In this blog, you will learn about melatonin and it’s uses, side effects, the right dosage, and how it works.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone in your body that plays a role in sleep. The production and release of melatonin is connected to time of day, increasing when it's dark and decreasing when it's light. Its production peaks in the middle of the night and falls shortly before dawn. Melatonin is made by your body in the pineal gland just above the center of the brain therefore it is also known as Pineal Hormone. Melatonin production declines with age. Low night-time melatonin is generally associated with sleep difficulties.
What are melatonin supplements?
The brain normally makes only a very small amount of melatonin—around 0.2 milligrams. For some people, that might not be enough to help them get the rest they need. So, melatonin supplements, which usually contain higher doses than the amount your body naturally releases, can be useful to treat sleep disorders and insomnia. Melatonin is typically consumed as an oral tablet. Most melatonin supplements are synthetic and are made in a lab.
What are common melatonin uses?
People commonly use melatonin for sleep disorders, such as sleep onset insomnia and insomnia related to altered sleep schedule e.g., jet lag, shift work. Research suggests that supplemental melatonin may help certain sleep conditions, including:
- Helps to speed up or reduce the time it takes to fall asleep in people who fall asleep slowly
- Helps increase the total sleep time in people suffering from sleep restriction or altered sleep schedule e.g., shift work disorder
- Helps to prevent or reduce the effects of jet lag (e.g., daytime fatigue, sleep disturbance) for people travelling by plane easterly across two or more time zones
- Helps to re-set the body's sleep-wake cycle
How much melatonin should I take?
A safe dose of melatonin is the lowest dose that’s effective in helping you fall asleep without causing side effects. While several factors, such as age, body weight, and sensitivity to melatonin may affect the recommended dosage, it is recommended to start with lower doses (~ 3mg) of melatonin per day to prevent unwanted side effects, which typically include increased headache, confusion or nausea.
The dose also depends on the type and severity of the sleep problem. When using melatonin for the first time, begin at a low dose and adjust dose depending on response. Generally, the optimum time to take melatonin is one to two hours before bedtime. There's some evidence of tolerance with melatonin use, so it's not recommended to increase the dose over time after reaching the lowest effective dose. The maximum recommended dose of melatonin is 10 milligrams per day.
Is melatonin considered safe for everyone?
Melatonin isn’t suitable for everyone. You shouldn’t take melatonin at all if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, seizure disorder, chronic liver/kidney disease, depression or migraine talk to your doctor before taking it. And if you are on any medications for seizure, blood pressure, to suppress the immune system, steroids or blood thinners check with your physician to make sure melatonin won't make them less effective or cause more side effects.
What are the foods that contain Melatonin naturally?
Most food databases do not list the amount of melatonin in foods, however according to available research, milk and fruits like cherries and kiwi are good sources of melatonin. For more details, please read our blog on 7 foods that affect your sleep.
- Sleep disorders are common. While some people only experience occasional sleeplessness, others deal with chronic sleep problems.
- For many people, melatonin is an effective alternative to prescription medications for sleep either alone or in combination with other herbs.
- It is recommended to start with lower doses (~ 3mg) of melatonin per day to prevent unwanted side effects
- Please talk to your doctor before taking melatonin if you have some medical conditions or taking any medication.
- Research suggests that there are some foods like milk and fruits like cherries and kiwi that contain melatonin naturally.
At Refine Naturals, we realize that not all natural health supplements are created equal. We concentrate our expertise in choosing quality and evidence backed medicinal as well as non-medicinal ingredients. We have developed Refine Naturals Sleep + with quality melatonin.
At Refine Naturals: We believe “You Deserve Better than FINE!”
- Health Canada. Melatonin. (2021). Retrieved 16 January 2021, from http://webprod.hc-sc.gc.ca/nhpid-bdipsn/atReq.do?atid=melatonin.oral&lang=eng
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- Zisapel N. (2018). New perspectives on the role of melatonin in human sleep, circadian rhythms and their regulation. British journal of pharmacology, 175(16), 3190–3199. https://doi.org/10.1111/bph.14116