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.
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.
Now Foods Liquid Melatonin
Though Now Foods also makes a standard tablet based melatonin supplement, it also offers a liquid version of the same supplement.; Each serving contains 3 mg of melatonin dissolved in water, glycerin, and ethyl alcohol, along with some flavoring and sweetening agents.
For most people, a tablet or capsule will be the best choice.; A liquid supplement version of melatonin might be a good call if you dislike or have difficulty swallowing pillsfor just about anybody else, the extra cost, lessened dosage accuracy, and inconvenience arent worth it.
Also Check: Does Estrogen Help With Weight Loss
Physicians Choice Natrem Sleep Aid
If youre looking for a melatonin sleep aid with a little extra boost then Physicians Choice NATREM is our top pick.
NATREM uses clinically proven and patented Suntheanine® in which the national institute of mental health did a clinical trial and found that when taken before bed it produces a significant improvement in sleep quality.
NATREM uses 5mg of melatonin combined with valerian root powder, Suntheanine ®, Chamomile, and Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate .
NATREM isnt the cheapest melatonin sleep aid out there, but its certainly one of the best.
Benefits The Cardiovascular System
Several studies suggest that melatonin may help to promote cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure and promoting more healthy cholesterol levels.16
Your bodys internal clock and the amount of light you are exposed to affect how much melatonin you create. Generally, toward the end of the day, your body naturally creates more melatonin, making you sleepy. By early morning or sunrise, your melatonin levels drop off, causing you to wake up.1
However, your melatonin can easily fluctuate based on various environmental factors. Shorter, darker days in winter can interfere with your natural sleep cycle by causing you to produce melatonin earlier than usual. Recently, blue light from computer and phone screens has become a big problem as it suppresses the secretion of melatonin, which ultimately prevents you from getting a full, restful night of sleep.2
Also Check: Does Melatonin Help With Tinnitus
Can You Die Because Of A Melatonin Overdose
Thankfully, melatonin is a low-risk drug. As we discussed earlier, your body naturally produces the hormone. Therefore, it would take an extremely high dosage to kill you.
In fact, researchers couldn’t establish an LD50 for this medication. An LD50 is the lethal dosage at which 50% of experimental subjects would die after taking it. Researchers also found that extremely high doses were safe in animals as well.
The lack of an LD50 value tells us that the greater majority of individuals aren’t going to die from an over-the-counter melatonin pill. However, too much experimentation with the drug could lead to severe side effects.
In general, physicians do not recommend exceeding 10mg of over-the-counter melatonin. If you feel that you may need to take more than 10mg, you should consult your primary physician. Your physician should then monitor how you’re doing with these higher doses.
Follow the instruction of your personal physician in regards to your melatonin dosage. And, speak with him/her about your personal sleeping habits so that they can assist you in creating a sleeping regimen that works for you. Your physician can also work with your health insurance company to find medications or studies that they may help cover.
Dangerous Interactions Could Occur
The supplement could also interfere with other important medications, including blood thinners, diabetes drugs, immune system-suppressing drugs, anti-seizure drugs and some contraceptives. If you’re taking any type of medication, it’s important to talk to your HCP before taking melatonin or any other dietary supplements.
Recommended Reading: How To Prevent Hormonal Breakouts
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, melatonins 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.
What Medication Can Interact With Melatonin
Its important to know how other medicines may interact with melatonin. As a general rule of thumb, consult your doctor before taking any new herbs or supplements.
Melatonin can reduce the effectiveness of some prescription drugs, triggering possibly serious complications.
For example, you shouldnt combine an anticoagulant or blood thinner medication with melatonin. Melatonin can increase the risk of bleeding.
Melatonin may also increase blood pressure in people who take medication to control their hypertension.
Other drugs that may interact with melatonin include:
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
Also dont take melatonin if youve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, like lupus.
Autoimmune diseases are the result of an overactive immune system, and inflammation is a classic symptom on these diseases. Melatonin can stimulate immune system activity, increasing inflammation and exacerbating an existing disease.
Read Also: How Do I Treat Hormonal Imbalance
Maximum Or Lethal Dose Of Melatonin
Its hard to pinpoint the lethal melatonin dosage because its a natural hormone. Just make sure youre not going beyond the recommended dosage for your melatonin use. If you do, you may start to experience more severe melatonin side effects, such as overly vivid dreams, headaches, etc.
Also, make sure you understand different melatonin interactions and how melatonin mixes with other things youre taking or ingesting. There are specific interactions between melatonin and alcohol and melatonin and marijuana that you should be aware of.
What Is The Correct Melatonin Dosage For Me
The recommended dose of melatonin is the lowest dose that can help your sleep quantity and;quality without causing side effects. While the right dose varies from one person to another, between 0.5 milligrams and 5 milligrams once daily is the typical starting dose for adults. Research indicates that taking doses of 10 milligrams or higher may cause side effects. The maximum recommended dose of melatonin is 10 milligrams.
Several factors, such as age, body weight, and sensitivity to melatonin may affect the recommended dosage. The dose also depends on the type and severity of the sleep problem. Certain drugs may also affect the way melatonin is metabolized. Speak to your physician if you are taking other medications before starting melatonin.
When using melatonin for the first time, begin at a low dose and adjust in increments of 1 milligram, depending on response. Generally, the optimum time to take melatonin is one to two hours before bedtime. There’s some evidence of tolerance with melatonin use, so it’s not recommended to increase the dose over time after reaching the lowest effective dose.
Don’t Miss: How To Boost Testosterone Ftm
What Are Melatonins Side Effects On Kids
Potential, though mild, side effects of melatonin use in children include agitation, headache, dizziness and; drowsiness.; While it is not known for sure and more research on the long term use of melatonin in children is needed, its important to remember that melatonin is a hormone, and, as such, there is a possibility that it may affect hormonal development, including puberty and menstrual cycles.2
The Bottom Line
If your child occasionally has trouble falling asleep, instilling better sleep habits and routines might be in order. But if your child experiences significant difficulty falling asleep, melatonin might benefit, especially when its used in combination with behavioral interventions and healthy sleep practices.5
Most importantly, talk with your childs pediatrician before giving them melatonin to make sure its right for them, to understand the proper dosage, and to rule out any underlying health issues.
This information is only for educational purposes and is not medical advice or intended as a recommendation of any specific products. Consult your health care provider for more information.;
1; Mayo Clinic. Melatonin. March 30, 2018. Accessed on: September 23, 2020.
Who Can Take Melatonin
The following issues can benefit from taking melatonin supplements:
- Jetlag: Travelling across multiple time zones gives you jetlag and disturbs your sleep pattern.
- Shift work sleep disorder: Shift work disorder can be caused by working night shifts, rotating shifts, or even an early morning shift. This leads to sleep deprivation and the inability to fall asleep when you need to.
- Insomnia: Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
- Delayed sleep phase disorder : You cannot fall asleep fast, so you end up staying awake beyond midnight and find it difficult waking up early in the morning when you need to.
Doctors have also recommended melatonin supplements for the following conditions:
- Sleep disorders and certain developmental and behavioral disorders in children;
Also Check: Does Nugenix Have An Estrogen Blocker
How Long Does It Last
The plasma half-life is quite short and ranges between 20 and 50 minutes. This means that approximately only half of the dose remains in your system after this amount of time. This means that while it may help you fall asleep faster, it likely wont help you to stay asleep or increase the quality of your sleep.
Melatonin For Insomnia In Dogs
Canine insomnia is a problem that can change your dogs personality. According to Dr. JoAnna Pendergrass, DVM, dogs with sleep disorders might whine, cry, or frequently wake up during the night, become more sluggish during the day or seem more disoriented when performing normal tasks.
Melatonin is not the major regulator of sleep patterns. However, its effects on the regulation of the sleep-wake cycle are profound.
The role of melatonin in the regulation of sleep has made it useful in treating sleep disorders. This action is well documented in humans; however, more studies are still being done in animals.;When administered to your dog, melatonin will cause decreased activity, decreased body temperature and eventually induce fatigue.;In this regard, an appropriate dose of melatonin may be used to induce sleep in a dog suffering from sleeping disorders.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take Unisom With Melatonin
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
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Hormones Tested
Melatonin Dosage By Weight For A Child
|Maximum Melatonin Dosage: 3 mg|
More than 88 pounds
|Maximum Melatonin Dosage: 5 mg|
Your best bet? Speak to your childs pediatrician first about your concerns regarding your childs sleep issues and using melatonin.; If you get the thumbs up then start with the lowest dosage. The general advice is to take melatonin 30 to 90 minutes before bedtime. In doing so, many children will respond to a lower dose , according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. And most children who do benefit from melatonin don’t need any more than 3 to 6 mg.4
How Much Melatonin Should Senior Citizens Take To Sleep
A lot of change happens to our body as we age. ;Decreased melatonin production is one of them, which explains why older people quite often have problems with falling and staying asleep.; One of the most commonly recommended solutions is taking supplements containing Melatonin.; But are they safe?; And if so, what dosage is optimal for older people?; Lets find answers together
What Is The Optimal Melatonin Dosage
This is a 7-minute read
When taking melatonin, it is important to take an appropriate dosage at the right time when needed for safe and effective use. It is a common misconception that taking more melatonin will result in a deeper and more restful sleep. But the reality is, too much melatonin can lead to nighttime restlessness and daytime grogginess.
What Is The Right Dosage Of Melatonin: How Much Is Too Much
Knowing how much melatonin to take is tricky, especially since some brands may recommend a dosage thats more than your body actually needs.
As you shop around, youll find that some melatonin supplements contain as much as 5 to 10 milligrams per serving.
Generally speaking, most people produce enough melatonin to sleep well. If you need a little extra to reset your sleep cycle, you probably dont need more than 3 mg. Some people sleep better with as little as 0.3 to 0.5 mg.
Melatonin needs vary from person to person. Since melatonin can have many effects on the body, like all drugs, it should be taken at the lowest dose possible, warns Dr.;Jacobowitz.
With that being said, start with a low amount. If you still have problems sleeping, gradually step up your dose until you find an amount that improves sleep without causing side effects.
Less is more with melatonin to avoid sleep inertia. This is a common problem with some sleeping pills. Some people complain of a hungover or groggy feeling in the mornings due to remnants of the sleep aid remaining in their bloodstream.
This effect doesnt typically occur with melatonin, but it can happen if you take too much the night before.
Melatonin is also safe for children. And like adults, some children dont need a lot of the supplement to sleep better.
Again, start your child at a lower dose, and then gradually increase the amount of melatonin as needed. Talk to your doctor for advice on appropriate dosages.
Also Check: What Are Some Of The Side Effects Of Melatonin
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, its important to talk to your doctor about your symptoms to rule out underlying conditions causing problems with your sleep.
Is It Safe To Take Melatonin
For melatonin supplements, particularly at doses higher than what the body normally produces, thereâs not enough information yet about possible side effects to have a clear picture of overall safety. Short-term use of melatonin supplements appears to be safe for most people, but information on the long-term safety of supplementing with melatonin is lacking.
Also keep in mind:
Interactions with medicines
- As with all dietary supplements, people who are taking medicine should consult their health care providers before using melatonin. In particular, people with epilepsy and those taking blood thinner medications need to be under medical supervision when taking melatonin supplements.
Possible allergic reaction risk
Safety concerns for pregnant and breastfeeding women
Safety concerns for older people
Melatonin is regulated as a dietary supplement
Products may not contain whatâs listed on the label
You May Like: Where To Buy Melatonin For Kids