Sunday, February 25, 2024

What Is Melatonin Side Effects

How Does Melatonin Affect The Brain And The Body

Side Effects of Melatonin: What Are the Risks?

Melatonin turns certain areas of the brain on and off, says Alon Y. Avidan MD, MPH, director of the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center, and Professor at the UCLA Department of Neurology in Los Angeles, California. Melatonin helps with the timing of sleep to allow people to have a more regular circadian phase and it may help to strengthen the immune system, too. Its important to improve sleep and the timing of sleep so people can have an optimal immune response, he says.

It Can Lower Your Energy Levels And Mood

Dealing with pre-existing mental health conditions on a daily basis is challenging enough as it is. Unfortunately, Adimoolam explains, “Individuals with known mood disorders like depression may experience worsening depressed mood and/or anxiety.” Melatonin can lower one’s mood and energy levelsin the process of relaxing and preparing the body for sleepwhich can mimic or foster a depressive state in people who already suffer from the illness.

Although, some experts have reported that you can attempt to counteract the negative toll melatonin takes on mental health by increasing your vitamin D intake. Since vitamin D is a natural way to improve one’s mood, it may help some. But many who still experience excessive mood changes must stop taking the supplement altogether and discuss uneasy sleep patterns with a doctor.

Is It Worth The Risks

Melatonin is a powerful hormone, and works unlike other sleeping aids. Its a sleep regulator, rather than a sleep initiator. Those who are really struggling with insomnia may feel compelled to take a high dose, thinking itll have a stronger effect. However, at the wrong dose, melatonin can actually make the sleeping cycle much worse, inducing drowsiness and preventing the body self-regulating its natural sleep cycle.

Melatonin dosage comes in a wide variety of strengths, from 0.2 mg to 20.0 mg. The most commonly useful dosage falls between 0.3 and 1.0 mg. Typically, if you can find the dosage perfect for you, you can get all the benefits of melatonin whilst still minimizing the side effects. Just because its unregulated and easy to purchase doesnt mean it can be taken without consequence. Exercising caution when taking melatonin is the best way to get maximum benefits with minimum drawbacks.

Note: The content on Sleepopolis is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldnt taken as medical advice, and it shouldnt take the place of medical advice and supervision from a trained professional. If you feel you may be suffering from any sleep disorder or medical condition, please see your healthcare provider immediately. Please seek advice from a qualified medical professional before undertaking any new sleep, diet, or supplement regimen.

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It Can Cause Vivid Dreams Or Nightmares

Melatonin may improve your ability to catch some Z’s, but for some people, an unfortunate side effect is that your sleep will be tainted by unwanted visuals. Vivid dreams and nightmares may take place, according to Mount Sinai researchers, and this can be a result of taking too much melatonin . Studies have found that since the supplement can disrupt circadian rhythms , your body may be in REM sleepthe sleep cycle known for vivid dreaminglonger than normal.

How To Use Melatonin For Jet Lag

Melatonin Side Effects

Jet lag is an air travel problem that causes difficulty in sleeping, fatigue, trouble concentrating, constipation, and other symptoms. Jet lag is much more likely if you cross over several time zones, and can worsen the more time zones you cross.

Effective starting doses for jet lag range from 0.3 to 0.5 mg. Smaller doses may work for some while others may need a higher dose. It may be more difficult to fly east, when time is lost, rather than to fly west, when you gain it back. High doses, such as 20 mg pills are available for purchase on the Internet, but such high doses are not normally recommended or needed, and may greatly increase side effects.

  • Eastbound: If you are traveling east, say from the US to Europe, take supplemental melatonin for sleep after dark, 30 minutes before bedtime in the new time zone or if you are on the plane. Then take it for the next 4 nights in the new time zone, after dark, 30 minutes before bedtime. If you are still feeling drowsy the day after using this medication, try a lower dose.
  • Westbound: If you are heading west, for example, from the US to Australia, a dose is not needed for your first travel night, but you then may take it for the next 4 nights in the new time zone, after dark, 30 minutes before bedtime. Melatonin may not always be needed for westbound travel.

Given enough time , jet lag will usually resolve on its own, but this is not always optimal when traveling.

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It Can Keep You Up At Night If You Take Too Much

Ironically, melatonin can end up causing you to get no sleep at all. If your dosage of melatonin is too high, it can lead to a “state of enhanced alertness,” Medical News Today reports, which is quite the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve when you snuggle up in bed after a long day’s work.

A previous version of this article was originally published on May 4, 2022.

Melatonin: What Is It Side Effects And Benefits

Melatonin, also known as the sleep hormone, is produced in our brain, specifically in the pineal gland. Although this gland performs various functions in our body, its main function is to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, which it does by transforming serotonin into melatonin. Melatonin is synthesised from an amino acid known as tryptophan

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Can You Naturally Raise Your Melatonin Levels

Melatonin is a natural hormone and there are ways to measure levels in the body, says Dr. Kolla, but this is usually done in research settings. There really is nothing we can do to increase our levels. Light can suppress its secretion, so avoiding light, especially bright light, in the evenings is helpful.

Being conscious of the screens youre staring at in the evening can play a huge role in when your melatonin levels change, but this doesnt raise the percentage of the hormone in your body.

Taking supplements orally can increase the levels of melatonin in the blood to much higher levels than the body naturally produces. So exercise caution before ingesting high dosages as it can lead to spill-over effects and disrupt sleep further.

Is Melatonin Safe For People With Mental Illness

What Are Side Effects of Melatonin? A Doctor Explains

Taking melatonin can help those with depression because it improves seasonal affective disorder, says Dr. Avidan. When people are not getting enough light exposure , like in Washington state or the Midwest, they tend to get more severe depression, he says. Using artificial light during the day can help the timing and release of melatonin, which will have a positive effect on mood.

People with major depression or psychotic disorders should consult with their doctor before taking melatonin since mood changes, hallucinations, and paranoia have been reported. If youre dealing with anxiety or depressionlike many of us this past yearor if you have , melatonin may be able to help but only your doctor can tell you for sure.

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Can You Develop A Melatonin Dependency

Melatonin does not cause physical dependency. However, it is not meant to be used long term. Talk with your healthcare provider about other options if you have been using melatonin for one to two months.

Melatonin is not safe for people with an autoimmune disorder, a seizure disorder, or depression. It is also not considered safe for people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Is Melatonin Safe Common And Uncommon Side Effects

For those struggling with their sleep cycles, taking oral melatonin is one of the first ports of call. But in spite of its common usage and over the counter status, there are still a few question marks surrounding it. Taking melatonin, as with anything else, as a supplement comes with potential for side effects. Some of these are well-known and publicized, but other, rarer side effects are more obscure and unknown to the general public. So is the taking of melatonin to aid sleep safe?

Note: The content on Sleepopolis is meant to be informative in nature, but it shouldnt taken as medical advice, and it shouldnt take the place of medical advice and supervision from a trained professional. If you feel you may be suffering from any sleep disorder or medical condition, please see your healthcare provider immediately. Please seek advice from a qualified medical professional before undertaking any new sleep, diet, or supplement regimen.

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Who Should Avoid Melatonin

There are several groups that should consider avoiding melatonin.

  • People taking interfering medications
  • Young children who simply have a hard time sleeping.
  • People with chronic insomnia. Insomnia is a much bigger issue than simple melatonin supplementation can solve. If you suffer from this – please see a doctor.
  • People with restless leg syndrome. Melatonin can sometimes interfere or make this worse.
  • People with dementia. Because dementia can cause people to metabolize the hormone more slowly – they may become drowsy during the daytime and pose a danger to themselves.

What Are Melatonin Supplements

What Are The Side Effects Of Taking Melatonin

Oral forms of synthetic melatonin include melatonin gummies, pills, liquids, chewables, and capsules. You can purchase the hormone in other forms, too, including melatonin sprays, powder, patches, and creams, all of which are available in grocery stores, pharmacies, and health food stores. Melatonin supplements are marketed to help with sleep and jet lag.

As pointed out by the JAMA study, many melatonin users regularly take doses higher than the maximum recommended 5 milligrams per night. This is particularly concerning in regard to children. A report published in June 2022 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examined data between the years 2012 and 2021 and found that poison control had fielded 260,435 calls about kids who had taken too much melatonin. Of those, two children under the age of 2 died, five were put on a ventilator, nearly 300 ended up in intensive care, and more than 4,000 were hospitalized.

Part of the problem may be that there is no general consensus regarding melatonin dosage, according to the aforementioned book. Recommended dosages vary by brand, and can range from 0.3 to 10 mg, per the The Sleep Doctor. Low doses may be used for circadian rhythm synchronization, while sleep disorders may require doses ranging from 0.6 to 5 mg.

Its important to speak to a qualified healthcare provider about the correct dosage for yourself, or for a child who has sleep issues because of a developmental or neurological problem.

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Skip Melatonin For Sleep If

Do not use melatonin if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or have an autoimmune disorder, a seizure disorder or depression. Talk to your health care provider if you have diabetes or high blood pressure. Melatonin supplements may also raise blood-sugar levels and increase blood pressure levels in people taking some hypertension medications.

Cautions With Other Medicines

Some medicines and melatonin can interfere with each other and increase your risk of side effects.

Certain medicines may increase or decrease the drowsy-making effects of melatonin.

Speak to a doctor or pharmacist before taking melatonin if you take any of the following:

  • antidepressants such as fluvoxamine or imipramine
  • blood pressure lowering medicines
  • zaleplon, zolpidem or zopiclone

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Is It A Hormone

Melatonin is a hormone. The pineal gland in the brain releases it in cycles. Production increases at night when the light outside starts to fade.

Melatonin acts as a chemical messenger. It tells other organs and tissues how to function. Melatonin signals to the body that it is time to go to sleep.

Melatonin is known as the sleep hormone. People with low melatonin levels may not sleep as well as those who have higher levels.

Do Electronic Devices Alter Melatonin Levels

Is melatonin safe to help children sleep?

Light at night blocks the production of melatonin, and this has been shown to cause sleep disturbances in people who use electronics that emit light at night. Researchers have found that light from electronic devices can block the release of natural hormone melatonin at night. The effect was most significant for younger children, with nighttime levels reduced by up to 37 percent in certain cases. This can also be problematic for children between ages 9 and 16.

Studies show that light after dark lowers melatonin levels which may lead to difficulty in initiating sleep. Electronic light-emitting devices such as the television, laptops, smartphones and tablets often find their way into the bedroom at night, or are used after dark. Children should not have electronics, including TVs, in their bedroom at bedtime and everyone should avoid use of light-emitting devices and screen time at least one hour before bedtime.

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How To Supplement With Melatonin

The standard dosage ranges from 110 mg per day to aid sleep. However, the optimal dose has not been formally established.

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Since not all melatonin supplements are the same, follow the instructions on the label.

Also, remember that health authorities do not monitor the quality of over-the-counter supplements. Try to choose brands that are reputable and certified by a third party, such as Informed Choice or NSF International.

Many experts do not recommend using melatonin supplements in children and adolescents until more evidence confirms their safety in these groups.

Since melatonin is transferred into breast milk, people who are breastfeeding should keep in mind that it might cause excessive daytime sleepiness in nursing infants.

Summary: The standard melatonin dosage ranges from 110 mg per day, but follow the instructions on the label. Parents should not give it to their children without consulting a healthcare professional.

Who Can And Cannot Take Melatonin

Melatonin is mainly prescribed for adults aged 55 or over, to help for short-term sleep problems.

It can sometimes be used by adults under the age of 55 and by children, if a doctor recommends it.

It’s not suitable for some people. To make sure melatonin is safe for you, tell your doctor if you:

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Advantages And Disadvantages Of Melatonin

Taking melatonin under medical supervision is very safe, as a doctor will be able to prescribe the right amounts to take and the length of time you can take it. He or she will also assess your physical condition to determine whether you have any medical condition that would prevent you from taking the hormone.

It is important to know the advantages and disadvantages of the sleep hormone, so that you will feel more confident about taking it.

Melatonin Side Effects Guide

Does Melatonin Have Side Effects

Medically reviewed by

If youve ever looked into supplements for insomnia, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder and other issues related to sleep, youve probably heard of melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body to regulate certain aspects of your night and day cycle. Melatonin supplements are used to treat sleep difficulties and make getting a full nights sleep easier.

Most research suggests that melatonin is safe and effective. However, like other supplements, its possible for melatonin to cause side effects.

Below, weve explained what melatonin is, as well as how it works as a supplement for primary sleep disorders. Weve also listed the potential side effects and drug interactions you should be aware of before using melatonin, as well as some tips for using melatonin safely.

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What Is Melatonin And How Does It Help Us Sleep

  • Formula: C13H16N2O2
  • Half-life: 35-50 minutes
  • Metabolism: Hepatic via 6-hydroxylation mediated by CYP1A2
  • Bioavailability: 30-50%
  • Legal status: S4 OTC
  • CAS Number: 73-31-4

Many people associate this hormone with rest, but what is it really? Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain, specifically by the pineal gland.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the body from free radical damage and is also a potent anti-inflammatory

It is known worldwide as the sleep hormone, as its basic function is to regulate the sleep cycle and circadian rhythm, achieving complete rest and recuperation

How Can I Adjust My Melatonin Levels

The best way to boost your melatonin levels naturally is by getting enough regular sleep, eating regular meals and avoiding caffeine and nicotine. Avoiding bright lights can also help.

Watching TV or using tablets, smartphones, laptops or other electronic devices before bed can make it more difficult to fall asleep. The artificial blue light from these types of devices suppresses the release of melatonin.

If your levels are too high , you can go out into the light in the morning and do some exercise in the evening.

Melatonin pills are available in Australia. Currently, you need a prescription from your doctor for melatonin. From June 2021, a form of melatonin will be available from pharmacies without a prescription for people aged over 55.

There are 2 ways to use melatonin pills. The first is to take them so you feel sleepy and fall asleep more easily. It normally takes about 20 minutes to start to feel sleepy after you take the melatonin. Discuss the best way to do this with your doctor.

The other way is to help re-set your body clock. Take the pill around bedtime in the time zone you are travelling to. It works better if you combine it with bright light therapy going outdoors into the light during the morning.

Its important to talk to your doctor about how to take melatonin safely:

There are also ways to help children to sleep better without using melatonin.

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