Melatonin supplements have been taking up more space on drugstore shelves and all over social media platforms. But what exactly is it?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your brain in response to darkness. Studies have shown that it helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms, along with sleep. It safely helps over 70 million Americans who suffer from chronic sleep issues. Before heading to any of your primary healthcare providers, learn a little more about melatonin here.
What are the benefits of taking melatonin?
In addition to sleep, melatonin supplements offer several benefits. Since Melatonin is naturally produced by our body, Melatonin supplements are great for those who tend to have low levels of it in their system.
- Research suggests that melatonin supplements have helped people with jet lag. Jet lag often leaves you feeling unwell overall and leads to disturbed sleep, but the use of melatonin has been shown to reduce these symptoms.
- Melatonin is quite popular with people suffering from delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD). People with this disorder usually have trouble falling asleep before 2 to 6 a.m. and prefer waking up between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Studies have shown that taking melatonin 1 hour before your desired bedtime combined with going to bed at a set time led to several improvements and better sleep.
- Anxiety before and after any surgery is quite common. Since melatonin supplements are relatively more natural, they are safe to have and have proven to be helpful in reducing anxiety.
Is melatonin safe?
Melatonin is considered fairly safe for adults during short periods of use. However, before you take on any melatonin supplements for yourself, always check with your doctor if you already have prior medication that you consume regularly. Since Melatonin in the USA is considered a dietary supplement rather than a prescription drug by the FDA, it is important to be more cautious. This is unlike any other where melatonin is available through prescription. Due to this, while FDA standards are expected, there is no systematic process to ensure them.
Melatonin and Insomnia
Insomnia is a condition in which people have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. If these symptoms continue for longer than a month it is then deemed to be chronic insomnia. While cognitive behavioral therapy is a recommended treatment for this disorder, the use of melatonin can have some positive effects on this condition.
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Can children take melatonin?
Though it is mainly meant to be used by adults, pediatricians sometimes recommend melatonin for children. In a 2012 national survey, it was the second most commonly used dietary supplement amongst children in the United States. Children with autism spectrum disorders have also benefited from the use of this supplement.
If you start on the melatonin journey, is essential you take it at the correct time of day. Taking it too early or too late might alter your biological clock and shift their sleep and wake times. The NHS recommends taking melatonin 1–2 hours prior to your desired bedtime. If you are taking melatonin just to prevent jet lag or when you are traveling, then start the dose a few days before you go in order to acclimatize your body to the new time zone.
Now that you have gained more knowledge about this new supplement going around, you can take a call as to whether you require it or not. Instead of taking this call on your own, it is always advised to reach out to a medical professional and refer to the medical services they provide to help ease any unclarity over it.