• Health

    Melatonin is Promoted for Many Health Benefits but What, if Any, Are the Side Effects?

    Melatonin is a hormone that is widely touted as a sleep aid, with major impact on Circadian rhythm.

    The part of the human brain that affects the sleep/wake cycle, called the Circadian rhythm, does seem to be affected by melatonin and there are individuals that do swear by this natural hormone.  Most individuals do secrete the hormone on their own, and quite enough of it to produce restful sleep.  Others, especially those with chronic insomnia may need melatonin supplements.  The production of melatonin increases as darkness increases therefore the levels are generally higher at night for most individuals.  Others that work night shifts or shifts of different times may not produce enough melatonin to sleep during the day and may benefit from a supplement.  Other individuals might simply not produce enough but deficiencies are rare.  Melatonin can come in many forms, pills, capsules, powders, and even chewable gummies. It comes in both synthetic and natural forms and the cost is generally cheaper in the synthetic forms of melatonin. 

    It is available at most retail stores, grocery stores and pharmacies and can be ordered online.

    It has become increasingly popular in gummy form and as an additive to over the counter pain medications, alleviating pain while producing a longer and quicker sleep period in these pain/sleep combinations.  Many of these are in liquid form.  It is said to be safe for children, adults, and even pregnant women, however, any kind of supplement should be discussed with a physician first if comorbidities exist or children are given the supplement.  Dosages can vary and there are allergic reactions to melatonin reported by some individuals.  Dosage should be started at the lowest dose possible and any pharmacist can suggest which dose to purchase initially.  More than one gummy can be chewed at once and most pharmacists and consumers do prefer the use of the gummies for both dose control and convenience.  Some individuals use it only intermittently, such as when traveling as it can help with jet lag.  Big Box stores such as CVS, Walmart, RiteAid, and other places usually carry this hormone supplement.  Listings online exist for it. 

    Stephen J., of New York City, who had trouble sleeping because of an ongoing divorce, stated:

    The benefits for me were tremendous. After months of tossing and turning, I chewed just one melatonin gummy before bedtime, fell asleep immediately, and slept a full nine hours straight. I swear by it now and chew one gummy each night right before going to sleep. I will keep using this product as long as I can purchase it and it is available! I limit the usage though to my stress-filled days.

    It is still not recommended for everyone.  The medical warnings against using melatonin include:

    Diabetes, depression, bleeding disorders such as hemophilia, taking blood thinners, blood pressure issues, seizure disorders, autoimmune conditions, the use of alcohol or other sedatives or tranquilizers, or those who are using medications to help maintain an organ transplant.  Commercials abound everywhere touting melatonin, but of course, it cannot be taken that lightly.  While it is generally used to induce sleep in some individuals it does quite the opposite, with excitability and overactivity being presented.  Those suffering from depression also can see serious side effects, especially if the depression is not apparent and not diagnosed.  Because it is not classified as a drug, it can be combined with other vitamins or nutrients and sold over the counter.  There is quite a diversity in types of combinations, but Vitamin C and melatonin are popular.  Consumers can pick their choice of combinations.  Sales of melatonin are quite large because of its seeming ability to conquer insomnia.

    There is a variety of flavors available too that will appeal to toddlers and children.

    Studies do not contain a lot of information about the use in babies and melatonin for children is not recommended before a doctor is consulted.  While side effects are rare, caution, especially in children, is proposed by the medical establishment.  There are many pharmaceutical companies out there now pushing melatonin for children in the shape of bears and other types of creatures to sell this product.  However, most children do not need assistance in sleeping or the adjustment of Circadian rhythms.  The adversity most physicians have towards giving children melatonin is that it goes beyond changing the sleep/wake cycle.  It can have effects on some patterns of growth in children as well as sexual maturity.  It stays in the body sometimes longer than expected and can also leave a child groggy when awake.  Although many parents will use this hormone based on effectiveness touted online and on television commercials by companies, the Mayo Clinic does not recommend it for children or teenagers.  Add to the fact that additives are used in the production as binders and fillers, the Mayo Clinic study really suggests withholding the use of melatonin in any form for any age child. 

    Some adults find side effects bothersome too, and those with depression or anxiety should not use it.

    While it is recommended many times for seniors, since age decreases melatonin production, aging itself can lead to depression or anxiety.  While most individuals with depression are helped with melatonin, it can increase depression in others.  Those with anxiety should definitely think twice about using it, as it has been shown to increase anxiety.   It is not addictive in the true sense of the word, as there are no physical withdrawal symptoms.  However, when taken all the time, it can induce psychological dependence when an individual starts believing they will not sleep without it.  While not physically addictive as some prescription sedatives, there is a psychological dependence that can be developed.  Medical professionals still advise that melatonin should not be used every night, but only for intermittent periods, like stressful days, jet lag, and shift differentials during one’s employment. 

    Klara R., who is a police officer in Philadelphia, PA, suffered from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and had trouble sleeping. She took melatonin one time and states, “I not only did not sleep it took me longer to fall asleep. I experienced lethargy but no sleep and my mind raced. I was anxious the whole next day and during the night I experienced severe nightmares that seemed so real each time I briefly slept. I would never use melatonin again and recommend that others think long and hard before using it if they have a pre-existing condition or any type of mental or emotional problem. It did not help me but made my PTSD and sleep disorder worse!

    New uses for melatonin are being discovered because of its antioxidant properties.  

    Antioxidants prevent damage from free radicals.  Free radicals cause many serious health issues. Cancer, heart disease, and other autoimmune disorders can be caused or exacerbated by too many free radicals that are invading the body.  Free radicals are released by oxygen and while oxygenation of course is a good thing, it is a double-edged sword as it does release the free radicals.  Free radicals are a contributor to the aging process and disease progression and can be a factor in as many as over fifty diseases.  Control of free radicals has been linked to the use of melatonin but much research in this area is still needed and there are no conclusive studies yet.  Taking melatonin in the hopes of reducing free radicals is on the upsurge in consumer usage, however, based on the studies, doctors really do not recommend it unless there is an ongoing battle with a disease such as cancer which cannot be controlled.  Then the benefits outweigh the risks, and it can be recommended.

    It is up to individuals to assess how much benefit and risk from melatonin usage is tolerable.

    Melatonin will always remain popular regardless, and it has been in use for over a decade.  The most popular form seems to be the gummies as they are quick and easy to take, and not overly costly.  They do have an expiration date however and can become hard and dry, and lose effectiveness if not used within a certain amount of time.  As with all supplements and medications following usage instructions, avoiding overuse, and ensuring a fresh supply exists will lead to a better experience with melatonin.  The gummies for the most part can have a shorter shelf life, just like other gummy supplements, so this must be taken into consideration when choosing what brand and how much to purchase.  Usages vary but stale supplements of any type should be avoided. 

    When in doubt about any supplements, as mentioned before, consult a physician for advice.

    There is a rather disturbing trend in the world today that exists where many individuals believe herbal and natural supplements will always be safe for anyone and the more that is taken, the better the results.  This is not so, and caution should always rule! While useful in moderation for many individuals, melatonin is not a cure all for sleep or other problems, and any time an individual ingests anything, they need to be aware of all possible side effects and potential hazards.  Choose well and choose wisely whenever anything is introduced into your body. 

  • Articles

    Get Better Sleep with Melatonin

    Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally in the body by the pineal gland found in the brain. There is also the synthetic melatonin made in laboratories, to be taken as pills, liquid, and in chewable forms. It is most commonly used to improve sleep in different conditions or to adjust properly when there’s a change in a person’s sleep-wake cycle.

    Under normal conditions, the body stimulates the production of more melatonin when it gets dark at night, which prompts the person to prepare for sleep. With light and sunset, there is a decrease in the production of melatonin, and this signals the body to be awake.

    When people have trouble sleeping, it’s sometimes due to low levels of melatonin. Such people are advised by practitioners to take synthetic melatonin as supplements to help them sleep, 1mg melatonin goes a long way to help people sort their sleeping issues.

    If you happen to have any of these issues, melatonin could be effective in helping you manage or solve them.

    • When you have delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD). People who have trouble falling asleep can take melatonin to help them sleep. This treatment works for young adults and children alike. However, you should note that it does not permanently correct the disorder, as the problem seems to return within a year of the stoppage of treatment.
    • When you have insomnia. Melatonin does not only shorten the time it takes for one to fall asleep, but it also improves the quality of sleep in people with insomnia, by increasing the time they spend sleeping. According to research, melatonin helps people with sleeping troubles associated with conditions like epilepsy, depression, schizophrenia, autism, and developmental disabilities.
    • When you’re jet-lagged. Melatonin helps with certain symptoms of jet lag, like movement coordination. Though slightly, it has also been found to improve other symptoms such as daytime tiredness and sleepiness. But melatonin is not known to shorten the time it takes for someone who is jet-lagged to fall asleep.
    • When you have anxiety. Taking melatonin reduces anxiety. It achieves this by improving sleep quality, easing negative feelings associated with being anxious, and regulating circadian rhythm. When used under the tongue, it is considered as one of the most effective ways to reduce anxiety before surgery.

    Possible side effects of taking melatonin:

    Most of the harmful effects associated with taking melatonin occur when it is taken regularly for a very long time. When taken by adults for a short term, melatonin is likely safe. Some people have been able to use melatonin safely for up to 2 years.

    It can lead to some side effects, like daytime sleepiness, short-term depression, headache, stomach cramps, and dizziness. You should not drive or use heavy machinery for up to four hours after a dose of melatonin.

    For women who are trying to get pregnant, melatonin may be deemed unsafe. This is because it could have similar effects as birth controls, thereby making it difficult for such women to conceive.

    1mg melatonin per day is safe for children. However, there are suspicions that melatonin interferes with adolescence and its development. While this is yet to be confirmed, it is safe for melatonin to be taken only by children with a medical need.

    Melatonin can be taken in different ways. The method of administration depends on the symptoms being treated, as well as the individual. These methods include:

    • Oral: This is the easiest and most common method of taking melatonin. The capsules and tablets are taken orally to get quick results.
    • Sublingual: This is when melatonin is placed under the tongue. It is left to dissolve and get absorbed by the body. This method is popular with patients hoping to reduce anxiety before surgery.
    • Topical: Melatonin can serve as topical skincare, to be applied to a localized part of the body. A typical example is when a melatonin-containing gel is used to treat sunburn.
    • Intravenous: In some cases, such as when various therapies are used to treat tumors, melatonin can be administered intravenously. However, this method is often not used, especially in homes.

    About two hours after administering 1mg melatonin, the effects begin to kick in. Therefore, you should take melatonin supplements two hours before bedtime. And when melatonin is being used to avoid getting jet-lagged, then it is advised that you start taking the supplements a few days before making the trip.

    Melatonin supplements can be gotten in drugstores and pharmacies. There is a need to watch your dosage and follow your healthcare provider’s instructions, as an overdose may cause damage to your health.


    When the body does not produce adequate levels of melatonin, it poses a problem. The individual finds it difficult to sleep. Taking melatonin supplements can help such people sleep better. Some foods contain melatonin, like tomatoes, olives, walnuts, barley, cherries, banana, among others.

  • Articles

    Safety Concerns On Melatonin Gummies

    Melatonin is a hormone in the body whose function is to regulate the sleep-wake cycle in the body. It tells your body when to sleep and when not to. This hormone is naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Researchers have also noted that certain amount of food products contain melatonin in varying amounts. Examples of these foods include: Tomatoes, Walnuts, Olive oil, Cow’s milk, etc.

    When you find it difficult to sleep or you always notice that you are beginning to sleep more than usual, it’s either there is a malfunction in melatonin receptors or the pineal gland responsible for its secretion is defaulted or malfunctioning. Melatonin gummies is a perfect remedy to those problems, but just like every other hormonal boosters, it must be taken or consumed according to your medical health care provider’s prescription just in case there’s any underlining medical condition that needs attention before you consume melatonin gummies.

    Melatonin gummies are melatonin supplements that mimic the natural melatonin produced by the brain to elicit the same function, as well as correct sleep disorder and also improve sleep quality. Just like every other chemical fluid (hormone) in the body, melatonin must be in its right amount in the body to elicit its specific function in order to avoid hormonal imbalance, which can be as a result of over secretion or under secretion of this bodily chemical fluid, and can be life threatening.

    Melatonin gummies does a wonderful job in giving you the sweet sleep your body craves for when taken at the right time, with the right dose. It can indeed solve your problem of sleep or certain circadian rhythm disorder. While most people take it just before they go to bed, it is important you are made aware of melatonin side effects, as it has to work with the pineal gland in the brain in charge of controlling the production of melatonin.

    Melatonin gummies is commonly used in treatment of various medical disorders such as:

    • General insomnia
    • Adjusts sleep cycle in the blind (Non-24 hours sleep-wake disorder)
    • Jet lag
    • Treats shift-work sleep disorder in people with alternating work schedules.

    Other conditions which are still under investigation that melatonin gummies can be used for include:

    • Boosting of immune system
    • Treatment of systematic sclerosis
    • Sleep aid for children with autism spectrum disorder

    Not getting enough sleep affects the brain as the body couldn’t get enough time to reset itself, one cannot imagine the pain that comes with that too, but before you think of consuming melatonin gummies as a perfect solution to your problem, it is advised you talk with your health care provider as some certain medical condition will not allow the use it.

    Medical conditions to watch out for before taking melatonin gummies includes:

    • Bleeding or blood clotting disorder such as hemophilia
    • Taking a blood thinner medication
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • High or low blood pressure
    • Epilepsy or other seizure disorder
    • Autoimmune condition.

    In conclusion, do not use the melatonin supplements or at large any other product without any medical advice.

    What are the possible side effects one should lookout for when taking melatonin gummies?

    • Headache
    • Stomach discomfort
    • Morning grogginess

    For children we can notice

    • Bedwetting
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Diarrhea
    • Possible increased risk for seizure in children suffering from neurological disorder.

    When confirmed by your health care provider that you are free to consume melatonin gummies in its right doses, they are things you should avoid while taking melatonin gummies.

    • Avoid any form of alcohol while taking this supplement
    • Avoid taking any product that contains caffeine such as energy drinks, cola, coffee etc, as this may counteract the effect of the supplement
    • Avoid driving or operating machinery, if you happen to be working in a factory where you operate machines, it’s advised you avoid this function for at least four hours after taking the medication
    • Avoid using it with any other medication except instructed otherwise by your health care provider, as some important drug interactions can occur with melatonin. Examples includes: blood thinner medications, medication for diabetes, as blood sugar may increase.


    Not getting enough sleep especially at its due time can be a bit challenging, as this can lead to high blood pressure, heart attack, depression, stroke and many other life threatening diseases. Resulting in taking melatonin gummies might be of help. However, it’s important you know about melatonin gummies side effects. That’s why it’s important you have the knowledge of its safety precautions involved before taking them.

  • Articles

    Melatonin Gummies: A Wonder Drug?

    Take a moment to remember those weekends when you stayed up late with friends because it was Friday, and you don’t have to work the next day. Remember sleeping at 4:30am to wake up at noon, then repeating the same routine on Saturday night. Now, remember how miserable you were when you had to wake up at 6am on Monday morning. There’s a way for you to eat your cake and still have it; sleep in on the weekends and not look like a total zombie on Monday morning. And the answer is in cute little Melatonin gummies. Let’s learn more!


    Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the body. Its job is to regulate day and night cycles (sleeping and waking up). Naturally, it is regulated by light; darkness causes the body to produce more melatonin about two hours before bedtime, and this brings about sleepiness. But when light hits the eyes, the body’s production of melatonin is halted, and so the body wakes up.

    There are people who naturally find it hard to get some shut-eye; reduced levels of melatonin in their body could be one of the reasons why. It could also be due to the nature of their job (for those who work on a shift basis), medication for health conditions, jet lag after a long flight and daylight savings, or they just slept in on the weekend and their body is taking some time to adjust to the Monday morning hustle and bustle. It was mainly for people in this category that Melatonin was made synthetically in form of gummies, for the extra melatonin they need to regulate the body’s internal clock and keep them active when they need to be.


    Uh, no…you actually can’t. When we sleep, our bodies repair their cells and regain their balance. The effect of not getting enough sleep goes beyond feeling groggy and irritable the following day, or dozing off at an important board meeting. The effects of getting less than the recommended hours of sleep on a regular basis over a long period of time include difficulty in learning and remembering, unstable moods, lack of creativity and innovation, low sex drive, weakened body immunity, increased risk of diabetes and high blood pressure. If the sleep deprivation continues for longer, the person would experience hallucinations, anxiety, impulsive behavior and even suicidal thoughts. In a bid for the body to automatically repair itself at this critical stage, the person experiences micro sleep during the day; they fall asleep for a few seconds without knowing it. Now imagine someone going into micro sleep while driving, or while operating machinery, or even while crossing the road. Not very happy images, right? This is why it is very important to get the recommended dosage of sleep.

    The following is the recommended daily amount of sleep:

    Newborns (0 – 3 months): 14 – 17 hours

    Infants (4 – 12 months): 12 – 15 hours

    Toddlers (1 – 2 years): 11 – 14 hours

    Preschoolers (3 – 5 years): 10 – 14 hours

    School children (6 – 13 years): 9 – 11 hours,

    Teenagers (14 – 17 years): 8 – 10 hours

    Adults (18 – 64 years): 7 – 9 hours

    Older adults (over 65 years): 7 – 8 hours

    There you have it; if you or your children are not getting the required amount of sleep, it will affect the quality of your life. Now you see why Melatonin is so important in the body.


    Melatonin supplements are useful for the following conditions:

    a. When you have trouble falling asleep at the normal time (Delayed sleep phase syndrome): If you’re a typical night owl, a low dosage of melatonin gummies can help reduce the amount of time it takes you to fall asleep, and also activate your internal melatonin.

    b. Blood pressure patients taking beta-blocker drugs: Drugs like atenolol and propranolol are good for lowering blood pressure; however, they also lower melatonin levels in the body, making it hard for the patient to fall asleep. Melatonin gummies can help the patients fall asleep faster.

    c. Jet lag: When travelling to a place with a different time zone, taking melatonin gummies about 90 minutes before bedtime in your destination helps your body adjust easily.

    d. Monday morning blues: Don’t you just hate them? But not to worry, taking melatonin gummies late Sunday afternoon helps you sleep at the appropriate time on Sunday night, helping you rise bright and early on Monday morning.

    It is important to note that Melatonin gummies are hormonal supplements, not a sleeping pill. It works by adjusting the rhythm of the body. Taking it carelessly, taking too much or taking it at the wrong time could mess with the body’s circadian rhythm. This is why melatonin gummies of 5mg are recommended for delivering exactly the required dosage. The time of taking them should also be noted: the body’s melatonin usually kicks in about two hours before bedtime to prepare the body for sleep, and so the melatonin supplements should be taken about one hour thirty minutes to two hours before sleeping time.


    Melatonin supplements work for some people and not for others; the only way to know is try them, preferably with a very low dosage, to know if it works for you. In a few people, oral melatonin could cause headache, dizziness, stomach cramps, feeling sleep in the day time, and irritability. If you exhibit any of these side-effects, you should stop and see a doctor to identify if there should be any adjustment to your dosage, or the time of taking the supplement. It is not advisable for pregnant women to take melatonin frequently and in high doses, as the hormone might have effects similar to birth control pills. It is also not advisable for nursing mothers.


    Now you know about the wonder that is Melatonin gummies, especially Melatonin gummies 5mg. So what do you think?

  • Articles

    Melatonin Supplements – All You Need To Know

    What exactly is melatonin?

    Melatonin is formed from serotonin in the midbrain – a part of brain structures connected to the upper end of the brainstem, specifically the epithelium, which includes the pineal gland, which is formed by cells called pinealocytes. In addition to pinealocytes, the pineal gland consists of glial cells and calcified material, the amount of which increases with age and thus decreases the actual production of melatonin. However, according to the latest studies, melatonin is also produced by all cells in our body.

    Melatonin is not only a sleep hormone. It is also a very strong antioxidant, reduces the level of cortical (stress hormone), increases the natural level of growth hormone, regulates the circadian rhythm and has many other benefits.

    How To Enhance The Production Of Melatonin In The Body

    1. Block the blue light component

    Many electronics, including cell phones and televisions, emit light with a blue component from their displays. The same goes for modern light bulbs and LEDs. This blue component of light sends false signals to the brain that it is still day and thus stops the release of melatonin. The solution is, for example, wearing glasses blocking the blue light, replacing the lighting with special bulbs with an adjustable spectrum, switching your devices (TV, mobile phones, tablets) to night shift mode, or red mode. The blue component of the light should be blocked for maximum effect, ideally as early as 3 hours before bedtime.

    2. Indulge in the sun in the morning

    Sunlight helps produce serotonin, a precursor to melatonin. Exposure to sunlight, especially in the morning, helps the body make serotonin, and in addition, the morning sun helps to synchronize our internal clocks. Evolution has adapted humans and their biochemical processes to follow solar activity. The sun has been adjusting our inner clocks since the beginning of our existence. And it is not for nothing that it is said “where the sun does not go, the doctor goes”.

    3. Eat food rich in melatonin

    One source of natural melatonin is cherry. A scientific study was performed in which a group of volunteers was given a cherry extract and two other control groups were given a placebo. The melatonin level was significantly increased in the extract group, while there was no change in the two control groups.

    Other studies were conducted with volunteers suffering from insomnia. Here, too, the study showed a positive effect of cherries on melatonin levels. Tomatoes, grapes, almonds, raspberries, walnuts are all foods increase the natural level of melatonin.

    4. Eat food rich in tryptophan

    Tryptophan is an essential amino acid and is one of the precursors of melatonin production. So treat yourself to pumpkin seeds, photo, chicken, almonds, peanuts, cottage cheese, or yogurt during the day.

    5. Avoid caffeine in the early evening

    If you are in the habit of drinking coffee or tea in the evening, switching to water can be a great help to your pineal gland. Many studies show that caffeine has a negative effect on melatonin production. Caffeine has a half-life of 8 hours. This means that if you take 100 mg of caffeine at 16:00, 50 mg will still work on your body at 2 in the morning. This does not mean that you will not fall asleep, but the action of caffeine will disrupt the architecture of your sleep.

    6. Sleep in the dark

    Instead of various lights to help you orient yourself in the bedroom, diodes and displays, try to turn your bedroom into a dark dungeon. The less light penetrates you during sleep, the higher the relaxation and deeper regeneration you will achieve. So remove the maximum amount of electronics from the bedroom and try, for example, to reduce the amount of light that enters the bedroom from the outside using curtains. Another option is to wear a sleeping mask.

    7. Do not stress before bed

    Although not always avoid stress, try to enjoy your evenings and not to be stressed. Stress and the associated high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) have a very negative effect on melatonin secretion.

    8. Melatonin supplements

    These supplements are made synthetically in the laboratory. They are mostly available in pill forms, but are also available in liquid or chewable forms like the extra strength melatonin gummies.

    People use these supplements when they have insomnia. They also take it for other sleep problems, like delayed sleep phase disorder. If you have this disorder, falling asleep before 2am is difficult and so is getting up in the morning too.

    People also try it if they have jobs that disrupt their typical sleep schedules, a condition known as sleep work disorder.

    It is used also to prevent jet legs. That’s the tired, run-down feeling some get when they travel across time zones.

    While melatonin supplements come with fewer side effects than other sleep medicines, one can still have:

    • Daytime sleepiness
    • Headache
    • Dizziness
    • Stomach discomfort
    • Anxiety
    • Crankiness
    • Short lived depression
    • A ‘heavy head’ feeling

    Melatonin supplements may have negative effects on you if you take them with certain medicines like:

    • Blood thinning medication (anticoagulants)
    • Drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressant)
    • Diabetes drugs
    • Birth control peels

    Inform a doctor if you’re thinking of taking these supplements, especially if you are on any medication or have health issues.

    It is best, however, to take the synthetic form of melatonin supplements, as the natural supplements may contain a virus.

  • Articles

    Your Best Guide To Melatonin And Sleep

    If you’ve been having trouble sleeping, you might have heard that something called “melatonin” might be able to help.

    Melatonin is known as the “sleep hormone” as it is believed that is basically tells your body that it is time to “sleep”. Melatonin plays a crucial role in your sleep-wake cycle and also has a few other important roles in regulating how your body functions.

    What is melatonin?

    Melatonin is a hormone. A hormone is a natural substance that is created by your body that controls a variety of bodily functions.

    Hormones are secreted by your body’s glands into the bloodstream. In the case of melatonin, it is secreted by your pineal gland and is produced in response to darkness.

    What does melatonin have to do with sleep?

    When natural darkness falls, your pineal gland starts producing melatonin. When the sun rise and you are exposed to natural light again, your penal gland stops producing melatonin. It basically regulates your circadian rhythms and promotes healthy sleep.

    Your circadian rhythm is what’s thought of as your internal clock. It controls the times you spend awake and the times when you are asleep and it is “naturally” synched up to the rising and setting of the sun and through the production of melatonin.

    What can be treated with Melatonin supplements?

    Because of the role melatonin plays in facilitating the transition from wakefulness to sleep, there is some interest in using it to treat sleep disorders.

    It is supposed to help with the following sleep disorders:

    • Jet lag

    This is what happens when you travel from one time zone to another. Basically, your circadian rhythms are messed up by the fact that your “normal” sleep and wake cycle is out of synch with the local day and night cycle.

    • Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD)

    This is a circadian rhythm disorder which occurs when one’s sleep schedule is shifted by several hours. This tends to manifest in “night owls” or night shift workers who stay awake several hours after the “natural” sleep phase but still have to wake up at “normal” morning hours. This results in sluggishness and lethargy during the day.  

    Some people think taking melatonin helps with chronic insomnia, but there isn’t much scientific proof of that. According to both the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians, there hasn’t been enough strong evidence supporting the effectiveness of melatonin supplements for insomnia.

    It could, however, be beneficial for shift workers. There have been some studies that have shown that melatonin supplements can prevent people in the night shift from feeling sleepy at work or have difficulty falling asleep when their shift ends.

    It is also believed to be beneficial for patients facing surgery as it can relieve their anxiety and make it easier for anesthetic to work.

    Melatonin supplements and sleep mask on the blue background

    How can I take melatonin?

    Melatonin can be taken as a dietary supplement, usually in liquid or capsule form. There is no consensus on the “optimal dosage” that these supplements should contain, though the recommended dosages range from about .1 to 12 milligrams.

    You will usually find melatonin supplements claiming to have around one to three milligrams, with the recommended dosage of once daily.

     In the US, melatonin isn’t as strictly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration as say, a prescription or an over-the-counter drug. In some other countries, however, it’s considered a drug and you might need a prescription to purchase some.

    So, in the US, you can probably easily buy melatonin supplements at a pharmacy or even a grocery. Just make sure that you do your research and buy from a reputable source.

     There have been instances where the actual amount of melatonin in a supplement were found to not match what was listed in the products label. Also, some might contain an additional hormone called serotonin which could have harmful side effects.

    To determine the correct amount of melatonin you should be taking as a sleep aid, you should monitor how drowsy or sleepy you get while taking them. If you find yourself experiencing daytime sleepiness, your melatonin dosage might be too high.

    Start with the lowest dosage you can find, then work your way up, ideally with the advice of a doctor or other health care professional.

    Should children take melatonin?

    Melatonin supplements are also thought to be helpful for children who have sleeping problems. It helps them fall asleep quicker and improves their total sleep time.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that short-term melatonin use should be alright for children in dosages of about 3-6 mg.

    While melatonin can help with child sleep disorders, however, you shouldn’t a child melatonin substances without consulting with a doctor first.

     There’s little information on what long-term melatonin use might do to a child, but remember, it is a hormone. Having too much melatonin in their system could affect their hormonal development and result in an overproduction of another hormone called prolacitin.

    Possible side effects of melatonin supplements for children are mild drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, agitation, and increased urination and even bedwetting in the evenings.

    Are melatonin supplements safe?

    Melatonin is a natural product and there has yet to be any proven side effects. For the short-term, it looks like you can’t have “too much” melatonin in your body so taking supplements shouldn’t hurt.

    The possible “mild” side effects that have been reported are sleepiness, headcaches, nausea, and dizziness.

    You should, however, be aware that there have been instances where people have had an allergic reaction to melatonin supplements. Also, as with most dietary supplements, there could be a reaction with other medications. People who are taking blood thinner medications or have epilepsy should be careful about melatonin supplement.

    To be safe, it’s probably best to consult with your health care provider before adding melatonin supplements to your daily routine.

    It’s also unadvisable for older people to take melatonin. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine doesn’t recommend it for use by people with dementia. There are also some concerns that melatonin stays active in older people longer than it would in younger people, this could result in daytime drowsiness.