Melatonin For Sleep: Benefits, Side Effects, and Drug Interactions

melatonin for sleep

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of melatonin for sleep as well as its benefits, side effects, and how it interacts with other drugs.

Overview

Sleep disorders are common to many. A considerable chunk of people suffers from sleep problems at least once in their lifetime. Not getting enough sleep or quality sleep can affect your mind and your body negatively. It can be mentally draining and cause you frustration and irritability. It can also lead to unhealthy skin and body.

In severe cases lead to serious medical conditions. Not sleeping properly interferes with your cognitive abilities. Even if your sleeplessness is caused by temporary circumstances like jet lag, it can still be problematic.

There are various fixes to solve this problem. Melatonin supplements are one such solution to peoples sleeping problems.

Melatonin

The pineal gland is an endocrinal gland responsible for the secretion of melatonin in your body. Melatonin is the hormone that regulates your 24-hour sleep-wake cycle and its quantity is the highest in your body during the night.

How much melatonin is released by the pineal gland depends on your body’s internal clock. If your body senses that it’s dark, the pineal gland produces more melatonin to make you less alert and more relaxed to help you fall asleep. If your body senses light, then the melatonin production is reduced.

Melatonin And Sleep

Melatonin doesn’t put you to sleep. Rather, it prepares your body to fall asleep. It reduces the levels of dopamine in the eyes to make you less aware and awake. It also signals the receptors in your body to reduce their activity so that you know that it’s time to get some sleep.

High melatonin at night helps in giving you a restful sleep. It also reduces the time you take to fall asleep by making your body more relaxed. The number of times you experience broken sleep at night may also get reduced.

Melatonin In Food

Your body is known to absorb melatonin from different food items. Nuts generally contain large amounts of melatonin. Pistachios are the nuts that particularly have a lot of melatonin content. Eggs have a lot of melatonin as well.

Fruits like strawberries, cherries, grapes, and vegetables like tomatoes and mushrooms are good sources of melatonin too. Additionally, you can include corn, broccoli, flaxseed, pomegranate, rice, peanuts, cucumber, and walnuts in your diet to consume a considerable amount of melatonin.

Melatonin Supplements

Two types of melatonin supplements are available for use; natural melatonin and synthetic melatonin. Generally, it is not recommended to go for natural melatonin. They are sourced from the pineal glands of animals and have an increased risk of carrying dangerous pathogens and viruses. Melatonin is available in different forms; liquid, capsule, spray, lozenges, etc.

In some countries, you can buy melatonin without a doctor’s prescription (OTC), but like any other supplement, it’s best to consult your health care provider for directions. They can help you make an informed decision on what dosage of melatonin you should take. They can also help determine and suggest whether you should take melatonin or other supplements like magnesium.

How Does Melatonin Benefit Sleep?

  • People who are suffering from a short-term disturbance in their sleep cycle, especially people experiencing jet lag, can take melatonin to help them fall asleep at night time. When taken, Melatonin can decrease your alertness and awareness which can help you relax and fall asleep.
  • Melatonin can be taken on a short-term basis to fight sleeplessness. However, for people suffering from insomnia, melatonin doesn’t have any major effect to remedy their condition.
  • As people grow older, their body produces lesser melatonin, and taking supplements might will have positive effects on fighting sleeplessness.
  • If you have high blood pressure, melatonin can lower your blood pressure. Thus making it easier for you to fall asleep.
  • Taking melatonin supplements a couple of hours before sleep can help correct your sleep cycle and bring it back on track.
  • Melatonin supplements might also help people working night-shifts in falling asleep during the day-time. This proves to be a great solution for individuals suffering from Work-Shit Disorder.

Other Uses of Melatonin

  • Melatonin might help improve symptoms of endometriosis, a uterine disorder in women that causes a lot of pain.
  • Applying topical melatonin prevents people with sensitive skin from being sunburnt due to sun exposure.
  • Melatonin can also help relieve migraines.
  • Although not agreed upon by all healthcare experts, it might reduce anxiety in patients before surgical procedures.

Side Effects Of Melatonin

You should be careful to take melatonin in moderation. The reason is that, if you fail to do, you can suffer from several health conditions that can disrupt your day-to-day life due to severely fluctuating energy levels.

If you take melatonin for a short period of time, you will probably not suffer from any side effects. Although long-term consumption of melatonin supplements might be harmful. Mostly it is considered safe, but some people might be at a greater risk of suffering from side effects of melatonin.

  • Taking melatonin supplements is normally considered to be unsafe for pregnant women.
  • Some people experience headaches, brain fog, and drowsiness due to melatonin. If you take melatonin and you feel like you constantly have a heavy head, melatonin might be the cause. Suffering from these conditions might make day-to-day things such as driving extremely hazardous.
  • If you have diabetes, you should take melatonin with extreme care as it can interfere with the sugar levels of your blood and lead to further abnormal spikes.
  • People might begin to have symptoms of depression as a result of melatonin supplements.
  • Melatonin can also cause anxiety and irritability in some people.
  • Nausea and abdominal cramps can also accompany the benefits of melatonin supplements.

Drug Interactions

Melatonin interacts with many types of medicines. If you take any of these medications, you should definitely consult your health care provider for alternative options.

  • If you are on birth-control medication, the pineal gland would already produce more melatonin. Thus taking supplements containing melatonin while on birth-control pills can cause excessive drowsiness.
  • Caffeine reduces the efficiency of melatonin supplements.
  • Fluvoxamine is an antidepressant. Taking melatonin supplements along with it increases the chance of you suffering from side effects.
  • If you are on sleeping pills or sedatives, you should stay clear of taking melatonin supplements. These medications have a major interaction. They can cause extreme lethargy and tiredness.

Melatonin For Sleep: Conclusion

Melatonin supplements can help people tackle sleep problems. However, it has not yet been established how safe or even how effective they are in different kinds of people. It would be ideal to contact a doctor to consult about the usage of melatonin supplements. However, there are other alternatives like magnesium, glycine, and valerian root that might be able to solve your sleep problem too.

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