Medically reviewed on August 1, 2022 by Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN, CPT. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.
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If you’ve ever laid awake at bedtime, unable to fall asleep, you’re not alone—sleep disorders affect upwards of 70 million Americans every year. 
Now, you may be asking yourself "Why can’t I sleep at night?" While your inability to catch good Zs may be attributed to several factors, a hormone melatonin deficiency could be the likely culprit.  In short, a melatonin deficiency is a drop in the levels of the sleep hormone known as melatonin.
Read on to learn the signs, symptoms, and causes of a melatonin deficiency, as well as how to test for this condition. That way, you can start taking steps to make your nights less restless and more restful.
It may surprise you to learn that scientists are still discovering precisely how we enter the Land of Nod. That said, research shows that melatonin plays a large role in helping us fall asleep. 
Released by the brain’s pineal gland, melatonin can influence the following bodily functions: 
While natural melatonin levels differ based on age and sex, most people have consistent melatonin levels until 40 years old. After 40, melatonin levels begin to decline, resulting in deficiencies. 
That said, melatonin deficiencies can impact people regardless of age and sex.
Although scientists are still working to pinpoint the exact causes of melatonin deficiency, contemporary research highlights three potential factors: 
Given melatonin’s prominent role in sleep regulation, many signs of melatonin deficiency typically involve sleep. The most common signs include: 
That said, research also suggests that melatonin deficiencies may impact non-sleep-related functions, contributing to: 
Like signs of low melatonin levels, melatonin deficiency symptoms typically manifest as a sleep disorder. The sleep disorder can, in turn, contribute to neurobiological and behavioral symptoms.
The most common symptoms of melatonin deficiency include:
The good news is that these symptoms don’t have to last forever. If you’re experiencing these signs and your healthcare provider determines low melatonin levels are to blame, they can prescribe a melatonin supplement to help remedy the deficiency.
If you’re wondering how to fix your sleep schedule due to a melatonin deficiency, there are options. Treating a melatonin deficiency depends on a person’s present levels of melatonin. For people requiring short-term melatonin support, healthcare providers recommend taking melatonin supplements. Many studies suggest that taking melatonin can help promote better sleep at doses as low as 0.1–0.3 mg/d. 
Healthcare providers may also recommend that you limit your exposure to light during the evenings, as well as engage in hormone melatonin substitution therapies throughout the night. 
That said, it’s important to test your melatonin levels before discussing a treatment plan. An at-home lab test that tests for melatonin levels can let you and your healthcare provider know your more about your specific melatonin needs.
A melatonin deficiency can result in sleepless nights and groggy mornings. Fortunately, the Sleep and Stress Test from Everlywell can help you monitor your melatonin levels and pinpoint lifestyle improvements that can lead to a better sleep.
To get started, simply register your Sleep and Stress Test. Then, take a urine sample and send us the results. We’ll follow up with a personalized, physician-certified melatonin treatment plan detailing your next steps. Talk about sweet dreams.
Welcome to Everlywell—critical sleep data is only a test away.