How Long Does Melatonin Last? What You Should Know
Many know melatonin as an over-the-counter supplement that quickens the time it takes to fall asleep . Melatonin supplements have become incredibly popular in the last decade and are used as sleep aids by those who experience trouble falling and staying asleep – which tends to be a large portion of the population at large.
While increasingly popular, many wonder how melatonin affects mood, alertness, and productivity throughout the day. More notably questioned by those debating whether or not to test melatonin on their own sleep quality: “How long does melatonin last in your system?”
How long melatonin lasts in the body depends on a few factors, including the quantity or dose taken e, the supplement’s formulation, and the user’s metabolism. Generally speaking, melatonin can last in the body between 4 - 10 hours.
In this article, we discuss everything you need to know about melatonin, including how it can affect your sleep, how long it takes to produce effects, and when it should and shouldn’t be taken.
What Is Melatonin And How Do You Use It?
Melatonin is a food supplement that people take to fall asleep faster and improve their sleep hygiene. What many may not know the human body produces melatonin naturally. Let’s take a look at the difference between naturally-occurring melatonin and melatonin supplements:
The hormone melatonin is produced by the pineal gland, a pea-sized mass of tissues in the brain. Melatonin’s role is to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle, which is influenced by light. When your retinas absorb light, melatonin production stops. Conversely, exposure to darkness signals the brain to start melatonin production again.
Your melatonin levels increase usually two hours before bedtime. When this happens, your body temperature rises and your blood pressure goes down, helping you feel relaxed and sleepy.
Melatonin pills, gummies, capsules, tablets, or liquid supplements can either be made from animals, microorganisms or synthetic compounds. These non-prescription medications are believed to assist the brain a in regulating the body’s internal clock. Your circadian rhythm dictates your bedtime routine – when you start to get sleepy and when you wake up. – which can oftentimes be thrown off due to instances such as jet lag or shift work. Melatonin supplements may help signal the brain when it’s time to sleep, thereby kickstarting the bodily functions that initiate rest and relaxation.
When To Take Melatonin
People often take melatonin when they’re struggling to fall asleep at night. Adults are advised to take melatonin several hours before their desired bedtime, while children are advised to take it 30 minutes before bedtime.
Who exactly benefits from taking melatonin?
According to research, taking melatonin supplements may help the following people regulate their circadian rhythms:
- People with jet lag
- People working night shifts
- People who are blind or have visual impairments
- People diagnosed with dementia
- People with sleep disorders such as insomnia, advanced sleep phase disorder, and delayed sleep phase disorder
Studies also show that melatonin may provide anxiety relief to patients anticipating surgery, as well as have the potential to help alleviate symptoms associated with depression, neurodegenerative disorders, and pain syndromes, among others.
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How Long Does It Take For Melatonin To Work?
How long it takes for melatonin to work depends on the user’s metabolism as well as the type of melatonin ingested. Generally speaking, melatonin can take roughly 1 to 2 hours to reach its peak level. This is when you may start to feel drowsy.
Extended-Release Melatonin vs. Regular Melatonin
There are two main types of melatonin supplements.
Regular melatonin supplements dissolve immediately after ingestion m and are released into the bloodstream.
Extended-release supplements, on the other hand, release melatonin slowly over several hours. These supplements are intended to mimic the brain’s natural cycles, releasing melatonin throughout the night and are believed to work best for those who experience trouble staying asleep for prolonged periods. Extended-release supplements are also called slow-release, continuous-release, and controlled-release supplements.
Both types of supplements can be purchased over the counter.
How Melatonin Affects Sleep
Melatonin supplements are believed to help with the timing of your nighttime sleepiness. The supplements may mimic the effects of naturally-occurring melatonin and help users fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and potentially even have deeper sleep.
While melatonin is depended on by a wide variety of sleepers, here are some potential side effects related to taking melatonin :
- Daytime drowsiness or grogginess
- Dizziness and nausea
- Vivid dreams
- Irritability and low mood
- GI issues such as cramps, diarrhea, and constipation
- Lack of appetite
- Reduced alertness
- Mild tremors
It’s important to note that melatonin overdose and the aforementioned side effects are not common occurrences.
Because of these potential side effects, users are advised not to operate vehicles or heavy machinery within five hours of taking melatonin. Additionally, breastfeeding women and those on medication are advised to avoid taking melatonin.Medicines that may interact with melatonin supplements include:
- Birth control pills
- Diabetes medicine
- Medicines broken down by the liver
- Seizure medication
- Hypertension and high blood pressure medication
Avoid taking melatonin in combination with these medicines.
Always check the label and ingredients before taking any new medication. When taking something new, observe your body’s response and discontinue use if you develop adverse reactions. Consult your doctor to find the right melatonin dosage for maximum effectiveness.
How Long Does Melatonin Stay In Your System?
Melatonin stays in the system for approximately 4-10 hours, depending on the dosage and type of supplement taken, as well as the person’s age and metabolism. Melatonin’s half-life is between 20 to 50 minutes. This means that half of the initial melatonin dose is eliminated by the body after that timespan.
How long will melatonin make you sleep? An excellent question that unfortunately cannot be answered definitively. . Melatonin affects each individual differently based on factors such as dosage, age and sleep quality.
Where Can I Get Melatonin?
Melatonin is sold at most drugstores and grocery stores as an over-the-counter supplement. It comes in many forms so you can find the gummy, pill or liquid ingestible that most agrees with you.
Is Melatonin Expensive?
Due to its widespread popularity as a sleep aid, melatonin supplements are relatively inexpensive. Bottles of 60 to 120 capsules can cost between $7 to $15 on average.
The Bottom Line
In summary, melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body that regulates sleep. It’s available in supplement form to help those experiencing trouble sleeping.
While melatonin supplementation is generally safe, it's important to talk to a healthcare provider before taking it to ensure potential side effects are taken into consideration. Furthermore, frequent use of high-dose supplements should generally be avoided due to potential long-term consequences.
If you’re looking for other ways to combat sleepless nights, check out our blog on what to do when you can’t sleep.
Is it hard to wake up early after taking melatonin?
Some people may have difficulty waking up early after taking melatonin. Some may also experience grogginess upon waking and daytime sleepiness – particularly after taking extended-release pills.
How long does 10 mg of melatonin last?
While the lasting effects of melatonin depends on the user and an array of other factors, 10 mg of melatonin may last in the body for up to 10 hours. The recommended initial dose is 1 to 5 mg.
Why can’t I sleep after taking 10 mg of melatonin?
If you can’t sleep after taking 10 mg of melatonin, you may be suffering from rebound insomnia. Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing any unwanted effects from taking supplements.
How long do melatonin gummies last?
Melatonin gummies can last in your system between 4-8 hours, depending on the supplement’s dosage, your age, metabolism and other factors.