Melatonin Supplements for Falling Asleep

Melatonin Supplements for Falling Asleep

As the days grow shorter and darker in the fall, do you find yourself tossing and turning when you should be sleeping? You’re not alone. The changing seasons can throw off the body’s internal clock, making it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Luckily, there’s a natural supplement that can help—melatonin.

Melatonin is a hormone produced in the brain that regulates sleep cycles. Taking a melatonin supplement before bed can get your sleep schedule back on track, so you wake up feeling refreshed.

In this blog article, we’ll explore how melatonin works, why you may want to take it for better sleep, safe dosing, and what side effects to look out for.

With some tips for optimal use, melatonin can help you enjoy more restful nights during the fall season and beyond. So read on to learn how this “sleep hormone” supplement can improve your slumber when sleep troubles strike.

What is Melatonin?

Melatonin is often referred to as the “sleep hormone” since it plays a major role in regulating sleep cycles. It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain in response to darkness, signaling to the body that it’s time to sleep.

Levels typically rise in the evening, remain elevated throughout the night, and fall in the morning with exposure to light.

Why Take Melatonin Supplements?

Melatonin supplements can help regulate sleep cycles in a variety of situations where sleep is disrupted.

1. Jet Lag: Traveling across time zones can throw off the body’s internal clock that controls circadian rhythms and the sleep-wake cycle. The timing of melatonin release, which induces sleepiness, may no longer match the desired sleep time in the new time zone.

Taking melatonin supplements can help reset the cycle to match the new environment and improve sleep quality and duration. Studies show it is more effective than a placebo in minimizing jet lag.

2. Insomnia: Levels of melatonin naturally decline with age. Older adults often produce very little melatonin, which may contribute to insomnia by making it harder to fall and stay asleep.

Supplementing with melatonin can restore levels to a youthful range and improve sleep in those with age-related insomnia. Dosages between 2-3 mg before bedtime seem most effective in this group.

3. Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome: This disorder causes difficulty falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning at socially acceptable times.

Melatonin supplements taken several hours before the desired bedtime can shift the delayed sleep phase earlier and stabilize the sleep cycle. It is particularly helpful for adolescents and young adults.

4. Seasonal Affective Disorder: Some research has found melatonin may relieve depressive symptoms in people with SAD, especially when taken in the afternoon.

It may regulate circadian rhythms disrupted by changes in seasons and sunlight exposure. More studies are still needed, but melatonin shows promise as an adjunct treatment.

5. Shift Work Disorder: Working overnight shifts disrupts the natural circadian rhythm in many people. Melatonin taken before daytime sleep after a night shift can promote sleepiness and re-entrain the body clock.

It improves sleep quality and duration compared to placebo in night workers.

Melatonin Supplements

Taking Melatonin Supplements for Better Sleep

The best time to take melatonin supplements is 30-60 minutes before your desired bedtime. Start with the lowest dose possible – around 0.5 mg to 3 mg per day. If needed, increase by 0.5 mg per week up until the desired effect.

For continued effectiveness, it’s best to avoid taking melatonin daily for long periods. Cycling its use or taking breaks can prevent building a tolerance. Speak with your doctor about how much and how often to take it.

Select melatonin supplements made by reputable brands. Look for good manufacturing practices and third-party testing to ensure quality and safety. Melatonin derived from natural sources is preferred over synthetic. Capsule, liquid, or sublingual tablets are common forms.

Melatonin Side Effects and Precautions

While generally well-tolerated, melatonin may cause some side effects including:

1. Drowsiness: Melatonin can induce sleepiness, so daytime drowsiness is possible, especially at higher doses. This may impair driving and reaction times. Start with the lowest dose necessary.

2. Headaches: Some people report headaches after taking melatonin, perhaps due to changes in blood flow. Reducing dosage or discontinuing use can relieve headaches.

3. Dizziness: Feelings of dizziness can occur with melatonin use, especially in the elderly. Proper dosing and monitoring can prevent adverse effects.

4. Nausea: Nausea and stomach pain have been reported with immediate-release melatonin preparations. Switching to a slow-release form may help reduce digestive upset.

Medication interactions are also possible with anticoagulants, diabetes drugs, immunosuppressants, antidepressants, and sedatives. It is also not recommended for pregnant women or children without medical consultation first.

To prevent complications, have your doctor review all medications and medical history before using melatonin. Start low, go slow, and monitor the effects closely.

Melatonin Supplements formula and sleeping woman

Using Melatonin Effectively for Better Sleep

Along with melatonin supplements 30-60 minutes before bedtime, be sure to practice good sleep hygiene for optimal results:

  • Keep a set sleep schedule, even on weekends
  • Avoid blue light screens before bedtime
  • Make sure your bedroom is cool, dark, and quiet
  • Limit caffeine, especially late in the day
  • Avoid large meals, alcohol, and nicotine before bed
  • Relax through yoga, meditation, reading, or baths before bed

Conclusion:

As the seasons change, melatonin supplements can be a safe and effective option for adults looking to regulate their sleep cycles naturally. While melatonin is not a cure-all, when used properly it can support better sleep quality and duration.

After learning about correct dosing, timing, forms, and what to watch out for, consider giving melatonin a try this fall if you’re having trouble tapping into Dreamland. Just be sure to check with your doctor first if you have any medical conditions or take other medications.

With melatonin as an ally, along with good sleep hygiene habits, you’ll be resting easy all season long. The cool comfy nights of fall will become your prime time to turn in, tune out, and recharge your batteries with quality sleep. Learn here more about falling sleep better and faster.