still not any noticeable side effects after these past twenty years of almost nightly use.

    Every few months I do go a week without taking melatonin and by the end of the week I have to start the melatonin again as it starts getting hard to fall asleep like it was so long ago for me.

    Melatonin kept me sane and i swear by it. If you have a terrible time falling asleep then you owe it to yourself to try it.

    Stewart wrote on October 29th, 2011
    • i have taken 8 of the 3 mg melatonin per night for the past 15 years. i have had no side effects at all…i even take it with a lil nyquil….i think however i might try quitting..i would like to be able to go to sleep on my own.i’m just worried that i will not be able to because to be honest…without melatonin i have no sleepy or drowsy feeling at all.

      kemberly wrote on March 18th, 2013
  19. I have suffered from insomnia my whole life. I have tried everything. I have taken different prescription meds, like Ambien, Sonata, and several others. I tried the over the counter meds. I hated them all. They messed with my brain, made me hyper, or made me feel foggy the next day. I now take .3 mg of vegetarian melatonin. The smallest dose I could find. I feel like I sleep like a normal person for the first time in my life. It doesn’t knock me out or make me tired the next day. I have read you should be careful of the other added ingredients. Sometimes they mix it with things that cause side effects. I am sticking with this. I feel better than ever now that I get a decent night sleep.

    Suzy wrote on October 31st, 2011
    • What type of insomnia do you have? I suffer from waking up during the night for over 15 years. I have no problem falling a sleep. Is melatonin good for this type? What brand do you buy?

      ANNE wrote on March 8th, 2013
  20. I’ve taken the 1mg slow release melatonin tablets for about a week now and feel like crap the next day. I thought I was getting sick I was that tired and groggy! This is the worst I have felt out of all the different sleeping tablets I have tried over my 7 insomnia years :-(

    Haley wrote on November 4th, 2011
  21. I take 5 maximum strength (10mg) a night, I still don’t sleep.I really need something else but I know I can’t excersise before bed, what do you suggest?

    Andrea wrote on November 9th, 2011
    • Binaural works for me every now and again. I have issues with hormonal imbalances and melatonin will work every now and then, but rather than take a pill, I’d prefer to go as holistic as possible which is why I started using Binaural methods (I’m a massage and relaxation therapist, ironic I know, and also recommend it to clients) which worked for me and for my clients.
      Binaural sleep aids are music or sound effect tracks with tones in the background that help regulate and ease brainwaves through sound. Sound plays a significant role in brainwaves (the reason ravers use dance and house music is the sound actually makes them high to a degree and the reason classical music makes many people sleepy is the binaural tones of the larger instruments tell us to relax . . . except for Beethoven of course!).
      This is the BEST way to try and get some shut eye without any pills or teas or things.
      Be sure you also practice good sleep hygeiene as well:
      1. Only sleep in your bed, not read or use your computer, or watch tv.
      2. Exercise in the morning or afternoon.
      3. Limit caffeine and consume no caffiene after 6 pm.
      4. Keep hydrated.
      5. Keep your room dark (I use black-out curtains to help).
      6. Keep your room quiet (except of course for binaural tones if used).
      7. Keep your thermostat between 68 and 65 (cool temperatures help you reach fuller, better sleep cycles).
      8. Talk to your doctor about any other issues like delayed phase disorder, apnea, or anxiety (trying meditation for the first and last of those three is often beneficial).

      Talk to your doctor about this . . . I am a therapist NOT A DOCTOR, nor do I play one on tv! Still, I hope that helps.

      You can get FREE Binaural MP3 tracks at Try the Newport Waves one, that’s the one that works best for me and for the majority of my clients.


      Elizabeth wrote on July 2nd, 2012
  22. I like to whack my snake until it screams for more

    Homusapian wrote on November 9th, 2011
    • And how do you sleep after?

      Steve wrote on February 25th, 2015
  23. THIS IS MY -3rd- TIME WRITING. __ ALL YOU GUYS WHO COMPLAIN MELATONIN DON’T WORK. __. SEVERAL REASONS ARE POSSIBLE. __ 11yrs INSOMNIA, I KNOW MELATONIN WORKS. _ FOR ME ANYWAYS. __ ((1)) STAY AWAY FROM TIME RELEASE __ ((2)) STAY AWAY FROM 2MG OR MORE. __. NONE OF THOSE WORK GOOD ENOUGH __. ALL TOOOO STRONG!!!!!!!! LESS IS MORE!!!!!!! ___. I buy 500mcg ((=1/2mg)) at Trader Joes. I take it at 5 pm. Or 6, 7, 8, 9,… The earlier the better. PLUS _ ODORLESS GARLIC PILLS!!!!!!!!!!! __ caution:: may cause nightmares in most!!! I take -2- upon rising. and -2- around 2-3pm. GARLIC GREAT for blood pressure, bowels, skin…. +SLEEP!!!!!!! With ORDORLESS GARLIC I sleep fantastic. I had nightmares about a week. No more nightmares. ONLY GLEEP GREAT!!!!! MY 89 year old mother had same success. Nightmares too. She no longer needs her blood pressure pills!!!

    Frank B wrote on November 23rd, 2011
    • There’s no need to shout. Yes, it is possible that if others are still having problems, it could be possible that it is not the melatonin. It is equally possible that what works for you, might simply not work for someone else. What does not cause side effects for you, might cause them for someone else.

      S. wrote on March 3rd, 2012
  24. The person who runs this site is pretty much wrong about melatonin and is doing a profound disservice to people who could be helped by it. Yes, it’s a hormone, very astute. And….? The stuff is safe for daily use and wonderfully effective. You need to find the dose that works for you. Anyone who has concerns or wants deep background should read the relevant chapter in “Renewal” by Timothy Smith M.D.

    Jake wrote on December 21st, 2011
    • Testosterone is a hormone, too. Are you suggesting that if something is a hormone it MUST be safe, taken at whatever level you deem fit to take? We’ve all heard the horror stories that taking steroids is dangerous.

      How about estrogen, which has been linked to cancer?

      How about insulin? Ever hear of insulin tolerance? Beta cells in the pancreas increase their production of insulin, further contributing to hyperglycemia. It can be caused by taking too much insulin.

      Are you a doctor? No? Then please cite your references that can be verified online, and not some book written by a quack of dubious authenticity – and who’s claims are that his “program” can extend your life to 120.

      Yeah. Right. But only HE has the secret, and it can be yours, too, for the low, low price of $9.00 on Amazon. Do you honestly believe that if he had the answer to keep people alive to 120 that it’d only cost less than $10? Oh, those homeopathic supplements he tells you about in the book? Why just COINCIDENTALLY, he can sell you THOSE, too, at a low, low introductory price, I’m sure.


      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  25. Does anyone else have extremely intense and disturbing dreams when you take melatonin? I would almost describe them as hallucinations how intense they are. And I would always wake up the next morning feeling very groggy and confused and it’s much harder for me to get going in the morning.

    This only happens to me when I take melatonin.

    Ana wrote on February 8th, 2012
    • Your dosage is probably too high. Even 0.3 mg is enough for some people.

      gelee wrote on February 9th, 2012
      • I cut my 0.3 milligram plant-based (plant-based is recommended by the Mayo clinic) pill in half. I sleep very well.

        When I took the whole 0.3 mg pill I was aware of dreaming all hight, hallucinated and was tired the next day.

        Half (or 1/3) a 0.3 mg pill works great for me. For the first time in years I’m sleeping well.

        Alanna wrote on June 29th, 2014
    • Hi, The doctor prescribed melatonin for my husband, he had very lucid dreams and told the doctor, the doctor said to cut the dose down. we just emptied some of the melatonin into another empty capsule we got from a compounding pharmacy. Now he sleeps and doesn’t dream as much.

      In Australia, you need to get a script for melatonin because it needs to be made up by the chemist. It’s very expensive so we didn’t want to throw it out.

      Now I get my melatonin online from the US. My doctor knows and agrees with out decision. My husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, they said that even with the chemo they were going to give him he would be lucky to live 18 months to 2 years. He couldn’t sleep because he couldn’t get it out of his mind he was scared (understandably so) he has taken melatonin for 5 years. Sleeping pills, sedatives, exercise…keep the lights down low…nothing helped. the specialist had no qualms in giving him very strong sleeping pills, after all he was going to die anyway! Well, five years later he is clear of cancer and has been told it’s not likely to come back. the doctor said he can’t explain it and to keep doing what he’s doing. the only thing that has changed in his life besides having the chemo is taking the melatonin. I read that in Italy it is given with the chemo sometimes to undo the side effects. anyway, I don’t have any scientific proof…but I feel that the melatonin has kept his cancer from coming back. I’m not saying it cured him the chemo did…but I think the melatonin KEPT him healthy.

      I repeat, I have NO proof. But we just feel that’s what it could have been.

      He has not gained any weight or lost any weight…for posters up further…I think that might have more to do with personal reactions.

      I think THIS was a personal reaction…

      I’m grateful for melatonin and I’m very grateful I could buy it in the US for a lot less than I could here.

      this is not a scientific response…it’s a personal one. However for the vivid dreaming the DOCTOR said that meant the dose was too high. when we cut it down to half the dreaming stopped.

      Good luck to all of you that are looking for answers.

      amber wrote on July 15th, 2013
    • My experience with Melatonin is that sometimes (not always) it can lead to what I call “paralysis” dreams. I wake up (or think I do), but can’t move and cannot speak. I have a VERY vivid feeling that someone is in the house, coming to get me. No, not kill me, or strangle me or stab me – but to GET me. I know they’re there. The panic starts to rise. I can’t move! I almost can hear them, coming closer. Finally, I can get a gasp out and end up actually WAKING UP out of the dream.

      These dreams are the worst! Very similar to the dreams described by people who claim they’re abducted (which I am most certainly NOT claiming – this is a dream and I know it’s a dream – except during the dream!)

      Luckily it doesn’t happen all the time, but almost assuredly, if I wake up for any reason after first falling asleep after taking the melatonin, I won’t be able to get BACK to sleep. For me, melatonin only serves to put me to sleep – not to keep me there.

      Unfortunately, the alternative is to have an upside-down sleep schedule. I’m forced to take whatever I can to help break that cycle, and if you look at the time of this post (do they post the time?) you’d see it’s the middle of the night. I woke up an hour and a half after taking a 3mg (three) pill and now am as wired as if I had drank coffee (which I don’t use, or any other caffeinated drink for that matter).

      Benadryl works (diphenhydramine) but it can lead to peripheral edema (and has with me) and also can lead to weight gain.

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013

    Frank B wrote on February 15th, 2012
  27. I am a witness of the weight gain . Oh boy it does help we sleep wonders though !!! I started taking it a little over 3 months ago and started dieting and exercising frequently around the same time . I really started getting worried after I jumped on the scale and was 12 # heavier ……… I will have to find a new alternative :) works for sleep but I can’t deal with the weight gain . My doctor agrees this was the route cause of my weight gain . Hope this helps

    Alicia wrote on February 20th, 2012
    • I started taking 3mg Melatonin with success for sleep about 8 months ago and my weight has increased from 135 to 155, despite me weighing 135 for almost 10 yrs now. Melatonin is the only variable that has changed except for eating a little healthier and exercising more lately. I also have a very active job. I cannot lose weight and it sounds like I’m not the only one on here with this problem. I’m going to quit taking it for a month or so and see what happens. Has anyone else on here quit and and been able to lose the weight gain?

      Brian wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  28. I was with you up til you mentioned the evolution thing…………. But anyways, I think that any supplement should be used with caution.

    Meade wrote on February 21st, 2012
  29. Our bodies on average when we are in adolescents and early twenties produce anywhere from 5-25 micrograms of melatonin.
    I have found that many people take way too much melatonin and that is the reason they have either groggines the next morning or it doesnt work for them. The key is to start low around 150 micrograms and work up to no more than 1-2 milligram. Take 1 hour before bed and when you go to bed, put all the lights out and no T.V.

    It will hit you and the key is when it peaks just ride the wave and just relax and this will help reset our circarian rythym which gets really messed up with the lifestyle that many of us have.

    Melatonin decreases with age and the way I take it is 1.2 milligrams the first night and then 900 micrograms the second night, 600 micrograms the third night and then 300 micrograms the fourth night and I take two days off. I have done this since the age of 35 and I am 45 now and sleep incredibly well and have no weight gain and have had increase in muscle mass. The key is to shock the pineal gland once and then taper and take two days off. This is the method I was taught by a man who lived to 105 years old and looked like he was in his 50s. He swore by this and I can tell you I feel like I am in my twenties and its because of the great sleep I have and I am on just two other supplements.

    Rob wrote on February 23rd, 2012
  30. I forgot to add that I found my dose that worked for me when I titrated to 1.2 milligrams and woke up the next morning and didnt have groggines and felt like I have a good nights rest. Then I tiratred down. The key is the shock dose that works best which is the dose that gets the sleep and then titrated down. Even if your dose that works is 300 micrograms, you still titrate it down for four days and then two days off. It is ashamed that they do no make lower doses like 100 microgram pills. I havent found any, if anyone has please let me know.
    Frank. B you do know what you are talking about. People definately listen to him. That is also the other supplement that I take, the garlic along with vitamin C.

    Rob wrote on February 23rd, 2012
  31. Can you take too much melatonin? I have been taking (3) 3mg tablets at night for about 2 months. I have noticed chest pains and flutters as well as a change in breathing patterns when I walk. Since reading this I have not taken any more melatonin.

    Sonja wrote on March 2nd, 2012
  32. @Rob… do you acquire such small amounts of Melatonin when the smallest dose you typically find is 1-5Mg. You seem to throw these numbers around as if it’s common knowledge. Maybe you have a source you can share? I buy 500mcg at Trader Joe’s – cut in 1/2 = 250mcg / cut in 1/2 again = 125mcg …. or 1/8ofOne Mg…. I go to this trouble because I cannot find TINY DOSEs anywhere.

    Frank B wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • Easy, buy the liquid. I buy I mg, but you take four dropper fulls to reach the 1mg. So I take one dropper, which gives me 1/4 of a mg. If you want 1/8 of a mg, take half of a dropper. With the liquid you can reduce to any amount you want

      Annie wrote on April 22nd, 2012
  33. @Sonja…YES it’s too easy to overdose on Melatonin… Manufactures don’t get it. They don’t offer TINY doses……. I chew 1/8 Mg one hr before bed and hold it – as i lay my head to sleep i chew 1/2 pill Doxylamine Succinate and hold in my mouth for 3 minutes – and sleep great. I take Vita B complex with breakfast. I may not sleep well without it. Odorless garlic pill at breakfast / at bed time / and once more in middle of night. @Rob… I just read your FollowUp blog. Thanks

    DO NOT EVER TAKE MORE THAN 1 MG until you tried MUCH MUCH LESS – 1/8-1/2Mg – poor result is usually always be because of taking too much. LESS IS DEFINATELY BEST WAY TO START.

    Frank B wrote on March 4th, 2012
    • So important to know about Dosage.
      Thank you for stating this so clearly.

      aviela wrote on October 11th, 2012
  34. There’s no need to take hormones to help you sleep – simply block out blue light for a couple of hours before bed and your body will naturally produce melatonin to make you sleepy.

    After suffering with a sleep problem for about a year and trying blue blocking sunglasses without success, I made my own very cheaply.

    After wearing these for 30 mins, I could feel myself getting drowsy. After 2 hours I was ready to go to bed and sleep.

    I made 50 pairs of these REALLY cheap and put them up on eBay. If you want to try a pair without forking out $100.00 for a commercial pair, just google for rodsnconesdotnet.

    I’d be interested in feedback if these work for you.

    Best of luck


    Steve M wrote on March 20th, 2012
    • DAMN – you must have sold them all – there’s none there!

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013
  35. I bought melatonin after I saw Dr. Oz to help me falling asleep faster. I took melatonin and I had the opposite, I cld not sleep at all !!! I don’t have trouble sleeping, I’ve just been going to bed too late, and waking up late. I will never take this drug anymore.

    Stephanie wrote on March 24th, 2012
  36. I have had insomnia since I was a child. I’m almost 25 now and I have finally found something to make me fall asleep like a normal person. I can’t even tell you how helpful melatonin has been for me. I have done research on the stuff for over a year now and have found absolutely no side effects. It’s actually proven to prevent certain types of cancer and even treat it. Cancer patients taking melatonin have shown to respond better to chemotherapy. Who cares if its a hormone.

    mj wrote on April 6th, 2012
    • I have written several times and emphatic about dose being very small. Less than 1mg. I take 1/8mg. Curious to know much works for you. Past two weeks I remove milk from my diet and am sleeping TONs better. Stomach bloating and weight going down.

      Frank B wrote on April 17th, 2012
      • I typically take 2.5-5mg depending on how stressed out I am (I take it occasionally for insomnia prevention). The first time I tried it, I took 1.25 mg (half a pill) and didn’t really notice anything. Second time was 2.5, and it worked perfectly. I don’t use it more than 2-3 times per week, some weeks not at all, so I doubt I have a tolerance. As a computer science major, I am typically on my computer at night, which (unfortunately) is proven to reduce melatonin production. Because of this, I’m guessing my natural melatonin levels are lower than normal.

        Markus wrote on June 3rd, 2013
  37. I have been taking melatonin for 2 years now. I take 2-4 of the 3mg tablets nightly. I tried smaller doses and it did not help me to sleep throughout the entire night.
    The good news is, when I wake up, I am awake for the duration, I do not feel groggy or sluggish.
    The bad news is, I have gained 25 pounds since starting melatonin. I have always had high metabolism, I could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound. The past year, however, I have been watching my calorie intake. I do not drink soda and I do not consume products that have a lot of sugar in them. I firmly believe it is the melatonin that has caused this change in my body. That is why I have been searching for information about it and it is what led me to this site.
    I know my body and I know where my weight should be and after having read many many comments about this subject, on various sites, I have decided to quit taking melatonin.

    Shannon wrote on April 18th, 2012
    • Good! I agree

      Rene wrote on April 29th, 2012
    • I also have gained 20 lbs in 8 months on 3mg of Melatonin and just today realized that this is the only variable that changed. I had been at the same weight for 10 years before and am more active than ever. Did you lose weight after going off Melatonin? Thanks!

      Brian wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  38. I’ve never had problems with Melatonin. I only take it once in along while, and no more than one night. I also make sure I don’t buy the TIME RELEASED form. Once I had taken that, and it dragged on to the next day. I was quite lethargic the next day. But the regular ones don’t do that. I feel refreshed the next morning and it does not affect me at all in terms of being tired or sleepy the next day.

    MS wrote on April 28th, 2012
  39. I agree with the weight gain! I have always been in the range of 113-115 ALWAYS! I started taking 5mg (not realizing the severity of the right dosage) and with in a month jumped 10 pounds! I was crying all the time, not a dot of energy at all! I have always been the type of person who would be called the energizer battery my sjouke life! Point is your all right! You need to take the right dose, BUT we are nit doctors or pharmacists so I feel this should be a prescription drug and highly monitored by a doctor! This throws all your hormones out of wack and can lead to bad things! I know after the second month and two doctors later and almost getting put on progesterone and Adrenial Support meds cause they thought that’s what it was, I decided to just stop it for a few weeks and by the 3rd day my energy was back I stopped crying and felt back to my old self!!! I actually am sleeping like a baby now as well. So my advice is stay away from it your not a doctor to play with dosages. It should be in the prescription form! I say just meditate, sleepy teas, warm milk, and exercise all helps sleeping. No reason to yell at anyone on here we are all seeking advice from others. So that’s my take on it! Good luck!

    Rene wrote on April 29th, 2012
    • Rene,
      Can you tell me if your weight came off quickly? I am going off the melatonin after reading all these comments. I am relived to discover why I’ve gained so much weight despite eating well and exercise.

      Kelly wrote on June 28th, 2012
    • Were you able to lose the weight you had put on after getting off Melatonin?

      Brian wrote on July 23rd, 2013
  40. I’m having a site time understanding some of the weight gain effect in these comments. There are dozens of studies showing how effective melatonin is for weight loss. The dosage used was in the range of 20 mg. I was so convinced that I started using it myself even going up to 40 mg some nights. After a couple of weeks, I can tell you the weight is melting off. It’s rather remarkable as something that makes you sleepy can also help you burn fat. It induces thermogenesis in brown fat by stimulating a protein called thermogenin and increasing heat production. Has anyone taken the time to figure out if the weight gain is actual fat ? Instead of water weight or even added muscle mass ? Melatonin also increases growth hormone output, which is also lipolytic in itself. In addition, melatonin also reverses many of the metabolic changes found in obesity. In fact, night shift workers have a tendency towards obesity and cancer because of a lack of melatonin production. I think this hormone deserves a closer look. See PMID: 22380505 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

    Luis wrote on May 17th, 2012
    • Hi Luis,
      Did your weight come off easily? I am convinced the tranquility blend (with melatonin) I have been taking for over a year has been the reason for a 10 lb weight gain despite furious exercise. :(
      Unfortunately, the blend works very well for me, but I am eager to be off of it and lose this weight!

      Kelly wrote on June 28th, 2012
    • My GOD you take 40 milligrams a night?

      1-3 mgs is the recommended dose. You’re taking over TEN TIMES the recommended dose!

      I worry for you.

      Sam A. wrote on July 29th, 2013

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