Sunday, September 17, 2023

Will Melatonin Help Me Sleep

Melatonin Supplements: The Skinny On How To Help Get A Good Nights Sleep

Does melatonin really help you sleep?

It is stressed that getting an appropriate amount of sleep each night is critical for our physical and mental health essential, in fact, to give our body the time it needs to recover and prepare for the next day. For those who have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, the notion of getting sufficient rest can cause anxiety, and many turn to what they think is a quick fix for falling asleep melatonin supplements.

Melatonin is a hormone made in the brain that helps play a role in a persons daily sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin levels rise in the evening once the sun has set, as its production is influenced by the amount of light available and why people sleep when it is naturally or artificially dark. Levels then drop once light, such as sunlight, reappears and causes you to wake up naturally.

While it is thought that taking a melatonin supplement can aid sleep when one is experiencing insomnia or jetlag, or to even help one fall asleep more regularly, little is known about what role the over-the-counter aid really plays.

S. Justin Thomas, Ph.D., assistant professor in the University of Alabama at BirminghamsDepartment of Psychiatry and sleep disorder clinician and researcher, breaks down myths and facts associated with melatonin supplement usage and how clinical intervention can ultimately help those in need seek the sleep resources that best fit their lifestyle.

Q: Do melatonin supplements actually help people sleep?

Possible Side Effects Of Melatonin

There are severe side effects of taking melatonin, including drowsiness, headache, dizziness, nausea, and nightmares. Melatonin may also cause agitation and bedwetting in kids.

If you take too much melatonin, you might feel “hungover,” but the feeling usually goes away quickly.

Melatonin might stay active in the body longer in older adults. As a result, they might have daytime drowsiness if they use the supplement.

There are no reports of fatal overdoses caused by melatonin.

The lack of long-term studies means that it’s not known whether melatonin is safe to take for a long time .

Not All Supplements Are Created Equal

As with all supplements and vitamins, melatonin is not regulated by the FDA. Because of this, available formulations will vary in accuracy of concentration. Erland reports a review of 31 commercially available melatonin supplements found that actual content varied from -83% +478% and lot to lot variability was as much as 465%. Additionally, 26% of the samples contained serotonin as a contaminant. My recommendation is to purchase physician-only brands. Theyre likely to be higher quality and have higher testing standards than those that arent.

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Another Reason For Caution: Melatonin Isn’t Well Regulated

Vox’s Julia Belluz has done extensive reporting on the murky regulations of dietary supplements in America. Basically, she finds, the dietary supplement aisle is a minefield. Supplements don’t always contain what they say they do, and they can have harmful additives. That’s why it’s important make sure the brand of melatonin you buy has its contents verified by a third party, like USP.

In the case of melatonin, the lax regulations means it can be sold in massive, completely, unnecessary doses. At the drug store, it’s easy to pick up a 10 milligram per pill bottle of melatonin. But this is likely overkill. Many of the studies on melatonin find that it works just as well at small doses around one milligram or less as it does in high doses. Plus, there’s a chance a huge dose will desensitize your brain to the hormone.

“If you present to your brain blood levels of melatonin that are way, way higher than any that occur normally, you desensitize the brains receptors to melatonin,” Wurtman says. “You become less and less and less responsive.”

The bottom line, according to the experts? Start with a small dose and see if it works for you.

Natural Melatonin Vs Supplements And Pills

Will 10 Mg Of Melatonin Help Me Sleep

Now, heres the thing, just because melatonin as a sleep aid might not be super effective, doesnt mean that you cant benefit from natural melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone part of an extremely clever proces. Your eyes register whether the sun is shining or not and sends a message to the pineal gland. When darkness comes, it causes your body to produce more melatonin, increasing the signals that tell you to go to sleep.

Thats why its so important to make sure your room is completely dark when youre going to bed. Melatonin is also linked to the core temperature of your body. If you get that right drop in temperature, the more likely you are to go to sleep.

In some people, taking melatonin for sleep can really help to regulate their natural sleep-wake cycle. However, these pills are often most effective when used to repair sleep after something like jet lag that throws your body out of whack.

Youre usually best of sticking to your own natural melatonin, if you just want to improve your sleep hygiene and dont have a real sleep disorder.

Taking too much melatonin to sleep, just like relying too heavily on any other sleeping pill, can cause significant problems. Melatonin in excess can wreak havoc on your sleep cycle and cause numerous side effects. This might make it even more difficult to restore your sleep patterns in the long-term.

The best melatonin-rich foods are usually:

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Does Melatonin Make You Sleep Longer

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain. It is the hormone that is responsible for regulating our bodys sleep cycle and managing our circadian rhythm. Normally, the body usually secretes more melatonin once the sun sets and levels drop when the sun comes up. Your bodys internal clock and the amount of daytime sun you get are the basis of how much melatonin your body makes. Many use melatonin supplements as a natural sleep aid to fight against sleep issues like insomnia. According to, 30 to 35% have brief symptoms of insomnia, 15 to 20% have a short-term insomnia disorder, which lasts less than three months, and 10% have a chronic insomnia disorder, which occurs at least three times per week for at least three months. Melatonin is a very common over-the-counter medication in the United States but is available by prescription only in places like Europe and Australia. Not only is it used to improve sleep, it can also be used to manage immune function and even our blood pressure. In addition, studies have shown that melatonin can act as an antioxidant, improve eye health, reduce seasonal depression symptoms, and more.

Why People Take Artificial Melatonin

Since melatonin regulates the sleep cycle, individuals who suffer from sleep-related issues, like insomnia, may take artificial melatonin as a supplement. Similarly, travelers may use melatonin to reduce jet lag and adjust to a different time zone. Night shift workers may also take the supplement to make falling asleep during the day or at odd times easier.

When taken before bed, supplements increase the amount of melatonin in the body. This could make falling asleep or staying asleep easier. However, there is limited scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness of melatonin supplements, so it isnt clear whether people experience the purported benefits or simply a placebo effect.

As shown above, outside factors like sunlight can hinder your bodys production of melatonin. Supplements can bypass those factors and help you feel more ready to sleep, even if your environment is less than ideal.

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Are There Side Effects To Melatonin

The side effects of melatonin have not been studied in-depth. However, health experts believe that melatonin is probably safe for most healthy adults. The most common side effects reported by people taking melatonin are:

  • Feeling sleepy during the day
  • Strong nightmares
  • Temporary depression

People should not drive or operate heavy machinery within four to five hours after taking melatonin. Melatonin supplements should never be taken with alcohol or other sleeping pills as the combined effects may cause breathing problems or make people too sleepy.

Melatonin supplements may be unsafe for people who are trying to get pregnant. Health experts do not yet know whether melatonin is safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. People who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding should speak to their doctors before starting melatonin supplements.

Melatonin supplements interact with many medications, including birth control pills, blood pressure medicine, antiseizure medicine, medicine to weaken the immune system, and blood thinners. People who take any of these medicines should speak to their doctor before trying melatonin supplements.

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Using Melatonin For Sleep

Does melatonin actually help with sleep?

Researchers have tested melatonin on people with insomnia. They have also looked at whether melatonin helps shift workers, military personnel, older adults, and kids.

Most studies have just looked at short-term melatonin use, ranging between a few days to just over three months.

Research has shown that melatonin may have these benefits:

  • Fall asleep faster: People who took melatonin fell asleep between 22 and 34 minutes sooner than people who took placebo pills.
  • Improve sleep efficiency: Sleep efficiency refers to the time you spend sleeping compared to the time you were in bed. Some studies have shown that taking melatonin might make your sleep efficiency better.
  • Help children fall asleep and stay asleep longer. Melatonin may help kids with sleep problems, such as those that are common in autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder .
  • Reset your sleep-wake cycle: When you feel like going to sleep and waking up is controlled by your circadian rhythm. Some studies have shown that melatonin may help regulate this cycle.

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For Sleep Problems In Adults

Your doctor will prescribe 2mg slow-release tablets. These release melatonin gradually into your body during the night.

It’s important to follow the instructions carefully. Your doctor may tell you to take melatonin only 2 or 3 times a week, and not every night.

You’ll usually take melatonin for just a few weeks to help with short-term sleep problems . However, it is sometimes prescribed for up to 13 weeks.

How To Use Melatonin For Sleep

So, how can you safely use melatonin as a sleep aid?

Well, according to experts, its best to explore other issues that could be affecting your sleep quality first, like exposure to too much light at night, or drinking excessive amounts of coffee.

However, if you do start using melatonin for sleep, youll need to speak to your doctor. Taking into account your natural melatonin production cycle and how your circadian rhythm works.

The more cautious you are with your melatonin dosage, the less likely it is that youll fall victim to dangerous side effects.

Just like prescription sleeping pills, your doctor will recommend taking a pill just before youre about to go to sleep about 30-60 minutes before in fact. Importantly, youre not going to take a medicine and crumble into a heap on the floor. Melatonin is more subtle than that.

Theres always a risk that you wont notice any results from melatonin at all. Some people simply dont respond well to supplemental melatonin. Ideally, when it comes to dosage, your best bet will be to start as small as possible and work up gradually.

Remember, your body will naturally produce melatonin too. If you supplement with too much too fast, then youll start to confuse your system, and could risk over-dosing. Another thing to remember when taking melatonin for sleep, is that timing is key.

If youre a shift worker it might make sense to use melatonin after a shift, to get your much longed for shuteye.

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How Much Melatonin Does Your Body Produce Naturally

The production of melatonin signals to your body that its nighttime, allowing you to relax and lowering your body temperature. This helps you transition to sleep easier and promote consistent, quality sleep.4 Most people produce adequate melatonin for sleep on their own, with levels increasing at night and then diminishing in the morning, which is when the hormone cortisol increases, to promote wakefulness. But the amount of melatonin the body actually produces varies throughout your lifetime, with levels increasing and decreasing during the various stages of life.5 Further, the aging process, diet, or stress can disrupt the bodys normal production of melatonin.

What Is Sleep Apnea

Feel Great Vitamin Co. 5mg Melatonin Gummies

Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that causes breathing to stop and start during sleep continually.

Sleep apnea refers to a range of disorders, but the most common is Obstructive Sleep Apnea, when your throat muscles repeatedly relax and block airways during sleep. When the soft tissues in your throat, such as your tongue and soft palate, temporarily relax, your airway is narrowed or closed, and breathing is momentarily cut off.

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How Does It Work

Melatonin supplements may improve sleep by boosting melatonin levels in people whose bodies do not produce enough of this hormone.

These supplements may also improve sleep in people who produce enough melatonin but still struggle to sleep for other reasons.

Melatonin changes how the body responds to darkness, helping it enter a rhythm of nighttime drowsiness.

Exposure to light at night including light from computer and television screens may suppress the bodys natural melatonin production and disrupt sleep.

Likewise, people who sleep during the day because they work at night may not produce melatonin when it is time to sleep. Melatonin supplements can help counteract this effect.

Research consistently shows that melatonin can help people sleep longer and fall asleep more quickly.

may trigger a bad mood .

Although melatonin is a natural chemical, it is important to treat it the same as any other medication. It is possible for melatonin to interact harmfully with other drugs by reducing their effectiveness, triggering negative side effects, or changing the way that the body metabolizes the drug. People who take other medications should talk to a doctor before trying melatonin.

As with any medication, an allergic reaction is possible. People with a history of allergic reactions to supplements should avoid melatonin.

of melatonin in children show that it is safe, including in children with autism.

Melatonin For Sleep: Does It Work

Melatonin sleep aids are growing in popularity, with 3 million Americansusing them in 2012, according to a nationwide survey from the Centers forDisease Control and Prevention. If youre among them or are consideringmelatonin for sleep, its smart to understand exactly how melatonin works.

Your body produces melatonin naturally. It doesnt make you sleep, but as melatonin levels rise in the evening it puts you into a state of quiet wakefulness that helps promote sleep, explains Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M.

Most peoples bodies produce enough melatonin for sleep on their own. However, there are steps you can take to make the most of your natural melatonin production, or you can try a supplement on a short-term basis if youre experiencing insomnia, want to overcome jet lag, or are a night owl who needs to get to bed earlier and wake up earlier, such as for work or school.

If youd like to harness melatonins sleep-inducing effects, Buenaver recommends taking these steps.

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Factors Affecting How Long Melatonin Lasts

But how long does melatonin last in your system? Melatonin typically stays in your system for around four to eight hours, but this range largely depends on external factors, including:

  • Age: Your metabolism slows as you age, meaning the rate at which your body can metabolize the melatonin also slows. The older you are, the longer it may take for melatonin to wear off.
  • Caffeine: Research has shown that caffeine can modify melatonin production to counteract the effectiveness of the supplement.
  • Light exposure: Exposure to bright light, especially the blue light emitted from technology, can send signals to your brain that its daytime, making it harder for the melatonin to take effect.
  • Body size: Factors like your height and weight impact how you absorb melatonin and how it affects you.
  • Tobacco use: In animal studies, nicotine has been shown to inhibit melatonins effectiveness in the body.
  • Other medications: Additional medications like blood thinners, immunosuppressants, and stimulants may counteract the effectiveness of melatonin.

Using Melatonin For Sleep Is On The Rise Study Says Despite Potential Health Harms

Taking melatonin to help you sleep? What you should know

More and more adults are taking over-the-counter melatonin to get to sleep, and some of them may be using it at dangerously high levels, a new study has found.

While overall use among the United States adult population is still relatively low, the study does document a significant many-fold increase in melatonin use in the past few years, said sleep specialist Rebecca Robbins, an instructor in the division of sleep medicine for Harvard Medical School, who was not involved in the study.

The study, , found that by 2018 Americans were taking more than twice the amount of melatonin they took a decade earlier.

Melatonin has been linked to headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, drowsiness, confusion or disorientation, irritability and mild anxiety, depression and tremors, as well as abnormally low blood pressure. It can also interact with common medications and trigger allergies.

While short term use for jet lag, shift workers and people who have trouble falling asleep appears to be safe, long-term safety is unknown, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health.

Experts worry that the pandemics negative impact on sleep may have further increased the publics reliance on any type of prescription and over-the-counter sleeping aid, Robbins said.

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