It is because melatonin helps govern your physique’s circadian rhythm—aka its sleep-wake cycle—so whenever you launch melatonin, it’s mainly a organic sign to hit the hay. “Melatonin in our brains helps us get sleepy,” scientific psychologist and sleep specialist Shelby Harris, PsyD, writer of The Ladies’s Information to Overcoming Insomnia, previously told Well+Good.
To assist improve the mind’s pure melatonin and induce sleepiness, some people flip to taking melatonin in capsule kind (although it’s found naturally in certain foods, together with pistachios). “Taking melatonin could enhance sleep in these with sure sleep issues, like insomnia, and others who’ve a tough time falling asleep,” says Rifkin. “Analysis additionally suggests supplemental melatonin could help those that are experiencing jet lag signs.”
The difficulty, Rifkin says, is that oftentimes folks take method an excessive amount of melatonin. Moreover, consultants do warn in opposition to nightly use of it, citing causes like threat of dependence and an overriding of the physique’s pure response that they do not advise. Whereas melatonin has been shown to be safe for short-term use, there isn’t sufficient analysis to point out that it’s secure for long-term use.
“The best dose of melatonin for an grownup ranges from 0.5 to 5 milligrams [per the National Sleep Foundation], and it needs to be taken half-hour to at least one hour earlier than bedtime,” behavioral sleep specialist Carleara Weiss, PhD, sleep science advisor for Aeroflow Sleep, told Well+Good. “Doses larger than optimum—that’s, 5 milligrams at a time—can result in dizziness, complications, and nausea, and a few folks could expertise adjustments in blood strain, vivid desires, or nightmares.”
What’s extra, there’s some analysis that has proven that melatonin dietary supplements generally comprise false dose labeling making long-term use all of the riskier: A 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine discovered that the content material of greater than 70 p.c of melatonin dietary supplements diversified by as a lot as 83 p.c much less to 478 p.c greater than what was listed on the bottle. Researchers additionally discovered that over 1 / 4 of dietary supplements examined contained serotonin, which if taken persistently long-term, can negatively affect the center, the mind and extra. “Choosing a supplement is rarely straightforward in a cluttered, unregulated market,” says Rifkin, who underlines that crucial factor is to search for one with few to no chemically-based and synthetic substances. “Moreover, search for merchandise that use scientific backing when creating merchandise. They need to even be inspected by america Pharmacopeial Conference, which is able to typically say ‘USP-verified.’ Monat Sleep Drops are an excellent instance of an excellent-quality complement with no synthetic sweeteners and a science-backed improvement.”
Most significantly, remember to seek the advice of with a doctor earlier than beginning on any dietary supplements, together with melatonin. And for those who’re new to taking melatonin, Rifkin recommends beginning on the decrease finish of the vary and regulate your dosage as wanted—and maintaining a tally of the signs beneath.
Right here’s how your physique is telling you that you could be be taking an excessive amount of melatonin
1. It’s not working
“Taking an excessive amount of melatonin could intrude together with your physique’s circadian rhythm, inflicting extra sleep issues,” says Rifkin. “Moreover, some folks could also be extra delicate than others to the results of melatonin, which is why it’s finest to start out with a one milligram dose and improve solely as wanted.”
2. You’re groggy
“Taking an excessive amount of melatonin could result in signs, like grogginess in the course of the day and nightmares while sleeping,” says Rifkin.
3. Your temper is off
Rifkin notes that some individuals who take melatonin report signs like diarrhea, irritability, nausea, and dizziness. It will possibly additionally doubtlessly irritate despair and nervousness.
4. Your blood strain is up
“An excessive amount of supplemental melatonin might even affect your blood strain, one more reason why it’s necessary to talk with a health care provider about taking melatonin for those who’re presently taking remedy, together with those who scale back blood strain,” says Rifkin.