How much Melatonin can be safely taken at night?
Melatonin is not regulated by the FDA even though it is a hormone. There are potential side effects but usually with doses much higher than those readily available.
Studies suggest that melatonin is NOT a good sleeping pill compared to any of the available sleeping pills on the market. There are studies indicating that melatonin is useful for resetting your circadian rhythm to restore normal sleep patterns. This is typically a problem with shift work, jet lag or people who have either accidentally or on purpose reset their biological clock and no longer are able to go to bed at the usual time.
For people with normal sleep patterns, the pineal gland begins secreting melatonin at around 9 pm and this progressively make you more sleepy. Therefore, most of us recommend 3 mg of Melatonin at 9 pm in order to go to sleep by 11 pm. Once your circadian rhythm is reset Melatonin will have no further affect and should not be needed anymore.
MS patients have lots of reasons for disrupted sleep, all of which require different treatments. To know how to treat these different sleep problems requires an adequate history and sometimes additional testing.
Revere (Rip) Kinkel MD
Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program
Professor of Clinical Neurosciences
University of California San Diego