Melatonin is the hormone that our brain produces in response to darkness. It’s use is to help with timing of our circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and sleep.
Research suggests that melatonin plays other important roles in the body beyond sleep. However, these effects are still not fully understood. There are still many questions into whether taking melatonin supplements for sleep disorders is a good idea in the long term, too.
We’ve taken a deeper look into the benefits of taking melatonin supplements..
Why is melatonin important?
Since melatonin is our sleepy hormone, it’s an essential chemical in our body to help us regulate our body clock and manage our sleeping pattern. Your body normally produces more melatonin at night. Levels tend to go up in the evening once the sun sets. They drop in the morning when the sun goes up. The amount of light you get each day, plus your own body clock set how much your body makes.
However, many people suffer with sleep conditions and may need extra help by taking supplements to boost our body’s production of melatonin.
Melatonin supplements may help with certain conditions, such as jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, some sleep disorders in children, and anxiety before and after surgery.
What can affect our natural melatonin production?
Exposure to light can block melatonin production. This includes blue light from looking at phone, laptop or tablet screens. If you find that you’re struggling with sleep, try eliminating the time spent on screens in the evening.
Can melatonin help with insomnia?
Studies have shown that taking melatonin supplements for short-term use are highly affective in treating insomnia. Everybody reacts differently to medicines and supplements, so melatonin may or may not work for you.
Other research shows it may let people with insomnia fall asleep slightly faster. It may also help you sleep better through the night, but not necessarily longer.
Is it safe to take melatonin?
There is a lot of research into the short-term use of melatonin, as this tends to be the safest option for most people struggling with sleep issues. However, there is little research into the effects of taking higher doses for a longer period. It’s important to speak to your doctor first before considering taking melatonin or any medication to aid sleep conditions.
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