Take Melatonin: There are few pleasures in life greater than a deep and restful sleep. Seriously, if we could go back in time and tell our 7 year old not to complain about the nap time, we would do it. But there are many things that can throw you out of your night game. We often question like: melatonin side effects weight gain? is melatonin safe for kids? is melatonin addictive? how much melatonin is too much? so these are the questions we ask yourself and now the time to listen to me!
If you have regular problems picking Zzz’s, you probably looked to take melatonin supplements. After all, there are numerous bottles storing pharmacy shelves. How much do you really know about them?
What is melatonin?
For beginners, melatonin is a hormone released by the brain that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm (aka its internal clock), explains David Lee, MD, an assistant clinical professor of medicine at the UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program. “It is secreted by the pineal gland, which is at the base of the brain and regulated by light,” he says. “It’s a natural hormone that makes us sleep, and by the time the light goes away, like at night, it’s when our melatonin peak.”
Are Melatonin Pills Really Safe?
As they are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration, it can be difficult to tell if there are preservatives and additives in the pills you are taking, says Sanjeev Kothare, MD, professor in the department of neurology and director of the pediatric sleep program at NYU Langone Medical Center. “Some people have experienced a bit of allergic reactions, not melatonin, but preservatives or additives,” he says. (Lee emphasizes that it is important to always buy the supplement from a reputable company by avoiding sellers of herbal remedies.)
Kothare says studies in animals linked melatonin to depression, reproductive problems and immune problems. While these results have not been replicated in humans, there has also been no good study showing the long-term safety of melatonin pills, says Kothare.
Still, Lee adds that no serious side effects have been reported. Although he notes that if you take too much of the supplement, you may experience drowsiness, have headache or experience some short-term memory loss. “These are the common but rather mild side effects,” he says. The important thing, Lee says, is to take the right value.
“The biggest myth out there, especially for insensitivity, is that more is better,” Lee says. In fact, when it comes to melatonin, less is actually more because your body already does it. It suggests taking 0.5 milligrams if you decide to try it. If this amount of dose is difficult to track, buy a milligram pill and cut them in half.
The bottom line: Unfortunately, there is not enough solid research to support whether melatonin supplements really are an effective and safe way to sleep. If you’re still struggling to reach the dreamland, Kothare has several other suggestions: try to keep a similar sleeping schedule during the week and on weekends, limit the use of blue light emitting electronics for one to two hours before of the bed time and buy a bright light source for use in the mornings to help regulate your body’s internal clock. Your dream journal will be filled in no time.