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Melatonin dosing for sleep issues

Posted by Jackie 
Melatonin dosing for sleep issues
September 11, 2022 05:45PM
In several previous posts on the topic of sleep or lack of, I had commented about my success in using melatonin at bedtime. I’ve also read several reports that advise using lower melatonin doses than are typical and some reports caution about adverse effects after taking melatonin for extended periods of time.

I’d like to share, briefly, my experience and clarify for those who may be experimenting with melatonin for improved sleep. I realize we are all highly individualized as to needs as well as reactivity, so consider this ‘informational.’

Prior to Covid dominating the news and our lives, I didn’t have a problem going to sleep easily or staying asleep. Then, that changed. I read a variety of online health reports about supplementing with melatonin for sleep and I learned quickly that (for me) higher dosing … such as the standard 10 mg. or even 5 mg. was keeping me awake and not providing relaxation and sleep. In the past, and prior to Covid, I had successfully used L-theanine at bedtime when I had a stressful day, but that stopped working. Thus…the research into melatonin.

I reduced the 10 mg. nightly dosing incrementally by cutting the 5 mg melatonin tablet in half… and then in half again… and even the 2.5 mg (prox) dose at bedtime kept me awake. I tried a 1 mg tablet. No good… and then ½ of a 1 mg. tablet…. along with my usual dose of magnesium at bedtime. VOILA! I went to sleep very quickly… and had it not been for drinking too much water at bedtime, I would have slept w/o interruption…thereby, supporting the reports I read indicating that for many, a lesser or miniscule dose is more effective.

That was in 2021… I’m still using the same half a 1 mg tablet at night. Still sleeping soundly and waking up feeling very well rested.

For references, there’s an abundance online. I was specifically looking for dosing recommendations for people considered ‘elderly’ since I certainly meet that criteria. But, I found there is a huge span of recommendations for all ages which emphasizes my findings… it’s best to start at a low dose and work up…rather than take the commonly recommended higher doses. Here are a couple typical reference links.



Just FYI.

PS. Sorry .. I neglected to include this link about appropriate melatonin dosing...

9/12/22 - Additionally, after circulating this, I received an email/copy of a Consumer Lab's report on Melatonin...
With the very small dose that I use, I haven't had adverse effects, but I do 'pause' in the nightly dosing every couple of weeks just to help ensure I don't 'accumulate' too much. FYI


Does melatonin work? Melatonin supplements can help you fall asleep when taken before bedtime (30 to 60 minutes before for regular pills; 20 minutes before for fast-dissolve pills, chewables, and liquids and chewables). Melatonin may also alleviate certain types of stomach pain and reduce anxiety associated with medical procedures (see What It Does).

How much melatonin to take: Melatonin is a hormone; use it only as needed, not every night. Try the lowest dose that will work for you, starting with about 1 mg or less. If that doesn't work, try 3 mg. Some products contain greater amounts, such as 5 or 10 mg, which may be more than you need and can leave you groggy and have other negative effects. Timed release products may help you not just fall asleep but also stay asleep, but they won't help you stay asleep as well as a prescription sleep medication (see ConsumerTips: What to Consider When Using).

What did CL's tests of melatonin supplements show? In laboratory testing, one melatonin supplement was Not Approved, as it contained nearly twice its listed amount of melatonin. Our cost comparisons showed you could spend as little as 1 cent to over $5 per milligram of melatonin -- and the product that failed was among the more expensive products. (see What CL Found).

Best melatonin supplements? Among 22 CL Approved products, CL selected Top Picks for low, moderate, high-dose and timed release melatonin, as well as a product for pets. These products represent superior quality and value.

Melatonin safety and side effects: Short-term use of melatonin supplements appears to be generally safe for adults. However, melatonin can potentially affect blood pressure as well as testosterone and estrogen levels. Melatonin can also interact with certain foods and medications. Long-term use is associated with an increased risk of bone fracture. It is probably best to use melatonin "as needed" rather than on a regular basis (see Concerns and Cautions).

Source: [www.consumerlab.com]

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 09/12/2022 07:03PM by Jackie.
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues
September 14, 2022 03:48AM
Hi Jackie,

I was listening to a podcast from a doctor who is a sleep specialist, and he indicated that the correct melatonin dose is .3 mg.

I think that jibes pretty closely with what you're saying as well.

By the way, I signed up for a service that has an abundance of very helpful health information:


All the best,
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues
September 14, 2022 07:08PM
Hi Que - earlier today, when I saw this post, I responded with a Private Message to you so you could respond and I could provide you some tech info via PM on the threonate form of magnesium. Be sure to check your email.

On the melatonin dosing... what I learned about my need for melatonin is... 'less is more' when it comes to dosing.
I also now include a periodic 'pause' from nightly dosing of the melatonin as well.... as (hopefully) a preventive measure so I don't accumulate too much and cause another issue. So far... it's working well.

Best to you,
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues
September 19, 2022 04:43PM
Thanks to my discussions with you Jackie I have started the Mg Theronate. I do think it helps sleep. I take glycerinate in am. Threonate in evening. (its expensive). I take oxide when I need more "movement". I take 0.3 mg melatonin from time to time but it doesn't agree with me but less is more. I can put a link for it if anyone wants it. I get it on amazon.. of course.
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues
October 01, 2022 06:53PM
Hi Jackie, I have thought about replying to you many times regarding the sleep products. I just keep getting caught up with other stuff and forgetting. I am not usually on this general forum and I just happened to look at it today and saw your message about melatonin. For many many years I have been well aware of 0.5 mg of melatonin as recommended by a doctor to me. It doesn’t matter what the dose is, the hormone melatonin does not agree with me at all. At many people’s suggestions, I have tried it off and on a few times over the years and it just leaves me with a bad feeling. Unfortunately the same thing went for the GABA. I gave it several chances in case the headache side effects I was getting were not caused by it, but it seems they were. And neither of those things did anything to enhance my sleep. I have taken lots of magnesium for years also. My best non-pharmacologic remedy is reading myself to sleep which can get difficult when waking up in the middle of the night..

I value and appreciate your efforts in trying to help others with what has helped you and the information that you find. Thank you very much.
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues
October 01, 2022 10:29PM
Hi Madeline - Thank you for your kind comments.

Sorry the very minor amount of melatonin didn't work. As we always note..."we are all different in both needs, deficiencies and tolerance levels"... no matter what the nutrient. Also, I've been meaning to add to the initial post some info I saw that said not to take melatonin regularly as it tends to have 'cumulative' effects which then cause sleep issues instead of helping. With that in mind, I've held off on regular dosing and use it less often. As of yet, I have not noticed any sleep issues, but that may change with time. I always take magnesium glycinate at bedtime and make sure that I'm optimizing my intake of the Magnesium Water... aka ... the Waller Water recipe presented long ago. I find that (for my needs) it is calming and allows me to get to sleep and stay asleep. I'm also experimenting with the threonate form of magnesium that is currently mentioned quite frequently in current magnesium 'conversations'.

In the future, if I find something that could be of interest to you, I'll be sure to send you a PM as an alert.

Best to you.

Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues - Update
October 15, 2022 04:50PM

Since my original post regarding melatonin dosing, I've read several other opinion/posts from various sources.... and I decided to stop my experimental bedtime, routine dosing using half of a one mg. tablet. The rest of my bedtime routine is the same, still take both magnesium glycinate and magnesium threonate and half of a PharmaGaba. AND... the good news is that I still fall asleep quickly and easily and sleep well throughout the night. I weaned off by taking every other night and then none.

So...just FYI.

I've read several reports on recommended use and dosing of melatonin that are worth noting.
Especially, one by Michael Murray, ND who warns that 10 mg. doses can cause insomnia. That's not just his opinion. There are others reporting similar warnings.







More references








Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/15/2022 06:05PM by Jackie.
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues - Update
October 18, 2022 01:39PM
Thanks, Jackie:

In the old days, Dr. Murray recommended 5 mg/night for sleep and Covid protection, as I remember.

However, he now recommends up to 3 mg, top end for the elderly., see below. Looks like your best dosage is on the low end of that.

I've been using 5 for a couple of years now but will cut them in half since I have so many of them.

The most popular natural aid for sleep is melatonin. Supplementation with melatonin has been shown in several studies to be very effective in helping induce and maintain sleep in both children and adults, and in both people with normal sleep patterns and those with insomnia. However, the sleep-promoting effects of melatonin are most apparent if melatonin levels in the body are low. In other words, using melatonin is not like taking a sleeping pill. It has a sedative effect only when one’s melatonin levels are low.
Melatonin supplementation appears to be most effective in treating insomnia in the elderly, in whom low melatonin levels are quite common. A dose of 3 mg at bedtime is usually enough, because doses as low as 0.1–0.3 mg have been shown to produce a sedative effect when melatonin levels are low.
Melatonin appears to have no serious side effects as long as one takes the recommended dosage.>
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues - Update
October 19, 2022 07:16PM
Thanks, Gordon. I stopped using it regularly at bedtime to see what, if anything happened.
I slept well for about 10 days and then I had trouble falling asleep so took the half of a 1 mg tablet and woke up the next morning feeling rested. My intention is to use it only after a day of lots of 'issues' that might tend to keep me from falling asleep quickly and staying asleep. That seems to be a good plan for me. I always take magnesium at bedtime which also helps me relax.

Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues - Update
October 21, 2022 12:54PM
Sounds like a good plan. Could be a problem scaling your issues during the day to calibrate whether you should take how much or any melatonin before bed.

Seems to me a regular small dosage of melatonin and add some LTheanine when you think your daily issues might become problems at night could take some of the variability our of your sleep. What's the downside?

I find I frequently don't know in advance if I'm going to have a problem night for sleeping and I hate surprises lying in bed to find out.

I've been doing very well on 5 mg melatonin and 0.5 mg Ativan at bedtime. I'm going to try cutting to 2.5 mg of melatonin per Dr. Murray's recommendation to see if I still need the Ativan.
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues - Update
October 21, 2022 01:18PM
Yes, Gordon - the 'biochemical individuality' factor definitely comes into play. Fortunately, these days, I'm not typically prone to upsetting circumstances and I'm 'well-experienced' in assessing if I've been stressed to the point where it's going to influence a good night's sleep so I can add in that which helps me sleep well. As we always note: 'We are all experiments of one.'

I wish you success in your experiment.

Best to you,
Re: Melatonin dosing for sleep issues
April 07, 2023 06:16AM
Thank, well amazing points,

In my daily routine, I have evidence that sleep deprivation is the culprit, with circadian misalignment as the accomplice.

But what exactly includes sleep deprivation?
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