What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in your body. Your brain produces more Melatonin in the evening as well as at night to help regulate sleep. The body releases less Melatonin during the day when you typically need to be alert and awake. As we get older, our body’s ability to make the hormone decreases. It is sometimes necessary to take Melatonin supplements in order to get a proper night’s sleep.
How Do You Buy Melatonin?
You don’t need a prescription to get Melatonin. While Melatonin is normally sold over the counter in the form of Supplements, it is always recommended that you consult your doctor before taking it. Melatonin doses generally range from anywhere from 0.5mg to 15mg. Sticking with the amount that your body naturally produces is usually best (1mg-3mg).
What are the Risks With Taking Melatonin?
Certain medications can be affected by Melatonin. For example, seizure medication, diabetes medication, anticonvulsants, and blood pressure drugs can all be impacted by Melatonin. Birth control and anticoagulant drugs also interact with the hormone. Understanding how Melatonin affects other drugs is an important key to taking it safely. While many people assume that it’s safe to take Melatonin because it is a natural substance, knowing the risk of taking it with other drugs is important.
Melatonin Side Effects
Despite these drug interaction risks it is generally considered safe to take Melatonin as recommended by your doctor. Most studies have focused on short term use applications. The long-term effects of Melatonin have not yet been studied. Like any over the counter supplement though, Melatonin does carry some risks of side effects that you should be aware of. Some of the most common side effects are headaches and daytime sleepiness. Dizziness, irritability, nausea, and stomach cramps are also the most common side effects. It is important that you do not drive or operate heavy machinery for up to five hours from taking Melatonin.
Less common side effects that could occur are mild depression, tremors, and low blood pressure. It is really important you start on a low dose of Melatonin if you regularly take blood pressure medication. Additionally, those who suffer from certain mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder should be careful when taking Melatonin, as it could worsen depression symptoms. Confusion and disorientation are also rare side effects of taking Melatonin.
Why Take Melatonin?
Sleep is vital to the mental and physical health of a person. Our brain and body need time to recharge every day. Several factors can interfere with our ability to get a good night’s rest. Let’s look at who would benefit from taking Melatonin. Many blind people struggle with circadian rhythm sleep disorders, often referred to as non 24 sleep disorder. Taking Melatonin can greatly improve their sleep cycle.
People who have difficulty falling asleep at night can also benefit from taking a low dose of Melatonin. Insomnia is another condition that Melatonin has proven to be effective at treating. It helps people fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Evidence does seem to show it is more effective in treating older adults than young people and children though. Melatonin is also believed to help people suffering from the effects of Jet lag recover more quickly. It has been shown to improve daytime alertness.
Should You Take Melatonin?
Before you can decide if taking Melatonin is right for you, you should consider the benefits of sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep can boost your immune system, improve your mood, and help strengthen your heart. Proper sleep can also increase your exercise performance, improve your memory and stave off danger from navigating the world with reduced mental alertness. Sleep is also restorative to all of your body’s major systems.
Can You Take Melatonin Every Night?
In conclusion, short term studies clearly highlight the benefit of taking Melatonin every evening. Our bodies need the recovery time that sleep provides. When you consider how damaging lack of sleep can be to our mental and physical health, it becomes apparent that proper rest is vital to all individuals. Just make sure you consult with your doctor and keep a close eye on any interactions with other medications as well as side effects.
Additional Resources: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-know