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Vibrant health means you can live life to the fullest. Empower yourself with the steps I used to free my life of chronic disease and medications.

Reader Interactions


  1. You mention melatonin being used for jet lag…what about those (such as nurses) who have night jobs and use melatonin to help them switch back and forth from sleeping at night to sleeping in the day, etc? I have several nurse friends and quite a few say melatonin is one of the only ways they can get to sleep during the day.

    • That’s a great question and I think that is another grey area where melatonin might remedy some of the physiological stress of night shifts. Like jet lag, night shifts are very stressful on the body. One thing that some nurses and frequent travelers do is wear their orange-tinted glasses at night, to help keep melatonin in balance. It may sound weird, but it does help.

    • I use melatonin for 5 days ever 2 to 3 weeks. It’s the only way to get me sleeping thru the night on the shifts where I have to wake up at 3 am. I’m sleepy by 7 and sleeping by 730pm. If I don’t take it I will awake by 10 pm and won’t be able to fall back to sleep. It is he’ll working the 430 amam shift followed by the 830 pm shift then 1230pm.

      Do you think using melatonin on that 3am shift will be benificial

    • My adult daughter has been off melatonin since 2015. How long does it stay in the system and does it damage your hormones endocrin system for good. She has been tested for thyroid and is low normal and cortisol levels are low normal she has gained 30 lbs in a month with no answers. She is an ice skater.

      • She would take high doses of melatonin to get to sleep. She had been on this for quite some time. It was through her brothers endocrinologist that mentioned that she needed to get off this immediately.

      • I used Melatonin on my six year old daughter to help her get to sleep. Within two months she gained seventeen pounds although she is a very active level six gymnast! I have taken her to several doctors and had her thyroid checked, her blood sugar levels checked… no one can give me an answer. Also she started having huge mood swings which was extremely uncommon for her. I have just stopped giving her Meletonin… how long will it take for her to start losing weight?

    • The research I’ve done on pharmaceutical sleeping pills has led me to believe that much of it is biased because is is industry-funded and even though that is the case, the research shows sleeping pills are vastly ineffective. It’s often the placebo effect. I don’t think sleeping pills or melatonin is a good answer. My philosophy about insomnia is that it’s not about taking a pills, it’s about addressing the underlying lifestyle and stress factors.

        • I can only say from my own experience of using Ambien that it took a while to dawn on me that I was not getting into a deep sleep cycle. I would “sleep”, but wondered why at times during the day I felt like I had nearly missed a night of sleep. So after stopping Ambien (and using melatonin occasionally), I comparably had deep sleep cycles. I am still in the process of finding sleep answers. Not all that I’ve read here, or elsewhere, I think is totally accurate. More research is needed. And when you’re one of those that has a deeper existence and more complicated life gang saying (like this article seems to be to some extent), does leave a lot of factors out of the “sleep” picture. It’s not an easy subject at all to find answers to and every person is different==a lot of variables.

      • Not sure what “sleeping pills” you’re referring to, but I wouldn’t consider diphenhydramine, melatonin, or 5-HTP (these are the most common sleep aids) to be operating under the placebo effect.

        • I’ve used Valerian root,and it helps. BUT it also elavates your Liver enzymes (ALT and AST) and that means cell death. Wouldn’t recommend it except maybe every once in a while.

      • I get up at 7 a.m every morning get right into the sun. Have a full busy day working and am so tired by 10 p.m. But I have insomnia. A lot of traumatic events happened unfortunately that don’t allow me to sleep. I would stay awake with negative thoughts and after a few days of no sleep I would see thigs. Drs prescribed me tranquilizers and other unnecessary drugs. I now take melatonin and it helps me ease into sleep and I wake up refreshed with no grogginess or other adverse side affects. And they have tried everything on me.

        • I agree, melatonin is the only thing I have ever taken that when I wake up in the morning I am not in a hazy groggy stupor. I wake up feeling refreshed and energized every time. Nothing has ever done this for me, ever….except melatonin.

          • i totally agree, i’ve been taking 3-5 mg a night for almost 2 weeks and i’m sleeping. i was taking doxipin (antidepressant sleep aid) and wasnt working. I tried uping the dosage and still not sleeping thru the night and doxipin is very constipating. thank god for melatonin

          • I agree , I can not take Tylenol pm or anything else unless I feel like I wake with a hang over ! I have been taking melatonin 5mg at 10:30pm and wake up feeling refreshed and great at 6:30. I love it I use to wake up after 2 hrs of sleep not anymore. About a half hour after taking it I’m OUT like a light !!!

        • I am totally agree.
          3 mg of melatonine is the best thing I hace tried to have a normal and restful sleep, and beleive me I have tried several things.
          The other thing that works for me is doxylamine 50 mg, but I prefer melatonine.

        • I have problems falling asleep, staying asleep is not a problem, I just need something to help me fall asleep, but what worries me, is I have a 17 month old son, and while he sleeps through the night almost every night, there is still the rare occasion that he just so happens to wake up. such as last night, he woke up around 1am, and I was still up..i can have everything dark and quite (it seems harder to fall asleep with everything off) and I will still be up for 2-4 hours later before I finally fall asleep, this has happened for years by the way, so this is not a new onset.

      • Would you be able to provide that research in the form of a published report? This is exactly the kind of information I have been looking for to help me make the call on whether to go down the road of sleep aids to balance my extreme working hours with healthy sleep.

        • My mom is currently being treated for Dementia and Alzheimer’s with various meds. She has been having sleep issues. The DR at the NH put her on 6 mg of Melatonin. I had concerns cause mom had tried melatonin while still at home and stopped after a few days saying she didn’t like the way it made her feel ( jittery during the day). The response I received was “it’s natural” should be ok. A sleep diary was never started and some 10+ days now, my mom is in geri-psych cause she became combative and stopped taking her meds all together. Is it possible the melatonin triggered these events?

          thanks, Ann

      • I do not agree with this article assessment. I was recommended melatonin by my document and this has been a miracle pill for me. After years with chronic insomnia finally I was able to sleep and function. Sleeping issues are complex and depend on the individual; I had tried meditation, extreme sleeping hygiene, but none had worked. by the way this is my 5th year taking continuously every night 3 mg.

        • my son is 17years and he take almost every night too. it’s because he study v late and needs to wake up early and many times he couldn’t fall sleeep so he took melatonin and he can hv a restful sleep and feel refreshed the next month: i am v worried about him taking melatonin as a sleeping pill but now i feel relieved that u took it every night for 5 years so it must be safe. may i know which brand melatonin are you taking

      • Your right and a good workout and swim does wonders as well as a good mattress and going to bed early and getting enough shut eye so your not stressed out the next day.

        I was taking melatonin and all of a sudden i was getting these splitting headaches, and now i stopped it and the headaches are gone, its not natural to use a hormone pill for sleep. There is a lot of research on how it is being abused by so many

  2. I’ve had insomnia for the past 6 months due to extreme stress. I tried melatonin, Valerian root and a few other “natural” products, all to no avail. My ND recently recommended a cortisol blocker. I’ve been taking it about an hour before bed for the past week. I had a hard time falling/staying asleep for the first few nights but now it seems to be working REALLY well. Any thoughts on cortisol blockers?

    • I’m writing a post about using essential oils for sleep and I think it will really help you! I’ll have it ready in the next couple of weeks. The oils I recommend will help balance your hormones (including cortisol) to improve sleep. Personally, I believe this is a much better option than cortisol blockers.

        • You can also try withania somnifera (ashwagandha.) I take it when I’m getting stressed out, it blocks cortisol.. The other thing I use which makes a big difference is Natural Calm– a magnesium supplement.

          • Always been a successful sleeper (at last, something I’m good at) but lately I’ve had a terrible time getting to sleep. Have watched my clock tick over to 4 am many times. Have tried magnesium together with calcium (Tums) in a 1:2 ratio. Does not work on me, although I did not take for more than a few days. People keep telling me that melatonin is the way to go, but I’m not so sure. My job at a college is not stressful and we practice good sleep hygiene (except for the clock watching).

          • Ive had stress to worse degree that included continual nerve coughing for years l went to my Dr 2weeks ago asking for melatonin as l felt my body was unbalanced and l needed melatonin within 24hours of taking 20mg of melatonin my years of coughing has stopped l felt 100%more relax l reduced by taking every 2nd day and l felt hi tension back l would highly recommend for nerve coughing and stability. Let me know if other people have had these successes

      • Hi Lauren, I threw out my melotonin which my ND had prescribed me. Wondering if that caused my insomnia. Did you ever end up writing the post on essential oils which balance hormones including cortisol? I am desperate to try. I haven’t slept for 3 weeks. I am desperate. Thanks for this post. I’m a little late reading it, but let me know just the same when you have a chance. Thanks again,

      • I took Melatonin 1 mg for 3 months after a very stressful family death to help with sleep. It worked….however I suddenly developed chronic diarrhea. Once I figured out it was the Melatonin (after countless tests done by my MD) and stopped the Melatonin, the chronic diarrhea stopped too. I tried half a mg recently & again had severe diarrhea. No more Melatonin for me. It is not an FDA approved drug & has some very negative side effects. I am now using an essential oil (lavender) in a diffuser at night with excellent results.

  3. My husband and I recently bought a house and since we’ve moved in I have slept terribly. I have never had problems falling asleep or staying asleep before. The only big factors that I can think of that May contributing to my insomnia are out new house has no ac and it is a fixer upper so maybe increased stress levels?
    We already follow a pretty natural lifestyle and I have wool mattress. If you have any advice I would appreciate it 🙂

    • This might sound a bit weird but it could be that your bed is on a spot where earth radiation paths cross. I can’t explain it into detail but from what I understand is that there are radiation lines all across our globe, a bit like magnetic fields, and when they cross the energy on such a spot can cause problems like insomnia, restlesness etc. We once had a lady over at our house that could spot these points with a divining rod. We then either had to move some furniture or place metal figures on these spots to guide the radiation towards other directions. We had asked her help because our daughter of then 18 months would wake up up to 20 times a night, screaming her lungs out. We moved her bed, but unfortunately it didn’t help. In the end the poor kid had a stomach ulcer which caused her insomnia. But the explanation about the radiation crossing points made sense. A good example of this is when people have a favorite spot in the house to sit, the energy is just right there. Oh, and she also explained that while these crossing points might cause people to feel uneasy, cats love to lie down on these spots 😉 I hope I didn’t sound like a complete lunatic and you will find out what causes your sleeping problems!

      • Well, there is radon gas that accumulate in your house, but it is impossible for an infant to sense this naturally occurring gas. Radon can kill you over many years (it can be safely mitigated with power ventilation). But I’m not going to buy into the magnetic lines nonsense.

      • You are correct about that. I have bad insomnia and was told, “What is the natural direction you’re head is facing?” North. Up so I was told to lie down with my head facing North. It worked like a charm! My bedroom is weirdly shaped so I can’t always lie that way and when I don’t, no sleep. When I do,(3x a week), I sleep like a baby.

      • My Dad has been paid to balance energy on properties and we did it in my house and on new construction. We literally used wire coat hangers as divining roda, mentally scanned for “bad energy” and when the rods (one in each hand) crossed over themselves-that was the bad spot. We found bad energy spots and drove a piece of rebar into the ground at every bad spot. that seems to help. If your house is slab, then there are issues, but if it is post\beam then you can get to the earth. I think even getting around the house helps break up the bad energy spots. This lady also needs to re-arrange whatever feels off (starting with her bedroom) & maybe some fung sui (spelling) techniques. Laugh at me if you want, I am just saying what has worked for me..

  4. I used to take melatonin a lot- as recommended by my pediatrician when I was a teenager and struggled with insomnia. My boyfriend now is British, and dating him I have realized how normal it is for Americans to just pop a pill for… everything… and how that isn’t the case in the rest of the world. He avoids medications at almost all costs. He has to be in serious pain to take ibuprofen. And I am the one who struggles to respond to medication when I really need it. I think being overmedicated my whole life has led to drug resistances. Why are pills the first things doctors recommend when there is a problem in the states? The whole system needs a thorough overhaul. Great information! I’m throwing away my melatonin 🙂

    • It is encouraging that you can “correct” your system to a bit, though. After going off these for a few months, they became much more effective again. I try not to take medication very much, but I do have some really bad migraines and periods that I haven’t yet been able to fully improve with lifestyle changes, and when I literally cannot go to work because of pain… that’s a problem, and a couple of pills in that case are my compromise.

    • Just one melatonin pill 3 mg and I observe swelling around my eyes and my nose bleeds upon blowing. This really scares me. I have low platelets due to a rare form of leukemia – hairy cell. I’ve read melatonin causes platelet destruction in recent studies so I won’t take it again.

      • I have never heard of any connection between melatonin and platelet depletion. I had extremely low platelet counts due to ribavirin and interferon treatments, and slowly brought them within normal range through years of high antioxidant intake (mostly through foods, no supplements). I have conditions that render sleep nearly impossible, and for three years have taken melatonin 3-10mg at bedtime 4 or 5 times per week. My platelet count continues to rise, and I have no issues with after effects whatsoever. Do check with your oncologist before taking ANY supplement- herbal or otherwise.

    • I think Americans are more prone to popping a pill for a problem because of the influence Big Pharma has on our country. Every other commercial or ad is for a magic pill. If you go to the dr, he will recommend a pill based on kick backs. Our country is run by power and money, not on what is best for us. That’s why research is so important.

  5. would you please guide me to pick up some oils?there are just so many oils out there named as beauty oils and essential oils and its so confusing which one to choose from,so I just wanted to know If I wanted to stick to a mix of oils and go with it ,what would be the most powerful and nutrient dense to use please?

    • I would look into lavender or vitiver essential oil. And also balance and serenity essential blends. Pure oil brands are dōTERRA, Young Living and Spark Naturals, they have oils safe for ingestion. Spark Naturals is probably the most affordable and you can use a code and get a discount. The code is SUNFLOWERS

        • In the case of Lavender and most oils, you can dilute it with a bit of pure oil like coconut oil and rub it into the bottom of your feet. With oils, you do have to experiment a bit. I find for myself that lavender doesn’t help while my friend passes out with it.

      • No oils are safe for ingestion. And DoTerra and Young Living have been proven to not be pure. They won’t even show their MSDS and testing sheets. That is irresponsible. They are companies with great marketing and nothing more. They give out dangerous advice. They push oils that are unsafe for children to even inhale or have on their skin and they push it for ingestion in children. Completely untrustworthy companies. If they won’t show you batch specific MSDS run, and run fast!

  6. Great article!
    I have suffered from insomnia off and on my whole life. I tried melatonin too because it’s so accessible and apparently effective. I bought it in liquid form so I could control my doses. I used to take 2 drops as a last resort. While I feel it did help me sleep, if I woke in the middle of the night I felt drugged. My eyes could only open part way and ,my mind was fogged. 90% of the time I would have a headache the next day and it did give me crazy dreams! sometimes nightmares.
    So now, if I can’t sleep, I use the Bach Flower Remedy for sleep. After a few squirts of that on my tongue I’m guaranteed to be sleepy in 20 mins, it also shuts down my monkey mind.
    I also take magnesium after dinner and a zinc tablet right before bed. This all helps.
    And, (yes I have researched this a lot too) I have been making and taking an adrenal cocktail. Google it if you want more info. Quite often the reason we wake 4-5am and can’t get back to sleep is our cortisol levels from our over stressed adrenals. This cocktail has helped me tremendously.

    • Valerian root from the Valerian root plant is a real sleep and REM pill you get deep sleep that is achieved faster than we normally do thus you get a higher quality sleep and wake up feeling like you slept well!

  7. I wanted to share your article, however, there is a spelling error in the first sentence. If you will correct, I will share with a bioidentical doctor who I see and who has recommended that I take melatonin on a number of occasions, which I also think is wrong…..not that I believe everything that Dr. Oz says….
    Thank you!

  8. I have been taking it for years and will continue to do so. It is the only thing that helps me sleep and I wake up feeling great. To me, this sounds like a bunch of BS!

    • Lauren does a huge amount of research about things, and you can see the evidence of all the research from the rest of her site’s content. I doubt she’s just half-assing this article now. And it all makes sense to me. I also rely on melatonin every night, but now seeing it in this light makes me understand I may want to stop. I will lean on magnesium and maybe seek out some flower remedies for sleeping, instead.

      • Mark’s Daily Apple has very good and more thorough research on melatonin that may muddy up the water a bit for the naysayers. Also, compared to other blogs like RawFoodSOS and The Daily Lipid, this blog is fairly mild in scope and content. Nothing personal against the blogger of course, but I’ve seen what a huge amount of research looks like lol.

    • @Mary agreed! Melatonin changed my life! For years I used to stare at the ceiling unable to fall asleep for 60-90 minutes every night, even though I was tired. With melatonin I fall asleep easily every time. Whenever I skip it for some reason (even if I just forget) I remember soon enough when an hour has passed and I am still awake. You will never convince me this is a placebo effect!

      • AGREE! We have been using it for several years, I give mini doses to both my kids who both have delayed sleep phase syndrome. If they don’t have it they don’t fall asleep until 1-2 am…with school starting at 730. Our pediatrician recommended 3mg of melatonin and VOILA! Normal bedtime, normal sleep & normal wake up! So thankful and I also use it for occasional insomnia.

    • agree about the bs i like the way this helps me fall into a good sleep I used to have the weird dreams at 3 mg mow i just use 1mg and I am liking the sleep effect very much! and no more weird dreams

    • Must admit – in my experience it’s been a family life saver and absolutely does initiate sleep! I don’t know how you would measure detrimental effects in children with multiple neurological diagnoses when lack of sleep is hugely damaging to their life and those around them.

    • I must say melatonin is a life-saver for me for over 30 years.
      I have no problem with the way I feel in the mornings–up and ready to go when eyes are open.

      I will see about the sun theory–if I sleep better after yard work or not.

      • I think if it works for you and you don’t experience side effects, then there is no reason to stop. I have suffered from severe insomnia most of my life. Melatonin does help, but after some time I started getting headaches in the morning, eventually they started waking me up very early and would. Not go away for hours. So it isn’t worth it for me, but everyone is different.

    • I have also been taking melatonin for several years. After hearing Suzanne Somers speak about how we lose melatonin when we age and taking this hormone can help keep us young. Plus I like that I can take it and fall asleep fast. I take 40mg. a night. My Dr’s. have never told me to stop or that I might be harming myself. I am a Holistic Health Coach and I have not read any literature claiming what has been stated in this article. Everyone has their own opinion. Western medicine usually frowns upon what they cannot explain in natural cures. In America the tiny pill rules if it” sold by big PHARMA. So always read between the lines. Melatonin, for me works!

  9. What would you suggest for us Alaskans who have non-stop sunlight for half of the year? I figure my melatonin level is probably very low during the summer. Would that be a good ‘excuse’ to use melatonin supplements?

  10. I stared taking melatonin about a month ago,I recently when off ice cool and my hot flashes was a lot better, but now they are coming back, so is that because of the melatonin.

  11. Love this topic. My sleep quality is terrible: I wake up at least 3 times a night, and as often as every 90 minutes. I want to try the oils, magnolia, 5htp, anything else that might help. Looking fwd to more posts on this!!

  12. I tried melatonin a few years ago. I have chronic insomnia and heard that it helped people sleep. Well it didn’t work for me. In fact it made me hyper so that night I got no sleep at all. I threw the bottle away. So I guess I’m the oddball cause I haven’t heard of anyone else who had this problem with it.

    • That result may indicate other hormone levels may be in such a balance that melatonin doesn’t work properly anymore. Unfortunately, this is a very complicated area to understand! My husband says melatonin makes him have really horrible “waking nightmares” that he has troubles snapping back from, and he feels he doesn’t even actually rest when he takes it. So, a similar confusing reaction. But his brain chemicals are all frighteningly low, and skewed.

      • When you say you “take melatonin”, what dosage and type? I would never take a high dosage (3mg or so) and would only consider the time-release version. I found that 300mg time-release worked well for me to reduce time to fall asleep, deepens sleep, and I hoped it has been improving regeneration of all body’s systems). So my suggestion is only use time-release versions and low dosages… after all, our bodies release melatonin over time, not just at midnight, say…. I am here because last night I read a thought-provoking article about melatonin-serotonin-oestrogen (estrogen for non-Europeans). The article is against the theory that serotonin improves mood disorders and says that melatonin and oestrogen are similar, so I wondered if melatonin could be causing the oestrogen-dominance and inexplicable weight gain I have been seeing lately! That would NOT be good… tried sleeping without melatonin last night (I was very tired) and did sleep “enough hours” but woke up about 10 times, for just a few seconds, I might add… but still annoying…

        • I meant… I take 300mcg time-release melatonin and would not take any more (or the standard, non-time-release version) . PS: I did tell you I skipped my usual melatonin last night… feeling groggy today

  13. I think this post sways from addressing melatonin as a cure for insomnia, and melatonin use in general – which are two separate issues.

    For those many, many people who suffer from moderate fatigue or difficulty falling asleep (who have not been clinically diagnosed to suffer from insomnia), melatonin supplements can be an excellent resource to help induce the natural hormone that is released as “night time” falls.

    As someone already mentioned, those who live north of the 49th parallel (Canada, Alaska, etc.) don’t have the luxury of having moderate/regular daytime & night time hours, which can affect the body’s natural hormone release function for the “sleepy hormone”. For example, where I live, the sun sets at 4:30pm in December and doesn’t rise until 8:30am!!

    Irregular nigh time hours. combined with moderate caffeine consumption, and smartphones, tablets, TV, etc. giving off artificial light and revving up the brain (rather than the natural calming, sleep inducing affect of the orange light of the sun at dusk), temperatures that are too high or too cold, etc. etc. etc. taking melatonin can be extremely beneficial to help your body produce a hormone that it should be naturally producing – withstanding all our modern day technologies and lifestyle choices., i.e. sometimes the body, in this fast-paced world, needs a little extra help to function as it should, cue: quality supplements.

    To quote a pharmaceutical grade supplement company, created by a large team of both scientists and physicians, “Melatonin is excellent for people who struggle with fatigue and falling asleep at night. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone synthesized in the brain that regulates normal sleep and wake cycles. Melatonin levels naturally start to rise in the evening and remain elevated for most of the night, signalling to our body that it is time to sleep. As melatonin levels rise, we become less alert and feel drowsy. [A good quality melatonin] supplement supports the natural increase of melatonin production at night. They are not sleeping pills. When taken at bedtime, oral [melatonin] supplements support the body’s natural circadian rhythms and have been clinically proven to help promote sleep, which restores the body after daily exposure to free radicals and general wear and tear.”

    • And, as always, great post, it made me consider things I wouldn’t normally consider! I really enjoyed it, as well as the weekly newsletters I receive in my inbox!! Thanks Lauren Geersten for creating this fantastic website! It’s been on of my main go-to health resource as of late. 🙂

    • What is being missed by some from the information is that as a hormone which is naturally occurring in the body in accordance to physiological conditions …time of day, light exposure etc… the body should respond and make melatonin, but if we give our body the thing that we are supposed to make we are essentially shutting off our own natural production pathway . We in the US find it easier to do this , treat a symptom, then find the root cause .
      I thought the information very informative, I have a sone who has his nights and days mixed up, now I believe d/t late night exposure to the computer. Thank-you

  14. Dr. Breus is a Ph.D and NOT a Medical Physician!! There are many double blind placebo controlled studies regarding the efficacy of melatonin. Use of melatonin often helps regulate sleep cycle so one stops needing it. As always, sleep hygiene is so important– turning off all electronics one to two hours before bed!!!

  15. I have stopped taking Melatonin after reading an article that pointed out exactly was Lauren mentioned about the hormones.
    As a bad sleeper myself (aged 60) I have also tried many different remedies and what works for me now is, collagen, Montmorency tart cherries and magnesium and the best advice I was given and it works, is no more food after dinner for example 6.30pm. Results – sleeping like a baby.

  16. Everything I read always says to sleep in complete darkness to get a restful sleep, which makes total sense. But I have a bad habit of sleeping with the TV on. I’ll even go to weird extents to sleep with the TV on at friends or family’s house. Is this bad, or how bad is it? How can I get out of this habit? This has been going on a few years now.

      • Again, same boat. I too cant fall asleep without tv on. I now use a fan or if you have a small radio turn the dial all the way to the end for the “white noise” then u wont have to spend money on a separate machine. Used to work work great for my kids when they were sleepless babies and works for me now.

  17. I take it every night, I love it! I do all of the lifestyle changes you recommend, and am healthy. I used to be a really light sleeper, and would wake up so easily. I go to bed at 10pm, take my melatonin while I read, and about 15 minutes later I’m so relaxed I fall asleep into a deep restful sleep. The only “side effect” I have is vivid dreams, but quite frankly I like that, I used to have trouble remembering my dreams and now I do. I can’t see a drawback, I wake up refreshed, no problem in the morning. So, I guess why I’m saying all this is that I think some people need it, and it may not be good for everyone, but it’s been good for me. I think some people don’t produce enough melatonin, so supplementing is only bringing them into balance. I know it’s often recommended for autism, many parents swear by it, and many studies have proven it affective. My daughter was completely unaffected by it, but it’s always worked great for me. I’m sure I’ve seen a study about it helping to prevent/fight cancer recently. I’ve also read it’s good for GERD, I suffered with that before, I’m not sure whether it’s coincidence or all the other natural remedies I did to cure it, but I don’t have it anymore either.

    • I too have always had trouble falling asleep, and take melatonin and in about 15 minutes i am tired and fall asleep. I never wake in the night, rarely dream, wake up fully rested, never tired in the day and see nothing negative about it. I’m 55 and have had no hot flashes, and went thru radiation therapy for throat cancer with few problems. It was recommended that I take melatonin to help my body make new cells. I never had to have a nap in my whole treatment period. 5 days a week for 7 weeks. The doctors and nurses at the cancer clinic could not believe how well my body took the treatment when the other people taking the same treatment had some pretty awful things happen because of the radiation. I never get colds or flus or any other illnesses. Just need help sleeping and this seems to make my life perfect!

  18. I want to do more research, but meanwhile I’m not swallowing this article hook, line, and sinker. I know way too many people, including my own kids, who have been helped tremendously by melatonin. I have not seen any bad side effects at all with my kids, or anyone else I know that takes it. At this point we plan to continue using it as it has been such a huge blessing and help. Different things work for different people and its just not possible to apply everything to every body in the exact same way.

    • I give my 8 year old son melatonin because his Dr suggested it, and it works, he had ADHD and cannot shut down at night. If he doesn’t take it he week be up all night wired be has not had any bad effects from it.

      • Same with my 15 yr old daughter. She is adhd-inattentive, has been diagnosed with general anxiety disorder andbd I am suspecting more and more that she is on the autism spectrum with mild Aspergers. She has a terrible time getting to sleep because her mind just will not shut off. She takes a 10 mg time released melatonin pill and she gets to sleep easier and stays asleep all night. When she took the non-time released pull she would have issues with waking in the middle of the night and not being able to get back to sleep because again, her mind would be racing. I take a 3 mg pill once in a great while if I see 11pm and I’m still wide awake. I know that I’ll be up forever if I don’t. But that happens only a handful of times each year. The melatonin has been a huge help for my daughter and she will continue to utilize it.

        • same with my 2nd eldest son he has taken melatonin since he was 3yrs in increasing doses currently taking 10mg (15yrs old). Prescribed by gp at first as from baby he only evr sleept a mx of 4 hrs a night but this was carried on by C.A.M.H.S when he was diagnosed with ADHD co-morbid ODD. It has been a god send for myself as single parent i was pretty dead on my feet, my son also has only had bennefits from taking it although thhe last 2 mths he has needed it less think teenage hormones can be thanked for that. The point i wanted to raise is how can our bodies make melotonin like they should do when, our water sources, immunisations, toothpaste food are all full of fluride and calcium both of which form a calcium shell around the pineal gland (third eye), the pineal gland is ressponsible for making melatonin and seratonin in the body.

      • Same here, melatonin has saved our family. My son, age 10 has always had a sleep disorder including night terror and sleep walking and insomnia. Started using melatonin 6 months ago with zero side effects and he can now go to bed at a normal kid hour!!! 830 pm and we get up around 7. Its bliss.

  19. I have dystonia and as a result sleep little. I’ve tried all of the above plus some.Nothing worked until my neuro recommended Melatonin because it works for his Parkinson’s patients. I don’t want a pill. I was skeptical, but I tried it. It helped. If this is bad, what are my other options?

  20. When I was working at a health food store parents were starting to come in to buy it for their kids, doctors are recommending high dosages, it was really scary. I warned people not to do it, but of course the doctor is always right, and it’s “natural”.

  21. The other option is long term healing, of the nervous system, of stress response, using herbs and lifestyle. Like healing anything in the body naturally it takes time, patience, and a long term commitment to to trying lifestyle changes.

  22. I have a daughter that is six years old an has been blind for going on three years an has a very hard time gettin to sleep her body just keeps going so I have used melatonin an it works but I am also worried it might have sum thing to do with the reason she went blind from a bacterial infection in her brain that caused an abscess on her eye nerves that made her blind but it dose help her get tired so is it ok to use in her situation not being able to see any light it’s always dark what are your thoughts..

  23. really great article Lauren. the only other thing that i would add is that externally supplementing with melatonin actually impacts the body’s internal self regulation and makes it produce less. Much better to trigger the pineal gland to release melatonin naturally. love that you are putting this out there

  24. Would the hormone therapy also apply to 5-htp? I have cycles of depression, but don’t want to take the prescription medication. I take the 5-htp as long as I feel depressed

  25. Just wanted to thank you for this article and your links to useful products, especially the Flux app. It was pretty life-changing. Glad I am following this wonderful newsletter.

    • Totally agree!! I am often up late working on my computer. I knew the light from electronics was bad but I didn’t know there was a way to filter it out. I even downloaded on for my phone. (If you’re Android, check out the Twilight app.)

  26. Hi Lauren,
    Usually I love your posts but while I agree with you that the more we can work with insomnia or sleep issues without taking external substances the better, there are many statements in this article that just go against most of what I have ever read about Melatonin.

    For starters I would love to see some references about Melatonin being a stress hormone. I could find none other than the article that you linked to in your article, and that one has no studies or back up attached to it. How is it a stress hormone? What does that mean? Adrenaline and cortisol are hormones created when we are out of balance after long term stress, and they prevent sleep. But oxytocin is a hormone that women make when subjected to stress, but also when happy and cuddly, its the bonding hormone we make when nursing and certainly doesn’t impede sleep.

    My experience with melatonin is that it works sometimes, and sometimes not, but at a time when my hormones were desperately imbalanced from stress it was a lifesaver in terms of sleep, which then diminished my stress. Some forms work better and some are less effective. It seems to me that it is all personal. and each human being has to figure out what works for him or her.

    But the hard science that I have read, like the meta analysis that one reader posted, indicate that melatonin is helpful for many sleep disorders and that it does not diminish in efficacy over time, which would lean in the direction of indicating that the body does not become accustomed to it and therefore stop producing its own in any significant way. So I think it would be very helpful if you could post some links to articles that support scaring people away from melatonin. My osteopath gives it in large doses for cancer as there is increasing evidence that it is one of the most effective antioxidants that exist. I wouldn’t want someone who needs it to steer away without more solid evidence.

    And the person whose article you quoted seems to have an axe to grind of her own as she is selling a book of her theories on sleep. She also states in her notes that Dr. Mercola is not always right about things and has reversed his stance on grains because it was hurting his health not to eat them and that he now advocates eating grains. I have not seen anything like that on his website. He did change his stance on eliminating all carbohydrates, so he now says they are necessary in limited amounts , but he does not mean grains as far as I can tell. So I am suspicious of the science behind this and would like to know more of why you believe melatonin to be damaging, with some concrete proof.

    thanks so much,

  27. Hi Lauren, Thank you for your site in general and all the useful information that you post. I would differ with you a bit on melatonin and hormones in general: there is indeed a place for their use when it is well-supervised and within physiological ranges.

    There might be good reason to put a “caution” tag on over the counter melatonin supplements that people can take habitually without attending to the lifestyle issues that are keeping them awake. But lifestyle attention doesn’t always cut it.

    Melatonin production declines with age, and low melatonin levels are a risk factor for breast cancer and other problems. I recommend low dose (0.3 mg) melatonin, taken with its precursors, for 1-3 months to re-establish a normal sleep cycle, along with all of your other recommendations and a few more!

    I continue that support if regular sleep isn’t established.

    Melatonin is also used in higher doses in naturopathic treatment protocols for cancer survivors and is correlated with prolonged remission, particularly in hormonally sensitive tumors.

    Caution yes, avoidance, no, in my opinion.

    • This is an interesting discussion. More than three years ago, I was treated for invasive ductal breast cancer with estrogen receptors. On the recommendation of a naturopath, I take 21 mg. (the largest recommended dose) of melatonin. This is in the form of a prescribed capsule through a compounding pharmacy. It is prescribed because it is thought to help fight cancer. It also helps with the insomnia brought on by the taking of tamoxifen (which I now take) and aromatase inhibitors (which I took until a few months ago). The oncologist, the surgeon, the radiation oncologist, the gynecologist and, the primary care doctor all have no problem with my taking this supplement.

  28. I have used melatonin for a while now. As a nurse I have different shifts and a 2 year old week doesn’t understand this. I don’t use it every night and even I do use melatonin I use very small dose 0.5-1 mg in a large glass of water. It is the only thing that leaves me feeling great the next day and turns my mind off at night. I also made an essential oil rub for my feet at night. I use lavender, clay sage and marjoram mixed with coconut oil. Plant therapy also sells essential oils at an affordable price and had actual aromatherapists to speak too. Therapeutic is a made up term in the essential oil world used by most companies. Please do not ingest oils even though all natural they can still do damage. You need to do your own research not just believe what people tell you. Especially a person who is trying to sell you a product and has no real education on the product they are selling.

  29. A Specialist at Doernbecher in Portland recommended I begin treating my daughter’s sleeping issues with melatonin when she was about 3 1/2 years old. She is now 7 and Still taking it because she NEEDS it! She was recently diagnosed with Severe ADHD and the message we have tried for IT haven’t worked yet. They have caused problems with her sleep so I am not about to take her off of the one thing that has given her (and me) the much needed assistance to fall asleep and STAY asleep Soundly.

    Prior to the use of melatonin she wasn’t able to go to sleep until sometimes 1 in the morning! She would sleep until as late as 1 in the afternoon as her clock never seemed right and she tossed and turned in her sleep to where she constantly fell out of her Toddler bed so I had to move her to Full size so that she had enough room. I would also sleep late as I had been up ALL night with her!

    Melatonin has made a HUGE difference in our life so I will continue it as long as it takes for her body to regulate itself!

    I’d welcome any comments or information that could help otherwise…always.

    Thank you and God Bless!

  30. My 8 year old has ADHD and a sensory processing disorder. He is on the go 24 hours a day like the energizer bunny. He use to fall asleep the second his head hit the pillow @ 8:15 sharp. We put him on ADHD medications and although they are out of his system by 5 pm he is still super wired and was up talking, playing with toys, and rolling around in bed till at least 9:30. Our neurologist recommended a low dose (1mg) of melatonin and after a lot of research and speaking to his pediatrician we tried it.
    It worked better than I thought. He was asleep by 8:30 and was not groggy in the morning. He did not complain of nightmares either.
    It worked great for us!!!!
    We have a lot of friends also in the same boat too with children on ADHD medications that have been been using Melatonin for years. They all have the same great results and were encouraging me to use it too. I am so glad I did! To each their own. You need to do what works for you.

  31. I have used Melatonin for long time now and love it.

    It is not the quantity but the quality of sleep I derive from it – much more productive, restful and restorative sleep than when I do not take it.

    My wife used to never have problems sleeping but, as we got older, she started having problems too and now she takes Melatonin and loves it too.

  32. I have been taking 3 mg of melatonin nightly for about a year since getting Lyme disease and two confections. sleep is hard to come by. The past four years, I also have had very low progesterone. As of February this year, I stopped progesterone supplementation because I had too many other meds for the Lyme and cos? In May, I had my progesterone checked and now it is really high but my DHEA and cortisol are in line. Could the melatonin have contributed to my progesterone going up?

  33. Last year I was recommended to use Melatonin for my daughter and I. My friend had seen her own Natural Path Guide, said it was the best thing to use for help regulating sleep. Did research to find out if it was true, found no true good answers only that it wasn’t researched tho was .. all natural.
    We used small amounts of melatonin on and off for a few months, some times even daily. If I took to much OR to little I would be stuck awake all gittery. My daughter also would have a cranky attitude even after plenty of care, now I believe it was due to the hormonal change I subjected her to by the Melatonin.
    Thank you for writing this blog. It confirms my fear that I’ve had for the last few months.

  34. Lauren, thank you so much for this wonderful article on Melatonin. I’m going through menopause and thought Melatonin would help with my sleep issues…I just threw the bottle out. This also explains why I gained 20 pounds in one year as another article said it causes weight gain. Do you think it’s okay if I continue to drink my night-time teas? Like chamomile? ~Tamie

  35. Boo this makes me disappointed I didn’t know much about melatonin and have had chronic insomnia for 6 or so years and I’m under the age of 30 so it seems odd to me. Seen tons of drs and have been out in every damn pill ever and nothing words. I use the young living essential oils, those don’t work, I have seen a neurological chiropractor that didn’t work, I’ve done acupuncture as well as eat healthy exercise and NOTHING works. I am waiting for a sleep clinic, it is an 18 month wait I have about 8 months to go lol but I really thought this was safe to take and it actually helped me sleep a few hours a night without feeling insane like everything else.:( I am glad to read about this but it sucks, thank you for the information and sorry for my massive boring story lol

  36. Hello Lauren,
    I came across this article during a search unrelated to the topic of sleep. It is apparent that research studies on melatonin supplements are inconclusive at best. As you said it is a grey area.

    For that reason I would advise against this kind of publication. I am sure that you are highly knowledgeable in your particular field and I have no wish to offend you personally or professionally.

    But with all due respect I feel it’s inappropriate for a nutritional therapist to present their percieved facts and opinions on a still undecided medical matter, even one talented such as yourself.

    In my opinion you simply shouldn’t present facts where you’re not qualified to do so, and the same goes for the psychologist your article refers to.

    I’d like to add that I share your sentiments that a healthy lifestyle cannot be substituted with supplements.

    I just wish that everyone would leave these medical issues to the actual medical professionals while they’re still undecided, rather than risk misleading those people who may confuse ideological opinions with facts.


    – wishing you good health and success in your endeavors.

    • Thank you!

      In addition to Markus’s statement, think is article is actually dangerous too and could lead to worse health issues. Losing sleep or getting poor can send your Adrenal hormones out of whack causes lots of horrible issues like severe anxiety, depression, and Thyroid issues. RX sleep aids are proven to produce a lower quality of sleep and they have endless side effects. I do use oils for many things, but there is no more research on their safety. There also have been cases of toxic overdoses causing death by essential oils.

      For many parents of children with serious health problems, special needs, or other disabilities, Melatonin is many time the ONLY thing allowed to be taken to help their child get sleep. Many RX sleep aids interact with other medications and they also have many side effects.

      Your article wrongfully could lead to parents feeling guilty helping their child sleep by getting them scared of something that’s not proven in ANY way to be dangerous. Sleep is the best medicine for so many problems and to have you possible influence even one parent to pick to have their child lose healing sleep because your making claims without evidence.

      Oils also do not subdue a seriously cognitively disabled child…..Trust me I have tired it!

      You also didn’t mention that melatonin is also a proven powerful antioxidant that is also prescribed by many NDs and MDs for various other health issues (including cancer)….up to 400mg at a time too. 1-3mg…even 10mg to help induce sleep is safest effective sleep method available.

  37. Hi.
    I’ve never seemed to need much sleep. I’m just coming up to 62 & have got by on 4 or 5 hours each night for about 40 years.
    But for the past year or so, I have had problems with waking after 2 hours & then not being able to go back to sleep again. It seems that I go into the dream stage, then wake up, & that’s it ….. my brain is awake.
    I bought some Melatonin but haven’t taken it every night. They’re tiny capsules but say they are 3mg, so I’m a bit worried about taking such a large dose. On the couple of nights i have taken one, it seemed to help a little but, as I said, my problem is not initially falling asleep.
    The doctor has given me a week’s worth of Zopiclone.
    I’m not happy about taking pills (I have never had a headache so don’t even take Paracetamol. !)
    Do you have any other ideas about how I can stop waking up, or how to get back to sleep again after 2 hours? Should I just read & get up & do stuff until my body tells me to go back to bed & sleep again? I don’t really want to get into that pattern. Just wondered if anyone had any ideas. Thanks.

  38. Hey Lauren,

    I just got an email from a Dr. Sears, and he says that we should take melatonin (he prescribes up to 10mg per day to his patients) to lengthen our telomeres.

    Read below his email:

  39. I use melatonin. My doctors (I have a team) allow me to. I have tried other treatments and yes sleep health is important. I’ve had SLE along with several other autoimmune disorders including 2 vicious blood disorders for 18 years. While this article touches on key points of why melatonin is bad, I feel it is somewhat ableist. A good number of people who subscribe to sleep aids are those with “painsomnia.” We are definitely at our wits end…I read this thinking that at the end a variety of treatments would be presented.

    I thank you for this article but I just want to point out that the marginalized group of chronic pain/chronic fatigue/invisible illness/painsomnia are all listening

  40. Had to say something after reading those comments about over-medicating.. Sure, you should think before taking any medication but honestly I can say for myself, sometimes you just have to live with the side-effects of meds.. Because in my case, if I didn’t use my antipsychotics and antidepressants, I probably would’ve ended up dead.. I just need those meds to balance my messed up head.. If I could, I would not use them. But I have tried to live without them and I ended up paranoid, burdened with severe anxiety and anxiety attacks (night time..) and not sleeping for 3 months straight.. So for me, I’d rather sleep, even slightly artificially, than be awake at night.. The only thing that helped me sleep when all of my symptoms were at their worst was proper sleeping pills and sedatives.. And no, it was not placebo.

  41. My son was birn with breathing problems his lungs were under developed it caused other issues at the age of 4 we finally got an answer of why he doesn’t sleep. The sleep lab at Children’s Mercy Hospital ran tests and found out my sons brain does not produce meletonine at all. They told us the only way for him to sleep is to put him on 3mg of meletonine and has been on it for 6 years he sleeps threw the night now and wakes up refreshed. I have read many articles that go both ways about this and I have to say that I will trust the dr. That I am talking to face to face and who has done the tests and has the degree on his/her wallfor me to see before I will belive an article wrote by anyone with Dr’s name I dont even know are real. Yes some Dr’s are wrong and dont know what they are doing but we have to also use our judgement and my judgment is that for 4 years my baby did not sleep then thanks to meletonine he know sleeps and is healhier and mommy gets to sleep know.

  42. “Jet lag should be avoided”.

    How do you suggest that, exactly? Tell my boss I can’t go on that business trip that will put me in a time zone because my sleep schedule will be messed up? Please.

    There are some things in this article I agree with but I’m not buying everything you’re selling here. I was an overnight ER nurse and had to go back and forth between that schedule and a normal one on my weekends. I took melatonin occasionally and never had any problems. To each their own.

  43. I take Power to Sleep every night for about six months now…it really helps me to fall asleep…just read the ingredients…it has 2 mg of melatonin.
    My hormones are unbalanced now…wondering if taking this every night may be the reason?

  44. From 1979 to 2003 I worked night shift, 11P-7A. I had children and spent an unhealthy lifestyle sleeping two shifts, 12P to 5P then a short nap from 7P-930P. Maybe, most times not getting night sleep. Went thru spell of the beer sleeping aid but never a good sleep. I tried two rx meds and one had me wandering around naked and peeing in house. Restoril was one of them. I started Melatonin 1 mg and did fine with no hangover.effect. I did read before I started that more than 1 mg should be avoided but I see up to 5 mg are on shelves now. I am not on night shift anymore and I do take the 2 mg melatonin a couple times a week and do have nightmares/dreams but feel refreshed the next day

  45. i use to take melatonin after I had my son, it helped greatly. It didn’t knock me out like the other pills I was prescribed or suggested. I read an article though that taking it too much can cause problems so I’ve stopped taking them. But my insomniac friend was up for days and he said it worked great.
    I agree with some of the things said in this article, but disagree on some.

  46. I did not see anything compelling in this post that will keep me from using naturally produced Melatonin. It actually sounded as if the information was simply talked in circles. I did, however, see quite a few spelling and syntax errors which leads me question the integrity of the content and the writer..

    My goodness…the very first sentence says, “that’s what Dr. Michael Breus, “The Sleep Doctor,” tells patents who inquire about this popular”…patents?? I think you mean patients.

  47. I used melatonin for four years- 3 mgs before bed every night. I took it for migraines. It actually slashed the migraines by 70% but I now realize that it might have compromised my endocrine system dramatically as I went into meno at 39 and I am all the way through by 43.

    Have you heard of Melatonin use for Migraines.

    Joy Davis

  48. I wonder if you even bothered to do a literature review before writing this blog? I spent a total of 15 minutes searching medline, pubmed, and the cochrane database of systematic reviews and found MULTIPLE articles espousing the safety and efficacy of melatonin for temporary relief of insomnia in elderly, adult, and pediatric populations. Your conclusions seem logical, but are simply not based on science., and you lose credibility immediately when you site Dr. Oz. As a source of information.
    One thing I do agree with on is the importance of sleep hygiene and treating the underlying issue behind the insomnia, especially for those with chronic issues, but for those with jet lag, shift workers, or short term insomnia melatonin is both safe and effective so please stop spreading this muck.

    • I agree Kevin. My experience is positive on melatonin. I hesitated to take any pill, however, the first time I took melatonin was after many years of no quality and lack of quantity of sleep. I took 2 weeks straight. I think what it did for me was to “reset” my nervous system. It felt good to sleep through the night and remember nothing about it 🙂 I still use it occasionally, but I try not to relay on it. I never had side effects.

  49. I have been suffering off and on with insomnia and normally will take a sleeping med, but I don’t take it on a consistent basis, as I worry about building up a tolerance and having to increase the dosage, and I don’t want to be dependent on it. The pill that I use gives me about 6 hours of sleep and I have no hangover in the morning.

    Last night I took Melatonin for the first time, 1 mg, I was told to take it 1-2 hours before bedtime. Within 10 minutes I was very drowsy so proceeded up to bed. I started having nausea and terrible stomach cramps. I felt very warm in bedIand started gettinga very stuffy nose. Then more than once I woke up from a nightmare screaming out loud. I had pain in the back of my head, neck and upper back. At 4 a.m. I had a full blown migraine. All day today I have felt headachy, and disoriented.

    I will never take Melatonin again. I started researching further before I got to this website and there are a number of websites that warn about taking it and the side effects. I don’t think Lauren is entirely wrong for making those statements, it’s not for everyone, just like taking other hormones is not for everyone.

  50. I believe your article is not accurate or is it helpful for those of us who have suffered with insomnia for years. My melatonin regimen along with a dose of magnesium has greatly improved my life with zero side effects for 10 years. As well as allowing me to function during the day better it has also given me much more ability to retain information during the day and feel better in general. I have deep sleep yes and dream vividly but that is what I understand is normal and healthy for most individuals.
    Your comments show no real scientific proof or studies of large samples that would cause me to change a thing that I have been doing for the last 10 years. My suggestion is to check your facts, cite real studies done by real doctors. The alternatives for severe insomnia are prescribed meds and the results of those are very destructive. Your anecdotal remedies do not help most severe or moderate insomnia sufferers such as myself.
    My suggestion for your subscribers is to try it for yourself and if it seems to help then continue on if you are experiencing any side effects that you do not like discontinue use.

  51. Hi Lauren . I found your post very interesting and would like to know your thoughts on melatonin production in the pineal gland off the brain as I had mine removed due to a tumour and take melatonin medication every night to sleep as I can’t sleep at night at all without it . Where is your evidence to suggest then that I don’t need it as I don’t have a pineal gland to make melatonin. I feel I have no choice ! I sleep within 30 min of taking melatonin and wake up refreshed everyday . If there are other options I am jnterested in hearing about them too .

  52. Thank you for the article. My 10 yr old son’s pediatrician and a neurologist that he has seen for very mild Tourette’s (intermittent tics) and ADHD have both doctors have okayed the use of small doses of melatonin (under 3mg) but have suggested he take it only for a short period of time before coming off it. There should be “breaks” from the melatonin, they said.
    He has been off and on for about a year now, maybe more. On the melatonin, he was falling asleep great but waking up in the middle of the night, talking in his sleep and walking into my room, where he would end up on my floor or in my bed. I took him off it completely a month ago, and though it takes him a little longer to fall asleep, and it sometimes required me to lay down with him to fall asleep, for the most part he has not waken at night, and he seems more rested in the morning. I feel as if the melatonin, even at small doses, was causing some distress in his sleep, and while it was definitely getting him to sleep, it was not a restful sleep. I think we are done with the melatonin. Very interesting article. I agree with you 100% on finding the heart of the issue instead of just popping a pill.

  53. After not sleeping well or at the wrong times I was diagnosed with sleep apnea and while the use of a c-pap improved the quality of my sleep some of the sleep problems remained. After yet another sleep study it was suggested that I try melatonin but only 1mg or less and to take it 3-4 hours before I went to bed. ( I took one over the counter sleep pill and one or two prescribed sleep pills and will never take another one). The melatonin works well if I take it on time as told. A granddaughter had trouble staying asleep and if she takes it for a day or two then she doesn’t need it for a while. It must reset something in her brain. But it works. I really trust my sleep doc and will keep taking the melatonin. (I’m in my mid-seventies)

  54. I would like to see your research and studies, because I feel that you are biased. I also just read that melatonin IS a sleep hormone, as it is produced to signal nighttime and to prepare for sleep.

  55. Hi, I have an 8 year old son with high functioning autism. His doctor recommend melatonin 1mg at night. Works great but after reading this I’m worried about continuing. It helps him. Without it it takes him an hour or more to fall asleep. His mind cannot turn off and he just lays there. Any suggestions for a safer alternative? Also for myself. Due to stress I cannot fall asleep or stay asleep. Thank you for any input.

  56. I am a RN And work 12 hour day/night rotation. I do not have too much trouble sleeping but I use the melatonin after night shifts as it is an antioxidant that my body does not produce when I am working nights. There are a multitude of health problems that come along with long term shift work and there are theories that this has to do with decreased melatonin production. What do you suggest as alternatives to melatonin supplementation in this instance?

  57. Excellent article. I still read comments all over the place, melatonin regulates this and that, melatonin’s all about falling asleep. Melatonin is about seeing in the dark, and the emotional/psychological associations that come with that. If it’s getting dark, then your mind is getting out of hunting phase and into reward/unwind/imagine phase.

    Obviously if you don’t have a pineal gland you would have to take melatonin, otherwise your brain will start synthesising it in your eyes, and you’ll go blind.

    No surprise at all that melatonin supplements work well for those on changing shift work, or for jet lag, or for ADHD either really. Makes sense. Supplementation would only ever be useful for anyone needing to force their brain into melatonin mode unnaturally.

    Article is spot on, melatonin is not a sleeping aid in itself, not for standard insomnia, good for shifting/forcing onset of dark/light rhythms.

  58. I have Asperger’s Syndrome. I’ve tried all the “alternatives” but I still had terrible insomnia. My doctor suggested I take melatonin, because people on the autism spectrum usually produce too little melatonin and their brains don’t get the hint that it’s time to go to bed. The “harmful, ineffective” pill actually works. Call me crazy, but I’m more inclined to trust someone with a doctorate degree over someone who probably has no medical training.

  59. hi, does anyone here suffer from chronic fatigue? I have been having headaches n fatigue 24/7 for 3.5 months (6 months postpartum) though i can sleep very well cuz my sleeps all night but i have pressure headaches n severe fatigue all day,someone has suggested melatonin, would it help? Confused

  60. I’m concerned about this. I have been worried for a while that I am not a deep enough sleeper – I am a light sleeper and am usually conscious enough through the night to rearrange my hair and blankets, for instance, when I shift into a more comfortable position. I very rarely dream (yes, yes, “that I know of”) and was worried I might not be getting proper sleep cycles (I usually sleep for at least 7 – 8 hours per night and detest waking up, as well). I took melatonin for the past two nights and had dreams I can recall both times. I really enjoy dreaming and wanted to continue to use the supplement. Do you have any insight into what might be going on?

  61. Hi there, i am a mother of a 2.5 year old who takes hours upon hours to get to sleep and have tried every trick in the book really. Recently i took my daughter to the doctor who prescribed melatonin 2ml per night, I bought i yesterday and she has had two 1.5ml doses. Last night she fell asleep in no time at all, and tonight she is extremely groggy and disorientated. Something just doesn’t seem normal, hence this post to ask is it safe for infants or has there been scientific evidence to conclude it is not?

    • you said you took your little one to your pedi and he said it was ok? so if you have a question/concern about it then you need to call and talk to him or his nurse….just completely out of curiousity, why would you ask someone who we don’t even know if they have a doctorate, rather then talking to your pedi about your concerns

  62. Wow, Mike Breus, Ph.D. has never published an actual research study regarding his findings or anything of the like. He’s just another guy who jumped through hoops for a little longer in order to receive a more prestigious title and a higher paycheck. He’s just another tv personality quack who makes claims and expects everyone to accept them because you can address him as “Doctor.” Oh, you say he was on Dr. Oz? Sure, appearing as an entertainer on a tv show sponsored by private companies really legitimizes his findings (sarcasm).

    I hope you know Ph.D. Means doctorate in philosophy. Not medicine. Not biology. Not nutrition.

    When you build your house on a foundation of sand, it sinks (It’s an analogy, by the way).

  63. I would like to take issue with a few things you say. First, there is no negative feedback for melatonin as there is for say thyroid hormone. The only inhibitory influence on melatonin production is daylight and cortisol production. Secondly – a WORLD of difference when considering supplementing in the young, who should have nice healthy levels of melatonin, and in those over 50 whose levels declined with each decade and might have trouble sleeping that is aging them prematurely. Finally, melatonin has huge benefits when properly used, and well formulated. Returning cyclic sleep is huge and more valuable than thinking of it as a sleeping pill. It’s also a great immune booster, and safely used (helpfully used) in HIGH doses with oncology patients.
    BUT overall, I agree with you – that there have to be lifestyle modifications first and they will best support melatonin properly used. I clearly have to write a column about melatonin for my website!

  64. With all due respect, this article is weak. You are clumping all hormones into a “negative feedback system” of which you have no knowledge. Melatonin is not known to be involved in any negative feedback systems that I am aware of. You give no examples of even hints of short or long-term side affects associated with melatonin use. I agree that it is best to try lifestyle modifications first, but the fact is that some people need additional aids for sleep. I agree that it is best to err on the side of caution when supplementing (especially hormones), but this article is a weak, unscientific opinion and should be regarded as such.

  65. You keep saying “for insomnia” it is not promoted for insomnia but for occasional sleeplessness. Says so on the bottle. As soon as you used a Dr. Oz reference I discredited anything your article said due to the FACT Oz (not a doctor) has no truth to what he says. Real doctors and scientists have proven there is no data to support the garbage he spews on his show.

  66. I don’t think you have a clear understanding of what insomnia is? Insomnia is a chemical imbalance in more than just melatonin and it doesn’t matter if you stick to a sleep schedule or use a sun lamp or get a new mattress. Insomnia isn’t just “I can’t sleep” it isn’t just not falling asleep by your bedtime. It’s literally the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep and it affects every aspect of your life. None of those suggestions you made would help someone with actual Insomnia. It would just be stressful on top of not having slept, and likely expensive

    • i agree most people don’t really suffer from hardcore insomnia. having a night shift and jet lg is not insmonia!!!!

      and if i be honest this post is rubbish, it just slates the drug and i read for about 15 mins and there is nothing factual on here, its just lots of hot air. i am a scientist and a massive insomniac. i have been like this most of my life (25 adult years). . . its 5.45 am and i have not slept all night.

      really, this post is annoying, because there are lots of big flashing warning signs and not much reasons. i just got bored reading and started scanning after that an nothing much changes, this looks more like lobbying than helping.

  67. Okay, I’ve read the blog and all the posts under it. I’m picking up some melatonin tonight (in a small dose) and trying it out. I’ll let you know how it goes. I get the feeling it works differently for different people. We’ll see.

  68. Sorry, I just don’t agree with your blog. I have done a lot of research on melatonin and it is not dangerous as you infer. It helps me tremendously fall asleep. I was having trouble with my cortisol levels, and this is the only thing that has worked to make me sleepy at night. I do not believe anyone has been harmed by melatonin.

  69. As I’m sure you know and as others have commented, one produces less melatonin as one ages. I’m 62 and since starting to take about 150-250 micrograms of melatonin right before bed, my sleep quality has improved tremendously.

  70. As doctors, we are trained and taught to give unbiased professional medical advice. However, I found this article to be very personally opinionated and not suitable for actual medical advisement or teaching on the use of melatonin.
    Also, this “research” was pulled from one also very opinionated source that premeired on Dr. Phil; this is not a credible show for true professional medical advisement.
    Please read the article below to get a broader perspective on the true effects of melatonin from an unbiased point of view.

    • I couldn’t agree more with Nicole. And on a side note, a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner only has to go through nine months of schooling and has very little depth of actual medical and scientific knowledge on practicing and prescribing medicine. Please seek medical advise and help from a medical professional.

  71. I have problems with taking melatonin in any form whether it be in foods or in a supplement. Several years ago I was having problems sleeping, so I took 3mg of melatonin and was up all night with the jitters and very restless. So I decided to take it in it’s natural sense (in foods) or in this case liquids. I tried some tart cherry juice, 1/2 cup half an hour before bed and it had the same effect. Up all night with jitters. Yesterday I had 1/2 of a raw Chioggia Guardsmark beet, which kept me awake and with a double dose of jitters. I discovered that they have melatonin in them as well. Any suggestion as to what’s up with that? Is it possible that my body produces to much melatonin already?

    • Melatonin has several different effects with different people. With the sound of those side effects, avoid taking it intentionally before bed. You may just be experiencing some adverse effects. My husband is the same way, taking melatonin makes him jittery. If you’re having trouble sleeping, and you prefer a homeopathic route of treatment, I suggest using lavender oil on your wrists and bottoms of the feet, or drinking peppermint or chamomile teas. If your sleeping trouble continues, I advise you to talk to your doctor about it. I have many patients who struggle with sleeping and everyone is different, melatonin does not work for everyone and there are many more options than what I’ve listed. I hope this helps, Marie.

  72. I’ve been taking up to 50 mg of melatonin a night. I’ve recently been having tightness in my chest but wonder if the two are related or if there’s something else happening

    • 50 mg is quite a bit, but I understand the feeling that you need more in order to sleep. However, I do suggest that you cut down your intake to 10 mg or less. If you’re experiencing constant tightness in your chest, please go see your doctor as soon as possible. Your chest feeling tight could be an indicator of a bigger problem that needs to be checked out right away, and while you’re there you would be able discuss other options for sleep aid if you feel that melatonin is not helping.
      If you would like information on what I know to be good sleep aids and remedies that my patients have done well with, please let me know.
      I hope that you get to feeling better soon, Mary.

  73. It is good advice to try the list of methods for getting a good night’s sleep before popping any pills.

    Because melatonin is a hormone you might think that taking it would upset your body’s hormonal balance but the evidence so far is that it does not and it does seem to help achieve a more healthy sleep pattern. When mine arrives I will know! I am actually going to try it for its antioxidant properties which have also been verified by a mass of studies you can find using Google’s academic search. Even more useful is the fact that it protects your skin from sunburn in a cream I can only find in the US or Europe!! How amazing is that! Typical of the UK that nobody uses it in sunscreens. (Of course you can’t then go and toast in the sun for as long as you like. Normal precautions still apply.)

    I always search for harmful effects and negative views but I can’t find any based on scientific evidence – at least not for adults. And of course if you take other medicines you should check with your doctor.

  74. Hi: here is MY problem. As you know the body breaks down protein to tryptophan to 5-htp to serotonin to melatonin. I have MANY gene mutations that effect this process!!!!! I was going to try tryptophan but heard that not processing this right can cause problems to get worst. So since melatonin is last and can pass BBB I was going to try as I have MAJOR sleep problems!!!! If you can what would you suggest in my case???
    note: I even have a CLOCK gene mutation and was kicked out of my ND’s office for knowing to much!!! Oh well. What a COMPLEX mess!!!!!

  75. This was an awesome article. I normally take blogs about nutrition and health with a grain of salt, but this read substantially and had many details I was slowly learning about coming into full.

    I took way too much Melatonin during these last couple of years, but I figured it out just this last week. It will take me a while to get my hormones back in balance naturally. But I at least learned and now I have more information to understand why I felt like crap and never really “slept”

  76. Have periodically taken Melatonin which has been very helpful in having a solid night’s sleep.

    I would suggest visitors read additional material on this topic to be well informed.

  77. I just thought I would drop you link to a meta analysis about melatonin and sleep:

    19 clinical, double blind placebo controlled studies were included with over 1600 patients. Melatonin was shown to shorten the time to fall asleep, improve the sleep quality, while the sleep length was just slightly enhanced.

    Melatonin is not a medication which will let you fall asleep like benzodiazepins, but these medications also do not provide real restful sleep. They even interfere with REM and deep sleep phases. So compared with the available medications Melatonin IS a real sleep aid. But yes it is also a hormone which does control the circadian rhythm and so has a profound effect on the health, yes it should be used with caution but the scientific trend says it will do more good then harm, when used properly, especially in older people.

  78. Gave my granddaughter a 5 mg,she is 8, she went to sleep as soon as her head hit the pillow,got up real good for school,any other time I would have to yell at her to get ready, Melatonin is a life saver

  79. Hi Doctor,

    I am working in a call center in the Philippines and we usually work at night. There are transition schedules where we go back to the morning shift. I took a melatonin (OTC) last night so I can go back to the normal sleep routine and my head really hurts today (whole day). I felt so sleepy all day. Is this a common side effect? If yes, how soon will I be able to go back to the “SLEEPY AT NIGHT AND ENERGIZE IN THE MORNING?”

    Thank you very much

  80. Would u consider 1.5mg of melatonin excessive for a child that is 6 years old? My daughter is a night owl so our doctor said 1-3mg is safe. We only give her 1mg a night and it works very well with helping her fall asleep. Without it she would be up until 11pm. We also don’t let her have sugar past 5pm.

  81. Might I suggest you get the advice of you healthcare professional and not a blogger. My child with ADHD has taken Melatonin for many years as needed for sleep assistance at the advice of his DEVELOPMEMTAL PEDIATRICIAN at the world renowed Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia. I have taken melatonin on occasion for sleep issues. It works, it works well and there are no side effects. Stop believing everything you read on the internet and seek real medical advice.

  82. I have taken this for 20 years and find it helps me to sleep SLIGHTLY better. Just enough to notice. I detect no grogginess– just feel a bit more well rested. I notice no withdrawal or profound difference if I stop taking it, which I typically do on vacations when there is simply less on my mind.

    So, my case, I detect a small positive effect, and no ill effects. I am certainly not going to stop because this person tells me to. The only other supplement I take is a multi-vitamin.

  83. Any suggestions for people who have no trouble falling asleep (literally can/have slept for 14-16 hours straight) but do not get restful sleep? In a recent sleep study I came back to an almost waking state 100 times an hour. I was prescribed a sleeping pill- zopiclone which had no effect. On a whim I bought melatonin 5mg tabs dual action with a quick release layer and extended release core. It’s only been one night so I can’t say for sure if i’m only experiencing a placebo effect. Going to ask my MD at next appointment for suggestions, however has anyone heard of/or had this problem before? *Note I do not have sleep apnea, snore, or have a cardiac condition. I am however on a cocktail of anticonvulsants and antidepressants that I will likely never come off of. Constructive feedback welcome.

    • Temperpedic mattress. I’m not joking. I used to toss and turn because my body would stary aching from laying on the same spot for too long. I tried various regular mattresses and still had the same problems. The worst was, when I’d fall asleep on my side, my hips would start aching from the blood flow being cutoff to ball. This is painful but also dangerous because it will kill all the cartilage and the ball itself.

      All my sleep problems were gone the day my FIL gave me a temperpedic mattress that he bought for his father who never used it. I had the best night sleep ever and have been for years since. I only need 6 hours of sleep now instead of 10 to feel well rested. I wake up in the same position I fell asleep in.

      I tried a terperpedic pillow, however, and it messed up my neck. I stick with my old flat, lumpy pillow.

  84. I tried melatonin small dose 1mg , 2mg and it gives me terrible head aches in the morning ! no melatonin for me ! its all hype and lies . I stay away from supplements , the only herb I take is garlic and oregano oil in a capsule with meal nothing else . oregano oil killed my fungus on my big toe ! every night I soaked my foot on hot pail of hot water with BORAX powder —after 40 minutes I dried my foot and added oregano oil to the toe with fungus after 2month nail fell out ! I was sooo happy before I tried everything for 10 years and this worked ! amazing medicine oregano oil and Borax powder for toe fungus !

  85. I have very mixed feelings about this article. On the one hand, I am quite grateful to the author for making a number of positive suggestions regarding other, very reasonable alternate solutions to the problem of insomnia. I also respect (and entirely agree with) her perspective that melatonin is a hormone, and thus it should be treated with a great deal of respect. Where I differ with her opinion – markedly – is in assuming that this automatically means that melatonin supplementation must be bad. I came here seeking information. For the most part, what I read was opinion. If the long-term use of melatonin has not been adequately studied and the answer is not known, that is information, and I gather that that is the case. Where the short-or-medium-term use of melatonin has been shown to cause substantial harm or result in substantial benefit, that would also quality as information. But fear and loathing? Not information- just speculation. It is well known that as we age, the pineal gland atrophies and that melatonin production falls off substantially. I have also seen (decades ago) reports from studies involving mice or rats that purported to show dramatically lengthened lives in aged animals that had (pineal glands/pineal stem cells/extracts?) transplanted from younger ones. Melatonin supplementation has been shown to decrease oxidative stress of oocytes, thereby increasing fertility success among older women who are trying to get pregnant. The stuff noticeably improves the vividness/quality of dreaming, suggesting likely improvements in REM sleep and probably increased neuroplasticity. None of this is to say that long-term melatonin supplementation is necessarily safe – it is entirely possible, perhaps even probable, that chronic melatonin supplementation could cause atrophy of the pineal gland. That said, it is also quite possible, perhaps even probable, that careful intermittent supplementation with low-dose melatonin could also have profound benefits with respect to aging. Until/unless these answers are actually known and the mechanisms well understood, claiming “melatonin is bad for you” is as irresponsible as claiming the converse.

  86. You mentioned the fact that with hormone therapy if you take melatonin you can shut off your own natural production. Is this the same as thyroid hormone therapy? I was out of meds 100mg of levythroxine and started taking what I had at the house for 3 weeks until I could get a new perscription it was 75 mg of synthroid. Now the dr Dr says it was normal and put me on 75mg of levythroxine. My meds have never not once felt right. I’m still experiencing all the symptoms, all the symptoms. Should I stop or slow down taking the meds to help Kickstart my own thyroid production again?

  87. “Melatonin is produced in the presence of darkness and it just happens to correlate with sleep cycles.”

    Yes, and why melatonin supplements are helpful is because most people now use so much artificial light in the form of computers, TVs, etc, that is can cause issues becoming sleepy.

    As to “Butter Believer”, I don’t know who she is or why I should care about her research. I don’t care enough to follow the link (no offense) but I find her statement “does not significantly improve total sleep time, nor reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. ” categorically false. Melatonin supplements do in fact reduce sleep latency, IF you take them and then actually make an effort to rest. I suffer chronic insomnia, in the form of sleep latency, until I started taking Melatonin. If you take the meltables AND you lay down and don’t keep doing things, your “sleepiness” kicks in. It takes me less than 20 minutes to fall asleep most nights (it used to be 2 hours.). I do concede if a person takes a melatonin pill and it is not the quick dissolve, they will likely not notice they feel sleepy and will essentially power through it. It is a delicate, natural sleepiness, and far preferable to the benzos I used to have to take regularly to fall asleep. THAT is something that will screw your natural body up righteously! Just my experience and research,.

  88. I am taking melatonin for the fourth day. I don’t have trouble getting to sleep, but staying asleep (and I do work out regularly, walking three miles per day as the doc recommended). I woke up as usual at two am but I did not get up and soon went back to sleep. Don’t know if it’s the melatonin allowed me to go back to sleep pretty easily or simple change of behavior insofar as I didn’t get up as I usually do. Also have a nagging headache and strange feeling this morning. I never ever get headaches, and have to wonder if it’s not the melatonin. I’m stopping it, however, firm evidence or not. Headaches are not good signs. And I feel so crappy, which I usually don’t. I feel bad enough to call my heart doctor. That’s too bad to keep taking the melatonin.


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  90. Have you ever considered looking at melatonin less as a sleep aid to help you fall asleep and more so to help quicken deep sleep? My best friend has an issue with hitting REM stage of sleep too late so by the time her alarm goes off she’s right in the middle which makes her extremely groggy when she wakes up. (This is is a girl who has to sleep an entire 12 hours to feel rested if there is to be no alarm telling her it’s time for work) I on the other hand am not sure my sleep issue. The dr I saw said it was probably idiopathic hypersomnia (however thats spelt) Anyways, when I sleep I sleep way way too heavily. I have slept through fire alarms, security alarms, none the less I can’t here my actually alarm to save my life. That thing scares anyone else. When I do wake up even without anyone waking me I feel gross and still tired so I just go back to sleep even if it’s 12pm! I’ve always been terrified to take any sleeping pill for I was afraid it would only make my problems worse. But I did try my friends method to see of maybe, just maybe it in some relate and help me. It’s only been a week and if you’re interested I will definitely know how it contines to go. Within this week whether I had a beverage in the evening or not I still woke up to my alarm sometimes even before right between that healthy 6 to 8 hr mark at my age I’m supposed to get. It’s almost as if instead of inducing sleep it has somewhat lightened my sleep to a more peaceful rest versus becoming a zombie.

  91. You go into no detail as to why melatonin is bad for you – you mention it influences hormones, and then explain how hormone imbalances are bad, but there’s no factual correlation in this article between melatonin use and hormone imbalance. Do you have references of hormone imbalance from melatonin use? How does melatonin use cause hormone imbalance? Is it gsurenteed that x amount of usage will result in a hormone imbalance?

    • Thats because all the scientific studies say pretty much the opposite of what this article is saying. There is not 1 study I can find that points at increased melatonin causing any hormone imbalance. Quite the opposite actually with study after study finding evidence of a huge amount of problems caused by melatonin deficiency.
      Infact.. the only credible study that seems to be floating about pointing at side effects stated that a 64 year old man felt “disorientated and lethargic after taking 24 mg” … hmmm sounds like he was tired. The same article even states he continued to take 6mg a day afterwards. While people have reported side effects like abdominal pain and hypotension in extreme doses… they are rare… even in the extremities and in these cases the subjects are mostly taking other stuff too.

  92. Youv got your research backwards or are reading opinions and taking them as facts… Melatonin is an ANTI-STRESS hormone.. and it IS a sleep hormone… it regulates the day/night cycle working as a “sleep gate opener” It also inhibits cAMP production which in turn dims down the fight and flight response by the body allowing a deeper sleep! This isn’t even from new studies… this was known in the 90’s and although the results weren’t always drastic… less drastic results tend to come from people who have no problem sleeping in the first place.
    There are more articles pushing more expensive substances and telling you why melatonin is bad than there are studies pushing melatonin. You can buy a years supply of powdered melatonin for about £10!
    I have taken various different doses of melatonin.. from 0.5 mg to 60 mg and the results are never different regardless of the dose, from my experience by actually using it and not reading about it, I can confidently say that it helps me sleep and has no side effects… though I will point out unlike some that my body may react differently.

  93. One of the most important supplements for a breast cancer patient is the hormone melatonin. Melatonin inhibits human breast cancer cell growth (Cos et al. 2000) and reduces tumor spread and invasiveness in vitro (Cos et al.1998). Indeed, it has been suggested that melatonin acts as a naturally occurring anti-estrogen on tumor cells, as it down-regulates hormones responsible for the growth of hormone-dependent mammary tumors (Torres-Farfan 2003).

    A high percentage of women with estrogen-receptor-positive breast cancer have low plasma melatonin levels (Brzezinski et al. 1997). There have been some studies demonstrating changes in melatonin levels in breast cancer patients; specifically, women with breast cancer were found to have lower melatonin levels than women without breast cancer (Oosthuizen et al. 1989). Normally, women undergo a seasonal variation in the production of certain hormones, such as melatonin. However, it was found that women with breast cancer did not have a seasonal variation in melatonin levels, as did the healthy women (Holdaway et al. 1997).

    Low levels of melatonin have been associated with breast cancer occurrence and development. Women who work predominantly at night and are exposed to light, which inhibits melatonin production and alters the circadian rhythm, have an increased risk of breast cancer development (Schernhammer et al. 2003). In contrast, higher melatonin levels have been found in blind and visually impaired people, along with correspondingly lower incidences of cancer compared to those with normal vision, thus suggesting a role for melatonin in the reduction of cancer incidence (Feychting et al. 1998).

  94. I just talked to my endo about melatonin and she told me melatonin was not a hormone I’m totally confused. I’ve tried everything mentioned above nothing helps much for sleep. I suffer from anxiety and insomnia just compounds it. I will say I’ve achieved some results with acupuncture.

    • Melatonin may not be enough to rid your brain of the non stop cycling though thoughts as to lay there tring to sleep when you have anxiety. Insomnia caused by anxiety is the worst. I had a health scare and was waiting on biopsy results and I had to take a 1/2 dose of melatonin then 30 minutes later, take another half dose to get my brain to stop thinking. Staggering it like that seems to help alot.

  95. My son is 14 he’s aspergers autism, ADHD inattentive type, PTSD, youtha anxiety disorder, severe depression w/ psychotic features ( used to see things and hear voices) he’s become an insomniac. In regards to melatonin he took hit for a while but is like me after a month or two becomes immune to it ever again working…they have tried him on a insomnia med but it had no effect….so quit trying…he now goes untill he crashes which means I’m on his schedule also. This isn’t good for him I know this…we are very low income…what would u suggest?? I’m getting desperate its sometimes two days before he crashes…and the video thing ties in with his autism it keeps him calm and helps him fall asleep…will that be OK to let him keep it?… The meds he’s on are prozac, amitriptoline and trazadone..we have found sometimes spacing a day or two apart help to knock him out but that can’t be good for him…what can I do?

    • Melatonin is not habit forming. it doesn’t just stop working. You can fight through the sleepiness, however and after about 60 minutes or so you have to redose.

      Sometimes it does help to jump around dosage. For instance, I find I was force lucid dreams my taking 1.5 mg one night then switching to 3 mg the next, then do 2 mg, etc. If I keep the same dosage every day, I still get tired and fall asleep immediately but don’t remember much about my dreams.

  96. Hello! I’ve never had trouble sleeping until the last few months. I fall asleep right away but wake up about an hour later wide awake! I’m then up for 2 to 3 hours before falling asleep again. I have to get up by 6am in order to get to work on time. The only thing that has changed for me since then is my diet and my exercise. I’ve always worked 5 to 6 days a week but a few months ago I started working out really hard (about 2 hours a day) and most of that was weight training. I have a lot of anxiety and so the exercise really helps but now I think it is doing my harm than good!! I read that I could be over training. I take magnesium, zinc and vitamin B6 (ZMA) before bed. That started not working and so I then tried these over the counter things called Mid Nites. Those seem to work pretty good but they have melatonin. I’m still having trouble sleeping but I also keep working out!! I’ve also been eating more carbs to gain muscle but I think all of the carbs is making me feel icky. I normally do a very low carb diet with lots of fat and no gluten, gluten is horrible for me!! I think my adrenals might be over loading with all of the stress of working out hard and not getting enough sleep. Would taking a break from training help with my sleep? One supplement that has helped me most nights is GABA. It’s a calming amino acid. I also take a multi-vitamin, Vitamin B, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, fish oil, and turmeric. Any advice?

    • I never work out any time near bed time. When I do, I have the same sleep problems. This was before I took melatonin but I’d lay there for 3 hours at least before getting sleepy after excercising. I’d then wake up and not be able to get back to sleep. I started working out earlier and my sleep was back to normal. 2 hours before I’d get tired and I’d sleep the whole night.

      Then I discovered melatonin. I take it 30 minutes before I want to fall asleep. After 30 minutes, I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow. I haven’t exerceised just before be since so I don’t know what would happen.

  97. I suffered from insomnia for more than 10 years. During that time i tried everything and nothing worked. I have been taking melatonin for a year know. It works and i have never felt or sleep any better.

  98. My friend has a son who is put to bed the same time every week., but could not sleep. The pediatrician put him on Melatonin. A year later my friend read an article about it not being good and took him off it. Many sleepless nights later she was back in the doctors office and he told her the side effects of melatonin were less evil than the side effects of not sleeping and he put the child back on melatonin.

  99. Hi,

    I take 0.3mg of melatonin exactly at the same time of every day. This helped me get my irregular sleep cycle straight. You say that you need to treat the underlying causes, but what if it is a vicious circle? My irregular sleeping rythm made my depression worse, and vice versa.

    Some things that need to be remembered though: always take the same dosage at exactly the same time. DO NOT take extra an hour later when you can not sleep, like the article it does not initiate sleep, it just tells your body when to sleep. If you take some more sometime later you mess with your biological clock.. Also, people that are taking milligrams of this stuff should seriously reconsider their dosage, the 300 micrograms that I take is already more than sufficient, and even already gets the “vivid dreams and nightmares” side effect.

    All in all, melatonin is not a miracle substance, but with sufficient discipline and knowledge one can get a benefit out of it.

    P.S. I was adviced to take melatonin by both a psychiatrist and my GP.

  100. Hello im 22 years old male, im student at university, my courses are too difficult and my research is too hard to find out and i using the phone (for chatting and emailing) & Computers for my job; in this year im so busy for my goal, and i cant sleep great at night! I have to (from my mind signal!!) Work to 6:00 AM and sleep at 6:30 AM and my course start at 11:30 AM 5 days at a week! My body clock is broken! Some times i sleep for 11 hours in a day & some days i sleep less than 3 hours! How do i fix that withoit any tablets?
    Suddenly i was in a drug store to buy a cold stop, i asked from the pharmacy holder ” whats good for me that i cant sleep at the time i want?” And he answered me:”melatonin is Better!!”, i used it for 2 weeks each night, that was so good and my dream was awesome!! Idk why but i was really relax when wake up and my face was really better that days. Now here is 6 AM and i can’t sleep, i used the melatonin before searching it on google, now i know this isn’t good for me! But how can i sleep like last year of my life!
    Please answer me and sorry for bad English.

  101. It seems everyone is misinformed here. Melatonin is the driving power behind the pineal gland, that controls everything. Read the book: “Melatonin Miracle”, for more information.

  102. This was misleading, all it says is dont use it for insomnia. Some people and children produce very little melatonin, and 1 mg or 5mg is harmless. I wouldnt use it for insomnia, b/c there are greater issues at play with something of that severity. Everyone responds differently to suppliments so its not a onee size fits all melatonin is bad for everyone.

  103. While I agree that melatonin use should be undertaken with the utmost caution, as with any hormone replacement, I do find this post misleading. Saying, “Melatonin is not a sleep hormone.” and “Research is now revealing that our production of melatonin […] governs our circadian rhythms” is bordering contradictory. Our circadian rhythm governs our sleep wake cycles, so in that way melatonin is a sleep hormone. Testosterone should also be considered a sleep hormone in that it is impossible to get into deep sleep without it. In essence there are many “sleep hormones”. I do agree that melatonin is used very dangerously, the amount that a person can get per tablet is insane to me. But let’s not make confusing statements to those who are seeking advice.

    • I might add, I am a nutritionist, like you, and am going on two months of insomnia. I held off for the first month before trying low dose melatonin, and have found some relief My life is The Picture of healthful practices. Everywhere I go to find answers for my insomnia I find lists of things I am already doing. Sometimes something’s gotta give while we continue to work toward ideal sleep that just isn’t happening regardless of how healthy our lifestyles are.

  104. I have taken 10 MG of melatonin every night for the past 8 years and have never experienced any side effects what so ever.
    I was taking a prescribed sleeping pill but my drug plan would no longer pay for it, so I switched to melatonin, and can honestly say, melatonin is much better and non addictive like prescribed sleeping pills.

  105. Melatonin is found in foods. Melatonin is also proven to decrease with age. I strongly disagree with your opinion on Melatonin. As a RN I have seen the benefits. This is not a scientific study you have done. The National Sleep Foundation does not say not to use Melatonin and I can find no scientific studies that agree with your statement that it is not good choice to help those with sleep difficulties.

  106. I’m working with a functional MD to heal CIRS (biotoxin illness) and the start of an autoimmune disease because of CIRS (Hasimoto’s thyroiditis)…
    I’m working on healing a “leaky gut” and a “leaky brain.” 5mg melatonin is used for healing the gut, and 10 mg is used to remove aluminum from the brain. There is plenty of research to back that up.

  107. I take 10mg of melatonin every night, 365 days a year and I feel great! Bllod pressure is lower and I feel less stress thoughout my day. Apparently very good in preventing hardening of the arteries.

  108. I give my child a melatonin Monday through Thursday so he can have a good night sleep for school.
    His pediatrician and his psychiatrist both know that he takes melatonin .
    My child has ADHD and he doesn’t eat dinner until about 10 o’clock every night due to the ADHD medication. My child would not go to sleep if he didn’t have melatonin. I only give my child melatonin’s Monday through Thursday and that’s when he takes his ADHD medicine Monday through Friday .On Friday nights he don’t take melatonin’s and he stay’s up all night .

  109. I use melatonin regularly to help induce sleep, I don’t care what this article says, it works and it has none of the unpleasant side-effects mentioned, which I have found when using prescribed medication.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this article was paid for by Big Pharma, since you can buy melatonin over the counter, so if you can do that then there is no need to get a doctor’s prescription for their expensive sleeping pills.

  110. I have used melatonin and it has helped me. I don’t take it every night but when I need it , I take it. I have used other things as well, but my doctor told me to use natural products.Everyone is different and everything works differently in everyone. If you take a product that works for you and you feel good about it then take it! There are side effects to everything, so if this stops you from taking something you’ll wind up taking nothing and have to go through what you go through! So just be wise , take what works, but don’t overdo!

  111. i stopped using melatonin i got severe headace so bad i vomited and i woke up sametme as when i didnt take it also i had very scary nightmares of my b/f harming me which he will NEVER do im sorry melatonin seems to be incorrect for me i will just time my times i go to sleep and take naps like always i just dont know what else to do im like at a loss with this drug because getting to seep is not the issue its the waking at 5 am but meh ill deal lol

  112. Great post , I also had quite a lot of trouble with Melatonine (even at very small doses), and like you suggest, changing a few habits is enough, unfortunately I have sleep apnea which makes things a little hard but finally managed to sleep 8-9h each night doing sport and having a healthier life.

  113. I do not disagree with your statements, but please do not give medical advice if you are not a dotor. Your training is insufficient to provide such recommendations. Internet searches do not substitute YEARS of actual medical education. Source: am an MD.

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Lauren Geertsen, NTP

I’m an author, entrepreneur, and nutritional therapy practitioner (NTP). I began this website at 19, to share the steps that freed my life of chronic disease and medication. Now, Empowered Sustenance has reached 30 million readers with healthy recipes and holistic resources.

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