When should you consider taking Melatonin?
Are you falling asleep at your desk? Have you not had a good night’s sleep in a while? Is your sleep-wake cycle all off? Have you been traveling? Are you now suffering from jet lag but have a presentation in the morning?! Melatonin is a possible solution, short-term or long-term, to help you get back on track to feeling well-rested!
What is it?
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. This naturally occurring hormone is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. It does not like light, so the more light you are exposed to, especially in the evening, the harder it is to produce. Melatonin is frequently used as a supplement to help normalize abnormal sleep patterns. That means that although you use it every day, it is intended to be naturally secreted, rather than supplemented daily. If you are in the habit of staying up late and spending hours on end on your computer or on your cellphone, Melatonin might be a good solution for you!
Taking it can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep when lying in bed at night, helping you avoid the dreaded restlessness of knowing you need to fall asleep, but the anxiety of that knowing is keeping you up! Did I lose you with that tongue twister? It may also modestly improve the quality of your sleep. Results may vary, but enough people benefit from taking melatonin that it’s worth mentioning!
Let’s focus on the light aspect again – When you are exposed to too much light, specifically blue light from screens and devices, it can be much harder for your body to produce its own Melatonin. If you’ve ever gone camping, you’ll know what I’m talking about!
Gone are the days of no technology. It’s actually pretty hard to avoid cellphones, computers, bright billboards, and more. Melatonin is becoming more than just a supplement you take after a trip to a different time zone. For many, this natural supplement is a daily staple for getting a good night’s rest.
I’m sure many of you have figured it out what the number one benefit of Melatonin is by now. Melatonin’s main benefit is to aid in sleep. More specifically, Melatonin can help you get back on track and renew your natural circadian rhythm. It’s a popular supplement to take for jet lag, especially if you’re traveling somewhere in a different time zone. Other than sleep, here are some other benefits of Melatonin.
- It has been shown to help with reducing symptoms of Seasonal Depression. With less light exposure in the winter mornings, some people may notice feelings of depression due to an overproduction of melatonin! Taking a small dose at night can help to regulate your circadian rhythm. The addition of a SAD lamp for daytime sunlight could help, as well!
- It could also increase circulating levels of Human Growth Hormone (HGH), a hormone produced by your pituitary gland. HGH plays a key role in growth, body composition, cell repair, and metabolism. This leads to a boost in muscle growth, strength, and improved exercise performance – sometimes a loss of body fat, too!
- It can promote eye health. It is high in antioxidants that can help prevent cell damage and keep your eyes healthy. In fact, research suggests that melatonin could be beneficial in treating conditions like glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
- It can help minimize the effects of Acid Reflux. It helps block stomach acid secretion and nitric oxide synthesis, meaning it can reduce heartburn and GERD when used alone or with a medical prescription.
How much should I take?
Not all Melatonin products are the same, so make sure to stick to the instructions on the label. Doses vary between 0.5 – 10 mg per day. This can be taken up to 3 hours before bedtime, but I tend to take it an hour before. I immediately hop into bed and read until my eyes can’t stay open anymore! I find that helps me stay away from screens before bedtime and helps improve my quality of sleep.
Let’s take a look at two NutraChamps products that both contain Melatonin.
I love this product because not only does it contain Melatonin, but there’s also a bunch of other natural ingredients that can help calm the body down before sleep. I find these pretty potent, so I stick to taking only one capsule 20-30 minutes before bed. With 6 mg of melatonin, this dosage is the perfect in-between for those who have been using Melatonin for a while. I specifically like that they have included calming ingredients like Magnesium, L-Theanine, Lemon Balm Extract, and L-Tryptophan. These ingredients are not habit-forming and honestly help to knock me out if I have had a high-stress day and know that I need to be up and functioning the next morning.
These are great for both children and adults. Because melatonin is naturally occurring in our bodies, children may not need this, but it’s great to have that option. If you take the full recommended dose, you’re getting 10 mg of Melatonin in two gummies! If you feel that 10 mg is too high to start with, feel free to half the dose by eating just 1 gummy, or cutting them in half. The effects of NutraChamps Melatonin Gummies are less immediate and less potent than the DreamRite capsules, as these only contain Melatonin.
I keep both DreamRite and Melatonin Gummies in my supplement drawer so that I can choose what may work best for me on days where I really need to get a good night’s rest to reset my sleep-wake cycle.
If you plan on adding Melatonin to your supplement regimen, make sure it does not interact negatively with your current medication. Some contraindications include, but are not limited to, any kind of sedative medications, some birth control, caffeine, Fluvoxamine (an SSRI antidepressant), some medications for diabetes, medications that slow blood clotting, and much more. Surprisingly, taking Melatonin alone has little to no negative side effects. If you aren’t on any medications, it’s fairly safe to add it into your regimen in small doses. However, I always suggest you speak to a doctor before adding something new to your supplement stack!
If you are in desperate need of a good night’s sleep, Melatonin is one of the best options for over-the-counter supplements as it is something that is already naturally occurring in our bodies. Although it is not habit-forming, it’s a good idea to take a break from it every once in a while so you can read your body’s natural signs
Chelsea has been active most of her life, which led her to become a Personal Trainer and Yoga Instructor for the past 7 years. Health and Fitness are not solely dependent on movement, though, and with that understanding, she addresses her client’s other needs, such as diet, mindfulness, and stress management.
When she is not training clients, she is finding new activities that keep her mind and body active, such as rock climbing, hiking, listening to podcasts, or playing Board Games with friends. She is constantly working towards: Finding natural solutions to live as long as possible, inclusive Yoga for all body types, and aiming to find mindfulness is everything she does.