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Key Takeaways
  • Most people take 1 to 5 milligrams of melatonin 30 minutes before bed.
  • Experts recommend taking no more than 10 milligrams at a time.
  • Melatonin overdose is on the rise. Consult a doctor before giving melatonin to children.

Melatonin supplements have become increasingly popular as many turn to them to address common sleep problems, like insomnia or jet lag. However, as consumption of melatonin supplements rises, so do incidences of melatonin overdose.

Understanding proper dosage recommendations – as well as how melatonin supplements are regulated – is a critical step to ensure that you and your family are safely taking melatonin.

Recommended Melatonin Dose for Adults

While there is no officially recommended melatonin dose, most people who take melatonin for sleep take between 1 and 5 milligrams 30 minutes before bedtime. Melatonin supplements are sold in doses that range from 200 micrograms to 20 milligrams. 

Experts recommend starting with a lower dose of melatonin, such as 1 milligram or less, then increasing the dose if needed. Lower doses may be just as effective as higher doses, though different people may need different doses. Multiple factors can influence how a person’s body responds to melatonin, including their age.

Melatonin Dosage for Older Adults

Adults older than age 65 should speak with a doctor before taking any melatonin supplements. Melatonin supplement use has not been widely studied in this age group and may come with additional risks. Experts suggest older adults use the lowest possible dose for a short, rather than long, period of time.

“Melatonin’s effects on other biological processes are still being explored. Use it with supervision from your doctor.”
Headshot of Dr. Abhinav Singh
Dr. Abhinav Singh
Sleep Medicine Physician, MD

What Melatonin Dose is Safe for Kids?

Melatonin supplements may be safe for kids, but parents and caregivers should talk to a doctor before giving children melatonin. 

For a child with insomnia, melatonin doses are often given based on the child’s age. Preschool children are often given a 1 to 2 milligram dose, school-aged children are often given a 1 to 3 milligram dose, and adolescents are often given a 1 to 5 milligram dose.

Melatonin supplements have not been widely studied in children. Melatonin is a hormone, so there is a chance that taking it could impact a child’s hormonal development. Before giving melatonin, parents and caregivers may first want to try other strategies for improving their child’s sleep, like avoiding electronics at night, keeping the bedroom a comfortable temperature, setting a consistent bedtime, and engaging in a nightly routine.

Infographic explaining melatonin dosage should not exceed 5 milligrams.

So How Much Melatonin Should I Take Before Bed?

Experts suggest starting melatonin by taking 1-2 milligrams 30 minutes before bed. A dose lower than 1-2 milligrams may even be effective for some people. If a low dose does not help you fall asleep faster, gradually increase the dose until you see a benefit.

How Much Melatonin Is Too Much

While there is no clear upper limit for melatonin, experts generally recommend a dose that is no higher than 10 milligrams for adults . People with kidney or liver problems may take longer to clear melatonin, so they might have a lower upper limit than others. While too much melatonin may cause side effects, it is unlikely to be fatal in adults.

Finding Reputable Sleep Supplements

The safety and efficacy of supplements is not closely monitored by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Shoppers should take additional measures to make sure they are purchasing reputable products.

Frequently Asked Questions About Melatonin Dosage

When Should I Take Melatonin?

The best time to take melatonin is 30 minutes before your desired sleep time.

How Much Melatonin Should I Take for Jet Lag?

Experts recommend taking between .5 and 10 milligrams of melatonin for jet lag. Three milligrams is enough for most people.

Can Pregnant or Breastfeeding People Take Melatonin?

Pregnant and breastfeeding people should avoid melatonin supplements since they have not been widely studied in these groups.

Is It Safe to Take Melatonin With Alcohol?

Do not take melatonin supplements with alcohol. Alcohol can disrupt both your sleep quality and your natural melatonin levels.

Is It Safe to Take Melatonin With Caffeine?

Avoid taking melatonin with caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant that disrupts your sleep-wake cycle and can affect your natural melatonin production.

Can You Overdose on Melatonin?

While melatonin is generally considered safe, it is possible to take too much. Incidences of melatonin overdose are particularly rising in children. Because melatonin supplements are not FDA approved, it is impossible to determine the true amount of melatonin you or your child may be consuming. Symptoms of melatonin overdose include headache, low or high blood pressure, drowsiness, vomiting, and nightmares.

Medical Disclaimer: The content on this page should not be taken as medical advice or used as a recommendation for any specific treatment or medication. Always consult your doctor before taking a new medication or changing your current treatment.

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6 Sources

  1. Neubauer, D. N. (2023, August 22). Pharmacotherapy for insomnia in adults. In R. Benca & J. G. Elmore (Eds.). UpToDate., Retrieved November 8, 2023, from

  2. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). (2022, July). Melatonin: What you need to know. NCCIH., Retrieved November 8, 2023, from

  3. Vural, E. M., van Munster, B. C., & de Rooij, S. E. (2014). Optimal dosages for melatonin supplementation therapy in older adults: a systematic review of current literature. Drugs & aging, 31(6), 441–451.

  4. Owens, J. A. (2023, May 25). Pharmacotherapy for insomnia in children and adolescents: A rational approach. In R. D. Chervin & A. F. Eichler (Eds.). UpToDate., Retrieved November 9, 2023, from

  5. Savage, R. A., Zafar, N., Yohannan, S., & Miller, J. M. (2022, August 8). Melatonin. StatPearls [Internet]., Retrieved November 8, 2023, from

  6. Goldstein, C. A. (2023, October 17). Jet lag. In R. Benca & A. F Eichler (Eds.). UpToDate., Retrieved November 9, 2023, from


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