Sleep Related

Melatonin Hangover: 3 Steps to Use Melatonin Without Grogginess

melatonin hangover

Melatonin usage in the US doubled from 2007 to 2012. According to the US department of health and services, around 2012 approximately 3 million adults were taking melatonin on a regular basis. Now it’s 2018 – and I wouldn’t be surprised if these number would be even higher… melatonin is considered safe by general standards. But some users complain about a specific type of melatonin hangover…

Does the melatonin hangover exist? What are its scientific bases? And is there a way to get the most out of melatonin without feeling groggy in the morning? After all, melatonin should promote restful sleep – and if you’re waking up still feeling groggy, there might be something wrong….

Is there such a thing as a melatonin hangover?

There isn’t much scientific literature about hangovers from melatonin. However, plenty of studies have been done to the side effects of melatonin. Virtually nothing has been found. Except for if you take extreme dosages (more than 10mg), or if you take it for a long time. In that case your brain might start to depend on melatonin as a method for falling asleep. And you’ll  find it more difficult to fall asleep on your own. (this dependence isn’t caused by addiction, rather your brain forgets how to fall asleep naturally).

Melatonin hangover symptoms:

Some people find it very difficult to take melatonin. When they wake up the next day, they feel bad – worse than if they would’ve taken nothing. Here’s a list of possible symptoms of a melatonin hangover:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach
  • Hyperthermia

One important thing to mention is that you ask yourself if this happens often when you take melatonin. If you took it once, and you felt bad, it’s also possible that you might just be getting sick. However, if you get these symptoms every time after you take melatonin, it might be something different…

Why does this happen? Here are 3 theories that might explain why you feel bad after taking melatonin:

Theory 1: you’re taking too much

In some countries you need a prescription for melatonin. In others it’s dosed by the 100 micrograms (0.1 mg). For some reason in the US most tablets contain dosages in the miligrams (3 to 5 milligrams for example).

Why? One cause might be that melatonin is cheap to produce, and many people have a “more is better” attitude. Combine those 2 factors with a general misunderstanding of how melatonin works and you’ve got a recipe for people taking too much.

For most people half a milligram works fine. But if you’re taking more than 5 milligrams, then you’re not doing your body any favour.

It might work fine to help you fall asleep. But the chance is higher that melatonin still lingers in your blood the next day. Now, you wouldn’t take melatonin during lunch, right?

So having a higher than normal concentration in your blood in the morning will make you feel more groggy.

The first step to combating a melatonin hangover is to check your dosage. Try taking less than 1 mg and see if that helps your problem.

Theory 2: you’re not sleeping long enough

Another possible cause of feeling groggy/hangover in the morning is because you’re not sleeping enough. Melatonin is supposed to help you get a full night’s sleep – so if you cut that off by having your alarm after 6 hours of sleep, your body still wants to sleep (more than normally, because of the melatonin).

So obviously you’re going to feel that.

The second step to combating the melatonin hangover is to check how long you’re sleeping. Are you sleeping less than 7 hours? Try going to bed earlier or only using melatonin in the weekends when you can sleep in.

Theory 3: you sleep too long

The third reason might be that you’re sleeping too long. I’m sure you’ve ever experienced the feeling of sleeping 10+ hours on a weekend morning – only to feel horrible after waking up.

You would expect the opposite, but sleeping too much can also leave you with a hangover effect.

How can melatonin cause this? Simple. It helps you sleep well, so if you have a large sleep debt, you can easily sleep for a long time.

If you’re the type of person who feels not too well after sleeping in, then melatonin can exacerbate these effect.s

The third reason why you might be getting melatonin hangovers could be because you’re sleeping too long. Try setting an alarm 7.5 hours after you usually fall asleep and see if that helps.

Users report that less is better

After reading many different reports from people taking melatonin (and experiencing hangovers), it’s better to take less melatonin. Science also has checked this and there’s no real reason to take more than 1mg of the sleep supplement.

WebMD recommends you take 0.3 to 0.5 mg if you’re having trouble falling asleep. It’s crazy that one search on Amazon for melatonin almost only shows 3 to 12 miligram products…

Melatonin hangover test (you are your best judge)

Melatonin is a great aid if you’re having trouble falling asleep naturally. However, it’s no free lunch, and there are some people who are prone to melatonin hangovers.

Don’t think right away that you are one of those persons. The guidelines on this page can help tremendously for using melatonin more responsible – so that you wake up with energy instead of grogginess.

Here’s a recap on how to use melatonin for the best possible results:

  1. Don’t take too much (less is more). Start your way with the low dosages such as 0.3 or 0.5.
  2. Allow for enough time to fall asleep. Make sure you can sleep for at least 7.5 hours after taking melatonin. Any less and you might still be in sleep mode after you wake up.
  3. Also, if you’re prone to feeling bad after oversleeping: set an alarm after 7.5 hours. Otherwise you might sleep for 10+ with melatonin.

Final thoughts

Melatonin works great for most people to fall asleep. However, there are some things that you can do with melatonin so that you feel actually worse when you wake up. Luckily, these things are easily solvable by taking simple actions.

What are your experiences with melatonin? Does it cause a hangover for you?

P.S. looking for a quality melatonin supplement with a small dosage? Check out this melatonin supplement. It only contains .3 mg and is a great solution if you suffer from a melatonin hangover

By Adrianus

Since childhood I've tried hundreds of little experiments to feel better, learn faster and perform higher (e.g. supplements, sports, psychological tricks, sleep and wacky diets).
After I graduated university in 2016, I basically found that sleep was the #1 factor to improve every aspect of life.
Bad sleep = bad life. I started SleepInvestor in 2017 to share my experiments and thoughts about sleep.

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