While some people may fall into slumber the moment their heads hit the pillow, others spend a considerable amount of time every night rolling and counting sheep but to no avail.
Yeah, sure, there are several tips on how to sleep faster, and while they are effective for some, they may prove inefficient for others, which raises the need for something stronger than mere habits; hormones, specifically melatonin.
So, what is melatonin? How much should you take? And is it bad to take melatonin every night? Let’s find out!
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What is Melatonin?
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxy tryptamine) is a hormone that’s found naturally in the body. It is the sleep hormone, as it regulates your circadian rhythm, wakefulness, and sleep.
The circadian rhythm is the body’s biological clock, cycling between alertness and sleepiness, and it’s the reason behind why we feel energized or sleepy around the same time every day.
Melatonin is also used as an over-the-counter medicine for insomnia, whether it be an acute or chronic one, as well as delayed sleep phase syndrome, and sleep problems with developmental disorders.
What Dose Should You Take?
Melatonin is a relatively-safe medicine. After all, that’s why it’s sold over-the-counter for anyone to get. It’s available in several forms, among which the most known are pills and capsules, but it’s also available in liquid or spray forms.
Studies suggest that even low doses of melatonin can be effective, which eliminates the dose-response relationship for this hormone, making determining the optimal dose for you quite the hard task.
The best course of action here is to take the lowest possible effective dose. Considering that the safe advertised strength of the melatonin dose may range from 1mg to 10 mg, you should take 1mg-2mg a day.
As melatonin is not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), production and quality standards are not enforced, which is why you should get it only from reputable sources.
When Should You Take Melatonin?
Although the dose is of utmost importance when taking a supplement, the timing is equally critical, especially when it comes to melatonin, a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm.
Melatonin is naturally released by the pineal gland in the brain during the period of darkness, from dusk till dawn. The timing of consumption differs according to your goal. So, when should you take your melatonin?
If you need melatonin to aid sleep because you’re struggling to drift into dreamland every night and want to stay there till the morning, then you should take this supplement up to 30 minutes before bedtime. Why? Because melatonin reaches the maximum concentration in the blood after half an hour of consumption.
If you’re a night owl who wants to fall asleep early, you need to take melatonin several hours before bedtime. In other words, if you’re used to sleeping at 3 a.m. but you want to hit the sack around 11 p.m, consider taking melatonin as early as 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.
If you’re showing symptoms of advanced sleep phase syndrome, which is a rare disorder affecting less than 1 percent of the population, you need to consult your doctor before resorting to any supplement, as you may need to consume melatonin upon waking upon rather than before bedtime.
For melatonin to give the best results, make sure to get enough light exposure during the opposite time of melatonin consumption.
Is It Bad to Take Melatonin Every Night?
Taking melatonin every night is slowly seeping into the lives of thousands of Americans because it’s a relatively-safe hormone with no known side effects and no mentions of overdoses. Melatonin is also not habit-forming, so you won’t get addicted if you take it every night.
In other words, if you’re someone who’s constantly struggling to fall asleep, melatonin can be really helpful, and you can consume it every night without fear of adverse consequences.
Keep in mind that our advice is intended for healthy adults. As for special populations, such as children and pregnant women, it’s best to consult a specialist before resorting to any hormonal supplements to avoid any interactions with other hormones.
Also, always remember, if your body makes it, don’t take it. You shouldn’t take melatonin unless you’re really having trouble falling asleep at night. Otherwise, you may end up in a negative feedback loop, which is when your body stops producing a certain hormone because it has enough of it. If you don’t need melatonin, and you consume it anyway, your brain may stop making it on its own as you’re already getting what you need from outside sources. Imagine what would happen the moment you stop doing that.
Getting enough sleep is essential for a healthy and energetic life and struggling to fall asleep may form a barrier between you and a healthy relationship with dreamland. Melatonin can be really helpful to aid the drifting into sleep, especially that it’s safe to consume for the majority of the population.
If your insomnia persists, pay your doctor a visit, as it may signal something more serious, and looking into other treatment options may become a necessity.
Are you a regular consumer of melatonin? What’s your experience with this supplement? Share your experience and help others get the sleep they deserve.