Is It OK to Take Melatonin Every Night

Is It OK to Take Melatonin Every Night

Is It OK to Take Melatonin Every Night?

Taking melatonin supplements every night is safe in the short term, but long-term safety is uncertain. Caution is advised when administering melatonin to children. Contact your healthcare provider or pediatrician for guidance.

The recommended dose of melatonin can significantly increase blood melatonin levels, resulting in side effects such as excessive sleepiness, headache, dizziness, fatigue, irritability, stomach discomfort, anxiety, and depression.

It is advisable to use melatonin for a limited period. Consult your doctor if you wish to continue long-term use. Alternatively, you can explore other options like meditation, muscle relaxation, or biofeedback therapy for sleep issues.

If you become dependent on melatonin supplements or experience adverse effects, seek medical help.

How long does it take for melatonin to kick in?

With a recommended dose of 1-3 mg, melatonin takes around 1-2 hours to induce sleep. Take melatonin supplements 2 hours before bedtime. To prevent jetlag, start taking the pills a few days before traveling and continue for the first few nights in the new time zone.

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What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin secretion increases in darkness and decreases in response to light. Higher levels of melatonin signal the brain to become less alert and induce sleep.

Melatonin secretion peaks between 2 and 4 a.m. and gradually decreases during the second half of the night. It is mainly synthesized at night. Sunlight inhibits melatonin production, promoting wakefulness.

Melatonin supplements are available in various forms as sleep aids for individuals with sleep issues.

Which foods contain melatonin?

The following foods and liquids, due to their melatonin content, can improve sleep quality:

  • Tomatoes
  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Olives
  • Rice
  • Barley
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Cow’s milk
  • Bananas
  • Pineapple
  • Oranges

QUESTION

What conditions benefit from melatonin supplements?

Melatonin supplements can benefit individuals with the following conditions:

  • Jetlag
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Insomnia
  • Delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD)

Doctors may also prescribe melatonin supplements for sleep disorders and certain developmental and behavioral disorders in children, as well as for sleep disorders in adults with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, and depression.

Who can prescribe melatonin?

Melatonin is considered a dietary supplement and is less strictly regulated than prescription or over-the-counter drugs. Pediatricians may prescribe melatonin for specific health or behavior conditions in children, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and insomnia, asthma, autism spectrum disorder, or atopic dermatitis. In adults, melatonin may be recommended for jetlag.

Is it bad to give your child melatonin every night?

Giving melatonin to an otherwise healthy child every night is not recommended. It is not suitable for healthy children without sleep problems or teenagers trying to adjust their sleep due to early school start times.

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What are the side effects of giving melatonin to children?

  • Melatonin is a hormone produced by the brain’s pineal gland. Its effects on human behavior, sleep physiology, eating patterns, and mental health are still being studied. The safety of widespread melatonin use is uncertain.
  • Melatonin supplements are not regulated by the FDA, and their dosing and safety profiles are not extensively studied.
  • The effects of melatonin on sexual maturity and puberty in humans are unknown. Its long-term side effects and potential impacts on ovaries and testicular function in teenagers and children are uncertain.
  • The reliability and safety of over-the-counter melatonin preparations are not guaranteed.
  • There is limited research on melatonin use in special populations, such as those with insomnia and comorbid anxiety or mood disorders.
  • Possible side effects of melatonin in children include daytime sleepiness, headaches, giddiness, abdominal pain, irritability, confusion, and depression. The prevalence and severity of these side effects are not well-documented.

How do I put my teenager to sleep on time?

To help your teenager sleep on time:

  • Encourage a consistent sleep schedule, even on weekends.
  • Avoid daytime naps.
  • Avoid electronic devices (TV, smartphones, and tablets) for at least an hour before bedtime, as they emit blue light that can disrupt the body’s natural melatonin cycle.
  • Have dinner at least 2 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine-containing foods and drinks after 6 p.m.
  • Create a comfortable sleep environment with appropriate temperature and minimal noise.

If your child consistently struggles with sleep, consult a pediatrician. Most sleep disturbances in children and adolescents can be managed with a fixed sleep schedule and behavioral therapy. In some cases, medication or supplements may be necessary.

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Sources:
"Melatonin: What You Need to Know." National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. July 2022.
"Cases in CAM: Melatonin for a Natural Sleep: What’s the Evidence?"

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