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May 27, 2021 3 min read
We are constantly bombarded with advertisements about various supplements and how they can improve our health and well-being. But do they really work? Many people seem to think that one supplement, in particular, can help with sleep, anxiety, depression, and other health concerns: melatonin.
Many health experts tout the benefits of taking melatonin, but what exactly is it? Melatonin is a hormone in your brain that controls your sleep-wake cycle. Your brain produces it primarily at night when there is darkness to help you fall asleep.
Unfortunately, melatonin production declines with age, and not all people are able to fall asleep easily and stay asleep. That’s why many people choose to try supplements. Read on to learn more about the benefits of melatonin supplements.
Benefits of Taking Melatonin for Sleep
Melatonin is best known for its ability to help people fall asleep and stay asleep. It’s an effective remedy for jet lag and insomnia. When you take melatonin supplements, they alert your brain that it’s time to sleep. Melatonin levels rise two hours before bedtime, so that can be a good time to take the supplement. For children and adults with delayed sleep phase disorder, melatonin can help them fall asleep quicker.
Not only that, but melatonin also enhances the quality of your sleep. You’ll wake up feeling well-rested rather than drowsy or groggy.
The benefits of melatonin supplements extend to mental health. Melatonin can help enhance mood, particularly anxiety. Anxiety is often caused by a hormonal imbalance, and since melatonin is a hormone, it can help make you less anxious.
There is also evidence that melatonin can help those who suffer from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). If you tend to feel depressed around late fall or winter, then you may have SAD. It is believed that SAD is caused by changes in the body’s circadian rhythms during this time of year, so it makes sense that melatonin would help by regulating your sleep cycle.
Skincare companies are aware of the benefits of melatonin for skin, and many are including this ingredient in their products. Melatonin includes antioxidants that help improve skin tone and reduce signs of aging. It’s also used in some sunscreens to help prevent and repair skin damage.
In addition, the benefits of melatonin supplements include improved eye health. Melatonin contains high levels of antioxidants to help treat glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and other eye conditions. It can also protect the retina and preserve vision.
Melatonin is considered safe to use every day, but only on a short-term basis. It’s best to start off with small doses, such as 0.5 mg, and increase it as needed. You can safely go up to 10 mg per day. Melatonin should be used by adults only, as not enough studies have been done on the safety of melatonin in children.
Since it’s not ideal to take melatonin for longer periods, it’s best to take it for a month or two and evaluate its effectiveness. Does it seem to be helping you? If not, instead of taking higher doses, it may be beneficial to discuss your insomnia with a doctor.
Taking too much melatonin can lead to side effects, such as:
You’ll want to let your doctor know that you’re taking melatonin, as it can interact with some medications, including:
While there is no evidence showing that melatonin causes long-term or serious side effects, there is concern that not a lot of research has been done about its long-term safety. Therefore, melatonin supplements should be taken in moderation for a short period.
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