What is melatonin and should you take it to sleep better?

Melatonin is the hormone that contributes to a good sleep cycle. It is also available as a supplement that can help you fix your sleep troubles.
Melatonin might just be the solution to your sleeping problems. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Grace Bains Updated: 30 Oct 2023, 15:10 pm IST
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For many of us, it is becoming increasingly hard to fall asleep due to factors ranging from stress to excessive caffeine intake. Our fast-paced social and work environments are also factors distorting the sleeping cycle, leading to adverse impacts on your health. A good night’s sleep is important to avoid cognitive disabilities, poor focus and risk of heart diseases.

There are many ways to set the sleeping cycle right, from meditation to medication. One such way is using melatonin.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and the onset of darkness prompts it to be released into the bloodstream. Light happens to be its enemy, as it hampers its production, and hence, the quality of your sleep.

Your sleep cycle is regulated by the hormone melatonin. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

It is a hormone that is critical to maintaining the natural sleeping and waking up cycle. Melatonin levels in the blood are highest at night and help promote healthy sleep by orienting our circadian rhythm. This hormone is produced naturally by the body, although for people facing sleeping issues, its supplements are also recommended on a case to case basis.

Should you be taking melatonin to sleep better?

Melatonin plays a central role in regulating the quality of sleep. For healthy adults, melatonin supplements may be useful for people who have sleeping problems related to Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase Disorder (DSWPD). This hormone is useful for people suffering from circadian rhythm disorders, which alters a person’s sleep schedule.

People working graveyard shifts or travelling abroad may find their body’s internal clock being misaligned. Melatonin supplements are known to help with these issues, as it resets the sleep-wake cycle and improves the quality of sleep.

Research on the efficacy of melatonin supplements with respect to improvement in sleeping cycle, has shown them to be an effective agent against distorted sleep patterns.

You’ve got to try out melatonin if you’re suffering from sleeplessness. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

While the benefits of using melatonin for sleeping better are well established, one should also consider its side effects. These include headache, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and in some cases, it may also cause mild anxiety and stress. Symptoms such as abdominal cramps, diminished focus, disorientation, and low blood pressure levels are also indicators of side effects of using melatonin. Considering that melatonin can cause drowsiness, activities such as driving should be avoided as a precaution.

These supplements could also adversely react with certain medications, such as anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs, contraceptives, diabetes medications, and immunosuppressants.

The supplements are available in pill, capsule, chewable, and liquid form. However, it is prudent to consult a doctor before starting any melatonin supplements.

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So, ladies, if you are facing sleeping issues, and have tried all-natural remedies at your disposal, then do reach out to a doctor and seek consultation on using melatonin for a healthier sleeping cycle.

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About the Author

Grace is someone who likes writing enough to make a living out of it. When she isn’t writing, you will find her having chai and reading a book. ...Read More

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