Can’t sleep? We understand how frustrating that must be.
Lack of sleep can contribute to health issues, loss of energy and attentiveness, and create mood problems.
Luckily, there is an easy way to try and convince your body to sleep, without forcing it to shut down unnaturally. The answer is… melatonin, which are often found in yummy, easy to take sleep gummies!
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your brain that helps your circadian rhythm (internal clock) run smoothly. This means that melatonin helps keep your body awake at the proper times and can help tell your body it's time to sleep.
Melatonin helps encourage sleep -- natural melatonin levels rise at night, leading to relaxation, lowered nerve activity, and lower dopamine, which are all things that begin to tell your body it’s time to sleep.
What Are Common Causes of Poor Sleep?
There are many issues that can contribute to a sleepless night. Here are a few of the most relevant:
- Too much caffeine intake
- Poor sleep health
Melatonin is not a cure for the factors that cause your sleeping issues. Instead, it can help ease your body back into a natural cycle that follows your internal clock, staying awake during the day and sleeping at night.
Since melatonin is not a cure for sleeping issues, seeing a doctor for issues such as sleep apnea and pain, and making life changes such as easing stress and drinking less caffeine, needs to go hand in hand with using the melatonin.
Should You Take Melatonin For Sleep?
Taking supplements with melatonin is a great way that you can introduce more melatonin in your system. It is meant to help trigger the body’s internal clock and convince your body to help you sleep. However, adding melatonin into your system needs to be approached with wisdom, as there are some things you should keep in mind.
Who Can Benefit From Melatonin Most?
Although melatonin can be used by many people, it tends to be used for these main two issues:
People who have issues with sleep as a result of jet lag have problems with their circadian clock, as traveling across different time zones has confused it. Your body is unsure whether or not it is time to stay awake or to sleep, and falling asleep at the time you want will likely be difficult. Taking melatonin can help try to reset your internal clock to what you need it to be. In most cases, taking the pill on the flight, two hours before you want to sleep is best.
Occasional Trouble Sleeping
This disorder makes it hard for people to fall asleep and stay asleep. Some people just have insomnia by itself, and others have it as a result of a health issue. Either way, the issue is convincing your body to sleep when and for how long you desire. Melatonin can try and convince your body that it is, in fact, time to sleep. Some studies have shown that melatonin can help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, and for some, can extend how long they’re able to sleep before waking up.
Who Should Use Extra Caution When Taking Melatonin?
Like many dietary supplements, melatonin isn’t for everyone. There are some people who should try it, but there are others who definitely should not.
Pregnant or breastfeeding women.
During pregnancy you shouldn’t mess with your natural melatonin levels. This is because pregnancy makes your melatonin levels vary greatly, and they need to do that for a healthy pregnancy. Therefore, adding melatonin can disrupt these levels and could be passed along to the fetus, potentially causing issues with their development. Using it while breastfeeding can cause similar issues, but needs more research, so it should still be avoided until new results for safety are available.
People who take drowsiness-inducing medications for other conditions.
If you have any type of pre-existing condition, the golden rule is -- ask your doctor before trying anything new. Melatonin can cause unwanted reactions when mixed with certain types of other supplements or medications. This can mean worsening side effects, the pills not working the way they’re supposed to be, and more. This is most common with medications concerning autoimmune diseases, seizure disorders, and depression. The easy answer? Ask your doctor before taking melatonin in addition to your normal medications.
Giving melatonin to children.
This is possible, but not usually recommended, as there aren’t enough studies done to show how melatonin affects growth in children. However, some doctors do prescribe it as a more natural alternative to harsh medications for early onset sleeping disorders in children.
Using melatonin as a senior citizen.
Melatonin can be very helpful for seniors, however some seniors report daytime drowsiness even when taking it at night. Thus, you must be cautious and monitor yourself while using it, and refrain from attention-necessary activities like driving a car.
What Else Can You Do to Aid Sleep?
Other than using melatonin, or in addition to using melatonin, there are a few other things you can try to help you sleep:
- Keep lights low at night and reduce blue light (light from screens such as laptops, phones, and televisions) at least two hours before you want to fall asleep.
- Get out during the day and try to get some sun, it can help keep your internal clock on track.
- Get good exercise during the day and stretch before bed.
- Don’t eat too late at night.
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine consumption.
How Do You Use Melatonin?
In most cases you should consult your healthcare provider before starting melatonin and get their feedback for how you should take it.
In general, you can take 1-3 mg of melatonin two hours before you want to sleep. Our melatonin supplements at Hope Health have a recommended dosage of 2 gummies before bedtime.
If you don’t notice a helpful change within two weeks, stop using it. If you do find help from it, use it for around two months, then go off of it to see if your body can replicate your new sleep pattern naturally.
Additionally, though melatonin is a dietary supplement and not a prescribed medication, it still has occasional side effects that include: headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea.
Melatonin can be a great option for a sleep supplement, helping aid your circadian rhythm and convince your body to fall asleep.
However, if you want to use melatonin, be sure to check the ingredients used, and if you have pre-existing health conditions, to ask your doctor if melatonin is a good fit for you.