How long does it take for melatonin to work? The short answer is that it depends on a number of factors, but most important is the type of melatonin you use.
For example, taking melatonin through a vape is by far the fastest way to get melatonin into your system, as quickly as 15 minutes. Liquid is a little slower, around 30 minutes, while gummies and pills take much longer.
If you’re looking for the kind of melatonin that gets absorbed as quickly as possible, any product from MELO Labs will be a great option for you – whether you’d prefer a fast-absorbing vape or an effervescent drink packed with additional sleep-enhancing ingredients and micronutrients.
In this article, we’ll explain how long it takes different types of melatonin to work, and we’ll also discuss some other factors that influence its absorption rate and effectiveness.
At a glance:
How Long Does It Take for Melatonin to Work?
The absorption time of melatonin supplements varies. Here are some relevant factors to consider.
It Depends on the Kind of Melatonin Supplement You Take
The most important determinant is the type of melatonin you’re taking. Depending on the supplement, it could take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours for the melatonin to kick in.
How Long Do Melatonin Vaporizers Take to Work?
By far the fastest way to get your melatonin is to vaporize it. A randomized controlled trial from the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found vaporized substances could be absorbed in as little as 20 seconds.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll feel the effects in 20 seconds, but 15 minutes should be enough time for your body to respond.
MELO Air from MELO Labs comes in a variety of sweet flavors and contains zero nicotine, vitamin E acetate, or any other substance known to be harmful when inhaled. It has very few ingredients and is primarily just melatonin.
A serving is 10 inhales and contains approximately 1.3 mg of melatonin, a low but very effective dose. Keep in mind when taking melatonin that you want as low a dose as possible, and using a fast-acting supplement will help you get more out of a lower dose.
How Long Do Melatonin Liquids Take to Work?
Next to vaporizers, liquids are the second fastest way to get your melatonin. Medicare Europe suggests liquid supplements can be absorbed in just 1-4 minutes and have 98% bioavailability. This makes them a great option for anyone who would prefer not to use a vaporizer.
As with vaporizers, you won’t necessarily feel the effects as quickly as the melatonin is theoretically absorbed. Liquids still need to pass through your digestive system, so give yourself 20-30 minutes to make sure the supplement has had enough time to get to your brain.
Many companies make melatonin tinctures, but another option is powdered drinks. Melo Labs also makes Melo Sip, a powder that gets added to water to create an effervescent drink. It comes in a variety of delicious flavors, and as a bonus, it also contains L-Theanine, chamomile extract, valerian root extract, and GABA, all of which help promote relaxation.
How Long Do Melatonin Pills Take to Work?
Although pills are the most common type of dietary supplement, they are absorbed slowly and poorly. In fact, by these metrics, they’re pretty much the worst option.
The UK National Health Service recommends taking melatonin pills 1-2 hours before bedtime. Depending on your metabolism and sleep hygiene, you could feel the effects in as little as half an hour, but you may still want to give yourself a little longer to make sure the whole supplement has been absorbed.
Additionally, keep in mind the amount of melatonin you absorb from pills is likely much lower than what these supplements actually contain. A clinical trial from the Journal of Clinical Pharmacology found melatonin pills had around 15% bioavailability. That means roughly 85% of melatonin in pills – the vast majority – is wasted.
How Long Do Melatonin Gummies Take to Work?
The absorption rate of gummies is on par with that of pills, since they also need to be broken down and digested by the stomach. This means they should also be taken about 1-2 hours before bedtime.
A drawback of gummies is that they almost always contain added sugar. They’re not exactly good for your teeth, and those with braces or dentures may want to avoid them. They also likely have the same bioavailability as pills, meaning your body may only absorb a small percentage of the melatonin in the supplement.
It Depends on How Much You Take
Oddly, one of the more common questions we get is, “How long does 5mg of melatonin take to work?” How much melatonin you take doesn’t really influence how long it takes melatonin to work, but it does influence how effective it will be.
Unlike other sleep aids, taking more melatonin does not make you sleepier. Too much melatonin can actually make it more difficult for you to sleep. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone, not a drug, and it governs your circadian rhythm (internal clock) – which gets thrown out of whack when you take too much.
Research suggests most people will benefit from doses between 0.5 mg and 5 mg. So, 5 mg may actually be too much for many people. No wonder people are asking how long it takes for 5 mg of melatonin to work – it may not be working for them at all.
Taking too much melatonin also has the potential to cause daytime sleepiness or excessive grogginess the next day. Whether it causes you to have additional trouble sleeping or makes you excessively tired, the effects are not ideal.
As a general rule, you want to find the lowest possible dose of melatonin that works for you. Start small, 0.5 mg or 1 mg, and gradually increase your dose only if this lower dose isn’t effective. Keep doing this until you find your optimal dose. Your body’s natural melatonin levels decline with age, so you may need a higher dose as you get older.
That said, before you increase your dose, make sure your sleep habits aren’t working against the melatonin – as we’re about to see.
Melatonin Depends on Your Sleep Habits
Melatonin is a tool to help your circadian rhythm, and your circadian rhythm is highly influenced by your daily habits. While melatonin can help you take control of your sleep schedule, its effectiveness will be limited by your sleep habits.
There are a variety of daily habits that influence your sleep, otherwise known as sleep hygiene. Good sleep hygiene is crucial for melatonin to work as effectively as possible. The following habits will help melatonin supplements work more quickly and effectively for you.
Limit Bright Light and Blue Light Exposure in the Evening
The effects of bright light and blue light on melatonin production are well known. A study from the Journal of Applied Physiology found light suppresses melatonin, particularly light with the shortest wavelength (blue light).
Unfortunately for us, nearly all of our electronic devices emit blue light. Even if we want to use them for relaxing activities in the evening – e.g. watching a favorite show or reading something light – we’re diminishing the effects of melatonin if we do so. The same goes for using any bright lights.
If you need to use evening or night lights, stick to warm colors like red or orange, and keep them dimly lit. Try a pair of blue light blocking glasses if you’d like to be able to use your devices in the evening.
Get Sunlight or Bright Light Early in the Day
Because bright light blocks natural melatonin production, getting bright light exposure as soon as you can after waking up will help reset your sleep wake cycle, letting your body know it’s time to wake up and be energized. Sunlight works best for this purpose, but failing that, any bright light will tell your internal clock that it’s morning.
A study from Sleep and Biological Rhythms found morning sunlight to accelerate “body temperature rhythm,” a common marker for circadian rhythm. This is one of many benefits of morning sunlight.
Get Exercise Early in the Day
Daily exercise has been shown to help improve sleep, according to a review from the Journal of Evidence-based Medicine. That said, it’s important to get your exercise early in the day, in the morning or afternoon if possible, since exercise can also block melatonin production.
For this reason, it’s best to avoid exercising an hour or two before bed. Try to keep any physical activity during this time as light as possible – walking and stretching are fine.
Have a Nighttime Routine
One of the best ways to let your body know it’s time to sleep is to have a set of relaxing activities you always do before sleep. These activities can be anything you enjoy and find calming, but the important thing is to do them consistently. This creates a psychological association between these activities and impending sleep.
Your nighttime routine might include relaxing yoga poses, journaling, taking a warm bath or shower, meditating, drinking herbal tea, or anything else that helps you unwind and destress. Writing down the next day’s to-do list is another popular nighttime activity to get any immediate worries off your mind.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool, Dark, and Quiet
The best temperature for sleep is around 60-67 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because your body temperature lowers a bit at night, so keeping your bedroom cool can help prime you for sleep. Experiment to find the best temperature for you.
Additionally, you’ll also want to limit light and noise as much as possible. Eye masks and earplugs can help you accomplish this when some of these factors are beyond your control.
Stick to a Consistent Schedule
As much as possible, try to keep your sleep and wake times consistent. Regular bedtimes and wake times help keep your circadian rhythm functioning optimally. By contrast, going to bed at a very different time each night will confuse your circadian rhythm.
Of course, this is necessary sometimes when we travel to a new time zone and experience jet lag, or during the biannual daylight savings time change, or any time some externally-imposed change to our schedule is beyond our control.
In these situations, it is arguably even more important to continue practicing good sleep hygiene as best as you can. It also helps to take melatonin supplements any time you’re dealing with a schedule change.
Avoid Alcohol and Caffeine in the Evening
Caffeine is a stimulant meant to energize you, so naturally, it should be avoided when you’re trying to sleep. Ideally, it’s best to avoid it from the late afternoon onwards, so it’s no longer in your system by the time you’re ready to sleep. The Sleep Foundation recommends cutting off caffeine no later than 6 hours before your bedtime.
Meanwhile, alcohol is considered a depressant. While it may help you fall asleep faster, it can create other problems for your sleep. A study from the journal Alcohol found drinking before bed could help with sleep during the first half of the night, but it disrupted REM sleep during the second half of the night and caused additional sleep disturbances.
How Melatonin Works
As mentioned above, the body naturally produces melatonin. This makes it fundamentally different from any other sleep aid. To understand how melatonin supplements work, it helps to understand more about the function of the hormone in our bodies.
Alongside serotonin, melatonin is produced by the pineal gland. Together, the two hormones govern our sleep wake cycle. Light triggers serotonin production and blocks melatonin production, letting us know it’s daytime. Darkness triggers melatonin production, letting us know it’s nighttime.
As explained by Luis F. Buenaver, PhD of Johns Hopkins Medicine, melatonin puts you into a state of “quiet wakefulness that helps promote sleep.” It won’t knock you out like a sedative, but it might make you feel a little sleepy. It basically lets your body know that sleep is coming soon, and it also helps you stay asleep throughout the night and get more REM sleep.
Remember, melatonin can easily be overridden with too much light or blue light in the evening, or by exercising in the evening, or by having too much caffeine during the day, etc. The effects of melatonin are subtle, so make sure you are practicing good sleep hygiene so you can get the most out of your melatonin supplements.
Try Products From MELO Labs for All Your Melatonin Needs
As we’ve seen, the absorption rate and overall effectiveness of melatonin will depend on a variety of factors. Your daily habits are an important consideration when determining how effective melatonin supplements are going to be for you, and improving your sleep hygiene will go a long way towards making them work better.
But the most important factor to consider by far is the type of melatonin supplement. Vaporizers and liquids are far superior to pills and gummies when it comes to both the speed of absorption and the amount of the supplement that gets absorbed.
If you’re looking for melatonin supplements that will be absorbed as fast as possible, there’s no better choice than MELO Labs. The MELO Air vaporizers are your fastest option and come in many exciting flavors, but MELO Sip powder is almost as fast, and it contains additional ingredients to help you sleep.
Besides melatonin, MELO Sip contains relaxation-promoting herbs and compounds, and it also contains vitamins and minerals to support your sleep and make sure you stay hydrated throughout the night. It comes in a variety of great-tasting flavors and contains no added sugar or sugar alcohols.
Whatever your preferences, MELO Labs has something for everyone. Try MELO Air or MELO Sip (or both!) to experience the benefits for yourself.