Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Losing Sleep Over Melatonin

Dear Dr. Walt,

What is the best way to take melatonin for sleep?

—Sleepless in Alaska

Dear Wakeful,

Melatonin helps many people fall asleep sooner, although it will not necessarily help folks sleep longer. Generally speaking, I recommend melatonin be taken 30 to 60 minutes before sleep. Many people find the liquid melatonin works faster than a pill.

Although a range of doses have been used in successful clinical studies, keep in mind that melatonin is a hormone, so I always recommend starting with a low dose and increasing if needed.

In addition, melatonin supplements may increase the effects of certain drugs, and may decrease the effectiveness of others, including blood pressure medications. Also be aware that certain drugs (and even caffeine) may increase the amount of melatonin you absorb from supplements, potentially increasing its effects. So, it’s always a good idea, if you’re taking prescription medications, to discuss with your personal pharmacist or family physician combining them with any herbs, vitamins, supplements, or other over-the-counter medications.

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2019. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.
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2 Responses to Wednesday’s Ask Dr. Walt — Losing Sleep Over Melatonin

  1. Frances Kennison says:

    My husband has a very slow growing cancer in 2 out of 12 biopsies of his prostate. If melatonin is a hormone, is there a danger of his taking low dose melatonin?

  2. Frances,

    I regret that I cannot answer individual medical and pharmaceutical questions. These types of questions are best directed at your or his personal physician or pharmacist.


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