Sleep is an essential part of our body’s cycle. We all need certain hours of sleep in a day to get our body functioning in its optimal level. As easy as it may seem, there are actually some people who find it difficult to fall and stay asleep at night.
There are several factors that can affect a person’s sleep quality and sleeping pattern. This can be due to temporary stresses, lifestyle constraints and health conditions. For those who are not experiencing it at a chronic level, they resort to one effective method to help them sleep.
This method is by taking Melatonin. This is a supplement that people take to get them the ample shut-eye at night. However, due to its popularity and effectiveness, people have made it a habit to rely on these alone. While this may be effective for many, there are still chances of a person reacting negatively to it especially when they go through an overdose.
Can Melatonin Hurt You?
If you have been taking Melatonin as a supplement to help in your sleep-cycle regulation, then you must read on to know more about it. As you know, Melatonin is taken by people who are suffering from insomnia, interrupted sleep or other sleep-related issues. You may be wondering how it does that, let us tell you how.
Our body, specifically the brain, produces Melatonin. This is a naturally occurring hormone that is in charge of regulating the body’s sleep cycle. Its varying levels during the day can affect our wake and sleep pattern. The lower our melatonin level is, the more we become active and alert. On the other hand, high levels of Melatonin can get us feeling drowsy and sleepy.
Given that fact, the goal is to keep our melatonin levels high at night so we can have longer and better sleep until it lessens by the time we wake up. Though this hormone is naturally produced by our body, getting it from supplements can help too.
Melatonin supplements are popular for its positive effects on getting us to sleep. However, as someone who is about to take or who is already taking it, it is important to consult a doctor before taking it. This is because a person can accidentally go through a Melatonin overdose. And yes, this can be detrimental for some people especially those with pre-existing conditions.
How Do You Prevent Melatonin Overdose?
Of course, the best way to keep you from getting too much Melatonin in your system is to consult with a doctor before taking them. This is to make sure that you are in proper condition and free of health problems that may be aggravated by its intake.
For starters, it is recommended to always go with the lowest dose. If you plant to increase your intake, do it in increments of .5 milligram as taking in high levels might cause adverse effects to your body. For some people, a dosage of .3 milligram is enough to get them sleeping soundly at night.
A common mistake users do is increasing or taking in high doses of Melatonin because they do not feel sleepy right after taking it in. This supplement is meant to be taken at least an hour before bedtime. It does not have the same effects as sleeping pills because unlike sleeping pills, these will not knock you out a few minutes after taking it. So it is important to manage your expectations and observe your body’s reaction as you are taking it for the first few days.
What Happens When You Overdose on Melatonin?
Since people have different tolerance and dosages for Melatonin, it is important that you understand and know your body well before taking it. It is recommended to start on low dosages and observe its effects after you take it.
Some people experience stronger wakefulness after taking it while there are those who feel extreme drowsiness. Some experience night terrors and have more vivid dreams. But generally, there are a couple of signs and symptoms of a melatonin overdose.
If you experience headaches, crankiness, dizziness, stomachaches, diarrhea, anxiety or joint pains after taking it, then you may have taken too much Melatonin. If you currently have issues with your blood pressure, it is important to consult with a doctor as too much can cause sudden spikes in your blood pressure.
How Much Melatonin Should You Take?
A common question among melatonin enthusiasts and users would be the recommended dosage for Melatonin. It is important that you understand that the dosage will vary from person to person. There are a couple of factors that impact the amount of Melatonin you need. But to give you a guideline, read on the following information.
- Correct Melatonin Dosage for Adults
There are no specific dosage recommended for Melatonin intake as these vary according to a person’s weight, age, existing health conditions, sensitivity to the supplement and more. It is certain that only a professional can give you the exact instructions on how to start Melatonin as professionals are certainly going to get your complete medical history before giving you the green light.
But since this is an over-the-counter supplement, it is recommended to start and stay at the range of dose from .2 to .5 milligrams. A first-timer should start with the lowest dose and progress only in increments of .3 milligram. This is to ensure that they manage its effects on their body.
If you have achieved the aid you need in sleeping at the lowest dose or a few steps higher than the initial dose, you can stop there. Raising it to extremely high levels can subject you to the signs and symptoms mentioned above.
- Correct Melatonin Dosage for Children
If you plan to start your child in melatonin, it is critical that you have a pediatrician check on your child first. In some instances, pediatricians allow the use of Melatonin but only for children who suffer from Autism Spectrum Disorders or ADHD.
Pediatricians will be examining your child before allowing Melatonin use. This is because sleep interruptions in children are not usually that grave and are still manageable by simple lifestyle modifications or improvement in their sleep hygiene.
However, those who are to take it should start with the lowest dosage. A dose of 0.5 milligram or 1 milligram usually does the trick when taken an hour or two before bedtime. Pediatricians may allow some children to take in as much as 3 to 6 milligrams. However, this only applies to special cases such as those with extreme insomnia.
Too much melatonin for kids can also lead to some side effects and unpleasant conditions. So make sure to watch the dosage and create a note of their responses to the supplement. And always consult with a pediatrician before making any changes to their intake.
How Does Melatonin Interact with Other Substances?
Taking in Melatonin requires a lot of knowledge and precaution especially when you are taking in other substances. Here are a couple of Melatonin interactions that you should be careful with.
- Anticoagulants and Blood Thinners
Those who have blood clotting problems are required to take anticoagulants and blood thinners. These people should talk to their doctor about Melatonin intake because taking it in heightens their risk for excessive bleeding.
- Birth Control Pills
Women who are taking birth control pills should confide with their doctors about their Melatonin intake. This is because birth control pills have the effect of producing more melatonin in the body. Hence, additional intake through the supplements may leave them with high doses of Melatonin and may lead to overdose reactions.
- Medications for Seizure, Diabetes, Blood Pressure
People who are taking medications for blood pressure regulation, diabetes and seizures should talk to their doctors about it. Melatonin taken along with these medications may lessen their effects and aggravate their existing conditions.
- Sedative Substances
Those taking Melatonin should not take in other substances that make them feel sedated. A few examples would be anti-anxiety medications, painkillers or alcohol. It is not recommended to mix those as it may have detrimental side effects to your body.
When to Consult with a Doctor
If you feel sudden chest pains, shortness of breath or signs of heightened high blood pressure after taking the medication, make sure to call your doctor or any emergency health service for immediate intervention. These may actually be signs of toxicity, overdose or adverse effects from Melatonin.
As for those who feel one or some of the side effects mentioned earlier, it is important to discuss those with your doctor. Prolonged side effects because of the intake may lead to life threatening conditions. These are some of the things that you should know when taking Melatonin because your safety should be top priority.
Melatonin Overdose Treatment
The approaches one can take to treat overdose depends on a couple of factors. If you consult with your doctor because of melatonin overdose, they will have to assess the severity of the symptoms you have. If you are having medical emergencies such as chest pains or breathing troubles, they may subject you to more complicated medical interventions. However, subtle side effects are managed through lowering the dosage or eliminating it completely. Your doctor can help you taper down and get off melatonin use gradually.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to sleep better. After all, we get all the energy, repair and rehabilitation we need from it. Taking in supplements are not bad too. People who turn to Melatonin supplements to improve their quality of sleep can maximize all its benefits as long as they remain responsible throughout their time of use.
But let’s face it, along with the benefits Melatonin gives some risks that we should be aware of. The importance of consulting with a doctor cannot be emphasized enough as this plays a critical role in keeping your overall health guarded and in its best state while using the supplement.
If you happen to be okay with taking this over-the-counter supplement without a doctor’s supervision, at least try to stick to the guidelines mentioned above. Be keen with the dosage you are to start with, the same applies whenever you decide to increase it. Always remember to put safety above anything.