Many people who struggle with falling asleep find melatonin to be indispensable. Without it, many worry they’d be counting sheep forever.
The largely popular natural sleeping supplement aims to support problem sleepers without the adverse side effects of prescription medications. Yet, does that mean insomniacs are off the hook when it comes to safety? Think again.
What Exactly Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that all mammals naturally produce. Melatonin plays a vital role in sleep regulation as well as circadian rhythms.
Over-the-counter melatonin, while synthetic, behaves in the same way when it enters the body. It features the same chemical composition as natural melatonin. Therefore, melatonin supplements can be an effective way to help the restless get some much-needed sleep.
How Much Melatonin Can You Take?
In the U.S., you can buy melatonin without prescription, which makes it a widely available substance. Despite this, it is important for shoppers to take precautions before popping this sleeping aid before bedtime.
As an example, melatonin is not monitored by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), so no definitive recommendations have been made regarding optimal dosage. Hence, the lack of regulation is only widening the door for potential issues.
Nevertheless, two to three milligrams is typically regarded as a safe starting point by the Sleep Foundation. Yet, individuals often lose track of these recommendations as they struggle to find the right amount for themselves.
Many individuals may make the switch to higher dosages based on different factors, such as age, gender, or worsening sleeping issues.
The Dangers Of Taking Too Much Melatonin
Generally speaking, melatonin is considered a relatively safe natural sleep supplement. Many experts, however, remain unconvinced of the safety of prolonged high doses.
Many unknowns exist regarding its long-term effects, so extensive research is necessary. Further, lack of evidence and scientific studies aren’t indicative of the safety of a medication.
Despite this, it seems too much melatonin is creating health problems even without proper long-term studies of melatonin use.
According to Penn Medicine, those that take too much melatonin may experience problems with their sleep cycle. Therefore, their sleep patterns may suffer in the long run. Additionally, Penn Med researchers found that frequent users who took melatonin earlier in the evening were more likely to experience drowsiness the following day.
Researchers have also found that melatonin may interfere with glucose regulation in people with type two diabetes whose genes carry specific traits. Such findings should prompt people with existing medical conditions to talk to their physicians about melatonin use.
But with all said and done, taking melatonin is a safe and effective way to aid with sleep. However, talking to your doctor before beginning a melatonin treatment is always a good idea. They can help you find the right dose for your needs.