Skip to content

How melatonin can help you sleep better and feel better

Wie Dir Melatonin dabei helfen kann, besser zu schlafen und Dich besser zu fühlen

In the USA alone, around 50-70 million people are affected by poor sleep.

Although this is a common problem, it can have serious consequences. Poor sleep robs you of energy, reduces your productivity and increases the risk of diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes (1).

Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body when it's time to go to bed. It has also become a popular supplement for people who have trouble falling asleep.

This article explains how melatonin works, how safe it is and how much you should take.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by your body. It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, but is also found in other areas such as the eyes, bone marrow and intestines.

Melatonin is often referred to as the 'sleep hormone', as high levels of melatonin can help you fall asleep.

However, melatonin itself won't knock you out. It simply lets your body know that it's nighttime, so you can relax and fall asleep more easily (2).

Melatonin supplements are popular with people who struggle with insomnia or jet lag. In many countries, melatonin is available over the counter.

Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant that has a number of other benefits. It may help support eye health, treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, relieve tinnitus symptoms and even increase growth hormone levels in men.

How does melatonin work?

Melatonin works in conjunction with the body's day-night rhythm. In simple terms, this is the body's internal clock. It lets you know when it's time to sleep, wake up and eat.

Melatonin also helps to control body temperature, blood pressure and hormone levels. Melatonin levels begin to rise when it gets dark outside, signaling to the body that it's time to sleep.

It also binds to receptors in the body and can help you relax. How it binds. Melatonin, for example, binds to receptors in the brain to help reduce neural activity. In the eyes, it can help reduce dopamine levels - a hormone that helps you stay awake (3).

Although the exact way in which melatonin helps you fall asleep remains unclear, scientific research suggests that these processes can help you fall asleep. In turn, light suppresses melatonin production. This is one way your body knows it's time to wake up (4).

Since melatonin helps your body fall asleep, people whose bodies don't produce enough melatonin may have trouble falling asleep.

There are many factors that can be responsible for low melatonin levels at night. Stress, smoking, too much ambient light (including blue light), not enough natural light during the day, shift work and aging can all affect melatonin production (5, 6).

Taking a melatonin supplement can help your body normalize your internal clock.

Summary: Melatonin works closely with your body's internal clock to help you prepare for sleep. Melatonin levels rise in the evening.

Melatonin can help you fall asleep

Scientific research shows that taking melatonin before bedtime can help you fall asleep(7).

In an analysis of 19 studies of subjects with sleep disorders, scientists found that melatonin helped reduce the time it took to fall asleep by an average of 7 minutes. In many of these studies, subjects also reported significantly better sleep quality (8).

In addition, melatonin can help with jet lag, a temporary sleep disorder.

Jet lag occurs when the body's internal clock is thrown out of sync in a new time zone. Shift workers also experience jet lag symptoms as they work during a time that is normally set aside for sleep (9)

Melatonin can help reduce jet lag by bringing your internal clock back into sync with the time change (10).

An analysis of 10 studies examined the effects of melatonin in people who traveled across 5 or more time zones. The scientists found that melatonin was surprisingly effective in reducing jet lag (11).

Summary: Scientific research shows that melatonin can help you fall asleep faster. In addition to this, it can help people suffering from jet lag to find sleep.

Other health benefits of melatonin

Taking melatonin may have a number of other health benefits.

Melatonin may support eye health

Healthy melatonin levels may support eye health.

Melatonin has strong antioxidant benefits that reduce the risk of eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (12).

In one study, researchers asked 100 people with age-related macular degeneration to take 3 mg of melatonin per day for a period of 6 to 24 months. Taking melatonin daily helped to protect the retina of the eye and delay damage from age-related macular degeneration without significant side effects (13).

Melatonin could help in the treatment of stomach ulcers and heartburn

The antioxidant properties of melatonin could help treat stomach ulcers and relieve heartburn (14).

A study of 21 participants found that taking melatonin and tryptophan in combination with omeprazole - a widely used medication to treat heartburn - helped to heal stomach ulcers caused by the H. pylori bacterium more quickly (15).

In another study of 36 subjects with gastroesophageal reflux, participants were given either melatonin, omeprazole (a drug that can help treat this condition) or a combination of both to treat their symptoms.

Melatonin helped to relieve heartburn and was even more effective when combined with omeprazole (16).

This branch of research is still quite new and more studies are needed to clarify how effective melatonin is in treating peptic ulcers and heartburn.

Melatonin could reduce tinnitus symptoms

Tinnitus is a condition characterized by a constant noise in the ears. It is often worse when there is less background noise, as is usually the case when trying to fall asleep.

Interestingly, taking melatonin appears to help reduce tinnitus symptoms and help tinnitus patients fall asleep (17).

In a study of 61 adults with tinnitus who took 3 mg of melatonin 30 minutes before bedtime, melatonin helped reduce the effects of tinnitus and significantly improved sleep quality (18).

Melatonin could increase growth hormone levels in men

Human growth hormone is naturally released during sleep. In healthy young men who take melatonin, it may help to increase growth hormone levels.

Studies have shown that melatonin can make the pituitary gland - the organ that secretes growth hormone - more sensitive to the hormone that stimulates growth hormone secretion (19).

In addition, studies have shown that both low (0.5 mg) and higher doses of melatonin (5 mg) are effective in stimulating growth hormone release (21).

Melatonin could help with winter depression

So-called winter depression, characterized by depressive moods during the colder, darker seasons, affects up to 20% of all adults. There is evidence that winter depression is influenced by changes in light and the sleep cycle (22).

In turn, melatonin could potentially help reduce symptoms of winter depression by supporting better sleep patterns (23).

However, the available evidence is not completely clear and further studies are needed to clarify whether melatonin can be useful in the treatment of winter depression.

Summary: Melatonin may support eye health, relieve tinnitus symptoms, treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, increase growth hormone levels in young men and relieve winter depression.

How should melatonin be taken

If you want to try melatonin, you should start with a lower-dose supplement.

For example, start with 0.5 mg or 1 mg 30 minutes before bedtime. If this dosage does not seem to help you fall asleep, you can try increasing your dosage to 3 to 5 mg. A higher melatonin dosage than this is unlikely to help you fall asleep any faster. The goal is to find the lowest dosage that helps you fall asleep. However, it is best to follow the instructions of the supplement in question.

Safety and side effects

The data currently available suggests that melatonin supplements are safe, non-toxic and non-addictive (24)

Nevertheless, it is possible that some people may experience mild side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, headaches and nausea.

In addition, melatonin can interact with a number of medications. This includes blood thinners, blood pressure medications and antidepressants.

If you are taking any of these or other medications, it is best to discuss taking melatonin with your doctor beforehand.

There are also concerns that taking too much melatonin could cause your body to stop producing its own melatonin. However, several studies have shown that taking melatonin does not affect the body's ability to produce melatonin (25).

Summary: Currently available studies show that melatonin is safe, non-toxic and non-addictive. However, it may interact with blood thinners, blood pressure medications and antidepressants.


Melatonin is an effective supplement that can help you fall asleep, especially if you have insomnia or jet lag. It may also have other health benefits. If you want to try melatonin, you should start with a low dosage of 0.5 to 1 mg 30 minutes before bedtime. If this doesn't work, you can increase the dosage to 3 to 5 mg.




Previous article Tip of the week tip: Use this tapping test for the health of your CNS
Next article 10 proven ways to relax muscles and mind