Melatonin Dosage by Age

Posted by Darian Dozier on Apr 12, 2023 4:56:00 PM

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Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone that your brain releases when the eyes sense darkness. For those who do not produce enough melatonin, it can also be purchased in a supplement form. Available forms of melatonin include tablets, liquids, patches, gummies and sprays. 

Melatonin is normally used, and intended to be used on a short-term basis for temporary sleep issues. Melatonin can help individuals with shift-work disorder, sleep-wake phase disorder, and jet lag. Melatonin is normally well tolerated without causing many side effects, but because it is not Food and Drug Administration regulated, it is not monitored. This means there could be variations in dosage, as well as other potential health concerns if it is not taken with caution. 

Continue reading to find out more about melatonin dosage by age.  

Melatonin Dosage for Adults

There is not an official melatonin dosage for adults, but the dosage i1-5 mgs seems to be effective. Adults can take melatonin a few hours before bed in order to benefit from its effects.

In pregnant or breastfeeding women, melatonin use should be avoided without first consulting a physician. There is not sufficient research or evidence supporting the safety profile or melatonin in this population. 

In older adults, melatonin use can become more common due to waning amounts of melatonin over time. Older adults should take the lowest possible dose as this may help with sleep without disrupting their circadian rhythms and inducing daytime drowsiness. Older adults with dementia should avoid melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. 

Melatonin Dose in Pediatrics 

Most children can tolerate short-term, small doses of melatonin. Parents should still consult with their child's doctor prior to administering melatonin. The effective dose depends on the underlying sleep disorder that children are experiencing. Those with insomnia may benefit form 1-2 mg that can increase depending on age. 

Side effects of melatonin use in children include: 

  • Agitation 
  • Bedwetting more than usual 
  • Dizziness 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Headaches 

Health professionals may recommend melatonin for children with conditions that affect sleep like autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and secondary causes of insomnia. Melatonin supplements can improve overall sleep times by 25-48 immuntes in children with these conditions. 

Still, there have yet to be a sufficient number of studies on melatonin in children for experts to define a recommended dose with long-term safety risks. Because melatonin is a hormone, taking it could affect other aspects of hormone development, but this has yet to be investigated. 

Before giving your child melatonin, consult with your doctor to ensure there are not other sleep habits or behaviors you can try first. 

What's the right dose for you? 

It is best to start with the lowest recommended dose of melatonin for your age. You can gradually increase the dose until you find one that helps you sleep without side effects. A safe starting place for more adults, as mentioned above, is 1-5 mg. Over the counter melatonin may come in standardizes amounts like 1 mg, 3 mg, or 5mg. You can use a pill cutter to cut the pills into the right dosage for you. 

When to consult your physician 

To ensure you are taking the safe, and recommended dose, it's best to consult your doctor before taking any over the counter sleep aid. They know your personal history, and can best advise you on the appropriate dosage for you. They also will now if melatonin has any adverse interactions with other medications or disorders. 

Certain health conditions and medications can increase your risk of experiencing side effects with melatonin. If you take birth control, blood thinners, immunosuppressants or corticosteroids, blood pressure medication, and warfarin or other anticoagulants, discuss with your doctor before adding a melatonin supplement. 

In addition to conditions and medications, other contraindications for taking medication include belonging to any of the following populations: 

  • Children 
  • Dementia 
  • Depression 
  • Epilepsy 
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding 
  • Shift workers

Research is still being done to explore the effects of long-term use of melatonin and potential side effects. If you are taking melatonin and continue to experience sleep issues, then it may be time to talk to a doctor. Please click the orange button below to take a free online sleep test and talk with one of our sleep health professionals. 

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Topics: melatonin

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