Have you ever had a long, hard day, only to get into bed and be unable to fall asleep? It can be extremely frustrating, and you will probably try anything to get a good night’s sleep.
Over seventy million people living in the United States suffer from sleep disorders, so know you’re not alone. It’s a common problem, so you’d think there’d be some sort of treatment in place.
One of the most popular sleep aids is melatonin because it is natural and has very few side effects. If you’d like to learn more about melatonin pros and cons and if this could be right for you, read on.
How Does Melatonin Work?
First, let’s discuss what melatonin is. Melatonin is naturally produced by your brain’s pineal gland. Most people get a boost of this hormone every day, which helps your body know that it is time for sleep.
Generally, when you’ve been awake for a certain amount of time, especially when it’s dark outside, the melatonin will be waiting to give you the signal for rest.
Melatonin for Sleep
So does taking a supplement of melatonin work, and is it a good idea?
There is a fair amount of evidence that suggests that melatonin can help you get to sleep quicker.
This particular study shows that it can help you drift off to sleep about seven minutes quicker than without its use. It also improves your quality of sleep, so you wake up feeling more rested.
Melatonin can be especially helpful when you have issues with your circadian rhythm, often caused by jet lag. When you take a higher dosage of melatonin, it resets your body’s internal clock.
Alternately, you can take melatonin five days before you leave for your trip to have your body already adjusted to the new time zone. This may require you to take melatonin during the day, which may cause you to feel drowsiness.
However, once you get to your new time zone, your body will already be adjusted, so you don’t need to take the higher dose and sleep for a long time for your body’s internal clock to be readjusted.
How to Take Melatonin
Is it safe to take melatonin every night? Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific evidence to know if taking melatonin long-term is safe.
But taking melatonin for the short-term, for about three months at a time, is proven to be safe for most adults and children with very few side effects.
There are a variety of forms of melatonin available to you. These melatonin sleep vitamin gummies are a great option because they taste good, are vegan, and include other ingredients that can benefit your body.
You can also take melatonin in pill or liquid form, depending on your preference.
If you’re taking melatonin to combat regular insomnia, your dose will most likely be around .3 to .5 milligrams. If you’re taking it to combat jet lag, it will be more around .5 to .8 milligrams.
Always start with the lowest dose possible to avoid any adverse side effects. If you have specific concerns about your dosage, talk to your doctor before trying it out.
Other Melatonin Benefits
There are other health benefits that melatonin provides besides helping you sleep.
High levels of melatonin can increase your body’s access to antioxidants, which can help prevent degenerative eye disease and keep your eyes healthy.
Antioxidants can also help treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, which can improve your quality of life significantly.
If you experience tinnitus or a constant ringing in your ears, melatonin can help combat this, especially at night.
Melatonin can also help make the symptoms of seasonal depression less severe or reduce the number of symptoms.
It is also often used to help with anxiety for patients before and after surgery, being as effective as other anti-anxiety medicines.
It is important to note that most of these benefits come from having a higher dose of melatonin. However, high doses often lead to more side effects, so you should always talk to your doctor before increasing your dosage.
Melatonin Side Effects
Though taking melatonin is thought of as being safe, there are a few side effects that could occur.
The main side effects of melatonin are headaches, dizziness, nausea, and sleepiness. If you take higher doses, you are more likely to feel the negative side effects.
If you identify with the following conditions, you should consult with your doctor before taking melatonin:
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- Autoimmune disease
- Seizure disorder
- High blood pressure
You should also be wary of taking melatonin for the long-term. If you take too much, there is a chance that your body will stop producing it naturally.
This would then require you to take it much more frequently, and there is no evidence that this is completely safe, yet.
Melatonin Pros and Cons for Daily Use
Now you know melatonin pros and cons and can implement it into your sleep routine. If you have chronic insomnia or plan a trip in a different time zone, taking melatonin could greatly benefit you.
Use it safely, start with a low dose, and find the right form for you. Don’t become dependent on it, and implement other aspects into your nighttime routine to improve your sleep quality.
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