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Melatonin tablets are used to treat the symptoms of jet lag. They contain the active ingredient melatonin, a hormone found naturally in your body.
Melatonin is in your blood whether you’re asleep or awake. The amount of melatonin in your blood will go up and down throughout the day. For example, melatonin levels are low during the daytime, but will increase when it gets dark, making you feel tired and ready for sleep.
10 tablet(s) - £16.49
20 tablet(s) - £21.99
What are melatonin tablets?
Melatonin tablets are a prescription only medication used to treat short term, primary insomnia, and jet lag.
Melatonin for jet lag
When you go on a long haul flight, you will cross different time zones and your normal sleep cycle will get interrupted. This means that it will get dark at a different time to when your body is expecting, and the changes to your melatonin levels will be delayed.
Common symptoms of jet lag include:
- sleep disruption
- daytime tiredness
- problems with concentration and memory
Your body will eventually adjust, but until then, melatonin tablets will boost your melatonin levels and help you sleep at the right time.
Melatonin for insomnia
Primary insomnia means you have trouble sleeping properly, but there isn’t an obvious cause. Melatonin tablets can slowly top up your melatonin levels during the night, and help encourage normal sleep. Melatonin levels slowly drop as we get older, which can make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep. For this reason, people over the age of 55 are more likely to require melatonin tablets.
Who can take melatonin?
Melatonin tablets are mostly for people over 55 who have insomnia, or for anyone who’s travelling across time zones and may get jet lag. We provide melatonin for jet lag only.
You shouldn’t take melatonin tablets if you’re allergic to melatonin or any other ingredients found within.
Before you start taking melatonin, you should tell your doctor if you:
- have kidney or liver problems
- are intolerant to some sugars, like lactose
- have an autoimmune disease
- drive or use machinery, because melatonin can make you feel drowsy
Children under the age of 18 shouldn’t take melatonin, because the effects haven’t been tested properly for children.
Are melatonin tablets available in the UK?
Yes, melatonin is a licensed treatment for jet lag in the UK. Some other melatonin products are available on the internet, but aren’t licensed in the UK.
- Take one to two 3mg tablets on the first night in your new destination.
- Continue to take one or two tablets per night if you think you’ll have trouble sleeping, for a maximum of 5 nights.
You’ll need to take 1 tablet, up to 2 hours before you want to go to bed. You should not consume food for 2 hours before or after taking the medication. You should swallow the tablet whole, and not crush or chew it. You should also avoid drinking alcohol when taking melatonin, because that can make it less effective.
You shouldn’t feel any withdrawal symptoms or issues sleeping after you stop using melatonin tablets.
You can order melatonin from ZAVA and this service is quick and easy to use.
- fill out a short online assessment about your health and lifestyle
- place an order for your preferred treatment option
- a doctor wil assess your treatment to see if your order is right for you
If approved, we’ll post your order to your preferred address in discreet packaging.
Melatonin is normally well tolerated, which means it usually doesn’t cause side effects.
Uncommon side effects
Uncommon side effects of melatonin can include:
- mood changes like restlessness, nervousness, and irritability
- feeling weak
- high blood pressure
- mouth ulcers
- abdominal pain
- night sweats
- pain in the extremities
- abnormal liver function
- weight gain
- skin problems
- abdominal pain and indigestion
- changes in blood composition
If you get any of the following side effects while taking melatonin, you should get medical attention as soon as possible:
- chest pain
- palpitations (an irregular heart beat)
- visual disturbances
- feeling disorientated
- increased bleeding or bruising
- ammonio methacrylate copolymer type B
- calcium hydrogen phosphate dihydrate
- lactose monohydrate
- silica (colloidal anhydrous)
ZAVA offers 3mg doses
Each film-coated tablet contains 3mg of melatonin. The standard dose is 3mg (1 tablet) daily for a maximum of 5 days. The first dose should be taken upon arrival at your destination at the habitual bed-time.
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 3mg film-coated tablets should not be taken before 8pm or after 4am at destination.
Food can enhance the increase in plasma melatonin concentration. Intake of melatonin with carbohydrate-rich meals may impair blood glucose control for several hours. It is recommended that food is not consumed 2 hours before and 2 hours after intake of Melatonin 3mg film-coated tablets.
As alcohol can impair sleep and potentially worsen certain symptoms of jet lag (e.g. headache, morning fatigue, and concentration) it is recommended that alcohol is not consumed when taking Melatonin 3mg film-coated tablets.
Melatonin 3mg film-coated tablets may be taken for a maximum of 16 treatment periods per year.
Melatonin must not be used with any other sedative medications or sleeping tablets.
Melatonin can interact with other medications - please check with your doctor if you are taking any other medicines (prescription or over the counter).
Possible side effects of the medication
WARNING: Melatonin will cause drowsiness therefore should only be used at bedtime and not when drowsiness could pose a danger to your safety and well-being (e.g. if driving or using machinery).
Drowsiness/sleepiness, headache, and dizziness/disorientation are the most frequently reported adverse effects when melatonin is taken on a short-term basis to treat jet lag. Drowsiness, headache, dizziness, and nausea are also the adverse effects reported most frequently when typical clinical doses of melatonin have been taken for periods of several days to several weeks by healthy persons and patients. For a full list of side effects, please refer to the patient information leaflet.
Dr Babak Ashrafi Clinical Lead for Service Expansion
Accreditations: BSc, MBBS, MRCGP (2008)
Babak studied medicine at King’s College London and graduated in 2003, having also gained a bachelor’s degree in Physiology during his time there. He completed his general practice (GP) training in East London, where he worked for a number of years as a partner at a large inner-city GP practice. He completed the Royal College of GPs membership exam in 2007.Meet our doctors
Last reviewed: 13 Jan 2023
NICE (2013). Sleep disorders in children and young people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder: melatonin. [online] Available at: https://www.nice.org.uk/advice/esuom2/ifp/chapter/about-melatonin [accessed 8th March 2019].
Wade, A. G. et al (2007). Efficacy of prolonged release melatonin in insomnia patients aged 55-80 years: quality of sleep and next-day alertness outcomes. Current Medical Research and Opinions, Nov; 23: 2597-2605.