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4 Things to Consider Before Taking Melatonin

4 Things to Consider Before Taking Melatonin

Imagine this: It is now midnight, way past bedtime, and you are still up and can’t sleep no matter how much you try to. Some friends may suggest that you take in some melatonin supplements and it will help you have a good night’s sleep. But what is melatonin, and how does a melatonin supplement work?

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in the pineal gland of the brain. The pineal gland is responsible for secreting natural melatonin in the absence of light. It aids in the regulation of your sleep-wake cycle by alerting your body when bedtime is near.

It is also otherwise known as the sleep hormone, for it helps in regulating the circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle). Because of this, a manmade form of melatonin is turned into a drug to treat sleep disorders like insomnia and jetlag.

Sleeping pills and other types of melatonin supplement are generally safe to use for a short period of time. However, before taking some pills on your own, you should understand and consider other factors that may come into play while administering this drug. Of course, always consult your doctor.

Benefits of a melatonin supplement

Jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, various sleep disorders in children, and anxiety before and after surgery may all benefit from using a melatonin supplement.

Furthermore, it has also been discovered to be an antioxidant, which can delay the aging process of rats and mice under laboratory tests involving rats and mice. However, the long-term effects of consuming melatonin are still unknown.

Risk Factors

Some types of melatonin supplement may have certain contraindications when taken side by side. Some of those prescribed and over-the-counter drugs involve:

  • Antibiotic
  • Aspirin/Acetaminophen
  • Birth control pills
  • ADHD medication
  • Narcotic pain medicine
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Heart or blood pressure medicine
  • Steroids
  • Anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Contraceptive drugs
  • Diabetes medications
  • Immunosuppressants

Melatonin may also not work best for you especially if you are pregnant or breastfeeding your child.

Appropriate Dosage

Although most sleep experts advise against taking exceptionally high doses of melatonin, there is no particular measure on the best amount. Doses in trials varied from 0.1 to 12 milligrams (mg). A normal melatonin supplement dose is one to three milligrams. Whether these dosages are acceptable for any person relies on factors like age, sleeping issues, and other risk factors.

According to studies, time is more significant than dose. The best time to take melatonin varies from person to person and depends on the severity of the sleep disorder. Melatonin may be even more helpful in some circumstances when used with bright light therapy as part of a treatment plan.

Make sure to read the labels found on the box of the drug before anything else.

Side Effects

Melatonin supplements also cover some side effects, especially when the body has had too much of it, such as:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Drowsiness
  • Hungover feeling
  • Depression
  • Mild tremor
  • Mild anxiety
  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Irritability
  • Reduced alertness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)

These possible side effects can even disturb a person’s circadian rhythm in the long run. Other people may also be allergic to it without them knowing.

Doctor’s Advice

Above all else, it is important to seek your doctor’s advice before deciding to take the drug. As mentioned, other drugs may not interact well with melatonin. Asking your doctor whether or not you should be taking one could prevent you from becoming dependent on it. Some doctors may suggest better tips and solutions for you to get a good sleep at night.

Key Takeaway

Our bodies need a dose of the melatonin hormone to be able to sleep and perform well the next day. Melatonin supplements and drugs can help a person address some sleep problems. However, it is still important to talk with your doctor about your condition before trying it yourself.

Learn more about Drugs and Supplements here.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Melatonin and Sleeping Pills, https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/melatonin-and-sleeping-pills Accessed September 22, 2021

Melatonin and Sleep, https://www.sleepfoundation.org/melatonin Accessed September 22, 2021

Melatonin: What You Need To Know, https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/melatonin-what-you-need-to-knowAccessed September 22, 2021

Is melatonin a helpful sleep aid — and what should I know about melatonin side effects?, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/melatonin-side-effects/faq-20057874 Accessed September 22, 2021

What is Melatonin?, https://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/melatonin Accessed September 22, 2021

 

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Written by Fiel Tugade Updated 4 weeks ago
Fact Checked by Kristel Dacumos-Lagorza