Melatonin is a hormone primarily released by the pineal gland at night, and has long been associated with control of the sleep–wake cycle. As a dietary supplement, it is often used for the short-term treatment of insomnia, such as from jet lag or shift work, and is typically taken orally.
The hormone melatonin plays a role in your natural sleep-wake cycle. Natural levels of melatonin in the blood are highest at night. Some research suggests that melatonin supplements might be helpful in treating sleep disorders, such as delayed sleep phase, and providing some relief from insomnia and jet lag.
Melatonin is generally safe for short-term use. Unlike with many sleep medications, with melatonin you are unlikely to become dependent, have a diminished response after repeated use (habituation), or experience a hangover effect.
How Long Until Melatonin Works?
Melatonin supplements affect each person differently. While one person may become sleepy within 1 hour of taking the supplement, others may feel tired after 10 to 15 minutes. However, melatonin is quickly absorbed by the body, so most people feel the full effect within the first hour.
Most melatonin supplements are released into the bloodstream immediately after taking them. However, some formulations are designed for extended-release. This means small amounts of melatonin enter the bloodstream over time. Time-released melatonin is intended to mimic the body’s natural production of melatonin, which occurs throughout the night. Read: Is Melatonin An Addictive Drug?
How Long Does Melatonin Stay in Your Body?
In general, melatonin doesn’t stay in the body for long. The half-time of the supplement, the time it takes for your body to metabolize half of the dosage, is about 30 to 40 minutes. In most cases, it takes 4 to 5 half-lives for your body to eliminate the supplement. Therefore, melatonin can stay in your body for up to 4 hours.
For this reason, It is recommended that you avoid driving or operating dangerous equipment at least 5 hours after taking the supplement. However, because melatonin affects each person differently, it may take longer for it to clear from your system. The following factors could affect how long melatonin remains in your body.
- Age: Early research shows that melatonin may stay active for longer periods of time in older individuals.
- Caffeine intake: Caffeine is a stimulant that may counter the effects of melatonin.
- Body weight: Heavier individuals (those over 250 pounds) may not feel the effects of a small dosage of melatonin.
- You are taking other medications: Blood pressure, hypertension, immunosuppressant, and diabetes medications, as well as blood thinners and other anticoagulants, may change the way your body processes supplemental melatonin.
Does Melatonin Appear On Drug Test?
Melatonin does not appear on panel drug test as common panel drug tests do not screen for substances like melatonin but for other legal and illicit drugs people sometimes abuse.
However, your source of melatonin supplement is vital if you must avoid the shock of a failed drug test. The FDA has found that many dietary supplements – especially weight-loss, bodybuilding and sexual-enhancement products – contain undeclared drug ingredients that could be potentially harmful and/or produce unwanted urinalysis test results.
A 10-panel drug test is a common way to check for various drugs in a person’s body. The most common 10-panel drug tests use urine to check for many of the legal and illicit drugs people sometimes abuse. Typically, traces of these substances in the urine mean the individual has these substances in their body.