Melatonin

Similar to naturally produced melatonin by the body, involved in regulating sleep. Increases natural melatonin levels in the body, helping to adjust and overcome irregular sleeping patterns, particularly when travelling through different time zones.

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What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in your body and is associated with the control of the body's sleep pattern. Melatonin is also known by the brand name Circadin.

You can take a man-made version of melatonin for short-term sleep problems (insomnia). As we grow older the amount of naturally occurring melatonin in the body reduces. Taking melatonin adds to the body's natural supply and helps to promote and improve the quality of sleep. It makes you fall asleep quicker and less likely to wake up during the night. It can also help with symptoms of jetlag.

It can sometimes be prescribed to help with sleep problems in children and to prevent headaches in adults.

How does it work?

Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the pineal gland, located in your brain. Melatonin regulates the body’s biological day-and-night rhythm; this is called the circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm can be disturbed by travelling across time zones. This is known as jet-lag. Melatonin tablets can help restore the normal day-and-night rhythm and reduce the symptoms.

Melatonin levels start to rise in your body when it’s dark outside, signalling to your body that it’s time to sleep, it can also bind to receptors in the body and can help you relax.

Dosage Information

Whats the correct dose of melatonin?

Always take Melatonin exactly as your doctor has instructed you and read the manufacturer's printed information leaflet from inside the pack.

For adults, the usual dose is 2mg tablet daily, 1-2 hours before bedtime. For children is usually 2mg 1hours before bedtime. The tablet should not be taken before 20:00 hour or after 04:00 hour.

Melatonin should be taken with food. Swallow the tablet whole, do not crush or chew it because it is designed to release melatonin slowly for a few hours.

Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking while taking melatonin. These stop the medicine from working as well as it should.

Avoid taking caffeine, including coffee, energy/fizzy drinks while you are taking melatonin. Caffeine has the opposite effect of melatonin and stops it from working.

How long will it take to work?

Melatonin takes around 1 to 2 hours to work.

What if I forget to take it?

If you occasionally forget to take a dose, take it as soon as you remember that day and then carry on as normal.

If you forget to take a dose for the whole day, skip the missed dose and take your next dose, the next day at the usual time, never take 2 doses at the same time and never take extra doses.

If you often forget doses, may be useful to set an alarm as a reminder.

What to do if you take too much?

Taking 1 or 2 extra tablets of melatonin by accident, it’s unlikely to cause harm, however, if you become unwell, contact 111 or attend your nearest emergency department immediately. If you are travelling by car, do not drive yourself.

How long will I take Melatonin for?

Your doctor will tell you how long you should take it, usually, it's prescribed for 1 to 4 weeks. In some cases, it can be prescribed for up to 13 weeks.

If your symptoms do not improve within 5 days of taking it, or if they become worse, make another appointment to see a doctor.

Try to keep regular appointments with your doctor, so they can monitor your progress with the melatonin.

Can I stop using Melatonin?

Do not stop using this medicine without first speaking to your doctor. If you have any further questions on the use of this medicine, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Is Melatonin safe?

Melatonin is thought to be very safe and effective medicines.

Is Melatonin addictive?

Melatonin is only recommended for short-term sleep problems. If you follow instructions from your doctor, you shouldn’t become addicted to it.

How do I store Melatonin?

Always keep all medicines out of the reach and sight of children. Don’t use it after its expiry date. Store in a cool, dry place, away from direct heat and light.

Driving & Melatonin

It is not recommended to drive or operate machinery if melatonin makes you sleepy, give you blurred vision or makes you dizzy or affects your concentration or decision making. Please discuss with your doctor if you are unsure if it’s safe to drive while taking melatonin.

Side effects & precautions

Melatonin should only be used after a consultation with a doctor as it can cause serious side effects especially people in the following conditions.

  • If you are allergic to melatonin
  • If you have epilepsy, may increase seizure frequency in epileptic patients.
  • If you have an autoimmune disease.
  • If you have diabetes as it may increase the level of glucose in your blood.
  • If you suffer from liver or kidney conditions.
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • If you have lactose intolerance
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or smoking while taking melatonin.

Side-effects

Melatonin is generally a very safe medicine but like all, melatonin can cause side effects, although not everybody gets them.

Common Side effects

  • Feeling tired or sleepy
  • Headache
  • Indigestion, feeling sick, stomach ache
  • Irritable and restless,
  • Dry or itchy skin.
  • Abnormal dreams

Uncommon Side effects

  • Low mood
  • Blurry vision or watery eyes
  • Feeling faint.
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Unexplained bleeding

We’re here to help.

Our friendly team is available to help Monday to Friday 9:00am - 5:00pm.

If you need urgent assistance, do not use this service. Call 111, or in an emergency call 999.