Why a Divided Dose of Melatonin Works Best for a Solid Night's Sleep

12/01/2016 | 3 min. read

Dr. Richard Wurtman

Dr. Richard Wurtman

Why a Divided Dose of Melatonin Works Best for a Solid Night's Sleep

After conducting research on melatonin for decades, I’m convinced that supplementing with this important hormone can restore deep, restful sleep for almost anyone.

…Even if you’ve suffered with poor sleep for years, melatonin can help.

Even if you struggle with multiple sleep problems—like trouble falling asleep, waking up in the middle of the night, and restlessness when trying to get back to sleep—melatonin can help.

…Even if you’ve tried melatonin before without success, melatonin can help.

Surprised? I would be too if I had listened to years of hype about the “miracle of melatonin.”

Bigger is Not Better When it Comes to Melatonin Doses

Frankly, one of the biggest challenges I face as a melatonin advocate is convincing people that, when it comes to doses, bigger is definitely NOT better.

Taking the mega-doses of melatonin common in most supplements on the market today causes two different problems:

  1. Blood levels of melatonin may remain elevated into the daylight hours, which confuses your body’s natural 24-hour circadian rhythm and can lead to grogginess during the day and an inability to get to sleep at night.
  2. You can become desensitized to melatonin. This is because your brain uses special receptor proteins to interact with melatonin. If these proteins are constantly bombarded with excess amounts of the hormone, they become overwhelmed. Eventually, your brain receptors get desensitized to melatonin and become progressively less responsive until they stop working altogether.

Although melatonin is not toxic, even in extremely high doses, you need to take it in the right amount to experience its profound sleep benefits. That means just enough to rebuild your melatonin to optimal levels, but not so much that it desensitizes your brain receptors or throws off your circadian rhythm.

And, based on my research, this ideal dose of melatonin is a little less than 1 mg each evening…but not all at once. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not, thanks to an ingenious capsule delivery system.

The Real Secret Behind Melatonin Success is Divided Doses

You actually need only a tiny 0.3 mg amount of melatonin to help you fall asleep fast. But this amount of the hormone clears from your body in about 4 hours. Then, you need another little boost of melatonin, approximately 0.6 mg, in order to stay asleep for the rest of the night.

But, getting up in the middle of the night to take a second booster dose of melatonin kind of defeats the goal of getting a good night’s sleep.

So why not take a full 1 mg dose at bedtime and hope for the best? Admittedly, this would be better than mega-dosing with 3 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg, and more that are common doses in most melatonin supplements these days. But because your body clears the melatonin so quickly, you end up getting too much of the hormone to start (risking desensitization) and then not having enough in the middle of the night to keep you sleeping soundly.

What you really need is to take your melatonin in divided doses. And this recently became a reality, with some out-of-the-box thinking by a cutting-edge team of nutritional scientists.

Specifically, the challenge of delivering divided doses was solved with a unique capsule-within-a-capsule design. The outer capsule has a fast-dissolving shell that releases 0.3 mg of liquid melatonin to help you fall asleep easily and stay asleep for about 4 hours. Then the inner capsule releases 0.6 mg of melatonin in slow-dissolving microbeads to help keep you in a sound sleep for the rest of the night.

The Perfect Dose at the Perfect Time

While decades of manufacturing dosage errors nearly ruined melatonin’s reputation as Nature’s #1 sleep solution, science came to the rescue and we’ve corrected the mistakes.

Using new capsule-within-a-capsule technology, you can get the small, divided doses of melatonin you need for an extraordinary night’s sleep. That means no more worries of getting too much melatonin and becoming desensitized or getting too little and waking up at night. I like to think of it as the “Goldilocks Solution” for good sleep because it’s just exactly right.

Dr. Richard Wurtman

Meet Dr. Richard Wurtman

Richard Wurtman, M.D. is a noted Harvard doctor and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researcher specializing in sleep and cognitive sciences. He is widely recognized for his groundbreaking research on melatonin over the past 40 years. He has done research for the NIH and with NASA, and is the author and editor of 18 books, holder of more than 50 patents, and author or co-author of over 1,000 scientific papers.

More About Dr. Richard Wurtman