Read This If You Take Melatonin To Sleep At Night
Melatonin is a very sleep aid. It’s naturally produced in your body. You don’t need a prescription for it and can buy it in gummy form or in a fruity drink. But is it as effective and safe as we think?
Natural melatonin, a hormone produced by the pineal gland, helps humans fall asleep ? and synthetic melatonin has been available as a sleep aid for nearly three decades. But the synthetic version’s effects have not been extensively studied, and since it’s classified as a “dietary supplement,” it is almost completely unregulated by the FDA.
It’s important to take a closer look at this common supplement. “Any person in the sleep world will tell you the same thing: melatonin is not harmless, is vastly overused and should not be used as a sleep aid to treat insomnia,” Michael Grandner, a sleep researcher at the University of Arizona, told HuffPost.
What Are The Types Of Insomnia
Insomnia can come and go, or it may be an ongoing, longstanding issue. There is short term insomnia and chronic insomnia:
- Short term insomnia tends to last for a few days or weeks and is often triggered by stress.
- Chronic insomnia is when the sleep difficulties occur at least three times a week for three months or longer.
Side Effects Of Melatonin: What Are The Risks
Melatonin is a hormone and dietary supplement commonly used as a sleep aid.
Although it has an outstanding safety profile, melatonin’s growing popularity has raised some concerns.
These concerns are mainly due to a lack of research on its long-term effects, as well as its wide-ranging effects as a hormone.
This article reviews the potential side effects of melatonin supplements.
Is It Habit Forming
According to the National Sleep Foundation, experts do not believe that melatonin is addictive on a short term basis. Unlike other sleep medicines, it does not cause symptoms of withdrawal when people stop using it.
However, scientists need to carry out more long-term research to confirm that this sleep aid is not habit-forming.
Some people do become dependent on melatonin to sleep. They may find that when they stop taking this supplement, they have a harder time falling asleep.
As with any supplement, people need to check with their doctor before they take melatonin. Getting advice from a doctor can help prevent avoid adverse effects, dependency, and possible interactions between melatonin and other medications.
What Not To Take With Melatonin
Because melatonin can affect your sleep-wake cycle, avoid taking it with or caffeine. These can interfere with your circadian rhythm and your natural melatonin production.
Before starting melatonin or any over-the-counter medication or supplement, talk with your doctor. This is especially true if you take other medications.
For example, birth control pills may cause your body to start producing more melatonin, so taking a supplement could push your levels into an unhealthy range.
Taking melatonin with anticoagulant drugs, such as , could increase your risk of bleeding.
You should also avoid taking melatonin if you take corticosteroids to suppress your immune response for conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.
If you think you may have overdosed on melatonin, call Poison Control at 800-222-1222.
You should call 911 and seek emergency help if you have symptoms such as:
- shortness of breath
What Are Melatonin Side Effects
Melatonin needs vary from person to person. On average, most people need less than 3 milligrams per night to sleep better. Yet some people take more.
Melatonin is generally safe, but some people are more sensitive to the oral hormone and experience side effects with use. Adverse effects tend to occur with long-term use or when a person takes too much.
Possible side effects of oral melatonin include:
If you experience side effects of oral melatonin, reduce your dosage to see if symptoms improve. Everyone’s body is different. So while one person may be able to tolerate 3 mg a night, another person may be able to tolerate only 1 mg.
How To Supplement With Melatonin
To aid sleep, the standard dosage ranges from 1 to 10 milligrams per day. However, the optimal dose has not been formally established .
Since not all melatonin supplements are the same, make sure to follow the instructions on the label.
Also, keep in mind that the quality of over-the-counter supplements is not monitored by health authorities. Try to choose brands that are reputable and certified by a third party, such as Informed Choice and NSF International.
Many experts do not recommend their use in children and adolescents until more evidence confirms its safety in these groups .
Since melatonin is transferred into breast milk, breastfeeding mothers should keep in mind that it might cause excessive daytime sleepiness in nursing infants .
The common dosage of melatonin ranges from 1–10 mg per day, but make sure to follow the instructions on the label. Parents should not give it to their children without first consulting their medical provider.
Melatonin Side Effects And Safety 101
Before you take melatonin for better sleep, make sure you understand the potential side effects.
Can’t sleep and looking for a non-habit-forming sleep aid?
It’s not unusual to deal with from time to time. You may have difficulty falling asleep. Or if you’re able to fall asleep quickly, you may wake up after two or three hours. This can cause daytime sleepiness, irritability, and decreased productivity.
One night of bad sleep might not wreak too much havoc on your body. But when the problem goes on for days, weeks, or months, supplementing with can get your sleep back on track.
Melatonin is a hormone that your body makes naturally. Your melatonin level increases a couple of hours before bedtime, which signals your body to prepare for rest. It’s important to note, however, that melatonin isn’t a sleep initiator but rather a sleep regulator, explains Carolyn Dean, MD, a sleep expert and author of 365 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power: Tips, Exercise, Advice.
Some people, however, don’t produce enough melatonin. And as a result, sleep doesn’t come easily. But while melatonin is a natural hormone that can help reset your circadian clock, oral melatonin isn’t right for everyone.
What To Know About Dietary Supplements And Safety
The FDA classifies melatonin as a dietary supplement, meaning that it’s regulated less strictly than a regular drug. For dietary supplements, label claims and product safety don’t have to meet FDA approval before they’re marketed.
A 2017 study of 31 different melatonin supplements found that the actual melatonin content of 71 percent of the products didn’t match the claim on the label. Additionally, 26 percent of products contained , which can be potentially harmful even in small doses.
When shopping for melatonin supplements, look for products that are “USP verified.” United States Pharmacopeia is an independent organization that works to ensure proper quality and dosing of dietary supplements.
- low blood pressure
Side Effects Of Melatonin: 8 Groups Should Avoid Taking Melatonin
Melatonin, also known as the ‘hormone of darkness’ is a hormone responsible for the regulation of your sleep-wake cycle. However, promoting and regulating sleep is only one of its physiological functions.
This hormone plays an important role in bodily functions, the functions of organs like the kidney or liver, and helps regulate blood pressure and cardiovascular issues. Melatonin is also shown useful in cases of tumors and cancers, where it prevents oxidative stress to promote the growth of cancerous cells.
Now, all of this sounds rather impressive, and sure enough, because melatonin is a naturally produced hormone coming from the very brain, no one would suspect it harmful. However, melatonin supplements, on the other hand, are raising some eyebrows in the medical community.
Over the past few years, melatonin supplements have been studied concerning their possible side effects. Turns out, melatonin intake can cause a dozen of adverse effects, which can pose a long-term danger. In the following paragraphs, we’ll take a look at the major side effects, every melatonin producing company would hide from you. So, let’s get started!
How Much Should You Take
The majority of studies have researched doses ranging from 0.3 mg to 10 mg as the safest and most effective dose. However, the ideal dose depends on age, weight, the problem you’re trying to address, and any current medications that you’re taking. Generally speaking, the ideal dose is the lowest dose possible that provides the desired effects. Most experts recommended starting at the lowest dose and slowly increasing until you get the desired effect.
If you’re unsure which dose to start with, it’s best to talk to your doctor.
Snoring Insomnia Sleep Deprivation Effects & Low Melatonin
In my dental clinic I see the effects of sleep deprivation every day. Patients are exhausted and don’t know how to get better sleep. A common diagnosis is sleep apnea, which is where the body literally pauses in ‘apnea’ events. These events are measured by a certain amount of pausing in sleep. The problem is that people show the effects of sleep deprivation long before a diagnosis of sleep apnea is made.
That’s why it’s important to spot the signs and effects of sleep deprivation BEFORE it becomes sleep apnea. In the last article we discussed the stages of sleep. Here we’re going to build the link between breathing and sleep disorders, which often starts with snoring or teeth grinding. Then we’ll explore the link between the effects of sleep deprivation, melatonin problems, and skeletal effects.
Melatonin For Older Adults
The amount of melatonin your body produces decreases with age. Because of this, melatonin supplements may be helpful for older adults who are having trouble falling asleep.
Researchers are still looking into the optimal melatonin dosage for older adults. One 2016 review of sleep aids for older adults suggests a dosage of 1 to 2 mg of immediate-release melatonin 1 hour before bedtime.
Reasons To Be Cautious About Melatonin
Your sleep-deprived friends may swear by it and you’ve probably read about it online or seen it on drugstore shelves. But is melatonin all it’s cracked up to be, or are you better off just counting sheep to get some ZZZs?
First, the basics: Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the brain that your body uses to help regulate your circadian rhythm. That’s the 24-hour body clock that, among other vital functions, tells you when to sleep and when to wake up each day.
Your body gradually starts making melatonin about two hours before bedtime, bringing on that familiar drowsy feeling, and production continues throughout the night. In fact, melatonin is often called the “Dracula of hormones” because levels rise when it gets dark outside. As sunrise approaches, levels begin to drop, letting you know it’s time to rise for the day.
Given melatonin’s essential role in the body’s internal clockworks, many people assume the supplement is safe. This may be one reason why it has become the fourth most popular supplement among U.S. adults, according to a National Health Interview Survey. Its use doubled between 2007 and 2012, as more than three million adults reported taking the sleep aid.
And it is true: Melatonin is generally harmless – at least if you take it for a short period of time.
How To Get The Best Results
Light is the switch that controls when your brain makes melatonin. When you take a supplement, take care that you don’t disrupt its effects with artificial light:
- Avoid your phone and other tech devices that shine brightly in the hours before bed.
- Turn off overhead lights in the evening.
- Bright light in the morning can signal it’s time to wake up.
What Are Melatonin Supplements
Melatonin supplements help regulate your sleep cycle. And interestingly, melatonin is the only hormone available in the United States without a prescription. You can purchase these supplements from grocery stores, pharmacies, and health food stores.
While people who produce enough melatonin might not have an issue with sleep, melatonin levels can change over time and for different reasons.
One belief is that melatonin levels drop with age. Also, having a circadian rhythm disorder can affect melatonin production. These are sleep disorders that interfere with the timing of sleep, such as delayed sleep phase syndrome , in which a delay in falling asleep leads to difficulty waking up.
Next Steps If Youre Not Getting Relief
Taking melatonin supplements alone to treat insomnia won’t be as effective as taking melatonin and also working on improving your sleep hygiene, Dr. Avidan said. Sleep hygiene refers to creating an ideal environment that promotes conditions good for sleep.
Powering down electronics and avoiding the news two hours before bedtime.
Maintaining a regular sleep schedule.
Eschewing alcohol and caffeine at night.
Trying to get as much natural sunlight during the day as possible to orient your internal clock.
Dr. Avidan suggests that people both try these habits and take melatonin for two to three weeks to see if it helps.
While melatonin “can help with the promotion of sleep, for many it does not,” Dr. Salas said.
If you are stumped as to why melatonin isn’t working for you, Dr. Salas recommends talking to your physician. She says it may also be time to contact a sleep specialist, as there could be other, more serious sleep issues. Dr. Avidan says he and his colleagues are currently taking virtual appointments for anyone living in the United States, so it’s worth inquiring whether a sleep specialist can see you remotely.
Melatonin And Sleep: The Basics
Melatonin is a unique hormone because it’s only released in the dark. It prepares your body for sleep. And typically, melatonin levels increase in the bloodstream about two hours before bed. This causes a sleepy feeling, resulting in a restful night.
But melatonin doesn’t only help you feel sleepy, it also helps your body stay asleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, melatonin levels remain elevated in your blood for about 12 hours. It isn’t until the return of daylight that these levels drop.
Most people produce enough melatonin to fall asleep and stay asleep with no problem. But not everyone is as fortunate. And if your body doesn’t produce enough melatonin naturally, you may need to supplement with synthetic melatonin.
Oral forms of synthetic melatonin include melatonin gummies, pills, liquid, chewables, and capsules. You can purchase the hormone in other forms, too. These include melatonin sprays, powder, patches, and creams.
How To Increase Melatonin Levels Naturally
Luckily, you can increase your melatonin levels without supplementing.
A few hours before bedtime, simply dim all lights at home and avoid watching TV and using your computer or smartphone.
Too much artificial light can reduce the production of melatonin in the brain, making it harder for you to fall asleep .
You can also strengthen your sleep-wake cycle by exposing yourself to plenty of natural light during the day, especially in the morning .
Other factors that have been associated with lower natural melatonin levels include stress and shift work.
Summary Fortunately, you can increase your natural melatonin production naturally by sticking to a regular sleep schedule and avoiding artificial light late in the evening.
Can Melatonin Really Help You Sleep
Insomnia is a common sleep disorder in which you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
People who often have trouble getting the sleep they need experience symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, trouble concentrating, poor performance at school or work, and moodiness.
Many people turn to the supplement melatonin to help them with their sleep problems. Melatonin fans say these supplements help reset your internal clock so you can sleep better, especially if your sleep problems are related to jet lag or shift work.
But do melatonin supplements really work? Can they help with insomnia and other sleep problems?
Before you start taking melatonin, you should know the facts. Dr. Gandis G. Maeika and his team of experts at Sound Sleep Health would like to provide you with the following information about this popular supplement.
Does Melatonin Help With Cancer Symptoms
Studies of the effect of melatonin supplements on cancer symptoms or treatment-related side effects have been small and have had mixed results.
Keep in mind that unproven products should not be used to replace or delay conventional medical treatment for cancer. Also, some products can interfere with standard cancer treatments or have special risks for people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer. Before using any complementary health approach, including melatonin, people who’ve been diagnosed with cancer should talk with their health care providers to make sure that all aspects of their care work together.
Can Melatonin Help With Insomnia
People with insomnia have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. When symptoms last a month or longer, it’s called chronic insomnia.
According to practice guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians , there’s not enough strong evidence on the effectiveness or safety of melatonin supplementation for chronic insomnia to recommend its use. The American College of Physicians guidelines strongly recommend the use of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia as an initial treatment for insomnia.
Day 4: Melatonin Helped Me Start Waking Up Earlier But Continued To Cause Me Drowsiness During The Day
Day four was a weekend and typically I use the weekend to sleep in as long as I want. I know it is best for your sleep cycle not to do this and that we all should aim to wake up at the same time every day, but as someone who struggles to sleep at night, there are times where weekend mornings are the only time I feel I can get an adequate amount of sleep.
On this morning, however, I naturally woke up much earlier than normal. It was very strange for me because I am not a morning person and typically require many alarms to get up at early morning hours.
I was pleasantly surprised at this and felt ready to take on the day until daytime sleepiness hit me in the afternoon. I was bummed about the daytime drowsiness because I truly enjoyed feeling like I was getting on a better schedule.
That evening, taking melatonin was helpful for easing some late-night anxiety I was experiencing. I was grateful for the help to get to sleep quickly and easily.
Is Melatonin Habit Forming
Melatonin is not considered to be habit-forming or cause dependencies. It is generally safe for short-term use. If you find yourself using it every day for longer than 2 weeks, it’s important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms to rule out underlying conditions causing problems with your sleep.
When To Take Melatonin
It is essential to take melatonin at the correct time of day. Taking it too early or too late can alter a person’s biological clock and shift their sleep and wake times.
The National Health Service recommend taking melatonin 1–2 hours before your desired bedtime which for most is around 8:00-9:00 pm.
People who are traveling and want to take melatonin to prevent jet lag should start taking this supplement a few days before they leave. This will help acclimatize their bodies to the new time zone. It is best to take melatonin 2 hours before bedtime at the destination.
A person may recover more quickly from jet lag if they take melatonin.
Taking melatonin may help with a few different health conditions, including:
- jet lag
- delayed sleep-wake phase disorder
- sleep problems in children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and
- anxiety before and after surgery
One suggests that melatonin may also provide the following benefits by:
- protecting the heart by reducing blood pressure in people with insomnia
- having protective effects against cancer and enhancing the impact of cancer treatments
- reducing the damaging effects of on the body by lowering
- slowing mental decline in people with dementia
However,more research will be necessary to prove these benefits in clinical trials.
When Should Melatoninnot Be Used
As mentioned above, children lose sleep for many reasons.Avoid melatonin:
- if the insomnia is situational
- if the insomnia is short-term
- if the insomnia is due to an underlying physicalcause
- if your child is younger than 3
Melatonin should never substitute for healthy sleeppractices: a regular, age-appropriate and consistent bedtime and bedtimeroutine, no caffeine, and no electronics or screens before bedtime.
Who Can Take Melatonin
When used properly, oral melatonin is safe for most adults. Since the supplement helps regulate sleep, it can be taken for different circadian rhythm conditions. For example:
- Jet lag Traveling through different time zones can cause temporary sleep problems in which your body’s internal clock gets out of sync. This can reduce sleepiness or affect the quality of sleep.
- Delayed sleep phase disorder With this disorder, your nightly sleep might be delayed by several hours compared with the average person’s. So instead of your body preparing to fall asleep between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m., your body may not naturally feel sleepy until 2 a.m. or later. As a result, you may get only a few hours of sleep each night.
- Shift work disorder If you work overnight and sleep during the day, you may have difficulty falling asleep. Melatonin can help enhance the quality of daytime sleep.
- Insomnia This is an inability to fall sleep or stay asleep during the night. There are different underlying causes for insomnia, such as depression, anxiety, and pain. Melatonin helps induce sleep for occasional insomnia.
- Sleep disorders in the blind Because totally blind people can’t perceive light, they may have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep. Melatonin can help restore sleep patterns in the blind, improving their sleep quality.
Does Melatonin Help With Insomnia
“Sleep can be elusive, and it is natural to be attracted to a quick fix,” says Dr. Grandner. “And many people know that ‘sleeping pills’ come with many negative effects so they want to avoid those. Melatonin seems to offer the convenience and simplicity of a pill, but the perceived lack of risk that comes with a supplement.”
There’s a level of comfort, too, that comes with the fact that melatonin has been studied for decades and has been extremely effective for millions of people. But Dr. Grandner warns that this doesn’t make melatonin a cure-all for everyone. “The benefits to sleep do not seem to be strong enough to overpower most forms of clinical insomnia,” he says. “So, it could shift rhythms and maybe improve sleep, but it is not an effective medicine for more severe insomnia.”
Regular Vs Extended Release
When you think of melatonin, you’re likely thinking of a regular pill that instantly releases melatonin into your body. However, extended-release melatonin pills, sometimes called slow- or time-release pills, allow the melatonin to dissolve in your body gradually.
Extended-release melatonin mimics natural melatonin production in your body, and for people who wake up throughout the night, it’s particularly helpful in keeping you asleep and helping you fall back asleep.
Sleep Deprivation: What Happens When We Dont Get Enough Sleep
First of all, sleep is a big deal, and we’re not getting enough. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans 1 are affected by poor sleep and it’s having an impact on both our mental and physical health. When there is misalignment between our internal biological clock and the rise and set of the sun, we can find ourselves totally out of sync with the rest of the world and feel completely disconnected.2
“When people don’t get enough sleep, there are many things that happen in the body and we are constantly learning more about what this does,“ says Michael A. Grandner, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine and director of both the Sleep and Health Research Program and of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Clinic at the COM in Tucson, Arizona. “For example, it can lead to systemic inflammation and it makes your brain less able to remove toxins like beta-amyloid, which can lead to dementia. Other hormones get thrown off as well, like leptin and ghrelin—which control hunger and appetite—testosterone, estrogen, insulin, and cortisol, causing many effects in the brain and body.”