Melatonin Has The Potential To Be Useful In The Treatment Of Certain Cancers
While no one’s suggesting that cancer patients forgo chemotherapy or radiation treatment in favor of an over-the-counter dietary supplement, melatonin may be beneficial as an additional treatment in some circumstances.
According to a 2017 paper published in Oncotarget, melatonin may prevent the development or spread of cancer in a number of ways. Melatonin is an antioxidant, which means it helps prevent free-radical damage in the body that, over time, could lead to the growth of cancerous cells. It may also stimulate apoptosis a process by which diseased or damaged cells “self-destruct” before they can cause harm. Melatonin may also interfere with a tumor’s ability to create its own blood supply , which is a prerequisite for it spreading to other parts of the body.
Additionally, clinical trials have found that melatonin given alongside chemotherapy might make this treatment more effective and reduce the severity of side effects patients experience. Although evidence suggests melatonin may be useful for a wide variety of cancers, it appears to be particularly beneficial for hormone-dependent cancers such as breast, cervical, and ovarian cancers. While this research is promising, it’s important to note that these findings come from either animal or in vitro studies. The paper’s authors caution that more research is needed.
What You Can Do To Fall Asleep Without Melatonin
It’s easy to gulp down a melatonin supplement and call it a day if you’re struggling to fall asleep, but it’s just as easy â not to mention, free â to use sleep expert-approved tactics to help you drift off. The first step is an easy one: Realize that no one’s a perfect sleeper, says Dr. Watson. “Everyone has a challenging night of sleep every now and then â that’s not abnormal, so they shouldn’t view it as such,” he says. “It’s just a part of being human. Expectation setting can allow some people to calm their minds to allow sleep to happen.”
Beyond that, Dr. Watson recommends you avoid looking at the clock if you wake up in the middle of the night. If you do take a peek, you might automatically start thinking about the work you have to do tomorrow and other worries â none of which will help you get back to your dreams, he says. If you wake up and feel like you’ve had your eyes wide open for a while, move into a different area of your home, keep the lights dim, and do something that would make you drowsy, such as listening to calming music or reading a dull book, he suggests. Once you’re feeling sleepy, head back to bed, he suggests.
If You Take Melatonin Every Night It Could Help Relieve Ear Ringing
If you suffer from regular tinnitus, you will likely do just about anything to stop that nagging, high-pitched ringing in your ears. Fortunately, you might be able to take melatonin every night and put an end to the tenacious tone.
A study published by The Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology assigned participants who reported experiencing frequent tinnitus to one of two groups they either received 3 mg of melatonin or were given a placebo each night for a month. The results confirmed that melatonin can cause a reduction in the “intensity” of tinnitus. Furthermore, those who took melatonin slept better despite their tinnitus.
The research also noted that melatonin is significantly more effective in males who do not or have not previously suffered from depression and those who have not tried seeking other avenues of treatment for their tinnitus.
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Considering Melatonin For Sleep Heres A Guide To Help
Its understandable that you may be struggling to fall asleep these days. Our world has been turned upside down, so it is especially hard to unplug from the day and get the high-quality sleep your body needs.
Almost every single patient Im speaking with has insomnia, said Dr. Alon Y. Avidan, a professor and vice chair in the department of neurology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the U.C.L.A. Sleep Disorders Center. Especially now with Covid-19, we have an epidemic of insomnia. We call it Covid-somnia.
An increase in anxiety in both children and adults is affecting our ability to fall asleep. Additionally, our lifestyles have changed drastically as people observe sheltering in place guidelines. With more people staying indoors, it can mean they are not getting enough light exposure.
Without light exposure in the morning, Dr. Avidan said, people lose the circadian cues that are so fundamentally important in setting up appropriate and normal sleep-wake time.
There are nonmedical ways to help you sleep better: Meditation,turning off screens early in the night, warm showers and cool bedrooms can help your body rest better. But if these options dont work, or if you are ready for the next step, you may have considered trying melatonin supplements. These pills are commonplace enough that you have most likely heard of them and seen them in your local pharmacy.
Use Melatonin Sleep Supplements Wisely And Safely
Less is more, Buenaver says. Take 1 to 3 milligrams two hours before bedtime. To ease jet lag, try taking melatonin two hours before your bedtime at your destination, starting a few days before your trip. You can also adjust your sleep-wake schedule to be in sync with your new time zone by simply staying awake when you reach your destinationdelaying sleep until your usual bedtime in the new time zone. Also, get outside for natural light exposure. Thats what I do, Buenaver says.
You May Experience Some Mild Side Effects
When it comes to dietary supplements, melatonin is considered one of the safest. As a 2016 paper published in Clinical Drug Investigation concluded, “In general, animal and human studies documented that short-term use of melatonin is safe, even in extreme doses.” The authors noted that even long-term usage of melatonin causes only “mild adverse effects comparable to placebo.” The Mayo Clinic agrees, highlighting the fact that, unlike some other sleep medications, melatonin doesn’t appear to be habit-forming. In addition, individuals don’t seem to become habituated to melatonin, meaning they don’t need to take larger and larger doses as time goes on in order to get the same results.
But that doesn’t mean melatonin is totally without side effects. As the Mayo Clinic explained, some people may experience headache, dizziness, nausea, or daytime drowsiness. More rarely, taking melatonin could cause feelings of depression, anxiety, or irritability disorientation tremors or abdominal cramps. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health cautioned that, as with any substance, it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to melatonin. The NCCIH also noted that melatonin may be riskier for certain groups, including breastfeeding or pregnant women, children, and older adults.
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 Does Melatonin Work In The Body
Your body releases melatonin as darkness sets in. It peaks overnight, and slows its production as the body senses light. As you can imagine, late-night screen use and bright electric lights can mess with melatonin release and in turn, our sleep-wake cycles. If our melatonin release is interrupted, its not just our sleep that can suffer, but our reproductive hormones and inflammation levels can go off-kilter, too.
When You Take Melatonin Every Night It Could Help Ease Your Anxiety
If melatonin mellows you out for bed, can it also ease everyday anxiety? As noted by Healthline, a majority of research around melatonin’s effect on anxiety revolves around its pre- and post-operative uses versus everyday generalized anxiety. Still, a look at its acute effect on reducing anxiety can lay the foundation for its potential use as a mental health treatment.
An analysis of eight studies helped researchers conclude that, compared to a placebo, taking melatonin before a procedure can significantly decrease a patient’s anxiety. In fact, it can be just as useful as an anti-anxiety medication like midazolam . A 2018 study in Annals of Pharmacotherapy determined that melatonin was even more effective than traditional treatment, oxazepam, in reducing anxiety in patents who had just had heart surgery. Finally, one promising study in Aging Clinical and Experimental Research found that melatonin was more effective than a placebo at treating older adults with behavioral disorders, and helped relieve depression and anxiety. Some participants were even able to trade in their regular prescriptions for melatonin supplements.
The anxiety-fighting potential of melatonin seems encouraging, but more research is still needed.
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How To Take Melatonin
You donât need a big amount of melatonin to see any benefit. Taking more of it doesnât make it work better or faster. Start with a small dose. If you find you need more, you can slowly take more over time.
When you take it may be even more important than how much you take. The best timing of your dose depends on the sleep issue youâre trying to solve:
- To deal with jet lag, take it when you arrive at your destination at the time youâd like to go to bed. Some studies have found that taking it as early as 3 days before your trip can help jet lag symptoms. Keep in mind, though, that melatonin is best when youâre traveling east. Thereâs no evidence that it helps you adjust to westward travel.
- If you work the night shift, take it at the end of your workday, but never before you drive home.
Is Melatonin Safe For Children
In addition to issues mentioned above, there are some things to consider regarding melatoninâs safety in children.
Melatonin supplements appear to be safe for most children for short-term use, but there arenât many studies on children and melatonin. Also, thereâs little information on the long-term effects of melatonin use in children. Because melatonin is a hormone, itâs possible that melatonin supplements could affect hormonal development, including puberty, menstrual cycles, and overproduction of the hormone prolactin, but we donât know for sure.
Possible melatonin supplement side effects reported in children have usually been mild and have included:
- Increased bedwetting or urination in the evening
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If You Take Melatonin Every Night Will It Play A Role In Seasonal Affective Disorder
As explained by Dr. Norman Rosenthal, professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School, in Psychiatry , seasonal affective disorder is a specific type of depressive disorder marked by its occurrence “during the short, dark days of winter.”
As a naturally occurring hormone, melatonin plays a major role in the onset of this temporary mental condition. As indicated by the Journal of Neural Transmission, previous research showed that “bright environmental light” can reduce your body’s natural production of melatonin, subsequently diminishing the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder.
In a study performed by Oregon Health And Science University, 68 participants with seasonal affective disorder were assigned to one of three separate groups, and respectively given a placebo, melatonin early in the day, or melatonin in the afternoon hours . The researchers realized that those individuals with SAD who had a tendency to stay up late at night benefited from afternoon or evening melatonin, whereas early birds responded well to morning melatonin.
Wondering if you’re suffering from SAD? Here are four signs you may have seasonal affective disorder. Be sure to share your concerns with your doctor.
It’s Unclear If Melatonin Can Prevent Migraines
Do you get frequent migraines? Melatonin might just help ward them off. A 2010 study published in Headache: The Journal of Head and Face Pain found that individuals who suffered chronic migraines had significantly lower levels of naturally produced melatonin than did those who never or only occasionally got migraines. It makes sense, then, that supplementing with melatonin might be helpful, but the research so far hasn’t been conclusive.
On the one hand, a 2016 study published in Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry showed promising results. Researchers gave participants all of whom had a history of two to eight migraines per month either 3 milligrams of melatonin, 25 milligrams of amitriptyline , or placebo daily for three months. Those who took the melatonin had 2.7 fewer migraine days per month, whereas those on the amitriptyline had 2.2 fewer and those on placebo had 1.1 fewer. So although melatonin clearly provided a benefit compared to the placebo, it was essentially on par with the amitriptyline. But the researchers noted that the melatonin takers had fewer side effects than those taking the amitriptyline. This suggests melatonin may be safer and just as effective as prescription migraine medications.
However, a 2010 study published in Neurology found that 2 milligrams of extended-release melatonin given an hour before bed for eight weeks had no significant effect on the number of migraines participants experienced.
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Is A Melatonin Supplement Safer Than Other Sleeping Pills
For some people, melatonin can be just as effective at helping you fall asleep as prescription sleeping pills. But, you may wake feeling a little fresher. Prescription sleep aids can cause people to feel groggy and slow their reaction times the next day. Melatonin typically doesnt have this effect. Melatonin should not be combined with a prescription drug without first consulting the prescribing provider.
If your doctor has prescribed you a medication, its for a reason. Never stop a prescription without discussing it with your doctor first. The information in this article is not intended to replace your doctors advice.
Prescription sleeping pills can be addictive. Melatonin is showing the potential to help get patients off of long-term prescription sleeping pills and offers a safer alternative.
How Long Does Melatoninlast For Sleep
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical advice.
Weve all had restless nights. Whether tossing and turning is a nightly occurrence or this is the first time youre up counting sheep, youve likely heard of the popular sleep aid melatonin. But what is melatonin, and how long does melatonin last for sleep?
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that can help promote sleepiness, so you fall asleep fast. Many people have turned to melatonin supplements, which are available over the counter, to help them catch some zzzs in a pinch.
Before using melatonin, its essential to understand the potential impacts it can have on your health. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about using melatonin for sleep.
What About Weed And Melatonin
Since many states have legal forms of marijuana, its important to know how the drug can affect melatonin. Marijuana will increase your melatonin levels naturally, so if you use it, there is no need to take a melatonin supplement, says Dr. Avena. If anything, you may end up with some of the unwanted side effects of melatonin overdose.
Mixing weed and melatonin isnt terribly dangerous, but again, its not recommended. Also, using marijuana as a sleep supplement is something you should ask your doctor about before trying, if the drug is legal in your area.
Why Does Melatonin Affect People So Differently
You might have a friend who swears by melatonin, only to have a coworker tell you that the supplement did absolutely nothing for them. How can the reactions be so different? Part of the reason is because people have trouble sleeping for all kinds of reasons and melatonin cant solve all the sleep problems. Many people take melatonin for insomnia, but if they dont address the other reasons their body is staying awake it will not help, says Dr. Bazil.
If you dont put your phone away, you might also be affecting the melatonins efficacy. Blue light can inhibit melatonin, said Dr. Avena. So if you take a supplement and then look at a screen while waiting to fall asleep, you might be hindering the ability of melatonin to make you sleepy.
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Side Effects Of Melatonin
Like any other dietary supplement, melatonin may cause side effects in some peoplepossible side effects include:
Dr. Bollu says drowsiness can mean either excessive sleepiness at night or grogginess the next day. He also adds that interfering with your bodys natural sleep cues may carry another side effect as well.
Taking a hypnotic medication regularly, on a nightly basis, would dampen your innate drive to sleep, explains Dr. Bollu, who adds that although we dont know for certain, this could also be true for melatonin. However, some research suggests melatonin may not dampen this drive in the same way that Ambien, for example, does. When your body recognizes more melatonin in the body, it begins to slow down its own production of melatonin over time. Therefore, short-term use of a melatonin supplement is preferred.