Do Melatonin Supplements Work to Improve Sleep?

September 4th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

Pharmaceutical companies are spending millions to advertise on T.V “purple pills” or commercials with green butterflies, for their sleeping pills. Melatonin may be a safe effective alternative to these potent drugs. Bodybuilders know the importance of a good night sleep, so melatonin may be helpful to those struggling with sleep.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone released from our brain when our eyes sense darkness. It is a way for our body to regulate it’s sleeping pattern. Melatonin secretion decreases as we get older, which may be why we require less sleep as we get older.

Melatonin Supplementation Usage:

The purpose of melatonin supplementation is to help aid the sleep of those with insomnia issues. It could also help older individuals or those with jet lag while traveling.

Does melatonin supplements work?

Most people see a difference in their sleep when taking melatonin. They sleep longer, deeper, and feel more refreshed when they wakeup. There seems to be about 20% of the users according to studies, that don't respond well to melatonin supplements. They either feel overly tired and groggy or feel nothing. I suspect that these two extremes, probably is due to too high of a dose in the first case and too low of a dose in the latter.

Short Side effects of melatonin supplementation:

Researchers have given up to 3000 times the normal dose without any immediate problems. There are many people who should stay away from melatonin completely; pregnant women, women trying to conceive, and children, those with severe allergies or other immune disorders. We don't know the effects it can have on children and on the immune system, so it's best they avoid it.

Long term health effects of melatonin supplementation:

Melatonin is a powerful sleep hormone that should not be abused. Some believe that melatonin supplements may cause long term health problems that we aren't aware of yet. Melatonin supplements have only been on the market for about a decade. Some may assume this means it's safe, but we are still finding out new things, for drugs and supplements that have been around much longer. It is probably best to use very small doses and cycle it off and on.

Melatonin Dosage & Timing

Melatonin should be taken 30 minutes before you go to sleep. If you don't feel rested in the morning, but instead groggy or hung over, then try reducing your dosage. If it doesn't work very well in improving sleep, then slightly increase your dosage. Everyone seems to have different dosages that work best for them, so it may require trial and error.

  1. Jim on February 16th, 2008

    Melatonin works for me, but only at the right dosage. 3 mg. doses (which is a common amount in many melatonin supplements) left me feeling groggy in the morning. So I found one that contained 1 mg. capsules, and that worked perfectly. So if you’ve tried melatonin and didn’t get the results you wanted, try adjusting the dosage taken.

  2. matthew booth on February 12th, 2009

    I’ve tried the 3mg and 5mg dosages. One thing I found is that if you take the pills lay down and read or at least do something non-stimulating. If you take the pills but remain active they aren’t effective and you end up taking more than required.

    The 5mg I just purchased seems way too potent. I would recommend the 1mg like Jim takes. Better to take 1 or 3 pills than take a 3 or 5mg pill and groggy like I do now.

  3. Kay Gibbs on January 2nd, 2010

    They work for me and I have been taking them for 2 years.

  4. Kevin on January 6th, 2011

    I take a 2mg pill from Usana Health Sciences. It works well for me. They use pharmaceutical grade manufacturing practices and meets the USP potency guarantee. You never know what is really in a supplement. This company uses the absolute best manufacturing methods and best quality ingredients.