Melatonin is the most common supplement used to normalize abnormal sleep patterns and to aid in deeper, longer sleep. Irregular sleep patterns have been linked to premature aging and a host of health problems. Melatonin is the neuro-hormone responsibly for helping you fall asleep, and supplementation is seen as a way to get regular sleep.
Our bodies naturally produce melatonin throughout the day in the pineal gland. We produce the most melatonin at night, which is why people who work abnormal hours or frequently travel often suffer from extreme tiredness.
How Does Melatonin Work?
Melatonin’s main function is to regulate the night and day cycles, sometimes referred to as the sleep-wake cycles. Darkness naturally causes the body to product more melatonin, which signals to the body that it is soon time for sleep.
On the opposite end, light decreases melatonin production and signals that is time to be awake, which is why artificial light from a TV or computer screen may make it difficult to fall asleep.
Below is a sample chart of how our body produces melatonin on a daily basis in most people:
As you can see, melatonin levels are highest during the nighttime hours, which is why most people prefer to sleep at night and work 1st shift. A number of factors including diet, hormone levels, and lifestyle habits can throw melatonin product out of whack, which is why melatonin supplements are often used as natural sleep aids.
Other Benefits of Melatonin
Melatonin isn’t just used for sleep aids though. In fact, melatonin is a powerful antioxidant that has neuro-protective benefits as well a slew of other benefits. According to WebMD, melatonin may also have these benefits:
- Lower blood pressure
- Relieves pain and inflammation from sunburn
- Reduces tumor size and improves survival rate
- May reduce the symptoms of insomnia
- Reduces anxiety before surgery
- May relieve withdrawal symptoms of a class of drug called benzodiazepines.
In addition, we’ve also found that melatonin may help heal stomach ulcers and relieve stomach pain as a result of ulcers, may decrease the severity of tinnitus, and may relieve heartburn and reduce the severity of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease.
Is Melatonin Safe?
In most cases, melatonin supplements have been cited to be safe in low doses for short-term and long-term use. It is not recommended that children or pregnant or nursing mothers take melatonin before speaking to a doctor about whether or not melatonin is safe for use.
Several students involving melatonin have shown that there are several side effects of melatonin supplementation. Most notably:
- Lower body temperature
- Vivid dreams
- Morning grogginess
- Minor fluctuations in blood pressure
Many medical experts stress that is important not to drive or operate machinery if you are feeling drowsy after taking melatonin. This can lead to serious accidents that may lead to injury and therefore you should only drive or operate machinery once fully awake.
If you decide to take melatonin, it is best to you make sure your doctor is aware that you are taking melatonin. In adults, melatonin is normally taken in doses from .2mg to 20.0 mg, depending on its’ intended use. The right melatonin dosage varies very widely from one person to another so you need to speak to your doctor to find out the right dosage for you.
Buying Melatonin Supplements
The good news is that melatonin is readily available and we’ve even reviewed some sleep aids that contain melatonin. When buying melatonin, you want to make sure that you only buy a supplement that is in its’ man-made form.
In the past, melatonin supplements used ground-up cow pineal glands, but research has now found that it may spread disease. Therefore, only man-made melatonin supplements should be used.
If you’d like more information on supplement we’ve reviewed with melatonin, feel free to click our links below: