You probably know the average adult needs a minimum of seven hours of sleep each night. But sometimes that's easier said than done. And with all the world's problems ' from COVID to financial worries, not many of us get enough sleep.
And counting sheep at night to fall asleep is getting old. So, people have been looking for more effective ways to fall asleep. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, the use of melatonin supplements has increased by 425% in the past twenty years.
But what is melatonin?
This article will give you an overview of melatonin, explain its importance for your body, and the optimal dosage to take.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a natural hormone made by the body that regulates your sleep-wake cycles.
Basically, it is what makes you fall asleep at night and wake up during the day.
The amount of melatonin in your body changes due to the amount of light there is. Darkness induces the body to make more melatonin, making you fall asleep. The light decreases the body's need for melatonin, signaling you to wake up.
Why take melatonin?
Most people take melatonin as a sleep aide. Studies have shown that taking melatonin at night may help those with insomnia fall asleep slightly quicker than without the supplement.
Melatonin supplements are typically used with the following problems:
- Jet lag
- Delayed sleep-wake phase disorder
- Anxiety before surgery
- Sleep disorders in children
Other studies have suggested that melatonin may help other conditions including seasonal depression, eye health, and GERD.
Despite melatonin being commonly used for these conditions, the studies are not conclusive and there is still more research to be done. And it is important to always ask your doctor before using melatonin or any new medication.
What is an appropriate melatonin dosage?
There is no official recommended dosage of melatonin. However, your melatonin dosage should vary depending on your age, weight, and sensitivity.
For adults using melatonin, it is best to start with a small dose, such as 1mg and work your way up gradually. This can be adjusted until you find a dose that helps you fall asleep. It is unrecommended to go above 10mg.
Children may benefit from melatonin supplements. Doctors might also proscribe melatonin for a child if they have a medical condition that affects their sleep, i.e., insomnia. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children respond to a lower dose of 0.5mg to 1mg and warns against higher doses in children. There is no consensus on a recommended dosage for children.
Who should avoid melatonin?
There are some people with greater sensitivities and various stages of wellness melatonin.
Women Who Are Pregnant or Breastfeeding
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking melatonin supplements (unless their doctor said otherwise) because of the lack of research on melatonin's effects.
Older adults should also be wary about taking melatonin supplements. As you age, melatonin levels naturally decline. Thus, taking melatonin supplements may disrupt the sleep cycles of older adults. If older adults do take melatonin supplements, they should keep their dosage low.
Those with Autoimmune Diseases
Some research shows that the supplement has a tendency to cause inflammation in those with autoimmune diseases.
Note: You should always talk to your doctor before using melatonin supplements or any new medications for you or your family.
Which melatonin supplement should you take?
Melatonin can be bought as a dietary supplement in the United States over the counter. Because it is a supplement, it is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, you will find many different brands and formulas of melatonin in pharmacies and grocery stores.
Be careful which brand of melatonin you buy. There have been studies conducted that found that the melatonin content in some supplements was more than what was listed. The best way to choose the best melatonin supplement is to ask doctors or pharmacists, who will have a better understanding of the more trusted and reputable manufacturers.
Saving Money for Your Melatonin Rx
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