Melatonin Supplement Guide: Benefits, Dosage and Potential Side Effects

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By Alex
Last updated on

Discover how taking a melatonin supplement can improve your sleep quality and boost your recovery from weight lifting.

I’ll help you maximize the effectiveness of your melatonin supplement by providing melatonin dosage guidelines that take your age, weight, and supplementation goals into consideration.

Plus, I’ll tell you what precautions to take to avoid melatonin side effects.

At the end of this post, I’ll give you my top 2 brand recommendations (one I currently use, and one I’ve used before) with links to where you can buy them online.

To begin, I’ll give you a brief overview of melatonin.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates proper sleep functioning. Your brain naturally releases its own melatonin at night, when your body senses that it is getting dark outside.

Once released, the melatonin goes into action and assists your body in knowing when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.

Although your body produces it naturally, you can take melatonin in supplement form to improve your sleep quality. A proper melatonin dosage can assist your body in achieving a deeper state of sleep, as well as reduce or completely eliminate the number of times you awake during the night.

It may also have the potential to induce sleepiness, thereby decreasing the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep.

Melatonin Benefits

Melatonin benefits: Proper supplementation of this sleep aid supplement has many potential uses and benefits. The most common uses and benefits include:

  • Better recovery: Good sleep means better recovery. You can take melatonin to sync your sleep cycles to match natural circadian rhythms. Essentially, you optimize recovery by being able to sleep deeper and more productively.
  • Shift sleep cycle: You can use a melatonin supplement as a sleep aid to reset your internal (biological) clock, thereby changing the times you fall asleep and wake up. Reasons for doing this include avoiding jet lag or transitioning from being a night owl to an early riser.
  • Strong antioxidant: The melatonin supplement is most popular as a sleep aid, but it actually doubles as a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants play a key role in ridding the body of harmful free radicals, which can destroy important cellular structures and may cause cancer.

Find Your Correct Melatonin Dosage

It’s important to find your optimal melatonin dosage for two reasons: to maximize benefits and avoid side effects.

It is necessary, however, to understand that there are no official (FDA) standards for melatonin dosages. This is because it is classified as a dietary supplement, meaning the FDA does not regulate it (a good thing, if you ask me) nor provide dosing instructions.

However, there is abundant anecdotal and scientific research available for determining a safe and effective dosing. Use the guidelines below to help you find your best dosage.

General melatonin dosage guidelines: Take one dose about an hour to 90 minutes before bedtime. The actual dosage amount ranges anywhere from 1 to 5 mg, depending on the following factors:

  • Dosage range to enhance recovery: Since this is a weight lifting site, you are probably taking a melatonin supplement for enhanced recovery and more productive sleep. If this is the desired goal, a dosage range of 2 to 5 mg is recommended.
  • Dosage range to shift sleep cycle: You can use a melatonin supplement as a sleep aid to simply shift the times you fall asleep and wake up. Reasons for this include avoiding jet lag or transitioning from being a night owl to an early riser. Whatever the reason, a good dosage range to start with is 0.5 to 1 mg.

Be More Precise: After deciding which dosage range (see above) is best for you, the following guidelines can help you get an even more precise estimate of your most effective dosage:

  • Age: The older you are, the higher your dose of melatonin will need to be, within your dosage range. For example, a 20-year-old may need 3 mg for the goal of enhancing recovery, whereas a 40-year-old may need 5 mg for the same goal.
  • Bodyweight: Generally, your dose will need to be towards the higher end of your dosage range if you have a higher bodyweight. For example, a 130-lber may need 0.5 mg for shifting his sleep cycle, whereas a 220-lber may need 1 mg for the same goal.
  • Test and tweak: All of the above guidelines and recommendations should help you accurately estimate a correct dosage. But there is no substitute for plain, old-fashioned trial and error. Use your estimated dose for 1-3 nights. Incrementally increase the dosage if you don’t experience results. Conversely, decrease the dosage if you experience any negative side effects (see below).

Melatonin Side Effects

The dosage guidelines minimize your chance of having any side effects, but it is important to be able to recognize them so you will know that you need to lower your dose.

Common side effects: The relatively minor, but more commonly reported side effects include:

  • Altered sleep pattern
  • Headache
  • Vivid dreams

Rare side effects: The somewhat more significant, but very rare side effects include:

  • Itching
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling of heavy-headedness
  • Mood changes

How to avoid side effects: The best way to prevent any melatonin side effects is to avoid the “more is better” mindset. It does not hold true for melatonin, as well as nearly all other supplements. The best advice is to start with the lowest effective dosage and work upwards, if necessary.

What to do in case of side effects: Any side effects you may experience with a melatonin supplement are temporary and should subside with a decrease in the dosage. If you continue to experience side effects after trying lower melatonin dosages, then stop use completely.

Brand Recommendations & Where to Buy?

I currently use the Spring Valley melatonin supplement. It’s a trustworthy brand, with quality ingredients and it works. You can get your own bottle of Spring Valley melatonin on Amazon.

melatonin supplement
My current melatonin supplement: Spring Valley, 3mg tablets

I’m also a big fan of NOW Foods, and have used their melatonin supplement in the past. It, too, worked great. You can buy a bottle of NOW Foods melatonin on Amazon.

For more supplement guides and reviews, read my No-Bullshit Guide to Weight Lifting Supplements.

Alex from King of the Gym
Hey! My name is Alex and I'm the founder and author of King of the Gym. I've been lifting weights seriously since 2005 in high school when I started a home gym in my parents' basement. I started writing about fitness in 2009. Then, in 2014, I got into writing home gym equipment reviews and I haven't looked back. My current home gym is in my own house and it's constantly growing and evolving. My goal is to help you build the home gym of your dreams! Read more about me here.

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