From Sleep Aid to Health Hazard

Woman taking melatonin

Understanding the Pitfalls of Regular Melatonin Consumption

By Dr. Peter Klapper Ph.D.

If you’ve ever struggled to fall asleep, you’ve probably been told to try melatonin, a hormonal supplement that regulates sleep-wake cycles. Over the years, melatonin has become increasingly popular as a sleep aid, especially for those struggling with insomnia or jet lag. It’s easily found over the counter in many countries and is often used to help reset the body's internal clock and improve sleep quality.

However, while melatonin can help with sleep in the short-term, long-term use may disrupt the body's natural production of the hormone, leading to dependence and potentially affecting the ability to fall asleep without it. So, what can you do if you find yourself needing assistance in the sleep department?

The Basics of Melatonin
First, we must understand how melatonin affects your brain and sleep. Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pineal gland, a small gland located in the brain. It plays a key role in regulating the body's sleep-wake cycle, also known as the circadian rhythm and helps to regulate the timing and quality of sleep.

Typically, melatonin levels begin to rise in the evening as it gets dark signaling to the body that it is time to wind down and prepare for sleep. Melatonin levels remain elevated throughout the night and then drop in the early morning hours signaling the body to wake up.

This process is exactly why exposure to bright lights, especially blue light from screens, close to bedtime can disrupt the body's natural production of melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep.

Benefits of Melatonin for Sleep
So, if you’re struggling to sleep due to overtiredness, insomnia, or jetlag, melatonin may be a supplement you’ve either used or considered trying, and hey, you’re not the first to do it! When you take a melatonin supplement, it can help improve sleep quality by regulating the body's internal clock and promoting relaxation. Some individuals may find it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night and experience an increase in quality of sleep.

Several studies have supported the use of melatonin for sleep disorders and found that melatonin supplementation improved sleep quality and reduced sleep onset latency in individuals with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder.

As we discussed previously melatonin can be a great solution for short term sleep issues, but long-term use can begin to cause some problems.

Risks and Side Effects of Regular Melatonin Use
We get it. You finally find something that helps you sleep, but unfortunately, long-term use of melatonin may pose several risks and side effects. The main concern with melatonin supplements being used long-term is that they can disrupt the body's natural production of melatonin. It can also lead to a melatonin supplement dependence to fall asleep, as the body may produce less melatonin on its own over time.

Additionally, melatonin supplements can cause side effects in some individuals. These may include daytime drowsiness, dizziness, and hormonal imbalances. In some cases, melatonin supplements have also been associated with vivid dreams, nightmares, and changes in mood.

Finding A Natural Approach To Sleep
Luckily, natural approaches to sleep (that don’t mess with hormones) do exist. That may include creating a regular schedule at bedtime that helps your brain recognize it’s bedtime, turn off all electronics at least an hour before bed and incorporate relaxation techniques so you can wind down.

There are also other natural alternatives to sleep aids, including our Sleep Well roll on treatment. Our Sleep Well remedy promotes relaxation, restful sleep, and a healthy sleep cycle all without using melatonin. The secret of Sleep Well is its active ingredients including a blend of organic Valerian, Kava, and Lavender. This powerful and effective combination helps improve sleep quality and will have you dozing off in no time.

Of course, it's always important to note that individual responses to natural sleep aids may vary, and it's always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new supplement, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Moving Forward
Overall, melatonin supplementation can offer benefits such as improving sleep quality but it’s important to remember there are also risks associated with long-term use including disruption of the body's natural melatonin production.

Prioritizing healthy sleep habits, such as maintaining a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and minimizing exposure to bright lights before bed.

Ultimately, balance and moderation are key when using melatonin as a sleep aid. While it can be a helpful tool for improving sleep, it's important to use it cautiously and in conjunction with healthy sleep habits to achieve optimal results.

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