Dec 302011

By now,  many people know that melatonin is an effective remedy to help you get to sleep.  They are turning away from side effect laden prescription sleep aids,  and seeking out natural alternatives such as melatonin and valerian root.  But what is the proper melatonin dosage?  Is the proper melatonin dose different for adults and children?

The answers to these questions are currently being debated.  The research on melatonin is in it’s infancy,  and it seems like everywhere you look,  you will get a different opinion.  There is no “Recommended Daily Amount” for melatonin.  Under normal circumstances,  our bodies make all of the melatonin we will ever need.  But due to our modern 24 hr a day lifestyle,  as well as certain physical conditions,  our melatonin levels can fall short.

Melatonin Dosage For Children

The recommended melatonin dosage for children is a matter of contentious debate.  Whether you should give melatonin to kids at all is currently being debated.  Some pediatricians only recommend giving melatonin to children that are blind;  or have other conditions such as autism,  ADHD,  or brain damage.

Rather than turn this post into a debate,  what I’m going to do is provide some of the commonly held beliefs.  There is very little research that has been done on the safety of melatonin for children.  Before giving melatonin to a child,  you should consult your pediatrician.

  • Some are of the opinion that children should not be given over .3 mg of melatonin per day.
  • Some suggest that doses up to 3 mg are safe in children who are at least 10 yrs of age.
  • Some medical professionals do not condone melatonin for healthy children under any circumstances.
  • About 15% of pediatricians have recommended a melatonin sleep aid to children with insomnia,  according to a 2002 article in Pediatrics.

You might also consider valerian root.  But there is some risk for valerian root side effects.

Melatonin for Jet Lag

Jet lag is one area where using melatonin for sleep is considered very effective.  This is because the changes in time zones disrupts your natural sleep cycles.  Melatonin is the mechanism by which are bodies regulate when to sleep,  and when not to.  This is maintained by light/dark cycles,  as well as your normal schedule.

Melatonin Dosage

  • .5-5 mg of melatonin has been shown to be effective for jet lag in clinical studies.  The melatonin should be taken 1 hr before bedtime at your final destination.  The melatonin dosage is typically continued for 2-4 days in the new time zone.

Melatonin Dosage for Adults

If you consult different sources,  you will get several different answers regarding melatonin dosage for adults.  Several factors come into play such as the severity of the insomnia,  the weight of the person,  and other underlying conditions.  It’s generally agreed upon that you should use the lowest melatonin dosage that produces results.  This means you should be able to fall asleep easily,  and awake feeling rested.

Some people get positive  results with a dosage as low as .3 mg.  But most supplements contain a lot more.  If .3 mg doesn’t work,  you could raise the dosage to 1-3 mg.  3 mg has shown to be a safe and effective dose for healthy adults.  There are also many supplements available in 3 milligram dosages.

If this dose is ineffective,  you can raise the dose to 5-6 mg.  There are some supplements available that contain 10 mg,  20 mg,  and more.  If you feel it necessary to take these higher dose melatonin sleep supplements,  you should do so under the supervision of a doctor.

These higher dosages will raise your melatonin levels to 100′s of times what the body normally produces,  this can raise the risk for melatonin side effects and reactions.  You should also be checked for any underlying conditions that may be causing your insomnia.


Melatonin has generally been shown to be safe when taken in the proper dosage.  It is however recommended that you consult a doctor before starting on any herbal supplement program.  And please remember to use common sense.

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