Taking melatonin daily fixed my chronic fatigue

I had chronic fatigue. (I think a lot of you can relate.)

Turns out I lacked quality sleep.

Once I started taking melatonin every night, I started having 2–3x the energy I usually had. I’m a lot more focused now, especially later in the day. And less emotionally exhausted.

What follows is some of my knowledge and experience about taking melatonin.

How I got here: Starting a few months ago, I started to observe my energy levels as I felt exhausted from minute 1 of being awake, and that almost every day. I exercised multiple times per week (still do), but it didn’t boost my baseline energy levels. In the second week of a 14-day vacation, after I must have paid off all my sleep debt, I still felt groggy and tired. Could it have been a deficiency? I supplement iron, vitamin d and vitamin b12. I also got my blood checked, and everything was fine. Maybe it was my sleep schedule (imposed by school) that’s out of tact with natural sleep schedules of younger people. But I couldn’t change that much. While this list isn’t comprehensive at all, I hope it shows you all the possible causes of chronically low energy. I‘m glad I found a virtually zero-cost solution that works for me.

The solution: For me, the solution was to strategically take melatonin. Melatonin is a key hormone that governs the bodies circadian rhythm.

Time: Some say 2 – 3 hours, others 4 – 6 hours. There’s no consensus on this. You should experiment or consult your doctor. I chose 30 minutes, which is comparatively a very short timespan, from (involuntarily) „experimenting“ with the time before sleeping. For me, the sleepiness caused by melatonin started after 30mins, which was probably right after the ingestion was completed. After this mark, it got less and less intense, as you would expect: Since melatonin has a metabolic half-life of 20 – 50 minutes [1], I wouldn’t wait much longer.

Dosage: I took 0,5mg every day. Since a human produces a fraction, roughly 10% of that per day, it should be more than enough. For the record: Up to 3mg is considered low dosage. However, be aware that actual melatonin content can vary a lot from labeled content (from -83% to 473% [3]), which is another reason I opted for a low dosage. Here’s can excerpt from [5]:

When it comes to taking melatonin, don’t assume that the higher the dose, the better it will work. In fact, Dr. Conroy says that a low dose of melatonin (between .3 and .5 milligrams) is more effective than a bigger dose. […] „Scientific studies published in the Journal of Biological Rhythms(link is external) and The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism(link is external) show that a maximum shift occurred 0.5 milligrams compared to a previous study with 3 milligrams.“

Sleep data: My sleep data (deep or rem sleep quantity, average sleep duration, average sleep score) didn’t change at all. However, I didn’t wake up as often. The conclusion I draw here is that these measurements aren’t accurate or reliable. You could test how you respond to melatonin by self-observation, but a better alternative is to take a concentration/reaction time test a few minutes every day at the same time.

Long term use: According to [4]:

„Melatonin taken in low to moderate doses (5 mg daily or less) appears safe for short- and long-term use. However, it is widely agreed that the long-term effects of taking exogenous melatonin have been insufficiently studied.“

Consult a doctor before starting to take melatonin for longer than a month.

Side effects: While I didn’t experience any side effects, a lot of people I talked with said they experienced (very) vivid nightmares or daytime-sleepiness. Other symptoms may include: Dizziness, headaches, nausea etc. [2]

Disclaimer: Do not treat this as medical advice.

[1]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin Subsection metabolism

[2]: https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/melatonin/side-effects-of-melatonin/

[3]: Grigg-Damberger M.M., Ianakieva D. Poor Quality Control of Over-the-Counter Melatonin: What They Say Is often Not What You Get. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5263069/

[4]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10053496/ section conclusions

[5]: https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/news/archive/202307/what-happens-your-body-if-you-take-melatonin-every-night-according-behavioral-sleep-medicine-expert