Roughly 50–70 million Americans are affected by poor sleep.
Although it is a common problem, poor sleep can have severe consequences.
Poor sleep can deplete your energy, lower your productivity and increase the risk of diseases like high blood pressure and diabetes (1Trusted Source).
Melatonin is a hormone that tells your body when it is time to head to bed. It has also become a popular supplement among people struggling to fall asleep.
This article explains how melatonin works, its safety, and how much to take.
Melatonin is a hormone made naturally by your body.
It is often called the “sleep hormone,” as high levels can help you fall asleep.
However, melatonin itself won’t knock you out. It lets your body know it is nighttime, so you can relax and fall asleep more easily.
Melatonin supplements are popular among people struggling with insomnia and jet lag. You can get it in many countries without a prescription.
Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, which may provide various other benefits.
It may help support eye health, treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, ease tinnitus symptoms and even raise growth hormone levels in men.
SUMMARY:Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally made by the pineal gland. It helps you fall asleep by calming the body before bed.
How Does It Work?
Melatonin works together with your body’s circadian rhythm.
In simple terms, the circadian rhythm is your body’s internal clock. It lets you know when it’s time to sleep, wake and eat.
Melatonin levels start to rise in your body when it is dark outside, signaling to your body that it is time to sleep (7).
It also binds to receptors in the body and can help you relax. For instance, melatonin binds to receptors in the brain to help reduce nerve activity. In the eyes, it can help reduce dopamine levels, a hormone that enables you to stay awake (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source).
Although the exact way melatonin helps you fall asleep is unclear, research suggests these processes can help you lose asleep.
Conversely, light suppresses melatonin production. This is one way your body knows it is time to wake up (11Trusted Source).
As melatonin helps your body prepare for sleep, people who don’t make enough of it at night can struggle to fall asleep.
Many factors may cause low levels at night. Stress, smoking, exposure to too much light at night (including blue light), not getting enough natural light during the day, shift work, and aging all affect melatonin production (12Trusted Source, 13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
A melatonin supplement may help counter low levels and normalize your internal clock.
SUMMARY:Melatonin works closely with your body’s circadian rhythm to help prepare you for sleep. Its levels rise at night-time.
In an analysis of 19 studies on people with sleep disorders, scientists found that melatonin helped reduce the time it took to fall asleep by an average of 7 minutes.
In many of these studies, people reported significantly better sleep quality (19Trusted Source).
Additionally, melatonin can help with jet lag, a temporary sleep disorder.
Jet lag occurs when your body’s internal clock is out of sync with the new time zone. Shift workers may also experience jet lag symptoms since they work during a time generally saved for sleep (20Trusted Source).
Melatonin can help reduce jet lag by syncing your internal clock with the time change (21Trusted Source).
For instance, an analysis of 10 studies explored the effects of melatonin in people who traveled through five or more time zones. Scientists found that melatonin was remarkably effective at reducing the effects of jet lag.
The analysis also found that both lower doses (0.5 mg) and higher doses (5 mg) were equally effective at reducing jet lag (22Trusted Source).
SUMMARY:Evidence shows that melatonin can help you fall asleep faster. In addition, it can help people with jet lag get to sleep.
Taking melatonin may provide you with other health benefits as well.
May Support Eye Health
Healthy melatonin levels may support eye health.
It has potent antioxidant benefits that could help lower the risk of eye diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD) (23Trusted Source).
In one study, scientists asked 100 people with AMD to take 3 mg of melatonin over 6 to 24 months. Taking melatonin daily helped protect the retinas and delay damage from AMD without any significant side effects (24Trusted Source).
May Help Treat Stomach Ulcers and Heartburn
A study with 21 participants found that taking melatonin and tryptophan along with omeprazole — a common medication for acid reflux — helped heal stomach ulcers caused by the bacteria H. pylori faster (28Trusted Source).
In another study, 36 people with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) were given either melatonin, omeprazole (a medicine that helps treat GERD), or a combination of both to treat GERD and its symptoms.
Melatonin helped reduce heartburn and was even more effective when combined with omeprazole (29Trusted Source).
However, this area of research is relatively new. Future studies will help clarify how effective melatonin is in treating stomach ulcers and heartburn.
May Reduce Symptoms of Tinnitus
Tinnitus is a condition characterized by a constant ringing in the ears. It is often worse when there is less background noise, such as when you’re trying to fall asleep.
In one study, 61 adults with tinnitus took 3 mg of melatonin before bed for 30 days. It helped reduce the effects of tinnitus and significantly improved sleep quality (32Trusted Source).
May Help Increase Growth Hormone Levels in Men
Human growth hormone is naturally released during sleep. In healthy young men, taking melatonin may help increase growth hormone levels.
Studies have shown that melatonin can make the pituitary gland, the organ that releases growth hormone, more sensitive to the hormone that releases growth hormone (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).
In addition, studies have shown that both lower (0.5 mg) and higher (5.0 mg) melatonin doses are effective at stimulating growth hormone release (34Trusted Source).
May Help With Seasonal Depression
Seasonal depression is commonly known as the “winter blues” or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It may affect up to 20% of adults in the US (35Trusted Source).
Some evidence shows seasonal depression is affected by changes in light and sleep cycles (36Trusted Source).
However, the evidence is not entirely clear. Future studies will help clarify if melatonin could help treat seasonal depression.
SUMMARY:Melatonin may support eye health, ease tinnitus symptoms, treat stomach ulcers and heartburn, increase growth hormone levels in young men and help with seasonal depression.
If you want to try melatonin, start with a lower-dose supplement.
For instance, start with 0.5 mg (500 mcg) or 1 mg 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t help you fall asleep, try increasing your dose to 3–5 mg.
Taking more, You are taking in than. This likely won’t help you fall asleep faster. The goal is to find the lowest dose to help you fall asleep.
However, it is best to follow the instructions that come with your supplement.
Melatonin is widely available in the US. You will need a prescription for melatonin in other places, such as the European Union and Australia.
SUMMARY:If you want to try melatonin, start with 0.5 mg or 1 mg 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t work, then try increasing it to 3–5 mg or follow the instructions on the supplement.
Current evidence suggests that melatonin supplements are safe, non-toxic, and not addictive (39).
Some people may experience mild side effects, such as sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
If you take any of the above, you should check with your doctor before beginning a supplement.
Some concern is that taking too much melatonin will stop your body from making it naturally. However, several studies have found that taking melatonin won’t affect your body’s ability to make it independently (43Trusted Source, 44Trusted Source, 45Trusted Source).
SUMMARY:Current studies show that melatonin is safe, non-toxic and not addictive. However, it may interact with blood thinners, blood pressure medications and antidepressants.
Sleep is essential for our overall health, and circadian rhythms – or the natural body clock – are controlled by melatonin. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough sleep and end up feeling tired and cranky throughout the day.
If you’re looking for an effective way to improve your sleep quality and feel better during the day, try taking melatonin supplements!
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in response to darkness. It is used to help people sleep and feel better.
Melatonin can help people fall asleep, stay asleep, and have better sleep quality. It can also help people feel more awake during the day.
How Melatonin Works
Melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate sleep and wake cycles. It is produced by the brain in response to darkness and is released into the bloodstream during the night.
Melatonin is thought to improve sleep quality and duration, lower anxiety levels, reduce inflammation, and improve cognitive function.
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Side Effects of Melatonin
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland. It is mainly used to promote sleep and has a few side effects.
The most common side effect of melatonin is drowsiness. It can also interfere with the body’s natural rhythm, leading to insomnia or other sleep problems.
How to Take Melatonin for Better Sleep
Like most people, you may be searching for ways to get better sleep. One way to do this is by taking melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that helps regulate your sleep cycle.
Melatonin can also help improve the quality of your sleep. It is often used to treat insomnia. Here are some tips on how to take melatonin for better sleep:
Taking melatonin simultaneously every night is essential if you are using it as a sleep aid. If you are using it as a preventive measure, take it 30 minutes before bedtime.
It is also essential to avoid drinking alcohol while taking melatonin. Drinking alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of melatonin.
If you struggle to fall asleep, make sure you are comfortable before bed. Make sure that your room is dark and cool and that you are not watching television or working on the computer in bed.
Finally, if you have trouble sleeping due to anxiety or stress, try relaxation techniques such as meditation or deep breathing exercises before bedtime.
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The Bottom Line
Melatonin is an effective supplement that can help you fall asleep, especially if you have insomnia or jet lag. It may have other health benefits, as well.
If you want to try melatonin, start with a lower dose of 0.5–1 mg, taken 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t work, you can increase your amount to 3–5 mg.
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