The working duration for melatonin differs significantly for each person. Most individuals can feel the medicine take effect within the first 30 minutes consumption, while others have reported it taking up to an hour for melatonin to work.
Below are a few things that needs to be considered if you’re consuming melatonin –
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Common Factors That Affect Melatonin Uptake In Your Body
If you’re one of those people that has a low tolerance for stimulants such as alcohol, caffeine or even other medications – you’ll probably fall into the group of people where melatonin works faster. On the contrary, if you’ve known to showcase a higher tolerance for the same, you’d show a higher tolerance for melatonin as well.
Several other factors can affect the time taken for melatonin to work as well. These factors include but are not limited to the dosage, the time elapsed between dosages and even physical factors such as your weight.
Can We Make Melatonin Work Faster?
When consumed as a pill, melatonin first needs to dissolve and get digested before it can begin working. However, the market also has melatonin in liquid form that is known to work faster than the pills.
There have been reports of sublingual administration (placing the medicine under the tongue) as well – but this method of ingestion is neither FDA approved, nor well-researched and could do more harm than good.
When Should I Take Melatonin?
Melatonin plays a crucial role in regulating our circadian rhythm (more commonly referred to as our body’s biological clock). Hence, the timing of your dosage is critical.
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland in our brain and is usually secreted by our bodies at night.
When consumed as an oral supplement, it is known to reach its maximum concentration at approximately 30 minutes of ingestion.
These two factors need to be considered when deciding on your dosage times. Let’s break it down further –
If you follow a regular sleep cycle, where you sleep at night and wake up in the morning, it is advisable that you take melatonin an hour before your bedtime. If you’re having trouble sleeping, you should still take it around your bedtime.
However, if you’re amongst those who stay up till the wee hours of the morning, no matter what you do (usually with delayed sleep phase syndrome) – it is recommended that you take melatonin a few hours the bedtime. For instance, if you usually fall asleep at 2 in the morning and would like to go to sleep at 11.00 instead – it is recommended that you take your melatonin at 9.00.
In the rare event that you suffer from advanced sleep phase syndrome (an occasional disturbance of the circadian rhythm), where you go to bed really early and find yourself awake in the wee hours of the morning, it is recommended that you take melatonin upon waking up, rather than before sleeping.
If you’re suffering from a sleep-related disorder, we highly recommend visiting a medical professional specialising in sleeping disorders.
Other than the above, you should ensure that you have sufficient light exposure on the opposite hours of your melatonin consumption. So, if you’re taking your melatonin at night, make sure you get plenty of light in the day and vice versa.
To recap, if you wish to consume melatonin to induce sleep, take it half an hour before your bedtime. If you’re looking to tackle delayed sleep phase syndrome, you should have your melatonin 2 to 3 hours before your desired bedtime. And finally, if you’re suffering from advanced sleep phase syndrome, you should take it once you wake up.
Is It Safe to Take Melatonin Every Night?
Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by our body. An oral supplement only tries to fill in the gap and is generally considered extremely safe to you.
Melatonin is not a habit-forming supplement, so there’s no chance of you becoming addicted to it.
If you find it useful in tackling your sleep disorders, you can consume it every night without fear.
Melatonin usually comes with some warnings for children and pregnant women, because of its ability to conflict with other hormones in the body. However, the side effects are small and go away once the medicine is discontinued.