5. Melatonin Comes in a Variety of Forms and Dosages
This supplement comes in a dazzling array of dosage forms. There are tablets and capsules to be taken by mouth. Sublingual tablets can be dissolved under the tongue. Topical gels deliver melatonin through the skin and may be used to treat sunburn. Furthermore, melatonin comes in a solution that is injected intravenously (into the veins) for supplemental treatment of certain tumors. Without clear guidelines, it can be difficult to know the proper dose to use. Check with your doctor to determine whether you are a good candidate for melatonin supplementation and to determine a good starting dose for you.
4. Long-Term Effects of Melatonin Are Unknown
Melatonin is effective in helping some people to fall asleep or to readjust their circadian rhythm to allow sleep at appropriate times. However, the long-term effects of this supplement are unknown. If you find melatonin supplements to be helpful for insomnia, try discontinuing their use after one or two months. Perhaps a few weeks of melatonin was what your body needed to reset your circadian rhythm and improve your sleep patterns. If you see no effect from melatonin supplementation after one or two weeks, it will probably not help you. If sleep problems persist, contact your physician to determine the root of your sleep problem.Related: 8 Little Changes You Can Make to Sleep Better in Just One Day
3. Melatonin Can Interfere with Your Sleep Cycle
It is important to be aware that if used at the wrong time, melatonin can confuse an already off-balance sleep cycle. Melatonin must be taken at the time at which your body normally produces this hormone. This means that taking melatonin right before you lay your head on your pillow won’t result in instantaneous slumber. Be sure to take melatonin in the evening when darkness sets in. Some people find melatonin supplementation effective when taken only 30 minutes before bedtime. Others find they must take the supplement as early as three hours before bedtime.
2. People Who Should Avoid Using Melatonin Supplements
While short-term melatonin supplementation may be useful for some people, others should avoid the use of this hormone supplement. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use melatonin. Patients with autoimmune disorders, depression, or seizure disorders should avoid melatonin supplementation. Diabetic patients and people with high blood pressure may need to avoid the use of melatonin due to the effect on blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
1. Melatonin Is Not the Only Choice
If you have a difficult time falling asleep or staying asleep, taking a pill is not your only choice. Talk with your physician to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing sleeplessness. Set the stage for a good night’s sleep by avoiding caffeine, strenuous exercise, and heavy meals before bedtime. Prepare your body for rest by turning down lights and engaging in quiet activities. Avoid the use of devices such as cell phones, computers, and electronic notebooks at bedtime, as their blue light stimulates wakefulness.Related: Can Melatonin Help with Weight Loss?