The Do's and Don'ts of Taking Melatonin
|By Petra Trudell, Managing Editor on Tuesday, June 3, 2014|
|Melatonin is a popular natural sleep aid. But there is a right and wrong way to use it.
Keep reading to learn how to take melatonin to sleep better.||
Anyone who suffers from sleep issues knows the various negative impacts it can have on your health. Lack of sleep weakens the immune system and can lead to weight gain. Melatonin is a common solution for sleep issues, but there are some do's and don'ts to remember.
Melatonin is a hormone, which is secreted by the pineal gland in the brain when darkness is detected. The melatonin travels throughout the body and helps you fall asleep. It then remains in your system for up to 12 hours to help you stay asleep.
It's crucial to take melatonin supplements the proper way to get the desired result. Here are some guidelines to keep in mind if you're considering taking a sleep aid like melatonin:
DO start with a low dosage.
When taking any new supplement, it's important to follow instructions carefully and take the lowest dose available for safety and to assess tolerance. For melatonin, it's best to start with a dosage between 0.5 and 1 mg. Unless recommended by a physician, a larger dosage than this isn't typically necessary.
DON'T take melatonin before before you're ready to rest.
Melatonin will make you sleepy and encourage your body to fall asleep. Take it one hour or so before you plan to go to sleep and never before driving or operating machinery. You should also make sure you have plenty of time to sleep while the melatonin is in your system.
DO use melatonin after a change in routine.
Traveling to a different time zone or experiencing a change in your work schedule can really impact your quality of sleep. Melatonin is suitable for these situations to help retrain the body and reset the sleep cycle so you can get back into a healthy routine.
DON'T take it for more than two weeks.
Two weeks is a sufficient amount of time to get the body back into a natural sleep rhythm so you can get the rest you need. Taking melatonin for a longer period of time will cause your body to become tolerant to the supplement and it will become less effective, leading you to take more and more.
DO consult your doctor.
If you continue to suffer from sleep issues after two weeks of using melatonin, it may be time to speak with your doctor about what could be preventing you from sleeping well. It might be a breathing problem or even an anxiety disorder that needs to be dealt with.
DON'T take additional pills throughout the night.
If you've taken melatonin and wake up in the middle of the night, many people think they should just pop another tablet. However, you can quickly go above and beyond the recommended amount.
DO consult a doctor before giving melatonin to your children.
In general, melatonin use isn't recommended for anyone under the age of 18. However, certain medical conditions may impact sleep quality, like mental disorders. Discuss these issues with your child's doctor to determine if melatonin is a viable option.
DON'T take melatonin if you're pregnant, breastfeeding or taking blood thinners.
Since melatonin is a hormone, it can interact with certain medications and shouldn't be passed onto children in utero or through breast milk. If you're undergoing hormone replacement therapy, you should also speak to your doctor first before taking melatonin.
You can find melatonin supplements in a variety of strengths at eVitamins as well as additional information. Be well!
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