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Melatonin Supplements Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

Melatonin Side Effects

Question:
What are the side effects of melatonin supplements?

Answer:
Melatonin supplements, taken in low to moderate doses (0.3 mg to 3 mg per day) for short-term use, are generally safe and well-tolerated. The most commonly reported side effect is drowsiness, followed by headache and dizziness. Drowsiness and impaired mental alertness and balance may occur for about six hours after taking melatonin (these effects may last longer or carry over into the next morning if taking controlled-release, higher dose products). Moderate to very high doses of melatonin have been reported to affect mood and behavior is some people. 

Melatonin should not be taken long-term, but only as needed for limited periods of time. Long-term use has been associated with increased risk of fractures in older adults, possibly due to an effect on bone metabolism. Melatonin can may also affect blood pressure, aggressiveness, blood clotting, seizure activity, and, at very high doses, ovulation, depression, and schizophrenia. For details, see the Concerns and Cautions section of the Melatonin Supplements Review (which includes our Top Picks among products).

Learn more about melatonin:



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COMMENTS

Rebecca16943   July 5, 2018
Melatonin makes my eyes very glassy for up to 18 hours after I take it. Even taking a dose as small as 1.5 mg causes this problem.

Sheryl16942   July 4, 2018
I tried a low dose of Melatonin a few times and every time I had nightmares. I mentioned this to a friend and she had the same experience.

Judith16940   July 4, 2018
In response to Robert's comment about melatonin making him feel jittery, I have restless legs syndrome, and I have noticed that just 2 mg. of melatonin will bring on the jittery need to move characteristic of this disorder. The Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation's medical bulletin mentions melatonin, along with other over the counter medications like antihistamines, as a substance that aggravates RLS symptoms. It would be helpful for the four percent or so of us that have this condition if you would mention this possible side effect of melatonin.

ConsumerLab.com   August 8, 2018
Hi Judith - Thank you for sharing this. The "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Melatonin Review discusses the effects of melatonin in people with restless legs syndrome: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/melatonin-supplements/melatonin/#rls

Robert16936   July 4, 2018
Melatonin makes me feel agitated, even in small doses.
A good friends has the same reaction, as does my son.
I'm surprised not to see mention of this possible side effect.

ConsumerLab.com   July 4, 2018
Hi Robert - Thank you for sharing your experience and your son's experience with this. Although as noted in the answer above, changes in mood have typically been reported at higher doses, one study reported increased "reactive aggression" in young men given a more typical dose. This is discussed in the Concerns and Cautions section of the Review: https://www.consumerlab.com/reviews/melatonin-supplements/melatonin/#aggression

Isabel16578   March 14, 2018
I have found that VERY low dose melatonin (300 mcg - that's 0.3 mg) works better than any of the higher doses I've tried, which were 1 mg, 2 mg, and 5 mg.

But what has worked better still, in the two weeks I've been using it, is Dream Support for Women (I'm a woman) from weilvitaminadvisor.com. This contains vervain, California poppy, valerian, and ashwagandha. This combination is said to be "evidence-based" and Dr. Andrew Weil is someone I trust - his books are thoughtful, and he got his M.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Unfortunately it also contains 125 mg calcium citrate (with 62.5 mg of magnesium) and I've been reading lately that calcium in pill form can cause problems if taken long term. It's better to get it from diet. My next project is to look for the three herbs without the calcium. I will look at Mountain Rose Herbs and Jean's Greens to see what they have.

ConsumerLab.com   March 15, 2018
Thank you for sharing this Isabel. You may be interested in the CL Answer about getting calcium from supplements: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/how-much-calcium-is-too-much/how_much_calcium_is_too_much/


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This CL Answer initially posted on 3/13/2018.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 

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