Can You Overdose on Melatonin?

Are you worried about your melatonin dosage? Do you have severe nausea and sleepiness? If you want to know the symptoms that indicate a melatonin overdose, then join us for more comprehensive details.

Tossing and turning in your bed at night can be frustrating. What’s even more frustrating are the side effects that can come by due to lack of proper sleep. Sleep is essential to your mental and physical health, and if being unable to get an appropriate night's sleep becomes a pattern, then you have a huge problem.

What can you do if you want to sleep faster and get better quality sleep each night? Well, you could try and use melatonin, a supplement, to help you sleep better at night. However, you have to be aware of the drug’s dangerous side effects which may include overdosing, but first, what is melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced by the pineal gland in your body. Melatonin plays different roles in the human body, but its main job is to regulate the sleep-wake cycle. This sleep-wake cycle is a natural process, and it's known as the circadian rhythm.

What is the Circadian Rhythm?

Circadian sleep-wake rhythm

The circadian rhythm is a natural process that is responsible for our sleep-wake cycle. The circadian rhythm is linked to the events of the earth’s rotation around the sun which results in day and night. Exposure to the light and darkness triggers your body to respond by decreasing and increasing the hormone's production, respectively, which makes you experience a sleep-wake cycle.

How does Melatonin Influence your Sleep-Wake Cycle?

Your body produces more melatonin when it’s in the dark, and this signals that it’s time to sleep. The hormone’s levels drop in the morning, when you are exposed to sunlight, also signaling to your body that it’s time to wake.

Sleep-Wake Cycle with melatonin

People with normal levels of melatonin in their bodies have a regular sleep-wake cycle. However, some people have a hard time regulating how and when to produce melatonin. These people often end up having low levels of melatonin in their bodies, which causes them to have a hard time getting to sleep.

Solution: Using synthetic melatonin in the form of pills.

  • Synthetic Melatonin Pills

Medical melatonin is a synthetic form of melatonin that is produced in a laboratory and made into pill form. These pill supplements can be placed in the cheek or under the tongue for quick absorption into the bloodstream. The pills are used to help trigger the body to sleep.

Synthetic Melatonin Pills

They are commonly used by people who’ve been affected by jet lag to help them sleep after a long flight and adjusting sleep cycles for people with shift-work disorder. The pills can also be used to help people establish a day/night sleep cycle, and as a way for insomniacs to enjoy better sleep.

Is it possible for you to Overdose on Melatonin?

Yes. While the pills are great at what they are meant to do, not a lot of research has been done concerning the dosages; therefore, the chances of you overdosing on the drug are a bit high. Different people have different reactions to synthetic melatonin, and the drug has some side effects.

Overdose on Melatonin

However, the intensity of these side-effects varies from person to person, depending on their sensitivity to the drug. Different people have exhibited different reactions to the drug, and this has made it difficult to determine the maximum safe dosage in both children and adults.


When taken correctly, melatonin is safe for adults. However, an overdose can result in several unpleasant symptoms. Long term usage of melatonin is safe for adults, although long term research needs to be done on the matter.

Melatonin Overdose on adults

However, there have been cases of up to two-year usages that have produced no side effects after its discontinuity.

Currently, there is no optimum dosage for melatonin supplements, but the general guidelines state that adults can take doses of between 1 and 10 milligrams. However, it is believed that amounts in and exceeding the 30 mg range can harm you and may lead to an overdose.

The best thing for you to do if you want to avoid any overdose is to consult with your doctor. The doctor will help you start slow with smaller doses until you find what works best for you.


An estimated 75% of school-going children don't get enough sleep, and this can affect their mood, ability to pay attention in school, and even their eating habits. Some parents give their children melatonin supplements to help them sleep better at night.

Melatonin Overdose on Children[

Melatonin is mostly used by children with neurological conditions such as ADHD, autism, which affect their ability to fall asleep. Melatonin has also been known to be used by healthy children to help them sleep better and quicker.

Doctors conclude that short-term use of melatonin as a sleeping aid for children is not harmful, but it should be done under the strict directions of a doctor. However, they are not very sure about the drug’s long-term effects. Further, long-term research needs to be done before they can give us any further directions.

What are the Symptoms Indicating an Overdose?

Melatonin Overdose Symptoms

The FDA does not approve melatonin supplements for use by children. So, if you notice that you, your child, or loved one experiencing these symptoms, then you should see a physician or call an emergency hotline.

Daytime sleepiness

Daytime sleepiness

Taking the supplements in excess or taking them during the wrong time of the day can cause you to feel drowsy, which can be dangerous, especially when you’re driving or operating any machinery. You shouldn’t take the drug during the day or too late in the night if you’re not sure you’ll be able to have at least nine hours of sleep.

Hormonal changes

Hormonal changes due to melatonin

Using melatonin, which is a hormonal substance, increases the probability of experiencing hormonal imbalances, especially if you take it in large doses. Pregnant women are not advised to take the supplement since it may interfere with the pregnancy. This fact has not been thoroughly confirmed or disproved. Therefore, taking the supplement may cause more harm than it helps.

The drug has also shown the potential to interfere with puberty, sperm count, and ovulation. The drug's effect on your hormonal balance could take time to manifest, or they could happen over a short period. Therefore, you must consult with your doctor before taking the pills.

Headaches and migraines

Headaches and migraines

Some research has shown that taking these supplements can help reduce headaches. However, since melatonin is produced in the brain, the chances are that taking too much can cause a chemical imbalance in your mind, which may cause you to experience more headaches.


Dizziness due to melatonin

Dizziness is thought to come about as an allergic reaction to the drug. This unpleasant side effect may be a result of overdosing or an allergic reaction. It can be disrupting and may affect your daily activities,if you feel any allergic reactions to melatonin supplements you should seek the intervention of a doctor for advice on your dosage.



Taking these supplements in excess may cause you to experience episodes of paranoia. The reason behind this is that melatonin is a hormone that is connected with cognitive functioning. Therefore, taking too much of it may lead to paranoia, hallucinations, and nightmares.

Stomach issues

Stomach issues with melatonin

Melatonin is often accompanied by stomach issues such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and gastric problems, whether they are taken in excess or not. You should discontinue using the medication and seek help from a qualified doctor if you experience any of these reactions.

Anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression

Depression and anxiety are commonly associated with hormonal imbalances. Taking an overdose of melatonin supplements could lead to hormonal imbalances which may cause you to experience episodes of depression and anxiety.

These two conditions could also come about due to withdrawal symptoms as a result of discontinuing the use of melatonin. Withdrawal symptoms may not be a direct result of stopping the use of melatonin, but a psychological effect due to dependency.

Do Melatonin Supplements have Lethal Doses?

Melatonin Lethal Doses

Almost all medical drugs have lethal doses. The lethal dosage, LD50, is the lethal dose where 50% of the subjects would die of exposure. That being said, melatonin has no lethal dosage. The drug is extremely safe, and its lethal dosage couldn't be established. Extremely high doses weren't fatal to test animals.

Which Drugs Should you not Take Melatonin with?

birth control pills

You shouldn’t take melatonin supplements together with birth control pills which cause your body to produce more melatonin. Taking melatonin supplements may cause your body to produce more melatonin surpassing the actual amount you need in your system.

Can you Treat a Melatonin Overdose?

Emergency call for Melatonin Overdose

In case of a melatonin overdose, you should call an ambulance or your emergency hotline. If you're not the one who's in immediate danger, you should ensure that the person whose experiencing an overdose is breathing fine while they are waiting for an ambulance.


Call an emergency number whenever you experience symptoms related to an overdose. You should also make a plan to see your doctor, after you feel better, to assess whether you should continue using the pills and at what dosage.

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