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How Long Will Melatonin Stay In Your System

If you’ve ever discussed sleep with a friend, you’ve probably heard of melatonin. Everyone knows someone who knows someone who swears by the magic of melatonin. 


So, what is melatonin? Do you need to take it? Is there a right time or age to take melatonin? We have all the answers to what you need to know about melatonin.


There can be tons of questions surrounding melatonin, but one of the most important questions is how long melatonin will stay in your system. This is essential information for those new to melatonin because some sleep aids leave you feeling groggy the following day, and when you have to be up and responsible the next morning, you don’t want to struggle to stay awake. 


You should explore melatonin and whether it’s right for you. Just don’t neglect good sleep preparation. Between what you can do and the addition of melatonin, you can find your way to a restorative night’s sleep.


What Is Melatonin?


The best part about
melatonin is that it’s a natural hormone that our bodies release primarily from the pineal gland. We release this hormone at night as a control in our sleep-wake cycles. You might know the sleep-wake cycle as your circadian rhythm.


Our bodies start to release melatonin when we’re exposed to darkness. Increased levels of melatonin in our bodies promote feelings of calm and sleepiness.


As we age, we tend to produce less melatonin. As a result, older people tend to sleep less than younger people. 


Melatonin is available in the United States as an over-the-counter supplement for sleep. It is widely available, but not all supplements are created equal. Before you look for the right supplement for you, it’s important that you understand what your body needs. Do you need melatonin? When do you need to take melatonin? How long will melatonin stay in your system? Once you understand the answers to these questions, you’ll be better prepared to decide if melatonin is right for you.


Who Needs Melatonin?


If you produce melatonin naturally, why do you need to take it as a supplement? Here are some reasons that you might need melatonin in your life:


  • Recovering from jet lag
  • Shift work
  • Blindness
  • Age
  • Neurodivergence
  • General trouble sleeping

Melatonin has other applications outside of sleep, and if you’re curious if melatonin is right for you, talk it over with your physician.


When Do You Need To Take Melatonin?


Melatonin is absorbed quickly in the body. For example, assuming everything is as it should be, when you climb into bed with the lights out, your body releases melatonin, and you fall asleep in a relatively short amount of time. 


When you take a supplement of melatonin by mouth, your melatonin levels will peak in around an hour. When you reach peak levels, you will start to feel sleepy. It is recommended that you take a melatonin supplement within 30 to 60 minutes of when you hope to be asleep. 


Just remember that taking it before your routine bedtime is best. Taking it after your routine bedtime can cause shifts in your body clock and throw you off schedule.


What Is The Right Dosage?


The proper dose of melatonin is typically between 1 to 5 mg. 


To ensure the proper dose for your body, you should start with the lowest dose and slowly increase your intake to find the balanced dosage that’s right for you. Too much of a good thing can turn bad. With melatonin, the wrong dose can lead to disruptions in your circadian rhythm and daytime sleepiness. 


When you choose a supplement like Complete Calm Sleep Gummies, which has 3 mg of melatonin in their melatonin+ formula, it is easy to halve or even quarter the dose to suit you. 


How Long Will Melatonin Stay In Your System?


Melatonin’s half-life is between 40 to 60 minutes. It takes about four to five half-lives for a substance to be completely eliminated from your system. For this reason, melatonin takes about 5 hours for your body to process, and you should not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery within that time frame.


When it is in a supplement like Complete Calm Sleep Gummies, it can work with other natural ingredients to help you stay asleep without waking up feeling groggy. In addition to supporting your sleep health, ASYSTEM’s sleep gummies can specifically help with sleep quality, sleep duration, calming your mind, and feeling refreshed. 

Just remember that how you metabolize melatonin may differ from someone else because everyone is different.  


Some key factors on how quickly you metabolize melatonin include:


  • Age
  • Caffeine consumption
  • Tobacco use
  • Your body’s composition
  • Frequency of use
  • Other medications in use

Taking melatonin at the right time will help make sure you don’t feel any grogginess when it’s time to wake up, and it should be used for your sleep cycles and not naps. 


Help Your Melatonin Help You


Melatonin can help lead you to sleep, but to have a restful sleep, remember to help yourself too. An excellent personal sleep routine can help your body be open to the effects of your melatonin supplement and help your body produce its own as well.


Some important sleep routine tips to remember are:


1 - Stick to the Schedule


Establish a general time for waking up and going to bed. The pattern will also help your internal clock stay on time. Your body will thank you for your adherence to the schedule as often as you can.


2 - Less Is More


When it comes to caffeine, less can be more when it comes to our sleep. Timing your caffeine, just as you would time your melatonin, to help you when you need it but leave your system in time will take some effort on your part. A good rule of thumb is to avoid caffeine after mid afternoon. 


3 -Turn Down For Sleep


Turning down the lights and turning off the screens we all love to use can help stop the signal of light to our brains that tell us it’s time to be awake. Giving yourself some darker lighting and a break from the screens before bed can allow your body to be receptive to the circadian hormone melatonin. 


4 - Eine Kleine Nachtmusik


A composition by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart called “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” is a beautiful piece of music, and the German name translates to “a little serenade” or “a little night music.” Listening to soft music helps us prepare to sleep, relaxes our bodies, and eases tension in our minds. You may not care for Mozart, but the idea is sound.


5 - Meditate On It


Meditation could help you be ready for sleep. Meditation often works as a relaxation technique and encourages deep breathing. To calm your body and mind, you may discover a sense of inner peace, and that peacefulness can help you be ready for a full night’s rest. 


Meditation is often part of people’s morning routine to prepare for the day ahead, but meditation before bedtime can make sleep easier to come by as it promotes an overall calm feeling.  


Summary


Melatonin naturally occurs in our bodies. Like many hormones that our bodies produce, sometimes we need a boost to get the benefits of the hormone in our system. Finding the right melatonin supplement for you is important if you’re looking to get a good night’s rest or trying to deal with jet lag, blindness, or shift work. 


Using melatonin for its original purpose of helping you become drowsy when it’s time for sleep can help you reset your rhythms, fall asleep more quickly, and enjoy a deeper sleep. Just remember that even with a little help, keeping a healthy sleep routine goes a long way. 



Sources:

Melatonin - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf 

Jet lag disorder - Symptoms and causes | mayoclinic.org 

Shift Work Disorder: Overview and Complications | sleepfoundation.org 

Melatonin side effects: What are the risks? | Mayo Clinic 

Sleep Research - Sleep-wake Cycles and Shift Work | Woolcock.org


Meet our Experts

This article has been reviewed by members of our Scientific Advisory Board.

  • Dr. Jay Cowin, Nutrition Expert

    Founder of Functional U, a Nutrition, Performance & Optimal Health practice.

  • Dominick Gauthier, Performance Expert

    Former Olympic Athlete, Founder, B2ten Foundation (coach to multiple Olympic Champions)