Once you consume a melatonin supplement, it takes around an hour for it to reach peak level. At this time, you should begin to feel sleepy. As with all drugs, however, melatonin affects everyone differently. This means it could take more or less time to experience the effects.
Regular Melatonin vs. Extended-Release Melatonin
As the name suggests, regular melatonin supplements are the immediate release type. This means they dissolve the moment you ingest them, immediately releasing melatonin into your system. On the contrary, extended-release melatonin dissolves gradually. The drug slowly releases melatonin over time, with the aim to mimic the way the body naturally releases melatonin. This is considered better for staying asleep throughout the night.
Extended-release melatonin supplements are also called:
-Controlled release melatonin
-Continuous release melatonin
Your doctor should help you determine whether you are better suited for extended or regular release melatonin supplements.
What is the Right Melatonin Dosage?
Generally, the right melatonin dosage is between 1 to 5 mg. It is advisable to begin with the lowest dose possible and then gradually increase the intake until you find a dosage that best helps you fall asleep without adverse effects.
Bear in mind that too much melatonin intake can be counterproductive. Overdose of the supplement can have an impact on the circadian rhythm and result in daytime sleepiness.
Given the regulation is different for dietary supplements, a manufacturer can provide the wrong dose of melatonin on the product. This is also amplified by the fact that there’s little quality control. Even so, it is advisable to follow the instructions provided on the package. If you are uncertain, then consult your doctor.
When Should You Consume Melatonin?
It is advisable to consume melatonin half to one hour before bedtime. That is because melatonin usually starts taking effect after 30 minutes as its level in your bloodstream increases.
Note that the best time to consume melatonin varies for each individual. Every person absorbs substances at varying rates. So, begin by consuming melatonin half an hour before bedtime and adjust the time depending on how long you take to fall asleep.
However, avoid consuming melatonin at or after your usual bedtime. That’s because it will change your biological clock, resulting in sleepiness during the day. Here is a good guide into how melatonin works.
How Long Does Melatonin Last in the Body?
Not for long. Melatonin is known to have a half-life of between 40 and 60 minutes. In this context, the half-life is the time your body takes to get rid of half amount of the substance.
Typically, it takes 4 to 5 half-lives for the body to completely get rid of a drug. This means melatonin will last in your body for a maximum of 5 hours.
If you remain awake during this period, you are more likely to experience after-effects such as drowsiness. That is why it is not advisable to use heavy machinery or drive within 5 hours of consuming melatonin.
Don’t forget that everyone metabolizes drugs at different rates. The total time it takes to clear varies for each individual and depends on an array of factors such as:
-Overall health status
-Consuming regular vs. extended-release melatonin
If you consume melatonin at the right time, you are less likely to experience a ‘’hangover’’.