Having trouble falling asleep? Our bet is someone has suggested melatonin. But is it safe to take?
Melatonin is a hormone made by your pineal gland that helps to control your sleep and wake cycles. It rises two hours before sleep to help prepare you for bedtime. Today, many people will take it in supplement form when they’re having sleep issues - whether it is from stress, jet lag, or chronic insomnia.
And it’s no wonder it’s gained in popularity. Sleep is an essential part of our day: it helps us to be better focused, helps us to grow and repair, gives us energy, etc. When we have difficulty sleeping, not only can it lead to a less productive day, but it can cause several issues, from neuro cognitive disorders to weight gain.
When you supplement with melatonin, it is at its highest levels in the body about 30 minutes after taking it, so can take at least that long to kick in. Take it before you anticipate a restless night, rather than waiting until 2 a.m. to consume it.
Wondering if you can take this all the time?
If you are chronically fatigued from a restless night, you might be hoping this may be your new best friend. It is said that melatonin is non-addictive, and, in comparison to its prescribed sleep medication counterparts, has few side effects.
Yet, it is recommended that you take melatonin occasionally rather than rely on it for your nightly sleep aid. At most, it is safe to take nightly for one to two months.
Here are a few times that it’s best to take melatonin:
- Jet lag
- During times of trauma or extreme stress
- Shift work
- A few sleepless nights
Know that there may be some side effects that occur with the use of melatonin, like:
A “heavy-head” feeling
But before you start reaching for a supplemental sleep aid, make sure you are setting up a good night time routine, including:
- Turning off all screens at least 1 hour before bed
- Purchase blue light blockers if turning of your screens is impossible
- Try a meditation practice
- Ensure your room is completely dark: purchase blackout curtains, remove any light sources like phone or alarm clocks
- Keep your phone out of the bedroom
- Workout in the morning
If all else fails, take to your health care professional. The first step of getting a good sleep routine, without the use of melatonin or other sleep aids, is to actually sleep. This may mean you need to use prescription medication, melatonin, or other herbal supplements.
What are your go-to sleep hacks? Leave your comment below!
*Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor it is a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.