Melatonin supplements are now often the first place people look when they can’t sleep and need a bit of help. That said, as popular as they are, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will help you if you’re struggling to get rest at night.
Before you take melatonin supplements, it’s a very good idea to speak with your doctor to make sure these types of supplements will be safe and appropriate for you, and to make sure there isn’t an underlying issue responsible for your sleeplessness.
Your doctor will likely help you to understand exactly what melatonin supplements actually are. Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced by the body. It is secreted by the body to help you to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. Then, the body stops producing it when it’s time to wake up again. It is, therefore, associated with the body’s natural circadian rhythms – the cycle of waking and sleeping.
Some research shows that many people who suffer from insomnia have low melatonin production levels. This has caused many people to believe that by taking melatonin supplements, it will restore the levels once again and return their natural waking and sleeping clock.
Melatonin supplements are typically the most successful when used by people who need assistance resetting their circadian rhythms. These are people who do shift work, have different bedtimes every night, or are suffering from jet lag from travel. With those types of lifestyle, it becomes very difficult to keep up a healthy sleeping routine. Replacing melatonin at the right hours can help those individuals to get to sleep during the hours that work with their lives.
However, many people find that they can’t fall asleep for other reasons. They take melatonin supplements in the hopes of enjoying the same benefits as people with jet lag. For some of them, it works. They were struggling to sleep because their natural melatonin levels were too low. However, for many others, the melatonin doesn’t do what they want it to.
If circadian rhythms aren’t the problem and if natural melatonin production isn’t off – or isn’t off by much – taking melatonin supplements often won’t help.
It’s also important to know that, regardless of the claims made by some supplement companies, melatonin use comes with some potential side effects. They include drowsiness in the morning, nausea, vivid dreams, dizziness, headaches, and minor blood pressure changes.
* This article is for informational purposes only and not to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your medications, supplements, diet, or exercise routine.