You've probably come across some talk about melatonin and its amazing ability to help us fall asleep. It's not a rumor. In fact back in 2012 a staggering 3 million Americans relied on melatonin to get some shut eye.. Let's dig deeper and explore what this sleep friendly hormone is about if you're considering joining the melatonin trend or already part of it.
What are melatonin?
Well it may not be a pill that instantly puts you to sleep like the Sandman. Think of it as your sleep fairy godmother. As the day winds down and evening approaches melatonin levels naturally rise, gently guiding you towards a state of wakefulness that sets the stage for a night's rest. Sounds pretty idyllic doesn't it? And here's an interesting twist: your body produces this hormone on its own.
For people their natural melatonin production takes care of sleep needs just fine. Your body has your back! However there are times when life throws us curve balls and we might consider turning to supplements. Struggling with insomnia? Dealing with jet lag induced zombie mode? Trying to become a riser? Melatonin might be the solution you're looking for.
If you're, on board with using melatonin to help you sleep then let me introduce you to our sleep expert Dr. Luis F. Buenaver, who has some advice for those seeking a night:
How to maximize melatonin efficacy?
Melatonin levels naturally increase around two hours before bedtime. To fully utilize its effects, create the environment: dim the lights, avoid screens (as the glow from phones and laptops can interfere with production) and maintain a comfortable distance from the TV. Additionally try to expose yourself to daylight in the day. Go for a walk or spend time near a window soaking up some sunshine. Your body's internal melatonin clock will appreciate it.
Melatonin as Your Sleep Companion: Even individuals who generally have sleeping patterns may occasionally struggle at night. If you find yourself tossing and turning for more than one or two nights, melatonin can come to your rescue. Research suggests that it can help you fall asleep quicker especially if you tend to be more active during hours but desire a start in the morning.
Is melatonin safe?
Dr. Buenavers advice is simple. Less is more when it comes to melatonin consumption. Take 1, to 3 milligrams of melatonin two hours before your intended bedtime.
If you're someone who travels frequently it's an idea to start taking melatonin a couple of days before your trip. Take it two hours before your expected bedtime, at the destination to help adjust your sleep schedule. When you arrive, avoid the temptation to take a nap and try to sync up with the time zone. Also make sure you get some exposure – it can be really beneficial according to Buenaver.
Knowing when to stop using melatonin is important too. If it doesn't work for you after a week or two it might be time to try something.. If you're still struggling with sleep issues, consider talking to your doctor for guidance. Generally using melatonin every night for one or two months is considered safe for people. However, beyond that timeframe take a step back. Assess your overall sleep routine. Make sure you have a wind down routine before bed and create an environment that promotes relaxation – dim lights and create a cool and cozy bedroom setting.
It's worth noting that melatonin is not suitable for everyone. Pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should avoid it altogether. It may also not be recommended for individuals dealing with disorders, seizures or depression. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure or take medication for hypertension consult with your doctor before starting melatonin as it could potentially affect blood sugar levels and increase blood pressure.
So that's the lowdown on melatonin, the superhero of sleep. Just keep in mind that a small amount of melatonin can make a difference and its not a one size fits all fix. Get comfortable, dim the lights and embark on your sleep journey. Have dreams!