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Melatonin: Uses, Dosage, Interactions, and More

by NidraNutrition

Melatonin is a key component of the body but is most well-known for its ability to maintain the circadian rhythm. Circadian rhythms are the internal clock of the body. It informs the body of when to fall asleep and when it is time to get up.

In humans, the "circadian clock" is in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) part within the brain. Utilizing the pattern of dark and light, the SCN produces and maintains an ongoing sleep and wake cycle.

Information on light levels enters the SCN and then reaches the pineal gland within the middle of the brain. Melatonin is released by the pineal gland during the dark and stops its release in daylight.

Some foods contain melatonin. Melatonin is also available in capsule or gummy form.

Uses

Sleep

Researchers have examined melatonin for those suffering from insomnia and jet fatigue, shift workers, military personnel, seniors as well as children. The majority of studies have been concentrated on short-term use which ranges from a few hours to a little more than three months.

Users experienced a sleep time of between 23 and 34 mins faster than those who were taking placebo pills. Increase your efficiency at sleeping, that’s how much time you sleep as compared to when you were sleeping.

Research has found that this is true even for children suffering from disorders that are associated with sleep issues including autism spectrum disorder or ADHD. Reset your sleep-wake cycle this is also known as your circadian rhythm.

The majority of research studies suggest minor benefits, such as sleeping 20 minutes earlier. Higher-quality studies with larger sample sizes, which monitor people over a long duration are required.

Autism

Many people who have autism don't produce enough melatonin. They also have difficulties sleeping. A 2014 review study showed that melatonin could help people who suffer from autism to fall asleep earlier. They also fell asleep longer and more peacefully. The authors also stated that improved sleep enhanced daytime behavior.

Jet Lag

Jet lag is a problem that occurs when you travel through time zones. At least for several days following your travel your body's internal clock remains adjusted to the time you left from, not to where you are. This can cause you to become exhausted and unable to concentrate. Many studies have proven that melatonin aids in getting over the symptoms of jet lag.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine encourages the use of melatonin in order to decrease jet lag symptoms and enhance sleep when traveling through multiple time zones.

Possible Side Effects

There are serious negative effects that are associated with Melatonin. These include headaches, drowsiness, nausea, dizziness and nightmares in children. Possible effects of melatonin include agitation and bedwetting.

If you consume too excessive melatonin, you may be left feeling dehydrated. It usually disappears quickly.

Melatonin is a hormone that can stay active for longer in adults who are getting older. It can cause drowsiness during the daytime. There are no reported cases of fatal overdoses caused due to Melatonin.

The absence of long-term studies makes it difficult to determine if Melatonin is safe to use for prolonged usage.

Interactions and Warnings

Although melatonin can be purchased, it is recommended to consult your physician prior to taking it. This is particularly true when you are already taking medicines for other health issues. Melatonin could affect the way that your body reacts to certain substances, increasing or reducing those drugs' effects.

Birth control pills are believed to boost the amount of the body producing melatonin. Combining melatonin with the birth control pill may cause an increase in the side effects of melatonin.

  • Caffeine may increase or reduce levels of melatonin in the body. When combined with melatonin supplements appear to boost melatonin levels.
  • Fluvoxamine may increase levels of the hormone melatonin is absorbed by the body. Combining melatonin with fluvoxamine can enhance the effects and adverse effects of melatonin.
  • Melatonin might lower blood sugar levels. Melatonin taken in conjunction with diabetes medication could cause blood sugar levels to fall to levels that are too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely.
  • Melatonin may increase the function that the immune system. Certain medicines, like those prescribed following transplants, reduce the function in the system of immunity. Melatonin in combination with these drugs could lessen their effects.
  • Melatonin may increase the function that the immune system. Certain medicines, like the ones used following a transplant, reduce the function that the immune system. Melatonin in combination with these medicines could reduce any effects from these drugs.
  • Melatonin taken in conjunction with warfarin could increase the risk of bleeding and bruises. Make sure to get your blood tested frequently. The dose of warfarin could need to be adjusted.

Dosage

Melatonin is sold in the form of tablets, pills, or Gummies. There are no dosing guidelines for melatonin. Melatonin is typically available in doses that range between 1 mg to 10 mg. It is recommended to begin at the lowest dosage. Then gradually increase it until you determine what you like best.

When to take

Melatonin is a key component in regulating your sleep-wake cycles. Therefore, it is important to take it at the correct time of the day. The brain produces Melatonin between sunset and sunrise. These supplements can take up to 30 minutes to reach their peak amounts in the blood. Melatonin is the most commonly used drug taken about an hour prior to going to sleep.

Patients who suffer from delayed sleep stage syndrome might want to take melatonin a couple of hours prior to the time they want to go to bed.

If you are suffering from the advanced stage of sleep syndrome which is where you fall to sleep early and wake up early the treatment will usually be the use of bright light to delay the onset of sleep. Melatonin can be administered prior to your desired bedtime or at the end of an hour of sleep.

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