Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body to help regulate your circadian rhythm. You might know this as your internal body clock. When you travel across different time zones your body's natural day-night, sleep-wake cycle gets disturbed, causing jet lag. Jet lag can affect all adults as well as children when you arrive at your destination.
Melatonin is released from the Pineal gland at or around your usual bedtime in response to changes in light levels detected by your retina. During the daytime when there is abundant light melatonin levels are low generating alertness, keeping us awake and active.
When the sun goes down, and night falls our internal body clock triggers the release of melatonin; this is the cue for you to go to sleep. Melatonin levels then continue to increase throughout the night until around 2 am-4 am at which point they begin to decline.
This sleep-wake cycle is known as your circadian rhythm, it spans 24 hours and it is heavily influenced by the presence or lack of light. Your body does not cope well with changes to this pattern and it can take several days or even weeks to fully adjust which is why Jet Lag can be so troublesome for individuals travelling across multiple time zones.
Melatonin tablets should be taken at bedtime when arriving at your chosen destination.
Adult Dose: One or Two tablets at 10 pm (20:00hr) on an empty stomach once you have arrived at your destination for a maximum of 5 days. Do not take melatonin after 4 am local time.
Children under 18: Not recommended
Higher doses (6mg) are usually associated with a faster onset of sleep (drowsiness). Recent reviews of data have shown that doses 0.5mg - 5mg are effective at managing jet lag, but higher doses are associated with a faster onset of sleep.
Each Melatonin 3mg tablet contains the following:
Active Ingredient: 3mg Melatonin
Inactive ingredients (excipients) can include but vary between brands:
Cellulose, Microcrystalline, Maltodextrin, Silica, Colloidal Anhydrous, Magnesium Stearate, Hypromellose, Lactose monohydrate, Titanium dioxide, Macrogol 4000
Melatonin is usually well tolerated but the following common adverse events have been reported. For a complete list please read the patient information leaflet.
Headache, Somnolence (tiredness), Dizziness, Abnormal dreams, Irritability, Stomach discomfort, rash, Chest pain, and Weight gain.
This medication should be for short-term use only and used intermittently. Max. 16 times per year.
Always take on an empty stomach
As alcohol can impair sleep and potentially worsen certain symptoms of jet-lag (e.g. headache, morning fatigue, concentration) it is recommended that alcohol is not consumed when taking Melatonin 3 mg film-coated tablets.
Due to the potential for incorrectly timed intake of melatonin to have no effect, or an adverse effect, on re-synchronisation following jet-lag, Melatonin 3 mg film-coated tablets should not be taken before 20:00 hr or after 04:00 hr at destination.
Melatonin may cause drowsiness. Melatonin 3 mg film-coated tablets should be used with caution if the effects of drowsiness are likely to be associated with a risk to patient safety.
Melatonin may increase seizure frequency and should not be used by patients with a history of epilepsy. Melatonin may increase the chance of seizures in children and adolescents with multiple neurological defects.
Not for use in patients with severe impairment of kidney or liver function
The sedative effect of Melatonin can be additive with other sedatives, eg Diazepam or Zopiclone. In studies the risk of morning sleepiness, nausea, and confusion during the first hour of wakening was markedly raised.
Melatonin should not be used by patients using the following medicines:
- Quinolone antibiotics
- Carbamazepine and Rifampicin
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Melatonin is not recommended during pregnancy, breastfeeding or for use in women of childbearing potential if not using contraception.
They are also not recommended for women and men planning pregnancy because regular use may impair fertility.
View the Patient Information Leaflet
Frequently Asked Questions
Where are you based?
We are a UK-registered pharmacy based in Derbyshire. You can check our registration details with the General Pharmaceutical Council on the About Us page. All medicines sold from our pharmacy have been sourced within the UK from MHRA-approved wholesalers.
Why is Melatonin banned in the UK?
Melatonin is not banned in the UK but is instead regulated as a medicine. Medicines like melatonin must be prescribed by an appropriately trained health professional so are not available to buy "over the counter". In other parts of the world, for example, the USA, Melatonin is not regulated as a medicine which means that it can be purchased at your local health food store.
Can you buy melatonin in the UK?
Yes, but it must be prescribed because melatonin is a prescription-only medicine.
Our pharmacy employs specialist pharmacists who are not only able to prescribe but are experts in travel health This means you can be sure that melatonin bought from our online pharmacy is both safe and suitable for you to use.
At Travelpharm we offer FREE delivery on most orders over £35, we aim to provide the best price and service at all times. With genuine products dispensed from our UK pharmacy, we aim to offer a website and service that strives to help you choose the most efficient, suitable medicines for you and your family.