Does the word “melatonin” make you think of deeper sleep? Over the years, the dietary supplement has become a go-to sleep aid for those struggling with insomnia, jet lag, and delayed sleep-wake disorder. However, melatonin does a whole lot more than help you snooze.
In addition to improving sleep quality, melatonin:
• Resets circadian rhythm.
• Delivers antioxidant properties.
• Enhances immune response.
Although melatonin delivers a wealth of health benefits, it’s currently recommended as a short-term supplement (a maximum of 13 weeks) until further studies determine the safety of long-term usage. So, how often can you take melatonin? How much is too much?
Let’s learn more about the benefits of melatonin and the appropriate dosage guidelines...
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a sleep-inducing hormone produced by the brain in response to darkness. Exposure to light at night blocks melatonin production, which disrupts your circadian rhythm (internal clock) and sleep quality.
Melatonin is also available as a synthetic supplement, typically in oral tablet or capsule form.
What Are the Benefits of Melatonin?
Studies have shown there’s a lot more to this hormone than a good night’s sleep. Here are some of the well-known and lesser-known benefits of melatonin...
1. Improves sleep quality: Melatonin is best known for its ability to enhance sleep quality. It naturally (or synthetically) promotes restful sleep by reducing the time needed to fall asleep while increasing sleep duration. Melatonin supplements help individuals with insomnia and delayed sleep-wake disorder get the ZZZs they need to remain active and alert during the daytime.
2. Resets circadian rhythm: Melatonin mitigates the effects of jet lag, shift work, and traveling across different time zones by helping to reset the body’s circadian rhythm.
3. Delivers antioxidant properties: Melatonin is a powerful neutralizer of free radicals, protecting cells from oxidative stress and damage. So, melatonin may help reduce risk factors associated with chronic diseases and aging.
4. Enhances immune response: While more research is needed, recent studies suggest melatonin helps the body fight off infections and diseases.
How Much Is Too Much?
Melatonin is considered safe for short-term use, however, it’s important to follow appropriate dosage guidelines to avoid side effects and/or disruptions to the body’s natural rhythms. The correct dose varies from person to person, depending on age, weight, and individual tolerance to the hormone.
The recommended dose for adults ranges from 0.3 mg to 5 mg, taken 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime. Start with a lower dose and gradually increase as needed. A higher dose doesn’t ensure better results.
Consult with your doctor before taking melatonin supplements, especially if you’re pregnant, taking prescription meds, or have any pre-existing health conditions.
Potential Side Effects of Long-Term Usage
Long-term usage of melatonin supplements could interfere with the body’s natural production of the hormone, resulting in unhealthy dependency. Plus, excessive intake could cause the following side effects:
• Digestive issues
Remember: Melatonin supplements are meant for short-term usage only!
Before popping any pills, try the following pre-bedtime practices to get a better night’s sleep:
• Use AROMAFLORIA’s Sleep Ease Collection (Bergamot, Valerian, & Lavender essential oils + Hops) to calm the body and mind.
• Turn off all screens.
• Keep your bedroom cool.
• Set and then face the alarm clock away from you.
• Keep a journal.
• No pets on the bed.