Melatonin, released by the pineal gland, regulates the circadian rhythm and induces sleep. It is a naturally created hormone that is responsible for helping us in falling asleep. It also maintains our sleep schedule, so a lack of melatonin can lead to sleep disorders, such as insomnia. Let’s look at melatonin supplements for sleep in more detail.
By using the day and night pattern, the circadian clock, believed to be located in the brain, helps us in falling asleep at the same time each day.
However, because of using devices, such as smartphones and laptops, that emit blue light, stress, anxiety, and a lack of discipline, the circadian rhythm gets thrown out of order, leading to various sleep disorders.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland located in the brain.
The primary function of this hormone is to induce sleep and manage the circadian rhythm. Melatonin signals to the body that it’s time to sleep, so people with low levels of this hormone face problems in falling and staying asleep.
Uses of Melatonin Supplements
Although melatonin is available in trace amounts from certain fruits and vegetables, it is recommended to take pills or gummy bears for the same.
Generally considered safe, melatonin induces sleep and resets the circadian rhythm. Here are the uses of melatonin.
Melatonin – The Sleep Hormone
Pineal glands release melatonin to tell our body that it’s time to fall asleep.
Because of melatonin, cells in our body receive the signal that it’s time to recover. The temperature of the body falls as more and more melatonin is released by our body, and soon we find ourselves snoring and enjoying a blissful sleep.
Why use Melatonin Supplements?
Although melatonin is naturally created by our body and also available through natural sources such as fruits and vegetables, it can behoove you to take melatonin supplements regularly.
A deficiency of melatonin can lead to many health problems. For one, it can cause insomnia and hypersomnia. Further, you may feel stressed, lethargic, anxious, irritable, and depressed because of a lack of sleep or lack of feeling well rested.
Melatonin for Sleep Disorders
Although you may try to maintain a proper sleep schedule, your body may rebel because of underlying health issues, stress, or anxiety.
Here are the common sleep disorders for which melatonin is effective:
Often resulting from stress, anxiety, hormonal disturbances, or jet lag, insomnia causes a difficulty in falling and staying asleep.
People with insomnia often report the following symptoms:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Impaired cognitive function
- Weight gain
Despite the type of insomnia you may have, you can rely on melatonin to fall asleep faster. Melatonin can be very effective against mild to moderate cases of insomnia.
Non-24-hour Sleep-Wake Disorder
Circadian rhythm in people with this sleep disorder often goes out of sync. The internal clock of the body fails to reset, so people this condition cannot maintain a proper sleep schedule.
This condition may also cause insomnia and hypersomnia like symptoms.
Taking melatonin can reset the circadian rhythm and help people with this sleep condition to fall asleep at the same time regularly.
Restless Leg Syndrome
Inducing an overwhelming need to move legs, restless leg syndrome can cause irritation, tingling, and an inability to fall asleep.
People with Parkinson’s disease or ADHD often suffer from restless leg syndrome.
Taking melatonin before going to be can induce sleep faster and help provide some relief from this syndrome. However, you can also look at other medications such as Gabapentin that can help with RLS.
Consult your doctor before taking any medicine.
How is Melatonin Effective?
A meta-analysis of several studies found that supplementation with melatonin can:
- Enhance sleep quality
- Induce sleep
- Improve sleep duration
You’ll have to try different doses of melatonin to get the one that suits your preferences. However, melatonin has less side effects, especially in the long term, when compared with medications such as benzodiazepines, which build tolerance and addiction.
Other Health Benefits of Melatonin
Apart from sleep disorders, melatonin can help with the following:
Melatonin was found to be effective against both cluster headaches and migraines.
Relying on pain medication is a temporary answer. Migraines cause debilitating pain, so it is understandable that many people have to rely on them. However, one can decrease their reliance on these harmful and addictive pain medications by consuming melatonin supplements.
May Relieve symptoms of Tinnitus
We all must have heard a ringing sound in our ears at some point in our life. However, people suffering from tinnitus hear it on a regular basis.
This constant ringing sound leads to irritability and anxiety.
With its antioxidative properties, melatonin can fight free radicals and may relieve some symptoms of tinnitus.
Apart from this, melatonin can also be used for:
- Jet Lag
- Delayed sleep=wake phase disorder (DSWPD)
- Sleep problems in children with ADHD
Can Melatonin cause Addiction?
Experts agree that melatonin does not cause addiction because it has no withdrawal symptoms. Drugs that have withdrawal symptoms and built up tolerance are considered to be addictive.
Melatonin – Recommended Dose
As melatonin is already present in our body naturally, we need to ensure that we don’t consume too much right at the onset.
It can take our body to adjust to higher doses of melatonin, so it is better to start small and then increase the dose incrementally.
A good starting dose can be in the range of 0.2-5mg of melatonin per day.
So you can start with 3mg per day and then increase your dose until you find it easier to fall asleep and start waking up well rested.
Note: Don’t take more than 30mg/day of melatonin, as it can lead to toxicity and serious side effects.
When to take melatonin supplement?
You should take the supplement 30 minutes before going to bed. This enables your body to absorb it properly, so that the supplement can work and induce sleep.
Symptoms of Melatonin Overdose
While scientists haven’t figured out the dose at which melatonin causes toxicity, they believe that taking anything above 30mg/day of this supplement may lead to serious side effects.
Side effects of melatonin toxicity include:
- Strange dreams
- Fluctuation in blood pressure
- Joint pain
Alcohol and caffeine can interact with melatonin, so don’t consume them when taking melatonin supplement. Also, if you take any other medication, then consult your doctor before taking melatonin supplements.
Good sleep is important for feeling well rested and energized. Sleep disorders, such as insomnia, can cause restlessness, irritability, and a lack of cognitive function. Take a melatonin supplement to help yourself fall asleep fast and wake up well rested and ready to seize the day.
- Will melatonin cause addiction if I take it regularly?
- No. Melatonin doesn’t build tolerance nor presents withdrawal symptoms. For a drug to be addictive, it must have both of these characteristics. So melatonin isn’t addictive.
- Will melatonin help me in maintaining my sleep schedule?
- Most business leaders take melatonin for this purpose. In order to reset the circadian rhythm and maintain a proper sleep schedule, you can rely on melatonin supplements.
- How long before going to bed should I take melatonin?
- Take melatonin 30 minutes before going to bed, as it provides ample time for the supplement to kick in and induce sleep.
- Will melatonin boost my focus?
- Melatonin isn’t a memory boosting supplement. However, if you can’t focus because of a lack of sleep, then melatonin can help you with it.