How Long Does Melatonin Last?

woman sleeping in a bed

You close your eyes, ready to slip away to dreamland. You lay there and wait. It seems like hours tick by, and you are still waiting for sleep to come. You consider counting sheep, but your list of to-dos keeps popping up in your head. There has to be some way you can fall asleep faster. A regular sleep cycle is important for our health. Daytime drowsiness causes issues both at home and at work. You and your medical profession need to take your sleep problems seriously. Curious about melatonin? Do you wonder how long does melatonin lasts? Is melatonin safe as a sleep aid? Learn all about the magic of melatonin. Melatonin supplements may be a good fit for you! 

What Is Melatonin? 

Melatonin by definition is a hormone created by the pineal gland in your brain. It is the key to helping you sleep! The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health explains, “Melatonin is a hormone that your brain produces in response to darkness. It helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and with sleep. Being exposed to light at night can block melatonin production.” Created in your body to help you sleep well, melatonin is the key factor of great sleep. Many issues disrupt your sleep cycle. Too much light can cause poor sleep. Consider your sleeping environment when you have a bad night of sleep. Your internal clock should signal you when it is time for activities such as sleep, eating, and waking up. Your sleep-wake cycle helps you to live a healthy, normal life. When your circadian rhythm is off, it often messes up everything else, too. Proper melatonin secretion in your body is essential to restful sleep. 

Why Is Quality Sleep Important?

We hear it repeated often: get your 6-8 hours of sleep. But why is sleep SO important? Harvard researchers link obesity, diabetes, and heart disease to poor sleep. Long-term mood disorders are also linked to chronic insufficient sleep. Need more reasons to get your sleep? A lack of sleep can cause shortened life expectancy. Five hours of sleep or less per night increases mortality by about 15%. Don’t let a sleep disturbance cause major medical problems! Good quality sleep can help you to stay healthy AND promote a longer life span. 

How Do Melatonin Supplements Affect Your Sleep? 

Melatonin supplements help you to regulate an effective sleep cycle. It does not create immediate sleep. When taking melatonin, the product will help you to gradually become more tired. When is the best time to take melatonin? Doctors recommend you take your supplements up to two hours before you ever plan to sleep. Taking melatonin can help you to fall asleep and stay asleep. Sleep problems affect many people worldwide. Be proactive in your search for a solution! There are many products and tips to help you get your needed sleep.

close up shot of melatonin pills

How Are Melatonin Supplements Created? 

Melatonin comes in two forms, natural and synthetic. A natural melatonin supplement comes from animals. It was first available to buy in the 1990s. There was a cause for pause in this “natural” process.  Natural melatonin supplements have the potential for transmission of disease from the animal. Scientists found a need for a new product. They discovered how to create synthetic melatonin. Synthetic melatonin is available in time-release tablets, regular melatonin tablets, and sublingual. Extended-release melatonin tablets work exactly as they sound. Released in your bloodstream throughout time, melatonin stays in your bloodstream longer. Regular tablets have an initial spike of melatonin. It also has levels of melatonin much higher than those that occur in your body. Sublingual tablets have a quick rise feature but leave the bloodstream faster. Consult your doctor to discover which type of tablet will work best for you.    

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Reasons To Use Melatonin 


A common sleep disorder you want to escape from is insomnia. Lying awake in bed every night is a pain! Knowing you should be asleep but struggling to get there affects millions of people. Insomnia is something no one wants to experience! Sleep issues are terrible for your health. So, what causes insomnia? Poor sleep habits, medications, and depression are all causes of insomnia. Attributes of insomnia can also be loud noises, anxiety, and blue light emission.  

Studies have shown the effectiveness of melatonin to support these issues. Researchers say melatonin increases sleep time. It is not known to have any negative effects on the quality of your sleep. Sleep deprivation is no joke. Running on little to no sleep is terrible for your wellbeing. If you are considering melatonin for insomnia issues, help the product work. This means you need to consider sleep long before you lay your head on the pillow. Keep lights dim and stay off your phone and tablet. Using common sense to create a bedtime routine that is relaxing is important. It will help prepare you for deep-quality sleep.  

Jet Lag 

Being a Jetsetter is all fun and games until your traveling ways catch up to you. From California to Florida, the 3 hour time difference can mess with your sleep. Imagine a trip to Madrid with a 9 hour time difference to California! The American Sleep Association predicts that 93% of travelers experience jet lag. 93%?! This means at some point, you are likely to experience the drowsiness of jet lag. Melatonin is often used to help travelers get back on track. The Mayo Clinic suggests, “If you’re trying to reset your body clock to an earlier time, such as after flying east, you should take melatonin at bedtime nightly.” It is important to get back on to your regular sleep schedule as soon as possible. Melatonin can help!  

woman sleeping in her bed

Acid Reflux

The painful burning sensation in your chest? Acid reflux. Pregnant women and spicy food lovers alike can experience this uncomfortable sensation. 60 million Americans have heartburn issues at least once a month. Over 15 million face acid reflux in a day! Recently, melatonin is a new solution used to try to assist with this problem. Many are experiencing success with small dosages of melatonin for acid reflux. Pharmacy today states, “Melatonin 6 mg at bedtime has been shown to improve health-related quality of life in a 3-month study of young patients with functional heartburn.” Considered a natural substance, melatonin used for acid reflux can be beneficial. Using natural resources to help with acid reflux can be effective worldwide.   


Early studies suggest the use of melatonin may be effective to prevent sunburns. Researchers use melatonin with and without the use of sunscreen. They have also tested melatonin use with topical Vitamin E. Products such as lotions, creams, and ointments can increase the positive effects of melatonin.   


The use of melatonin is also tested to help in some cancer treatments. Taking high doses of melatonin by mouth or by a shot along with chemotherapy may help. It might assist in tumor size and survival rates in some people with cancer. 

How Long Does Melatonin Last? 

Over the counter melatonin can last in your body anywhere from 4 – 10 hours. This can vary based on several factors. 

First, how much melatonin do you you take? Medical professionals suggest you consider your height, weight, and age. The recommended dosage varies from 0.5 mg to 3 mg. This amount will promote quality sleep but also help you to avoid daytime sleepiness. Daytime sleepiness often occurs in those who take too much melatonin. It also affects those who don’t allow for enough sleep time after taking their supplement. 

woman sleeping in a bed with dark sheets

Using Melatonin Wisely 

Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M. is a sleep doctor at John Hopkins. A Sleep Specialist since 2008 and part of a variety of sleep studies, he knows his stuff. Buenaver states, “Less is more. Take 1 to 3 milligrams two hours before bedtime”.  

Cost of Melatonin 

Melatonin comes in a variety of forms and price ranges. From pills to gummies, there are many choices to fit your needs. 

Melatonin Side Effects 

Possible side effects of melatonin are headache, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness. Plan to get at least eight hours of sleep to help outlast the effects of the medication. Many people say that they feel hungover or cloudy after taking melatonin. This is often due to the lack of sleep they get. Prepare for an extra hour or two before needing to go anywhere. 

Less common side effects are anxiety, irritability, and confusion. If melatonin is creating these symptoms for you, it is time to consider trying something else. Weighing the potential side effects and how this dietary supplement affects you is key. You can experience side effects that do not outweigh the benefits. 

woman taking melatonin

When To Stop Using Melatonin 

If you have been using melatonin for more than a month, it may be time to quit. Melatonin is not a solution for chronic sleep issues. If you are still experiencing sleep issues past the one or two-month mark, it is time to talk to a doctor. 

Some medications do not react well with the use of melatonin. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you add any new medications to your routine. You also should stop the use of melatonin if you are pregnant or nursing. 

It is important to remember that melatonin is not a long-term solution. Masking symptoms often lead to bigger issues. If you are having health issues beyond a few days, it is important to contact your health care provider. 

Remember, melatonin is not regulated. The FDA doesn’t test melatonin or other dietary supplements. The Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine analyzed 31 melatonin supplements. The results? The amount of melatonin in the supplement was often not what they stated on the label. Chances are, you do not know how much you are getting or what other substances are in the product. This means you may not know what you are taking when you swallow your pill. This causes fear for good reason. Do you want to ingest something without knowing what you are taking? Do you trust the manufacturer to provide what they say they will? Both are important questions. You have to decide if the possible benefits outweigh the risk involved.  

Melatonin may be an effective short-term solution for you. Using it with the implementation of a good routine may help it be even more effective. A good bedtime routine will carry you to well-rested sleep. You will need to figure out how you sleep best, long after the use of melatonin supplements. 

man sleeping in a bed

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Bedtime Routines

One of the biggest factors of a restful night’s sleep? A good bedtime routine. Every person has a different way of getting ready for bed. Consider creating and repeating a routine to help you achieve your best sleep. Here are some top tips: 

  • Gather all the tools and accessories you need to help you sleep. You may need a glass of water, a sound machine, or a humidifier. Focus on items that help make you the most comfortable.  
  • Consider Scent: Certain scents can help you feel calm and help prepare you for sleep. Lavender is said to lower your heart rate, helping you feel relaxed. Spritzing a lavender or jasmine mist can help improve sleep. You can also use essential oils or scented laundry detergent. 
  • Keep your room at a comfortable temperature. Sleep researchers recommend that adults sleep in the 60’s – low 70’s. Sleeping at the wrong temperature affects your heat distribution. It also interferes with your circadian rhythm and your sleep. 
  • Put your screen away! No, really. Blue light emits from your screen and affects your sleep. You do not want to interfere with melatonin secretion. You can use blue-light-blocking glasses or night mode on your phone or tablet. But using your phone generally does not lead to the peace and comfort you need right before bed. Consider journaling or reading a book instead. 
  • Avoid caffeine. Caffeine’s effects usually happen about 30 minutes after consumption. But, effects can last up to 7 hours after you have taken it. Make sure to consider bedtime when you reach for your afternoon cup of coffee.
  • Avoid alcohol. Alcohol will disrupt your sleep cycle. Keeping the nightcaps to a minimum will give you a better chance of well-rested sleep. Maintain good melatonin levels by skipping alcohol. 
  • Is your bed set for successful sleep? Oftentimes poor sleep regularly can be due to an old mattress. Is it time to think about a new bed? Do you need cooling sheets? What about a weighted blanket? Using these accessories can help promote solid sleep.  

No matter what you choose to do in your routine, consistency is important. Try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Putting these tips into practice helps you to prepare for sleep. Think about a job interview. You would not show up to a job interview with zero preparation. You should consider your sleep to be similar. Preparing for a quality night of sleep helps to ensure success. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Sleep is one of the most important factors in living a healthy and well-balanced life. 

Choosing whether to take melatonin is a decision many have to make. When making your decision, consider the possible side effects. How comfortable are you with the small chances of anxiety or drowsiness? You also should consider what is in the product you are taking. Since the FDA does not regulate melatonin supplements, using a brand you trust is key. 

If you decide that melatonin is for you, choose a form that will be most beneficial. From liquid drops to pills, there are a lot of options available! You can also choose between regular melatonin supplements and time-release melatonin supplements. Make sure your health care provider gives you advice on dosage. Your height, weight, and age affect how much you should be taking. What works for your friend is not likely to be the best solution for you. 

The most important thing you can do to create quality sleep with or without the use of melatonin? A solid and effective bedtime routine. Gather everything you need and prepare to wind down. Create a space that is perfect for your sleeping needs. Use scents, temperature, and other products to prepare for your best night of sleep. 

Remember, melatonin is not a long-term solution to your sleeping problems. Creating a bedtime routine is a tool you can use for the rest of your life. Focus on your health and well-being by committing to restful sleep. 

Be sure to talk to a health care provider if you are not getting the sleep you need. Melatonin can be a great short-term solution to sleeping issues. Don’t lay awake counting sheep; help yourself get the sleep you need!

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