Melatonin: Nature's Sleep Aide
Are you someone who struggles to get adequate sleep?
If so, you're not alone. In fact, over 50 million Americans suffer from some type of sleep disorder and 1 in 3 adults in the US don't get enough sleep.
While missing out on a few Z's may not seem like that big of a deal, sleep has a major impact on your overall health. A lack of sleep can lead to increased stress, weight gain, depression, decreased sex drive, premature skin aging, high blood pressure, and more.
Luckily, there's something out there that can help you fall asleep easier: melatonin.
Check out this guide to learn how melatonin can help you sleep easy.
What is Melatonin?
First things first, what exactly is melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that's found naturally in the body, and it regulates your sleep-wake cycle. It's produced by the pineal gland in the brain, but it's also found in other parts of the body such as the eyes, gut, and bone marrow.
Your body's internal clock, (aka, circadian rhythm) affects how much melatonin is made by your pineal gland, as does the amount of light you're exposed to each day. Typically, levels of melatonin tend to rise in the mid to late evening, or after the sun has set. These levels stay elevated for most of the night when you're in the dark, then they begin to drop as the sun rises, causing you to wake up.
In addition to being found naturally in the body, melatonin is also synthetically made in laboratories. People take melatonin in order to adjust their sleep-wake cycles. However, it's important to note that melatonin won't knock you out. It simply lets your body know that nighttime is here so you can calm down and fall asleep faster.
Melatonin is also influenced by the environment. During winter's shorter, darker days, your body may start to produce melatonin earlier on in the day. As a result, you may start to experience fatigue, mood changes, a drop in energy, or other symptoms that indicate your melatonin levels are off.
However, natural light isn't the only factor that affects your levels of melatonin. Certain foods, such as tomatoes, olives, walnuts, barley, rice, cow's milk, and strawberries all contain melatonin. When you absorb melatonin from these foods, you may begin to feel sleepy.
Does Melatonin Really Work?
In theory, it makes sense to take melatonin to help fall asleep. But, does it really work? Let's look at some studies on the effectiveness of melatonin:
Melatonin and Adults With Sleep Disorders
In 2017, a review published in Sleep Medicine Reviews looked at the combined evidence of 12 randomized trials that looked at how well melatonin helps adults who suffer from sleep disorders.
The reviewers found very convincing evidence that melatonin can help people fall asleep faster. They even found that there's strong evidence to support that melatonin can help blind people regulate their sleep patterns.
Melatonin and Jet Lag
An older systematic review from 2002 that was published by the Cochrane Collaboration found that melatonin is effective in reducing symptoms of jet lag. This was especially the case for travelers who were crossing more than five time zones and heading east.
Melatonin and Children
According to a review by the Journal of Pediatric Psychology, melatonin can also help children who are suffering from insomnia fall asleep more quickly. Published in 2014, this review looked at the combined evidence of 16 randomized trials.
In addition to helping children with insomnia fall asleep, this review also found that melatonin can help children wake up fewer times each night, get more sleep each night, and fall back asleep faster.
How Much Melatonin Should You Take?
So, now that we know that melatonin can be helpful, the question is, how much melatonin should you take?
This is where things start to get a little tricky. Melatonin is not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, which means that brand labels can sometimes be misleading.
A recent study published in the Journal of Sleep Medicine looked at the content of 31 melatonin supplements from different brands. What they found was that the actual content of melatonin ranged widely from what was advertised on the label. One brand even contained 478 percent more melatonin than advertised! Researchers also found that less than 30 percent of the labels they looked at contained the actual labeled dose.
This means that as a consumer, it can be difficult to know what you're getting. This is why it's very important that you only buy melatonin from trusted brands.
What to Know Before Taking Melatonin
Before taking melatonin, there are some things you should know. Here are some things to keep in mind when taking it:
- Melatonin should be avoided when pregnant or breastfeeding, as there's not enough known yet about how it interacts in these situations
- Start Small: Many stores sell brands that pack way more melatonin than the human body can process. We recommend starting with a dose between 0.2 and 0.5 mg
- Get it From a Safe Source: As you now know, melatonin is not yet regulated by the FDA. However, there are supplement-verifying organizations such as NSF International, Consumerlab.com, UL and USP that can provide some assurance that the label matches the actual dosage
- Interaction: It's important to make sure that melatonin won't interact dangerously with any other drugs you're taking
- Driving: Some people report drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea the morning after taking melatonin, so be aware of this if you plan to drive the next morning
- Long-term Use: There's a lack of studies that look at the effects of melatonin when used long-term, so it's best to use it for 3 months or less
If you have trouble sleeping for three months or longer, we recommend talking to your doctor.
Are You Ready to Sleep Easy With Melatonin?
As you can see, melatonin can certainly help you sleep easy.
If you're interested in purchasing melatonin, be sure to check out our Melatonin Inhaler today. Before you know it, you'll be knocked the f*** out, sleeping peacefully.