How long does melatonin last in your body

How Long Does Melatonin Last in Your System?

Posted By Vaibhavi K on Sep 5, 2021

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the body that regulates your sleep. It is majorly produced during the night, i.e., when you turn off the lights. It controls the circadian rhythm, and as the levels increase, it makes you sleepy. But if the body produces it, you might wonder, what is melatonin used for, and why are we taking supplements? 

Well, if you cannot sleep or have developed some sleep issues, then you can take it to soothe your sleep cycle. 

American consumers spent $825,559,397 on melatonin supplements in 2020. While it is an easy supplement to get, the main thing to focus on is how long does melatonin last in your body. 

Melatonin can last in your body for up to five hours. 

So, before you take that supplement, make sure you take it at nighttime so that you only sleep when you take Melatonin. 

How Does Melatonin Work? 

Like mentioned before, Melatonin works when you are exposed to darkness. It is produced by the pineal gland, which is located in the middle of the brain with the neurons that control your body clock. Higher melatonin levels put your body to sleep by lowering your blood pressure levels and lowers body temperature. 

Melatonin is mostly used to get rid of sleep disorders like insomnia. These are also commonly used in the below situations. 

  • Recovering from jet lag
  • Migraines 
  • Irritable bowel movement 
  • Insomnia 
  • Autism 

Now, coming to the point, how does Melatonin affect the body? Your body produces Melatonin during the day, but it increases production rapidly during evening hours. Hence that is why you sleep easily without lights. Taking Melatonin for sleep can boost melatonin production and give you a good night’s sleep.

How Long Does Melatonin Take to Work? 

Melatonin pills begin to work just 20 minutes after you take them. So, it is ideal for taking Melatonin before bed seems like a great idea. Ideally, you should take it 2 hours before sleeping to make sure you don’t sleep the next day, as that will happen if you take it late at night. 

You must know, Melatonin affects everyone differently. While some people might sleep within 25 minutes of taking Melatonin, others might take 1 hour. As Melatonin quickly absorbs in the body, you might want to head straight to bed after taking it. 

Extended-Release Melatonin vs. Regular Melatonin 

When thinking of Melatonin, you might think that it is just a regular pill that makes you sleep and probably works soon. Well, you are partially right. However, there are extended-release melatonin pills, also called slow-release Melatonin, that dissolve in the body gradually. There are two types of Melatonin you can use. 

Let’s have a closer look at time-release Melatonin and a regular one. 

Extended-Release MelatoninRegular Melatonin
Dissolves gradually in the bloodstreamDissolves instantly in the bloodstream
It can last up to 5 hoursIt lasts up to 1 hour 
Less effective than regular More effective than extended-releases

These are a few points that tell the difference between extended-release Melatonin and regular Melatonin. But before you take one, it would be great if you could consult with your doctor once. 

Melatonin Dosage: How Much Melatonin Is Too Much? 

A general proper melatonin dosage should be 0.30 to 5 mg. It is advised that you should start with the smallest dose to get habitual. You can then slowly increase the intake of Melatonin over time. 

As said earlier, Melatonin affects everybody differently; hence it cannot be measured as to how much Melatonin is too much. The best possible solution is to ask your doctor how much Melatonin you should take on a regular basis. 

Keep in mind that if you take too much Melatonin, it would be counterproductive and won’t ease your sleep issues. It can easily disrupt your circadian rhythm and leave you awake at night. 

If you are looking to fix your sleep schedule, then you should read our latest blog to do so. 

Can You Overdose on Melatonin? 

As Melatonin isn’t a habit-forming supplement, it should not be taken for longer durations. And to answer the question, yes, you can overdose on Melatonin easily. Using it for a longer duration can harm the body rather than doing good. 

Here are some of the symptoms people come across when they overdose on Melatonin. If you suffer from these, then you know you’ve been using excess Melatonin and should cut back immediately or consult a physician. 

Apart from these, you should look out for other symptoms of melatonin overdose before taking them.

Wish to know more about melatonin for adults and overdosing on melatonin? Read our latest blog today. 

When to Take Melatonin? 

As mentioned earlier, the best time to take melatonin supplements is 2 hours before bedtime. They can also be taken if you have jet lag. Most people do that to ease their sleep. 

You could also take Melatonin to adjust your sleep-wake cycle if you’ve messed yours. Melatonin is also taken by people who work night shifts to regulate their sleep cycles. 

People with sleep disorders also use it as some doctors prescribe it in small quantities to regulate their sleep habits.

If you are looking for other ways to fall asleep fast, then you should check out our blog on the fastest ways to fall asleep.   

How Long Does Melatonin Stay in Your System?

There’s a reason why Melatonin is called a half-lifer supplement. It generally lasts for 20-50 minutes in the body. After this, only half of the quantity is left in the body. 

Most doctors prescribe melatonin dosage by weight. It might help you sleep better, but it doesn’t promise a long good night’s sleep. You might be able to regulate your sleep issues, but it doesn’t stay in the body for much longer. Therefore, it is advised to take it during the nighttime and go to bed straight away. 

How Long Does It Take for Melatonin to Wear Off?

Although Melatonin might not be effective after 1 hour, it might take 6-8 hours to wear it off. And that is why you should probably go to sleep after taking Melatonin. Otherwise, you might feel a bit drowsy, weak, or tired the next day if you take it late at night. 

You won’t feel hungover the next day but, the above-mentioned symptoms are more likely to happen. You might want to switch to find natural ways to sleep if you don’t want to overdose or feel drowsy often. 

The total time it takes to get Melatonin out of the system varies, as it affects people differently to people. The several factors that affect it are 

  • Age 
  • Caffeine intake 
  • Alcohol intake 
  • Body composition 
  • Overall health 
  • Medications 
  • Tobacco intake 

Related: Can coffee make you sleepy? Find out why coffee makes you fall asleep instead of keeping you awake. 

Melatonin Side Effects

While melatonin is said not to be continued as a long-term habit, it is completely safe to take for up to 2 years. To keep in mind, pregnant women shouldn’t take it without consulting with a physician. 

People have different reactions to melatonin, and the symptoms like melatonin hangover might differ among people. If you are taking melatonin and face any of these side effects, you should stop taking it immediately and visit a doctor. 

If you think there are only benefits of melatonin, then have a look at these are the symptoms of the side effects of Melatonin. 

  • Fatigue 
  • Headaches 
  • Stomach issues 
  • Irritability 
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression 
  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea 

If you do not wish to have any of these side effects, you can find easy and natural ways to get more deep sleep

Summing It up 

So now that you know all about Melatonin, remember it takes 30 minutes to kick in and can last for up to 5 hours. It is readily available in the form of pills, and there is nothing wrong with taking them. Although, consulting with your doctor at first would be the best thing to do. 


Does Melatonin make it hard to wake up?

Yes, it can. Melatonin can make it hard to wake up for some people as it affects everyone differently. You might feel a bit of drowsiness or daytime sleepiness if you are not familiar with it. 

Is 10 mg of Melatonin too much?

It can be okay for some people to take 10 mg, but it isn’t ideal for everyone. You should consult your doctor before taking Melatonin and probably start taking it in small doses such as 0.3 mg.

How long is Melatonin safe to take for sleep?

It is safe to take Melatonin straight for 2-3 months. After that, you should stop it for a while and see how your body functions without it.

What foods are rich in Melatonin?

There are some foods that are rich in Melatonin. So they are a good source of natural Melatonin. These foods are: 

  • Goji berries 
  • Eggs 
  • Milk 
  • Fish 
  • Walnuts 
  • Kiwi 
  • Rice 
  • Tart cherries 
  • Red grapes 

Is it bad to take Melatonin every night?

Maybe, Melatonin is not a long habit drug, and you should stop it after 2-3 months. Although it can be taken for 2 years, you have to consult with a doctor first to know how long you can take Melatonin. 

Can Melatonin cause nightmares?

No. Melatonin can make you lucid dreams, but it’s not sure that it can cause nightmares.