• Shruti GOCHHWAL

Five Things to Know Before Taking Melatonin Supplements

Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the body that is secreted by your brain. This hormone regulates the natural sleep-wake cycle of the body. Lower than usual levels of this hormone in the body can cause sleep problems whereby a person finds it difficult to sleep soundly at night. Melatonin supplements are commonly used by people facing insomnia and other sleep disorders. Apart from humans, melatonin supplements are also used to treat behavior disorders and sleep difficulties in animals.

Melatonin

For example, melatonin for dogs is a common choice for pet owners who find their pets suffering from sleep issues and hair loss.

Although there are no clear studies regarding melatonin’s effectiveness in curing sleep issues, people troubled by sleeplessness don’t hesitate to pop this supplement before bed. They don’t realize that the FDA does not approve of it as a sleeping pill. In such a situation, it becomes essential to keep in mind certain pointers before relying on melatonin every day.

Things to Know Before Taking Melatonin

Here are five critical things you should know before relying on melatonin:

  1. What melatonin can do

  2. Side-effects of melatonin

  3. Can you overdose on melatonin

  4. The correct way to take melatonin

  5. How long does melatonin last

1. What Melatonin Can Do

Melatonin Supplements

Caption: A symbol for sleep, Credit: Pixabay


Melatonin supplements can prove useful to treat conditions like jet lag, sleep disorders in adults and children, insomnia, and anxiety issues. It can also be effective for those suffering from fibromyalgia and children with ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder). It is best used on a short-term basis to regulate your normal sleep-wake cycle.

2. Side-Effects of Melatonin

Side-effects of this health supplement are rare. Some mild side-effects include:

  1. Nausea

  2. Dizziness

  3. Headache

  4. Laziness

However, people with existing health conditions such as those suffering from diabetes, liver, or kidney diseases are at risk of developing more severe side-effects.

3. Can You Overdose on Melatonin

Woman feeling discomfort

Caption: Woman feeling discomfort, Credit: Pixabay


Too much melatonin can make it harder for you to fall asleep by making you excessively sleepy and disrupting your sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin overdose manifests itself in the following ways:

  1. Nausea

  2. Anxiety

  3. Diarrhea

  4. Headaches

Also, note that melatonin and alcohol can be a dangerous combination. Apart from the side-effects mentioned above, it can also make you pass out, cause increased heart palpitations, and swelling in your feet and hands.

4. The Correct Way to Take Melatonin

dosage

Caption: man reading from a paper, Credit: Pixabay


  1. To treat sleep disorders, not more than a 5 mg dosage of melatonin should be taken 3-4 hours before hitting the bed.

  2. Short-acting melatonin should be taken near bedtime to prevent jetlag.

  3. Pregnant and breast-feeding women should take this supplement only after consulting their healthcare professional.

  4. Melatonin of a good, known, and reputable brand should be purchased.

  5. People who are already taking other medications should use melatonin after consulting their doctor.

  6. Always use melatonin for a short-term period.

5. How Long Does Melatonin Last

Melatonin’s effect on the body lasts for up to 5 hours. You can expect to feel drowsiness approximately 30 minutes after you have taken the supplement. Factors like age, caffeine consumption, body composition, and your overall health also determine the effects of melatonin will prevail.

Thus we see that melatonin can be used as a mild sedative for people with sleep disorders or those experiencing jetlag or other health conditions like fibromyalgia. It is best to be used for only a short time. Don’t make it a part of your lifestyle. Instead, make lifestyle changes like exercising often and consuming a healthy diet along with maintaining a proper bedtime schedule to fall asleep quickly.

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