Your body produces the hormone melatonin naturally.
It is created by the pineal gland in the brain, although it can also be found in the gut, eyes, and bone marrow.
Because it can facilitate sleep, it's frequently referred to as the "sleep hormone."
Melatonin itself won't make you go asleep, though. It simply signals to your body that night has fallen so you may unwind and get a better night's sleep.
For those who suffer from jet lag and insomnia, melatonin pills are popular. In many nations, melatonin pills are available without a prescription.
This hormone not only aids in sleep but also has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Melatonin's mechanism of action
Melatonin interacts with your body's circadian cycle.
The circadian rhythm is just your body's intrinsic clock. It tells you when to sleep, wake up, and eat.
Melatonin also aids in the regulation of your body temperature, blood pressure, blood glucose, body weight, and the levels of certain hormones.
When it gets dark outside, your melatonin levels rise, signalling to your body that it's time to sleep. They then fall in the morning, when there is light outside, to induce wakefulness.
Melatonin also binds to receptors in your body, which aids in relaxation.
Melatonin supplementation for sleep.
Strong evidence demonstrates that taking melatonin before bed reduces sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep) while improving overall sleep time.
A meta-analysis of 11 research found that consuming melatonin before bed reduced sleep latency by nearly 3 minutes and increased total sleep length by around 30 minutes when compared to a placebo.
Another study demonstrated that melatonin significantly reduced sleep disruptions and sleep latency while boosting sleep length and quality in adults with disease-related sleep problems.
Although this study showed that melatonin was ineffective for enhancing sleep in persons with mental illnesses or brain diseases like Alzheimer's, other research has demonstrated differently.
Melatonin may also help with jet lag, a temporary sleep condition.
When your body's internal clock is out of sync with a new time zone, you experience jet lag. Shift workers may also have jet lag symptoms because they work throughout typical sleeping hours.
Melatonin may aid in the reduction of jet lag by synchronising your internal clock with the time change.
For example, melatonin was determined to be likely effective at minimising the symptoms of jet lag in an analysis of 11 trials including persons who went through 5 or more time zones.
However, before experimenting with melatonin, it is essential to develop healthy sleep habits such as maintaining a consistent sleep schedule, minimising alcohol and caffeine use, and limiting your exposure to light and electronic devices before bed.
Melatonin negative effects
Melatonin supplements appear to be safe, nontoxic, and nonaddictive for both children and adults, according to current research.
Long-term supplementation is also probably safe. For up to 3.5 years, studies reported no notable side outcomes linked with daily melatonin use in dosages of 2-10 mg.
Unlike other hormones, there is no evidence that taking melatonin interferes with your body's natural ability to produce it.
However, melatonin supplements have been linked to a number of modest, transient adverse effects. These are some examples:
drowsiness during the day
a chilling sensation
Melatonin is a useful supplement that may aid with sleep, particularly if you suffer from insomnia or jet lag. It may also have other health benefits.
If you're thinking about taking melatonin, talk to your doctor or pharmacist first to see if it's right for you and if it might interact with any medications you're taking.
Then, 30 minutes before bed, begin with a mild dose of 0.5-1 mg. If it doesn't work, increase your dose to 3-5 mg.
Although modest side effects are possible, melatonin is generally well tolerated.