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.
Is Melatonin Safe To Use As A Sleep Aid
At some point in our lives, most of us have spent a night tossing and turning in bed, unable to fall asleep, despite our efforts. Maybe youve tried counting sheep or even listening to white noise. Some of you might have even made it to the medicine cabinet, popping melatonin in the hopes of a restful nights sleep. But is melatonin truly effective? More importantly, is it safe?
The short answer is yes, melatonin is useful for treating some sleep problems, said Richard A. Parisi, MD of TPMG Lung and Sleep Specialists at Williamsburg. Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced during the night that promotes sleep. It wont put your brain to sleep, but it will tell your brain when it is time to fall asleep. Melatonin is typically used for those with a delayed sleep phase issue , which is common in teenagers and young adults, or those with advanced sleep phase issues to help get your sleep schedule back on track.
Although melatonin can be an effective tool for readjusting your sleep schedule, if used incorrectly, it can be less effective. If melatonin is going to be effective, it must be used consistently. Taking one isolated dose for a temporary sleep problem will likely render the melatonin far less effective. Instead, melatonin is typically recommended for those with chronic sleep problems.
Less is more when it comes to melatonin dosage, said Dr. Parisi.
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.
Is Melatonin Safe For Babies
Melatonin is not recommended for infants. Melatonin concentrations are quite low in babies three months and younger, and their circadian systems are still developing. At this time, there are no long-term studies on melatonin use in babies.
If your infant struggles to sleep, talk to your pediatrician. They can help you identify possible causes and develop a treatment plan.
Is Melatonin Safe For Kids
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved melatonin for use in children and adolescents with insomnia and other sleep disorders. However, some doctors do recommend melatonin for children sleeping poorly. Use of melatonin in children is called off label, or using a drug for a purpose or group of people other than what is officially recommended.
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Maintain A Healthy Weight
Doctors commonly recommend people with sleep apnea to lose weight. Obesity, specifically in the upper body, can increase the risk of airway obstruction and narrow nasal passages. These obstructions can cause you to stop breathing suddenly or for lengths of time while sleeping.
Maintaining a healthy weight can keep your airways clear and reduce sleep apnea symptoms. Research shows that modest weight reduction in people with obesity can eliminate the need for upper airway surgery or long-term CPAP therapy.
In some cases, weight loss can eliminate sleep apnea. However, if you regain the weight, its possible for the condition to return.
The Effect Of Melatonin On Sleep And Ventilatory Control In Obstructive Sleep Apnea
|The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.|
|First Posted : June 29, 2015Last Update Posted : December 22, 2020|
- Study Details
OSA is a common sleep disorder characterized by repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep causing bouts of hypercapnia and hypoxia, typically followed by arousal, hyperventilation and a subsequent apnea. The resultant swings in blood gases and fragmented sleep have been associated with major neurocognitive and cardiovascular sequelae. Although the commonly cited statistics are that 4% of middle aged US men and 2% of US women have symptomatic OSA, these figures may be underestimates. However despite its prevalence and well recognized consequences, treatment of OSA remains unacceptable due to poor adherence to and variable efficacy of existing therapies, leading many to advocate for further research into underlying mechanisms to identify new therapeutic targets.
Information from the National Library of Medicine
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Work With Not Against Melatonins Sleep
Melatonin levels rise about two hours before bedtime, Buenaver says. Create optimal conditions for it to do its job by keeping the lights low before bed. Stop using your computer, smartphone or tabletthe blue and green light from these devices can neutralize melatonins effects. If you watch television, be sure youre at least six feet away from the screen. Turn off bright overhead lights too. Meanwhile you can help program your body to produce melatonin for sleep at the right time of day by getting exposure to daylight during the morning and afternoon. Take a walk outside or sit beside a sunny window.
What The Experts Do
Lower the Light to Prep for Sleep
Johns Hopkins sleep expert Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., C.B.S.M., keeps the lights low in the evening to help his mind and body prepare forsleep. But if he has to work in the evening or answer emails, he usesfilters to screen out the blue and green wavelengths of light emitted byhis smartphone and computer. Your brain associates this light withdaytime, and it can interfere with melatonins sleep-promoting effects. Afilter can help. Many types of blue-light filters are available online andin stores.
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Avoid Alcohol And Smoking
Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles that control your breathing. This can lead to snoring and an interrupted sleep cycle. It can also lead to inflammation in your airways, blocking your airflow.
Similar to alcohol, tobacco use can also contribute to inflammation and swelling in your airways. This can worsen your snoring and your sleep apnea.
A identified smoking as a risk factor for developing sleep apnea. The study noted that people with sleep apnea may have a predisposition to smoking as well, so treating sleep apnea may help in quitting smoking.
Over The Counter: Will Melatonin Cure Your Sleep Problems
Searching for a solution to their sleep problems, many adults are taking melatonin supplements as a sleep aid. Research shows that this may benefit certain people. But melatonin is no miracle cure for the sleepless.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced by the brain. It is considered a darkness signal for your body. Your brain releases more melatonin in the evening as it gets dark. Then in the morning as daylight increases your melatonin production drops. This helps signal to your body when it is time to be sleepy or alert.
The sale of melatonin and other dietary supplements is a major part of the U.S. nutrition industry. The Natural Products Association reports that consumers spent $22.5 billion on dietary supplements in 2006. This includes $3.8 billion on specialty supplements such as melatonin.
A study in the journal Sleep in 2007 confirms that melatonin use is widespread in the U.S. The researchers analyzed a survey of 31,044 personal interviews. Results show that 5.2 percent of the study group reported using melatonin at least once in the prior 12 months.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine states that melatonin supplements appear to be safe. There is no evidence of serious risks related to their use. But the long-term effects of melatonin are unknown.
Jet lag disorder occurs when you cross multiple time zones. You have trouble adjusting your sleep-wake pattern to fit the schedule of your new location.
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Study Focuses On Link Between Obstructive Sleep Apnea And Melatonin
While asleep, the human body produces a hormone called melatonin, which regulates how the body relaxes while in a deep sleep. However, a recent study has shown that melatonin production in the body can be affected by obstructive sleep apnea.
Obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by the suspension of breathing. With OSA, the upper airway is blocked while the patient is asleep, which causes the patient to not have enough airflow in the body. Because of this, a patient tends to wake up repeatedly overnight, since their breathing is slowed or stopped. This disorder can be dangerous if left untreated. Due to the lack of oxygen and accumulation of carbon dioxide in the blood, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to future cardiac issues. The severity of this condition also depends on how much the airways are obstructed.
While the body is in sleep mode it produces a hormone called melatonin, which is from the brain and regulates the stages of sleep. It is usually produced while the patient is in the fourth stage, and it has also been found to reduce the risk of tumors in breast cancer patents.
Read on to learn more about the effect obstructive sleep apnea has on melatonin production.
The Dangers Of Using Sleep Aids For Sleep Apnea Treatment
is one of the most common sleep disorders in the US, but according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, about 80% of people with the condition are either undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, meaning they are going completely untreated. As a result, many turn to a variety of sleep aids to help them get the rest they need. If youre suffering from OSA, could taking an over-the-counter-sleep aid serve as an effective sleep apnea treatment? Unfortunately, many common sleep aids can actually make the condition much worse, and they should be avoided if you have the slightest hint that youre suffering from sleep apnea.
The Science Behind Melatonin
Melatonin , chemically N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a substance found in animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. In animals, its a hormone that anticipates the daily onset of darkness.
In animals, melatonin is involved in the synchronization of the circadian rhythms of physiological functions including sleep timing, blood pressure regulation, seasonal reproduction and many others. Many of its biological effects in animals are produced through activation of melatonin receptors, while others are due to its role as a pervasive and powerful antioxidant, with a particular role in the protection of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA.
The hormone can be used as a sleep aid and in the treatment of some sleep disorders. It can be taken orally in liquid form as well as capsules or tablets in immediate- or prolonged-release form. It is also available in a form to be used sublingually, and as transdermal patches. Melatonin is sold as an over-the-counter sleep aid in the U.S. and Canada. In other countries it may require a prescription or it may be unavailable.
Get Help With Your Sleep Problems
Whether youre experiencing insomnia, sleep apnea, or any other sleep disorder, the sleep experts at Sound Sleep Health can make it easier for you to get the rest you need. For diagnosis and treatment of insomnia and other sleep disorders, book a consultation by phone or online at one of our three locations in Kirkland and Seattle, Washington.
Exclusively treating patients with sleep issues, our practice is led by Dr. Maeika, a renowned board-certified sleep medicine specialist who trained at Harvard and Duke universities and is a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Dr. Maeika is also an active member of the National Sleep Foundation.
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Consider Melatonin Sleep Help For Occasional Insomnia
Even sound sleepers have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep once in a while, Buenaver says. You may want to try melatonin for sleep if you have difficulty for more than a night or two. Research shows that a supplement may help people with insomnia fall asleep slightly faster and may have bigger benefits for those with delayed sleep phase syndromefalling asleep very late and waking up late the next day.
Can Melatonin Help Kids Fall Asleep
If your child is struggling to fall asleep at night or get sufficient sleep, melatonin supplements are a possible short-term strategy for helping them achieve quality sleep. Research on the use of melatonin in children is limited. However, studies of select groups of children provide promising evidence of melatonins effectiveness in initiating sleep.
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Alter Your Sleep Position
Though a small change, altering your sleep position can reduce sleep apnea symptoms and improve your nights rest. A 2006 study found that more than half of obstructive sleep apnea cases are dependent on position.
have shown sleeping on your back called the supine position can worsen symptoms. For some adults, sleeping on the side can help breathing return to normal.
However, a found that children with sleep apnea sleep better on their backs.
Discuss body positioning and your sleep apnea symptoms with your doctor to evaluate your options for treatment.
Is Using Melatonin To Help Sleep Safe
was just looking if any one else had experience using melatonin while having sleep apnea and if it helped them sleep or if it impacted their breathing while they slept.
Hasn’t affected me at all with using my CPAP. Melatonin is a natural drug, our own bodies produce melatonin. Just make sure not too take too much. Start with a very small amount.
Yes start with a small amount like .5 or 1 mg.
It has helped me sleep but I don’t think it helped my sleep apnea at all. I actually feel kind of drugged when I wake up when I use it.
I’m no longer using it. I’ve used it moreso when my sleep cycle hasn’t gotten so bad that I’m sleeping at bad hours.
From what I’ve read you can use it long-term but I’d use it sparingly. What has helped my sleep and is safe long-term is zinc supplementation. But even that,. Lot of supplements are like 25 mg. That’s too much. I only take 5 mg and estimate I get the rest through diet. A male needs 11 mg a day.
But none of these things should be considered a viable treatment for sleep apnea.
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Sleep Apnea: 7 Things That Can Make It Worse
Obstructive sleep apnea, also called OSA, is a disorder in which a person may stop breathing several times while they are sleeping. The condition is a serious health problem that affects people of all ages, including children. If you suspect that you have sleep apnea, your doctor may send you to a sleep specialist who will conduct a sleep study to determine if you have OSA. This is the typical approach that your health care provider uses to confirm a diagnosis of apnea.
It is also helpful to understand that lifestyle habits and health conditions can worsen apnea. Some of these health habits are factors that you can control, so it’s important to find out what can make sleep apnea worse.
1. Obesity: Being obese can also worsen sleep apnea, so it is important to manage your weight if you are significantly overweight. Extra weight can result in excess tissues in and around your airway, which negatively impacts your airway as your body relaxes at night. What’s more, sleep apnea can actually lead to weight gain. If you’re struggling with weight gain, talk to your doctor about good nutrition so that you can maintain a healthy weight.
2. Alcohol: Alcohol is another type of muscle relaxant, and this can create problems for people who deal with apnea. Drinking alcohol can cause your airway to relax too much, which can lead to obstruction. If you are struggling with OSA, it is best to avoid drinking alcohol altogether.
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.
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