Does Melatonin Cause Weight Gain? Here's What We Found Out

Written by Claire Hannum

Updated on August 31, 2023

If you supplement with melatonin in hopes of better sleep—and have gained a few extra pounds while taking it—you may be wondering, “Does melatonin cause weight gain?”

It’s not rare to notice an increase in weight around the time you start taking the supplement, but believe it or not, melatonin isn’t the cause of it. The real cause is much simpler…and melatonin can help you fight it.

Table Of Contents

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone created by the pineal gland in the brain (1). Often called the “sleep hormone”, melatonin helps your body maintain its circadian rhythm—the 24-hour internal clock that tells you when to sleep, wake up, and everything else in between (2). Because melatonin levels naturally decline with age, sleep is often disrupted for many older adults (3).

Studies have found that supplementing with melatonin can help you sleep longer, fall asleep faster, and get a better quality of sleep (456). Melatonin is so effective that we made it a key ingredient in Collagen PM, our nighttime supplement that helps you get the quality sleep you need.

The circadian rhythm and sleep-wake cycle: How exposure to sunlight regulates melatonin secretion in the human brain and body processes.

Does Melatonin Cause Weight Gain?

No, melatonin does not make you gain weight. In fact, research has found the opposite: Taking melatonin can significantly reduce body weight in those who are obese (7).

So now you’re probably wondering: If melatonin isn’t the culprit, why am I gaining weight? The answer might be the exact thing that melatonin is here to help you manage: Lack of sleep.

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Lack of Sleep & Weight Gain

Weight gain is regularly linked to getting less than 5 to 7 hours of sleep per night. So much so that one study found a 55% increase in the risk of future obesity among those who slept less than 7 hours each night (8). On the other hand, people who slept a healthier 7 to 9 hours per night did not have an increased risk of obesity.

There’s another way sleep deprivation can sabotage your weight loss goals: It heavily influences your eating patterns…

When you don’t get enough sleep, your body increases levels of ghrelin (a hormone that makes you hungry) and decreases leptin (a hormone that makes you feel full). As a result, sleep-deprived people spend their days feeling hungrier and less full—and are more likely to reach for high-fat and high-sugar food options (910).

Melatonin can manage or reverse this issue—or even prevent it altogether—by helping you improve the quality and duration of your sleep. If you notice weight gain around the time you start taking melatonin, it’s likely that it’s a result of the lack of sleep that prompted you to start the melatonin in the first place!

Sleep Apnea & Weight Gain

Sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders, yet most people don’t even know they have it. (It’s often confused with snoring and can go undetected for years). Sleep apnea occurs when breathing repeatedly stops and starts while sleeping due to airways being completely or partially blocked.

Sleep Apnea vector icon illustration: Obstructive Sleep Apnea vs. Normal Airway

Untreated sleep apnea can result in weight gain, poor immune system function, mental health issues, memory loss, and a higher risk of heart failure. Fortunately, there is promising research that melatonin can help improve sleep apnea by reducing nighttime awakenings and pauses in breathing (11).

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea or suspect that you have it, talk to your doctor about how to treat your airway restriction. This will help improve your sleep while maintaining a healthy weight.

How to Take Melatonin

If you’re ready to start taking melatonin for weight loss and better sleep, here’s how to make it part of your routine. First, choose your preferred form of melatonin: Gummies, capsules, tinctures, patches, or a powder that you can stir into hot water for a relaxing bedtime beverage.

If you’re opting for a melatonin supplement in the form of powder, we recommend NativePath Collagen PM: A sleepytime blend that combines 5 milligrams of melatonin with four other sleep-enhancing ingredients—magnesiumcollagenGABA, and L-theanine. This effective bedtime beverage is designed to help you sleep longer and more deeply without waking up with that morning grogginess.

Melatonin is best taken around an hour before you plan to go to bed (12). This is around the same time that your body begins to naturally boost melatonin, so your supplement will help boost that process. The melatonin will start taking effect between 20 minutes and two hours after you take it (13).

A woman holding a mug in bed placing a container of NativePath Collagen PM on a nightstand

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With 5 sleep-promoting ingredients that synergistically work together, Collagen PM helps you relax before bed, drift to sleep, and sleep through the night.

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The Bottom Line

Melatonin won’t cause weight gain, but it could help reverse it. Enhance your nighttime routine with a regular melatonin supplement like NativePath Collagen PM, a sleepytime blend of collagen, melatonin, magnesium, L-theanine, and GABA. A regular dose of melatonin will help you get better, longer, deeper sleep while helping you prevent or reverse weight gain.

Claire Hannum
Article by

Claire Hannum

Claire Hannum is a New York City-based writer, editor, wellness seeker, and reiki practitioner. Her writing has appeared in Self, Health, Prevention, and over a dozen other publications.

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    Medical Disclaimer

    This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Chad Walding nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement, or lifestyle program.

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