Health warning comes with increased popularity of sleeping supplement

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EL DORADO, Kan. (KWCH) -- Melatonin is a sleeping supplement that's getting more and more popular. Many people even give it to their kids. An El Dorado doctor says she's seeing people take two or three times more than the recommended dose.

"More people are looking for solutions to help them sleep. People are increasingly looking for more natural remedies, again, because this is a supplement that's something people view as natural and safe even though taking it in large doses it's not," said Aubrey Ralston.

It's tough to overdose on the supplement, but too much can cause serious problems in extreme cases.

"You can have some nausea," said Ralston. "You can also have some overly sleepy kind of behavior where you might become so tired that eventually you would stop breathing if it's excessive amounts of melatonin."

Some brands taste like candy, so you'll want to watch your kids with it.

"Because there's no prescription for melatonin, people can take 3 mg, it's not working, so they take more," said Ralston. "That's not necessarily the way it's intended to be used. Melatonin is supposed to be something that helps you regulate your sleep wake cycle, so it's more whether you get the melatonin in your system at the same time every night consistently, rather than how high of dose you're getting."

You can also take too many vitamins like Vitamin K, A, E and D.

"Some side effects of having too high of vitamin D could be something like too high of calcium. Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium. If you have too much calcium you can have problems with electrical activity in your heart."

She said you should also not take too many vitamins containing iron.

Iron is often found in multi-vitamins.