If you have short-term sleep problems, you may have heard about some of the benefits of the supplement melatonin. Use of melatonin is on the rise, with more adults taking it to help with short-term sleep issues like jet lag and anxiety. Some parents even give melatonin supplements to their children to help combat sleep problems that some children face. (We recommend always checking with your child's Health Care Provider first.)
If you're considering this supplement for yourself, you may be wondering what to expect when you take melatonin, and whether melatonin is right for you. Working with your healthcare provider is important when you take melatonin, because it can conflict with medications that you're taking. Before you speak with your doctor, here's what you should know about melatonin and its potential benefits.
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced in your body in response to darkness. Melatonin helps you find sleep at the appropriate time at night, and helps regulate your circadian rhythms. Sometimes people who are exposed to light at night will not produce as much melatonin as they're supposed to, which can make sleeping more difficult. Research of melatonin and its effects on the body are ongoing, as the effects of melatonin are not yet fully understood.
Melatonin supplements can be made from many different sources, including from microorganisms and animals. Melatonin can also be made synthetically. The synthetic version of melatonin is what's usually contained in the supplements that you can buy from the pharmacy. Synthetic melatonin is said to work the same as your body's natural melatonin.
Benefits of Melatonin
The purpose and main benefit of melatonin is achieving faster sleep and better quality sleep. For many people, melatonin does its job well. People may take melatonin when they're feeling particularly anxious about something and anticipating a difficult night of sleep. Some may take it to help alleviate sleep problems they've had for the last few nights. Other benefits of melatonin include:
Melatonin is said to be non-addictive. This stands in contrast with sleeping pills, which can be addictive when taken frequently enough. Even though melatonin is not believed to be addictive, it's important to only take melatonin with the frequency and dosage recommended by the manufacturer.
Melatonin is only in your system for about 5 hours, which means that you won't wake up groggy in the morning. For many people, this is an improvement over sleeping pills (especially over the counter sleeping pills), which can often leave the user feeling sleepy and disoriented upon waking.
Available in Many Forms
Just like vitamins and other supplements, melatonin comes in different forms including pills, liquid, cream, spray and gummies. You may have to experiment with different forms of melatonin to find the type that's right for you. Always follow the manufacturer instructions when taking melatonin. Don't take a bigger dose than is recommended by the company.
Who Benefits from Melatonin?
Studies have showed that melatonin can benefit a few key groups of people: children with certain sleep disorders, people suffering from delay sleep-wake phase disorder, people with jet lag and people experiencing short term anxiety before having a surgery.
Improved Sleep for Some Children With Sleep Disorders
Some children have conditions that can leave them prone to sleep problems. These sleep problems can have an effect on their behavior during the day as well as their daytime and academic functioning. For these children, taking melatonin may improve their quality of sleep and thus quality of life. Children who may benefit from taking melatonin include those with ASD, ADHD, atopic dermatitis and chronic sleep-onset insomnia. Generally speaking, melatonin helped children with these conditions fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
There are many things we don't know about melatonin for children, such as the appropriate dosage and whether melatonin can influence a child's hormone development. If you're thinking about giving your child melatonin, contact your child's doctor first.
Help With Delay Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder
Delay sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD) is a condition that makes it hard for some people to fall asleep early in the night (when most people fall asleep). This condition can also make waking before late morning very difficult as well. Studies show that people who took melatonin to help with this condition experienced several sleep improvements. Good to bed at a regular hour when you're taking melatonin can also help with this condition.
Help With Jet Lag
Jet lag is a condition that can disrupt sleep before and after a trip that involves crossing multiple time zones. Taking melatonin can help you find sleep more easily when going to bed in a place far from home, and may also help you adjust when you return to your own time zone.
Improved Sleep Before A Surgery
Before going through surgery, many people feel anxiety that can prevent them from getting a good night's sleep. In fact, anxiety ahead of surgery happens to as many as 4 out of 5 patients. Taking a melatonin supplement can help reduce this anxiety.
Can Melatonin Benefit You?
Melatonin is not an over the counter medication, it's a supplement. This means it isn't fully regulated by the FDA, and there's not much official information outlining when, how and how much melatonin should be taken. With fewer rules to help make melatonin safe for consumers, gauging whether melatonin is right for you can be difficult. It's important to remember that although this supplement isn't regulated by the FDA as an over the counter medication, many people take it without incident.
To find out if melatonin is safe and right for you, contact your physician. Melatonin can have some side effects, such as nausea, dizziness and headache. Melatonin can also interact with certain medications, so it's important to ensure that you can take melatonin safely.
Can Melatonin Help With Insomnia?
If you have chronic insomnia, studies about the benefits of melatonin for chronic insomnia are inconclusive. It may be that instead of taking a supplement, improving your sleep hygiene could help with your problem.
Some tips to help you get a good night's sleep:
- Consult with your physician to discuss your symptoms. Get your doctor's advice to help with your sleep problems.
- Avoid caffeine and nicotine late in the day.
- Avoid napping during the day.
- Consider the temperature of your bedroom. Maintain a temperature that is cool but not too cold. The most comfortable sleep temperature is between 60 and 68 degrees.
- Consider how comfortable your bed is. Sleep on a mattress that is supportive but not too firm. Use a pillow that helps keep your spine aligned for a comfortable night's sleep.
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Sleep With Me Beauty's Sleepwithme. pillow is designed to help keep your spine in alignment for a comfortable, restorative night's sleep. The sleepwithme. pillow can be flipped to different sides for different sleep heights, so you can find exactly the right height for you. Want more information about the sleepwithme. pillow? Contact us to learn more about the benefits of our specially designed pillow.