According to the CDC, an estimated 50–70 million adults in the United States suffer from chronic sleep and wakefulness disorders. Our bodies require sleep for restoration, but also detoxification. You’ve likely heard about melatonin as a sleep aid and may have many questions on how the supplement can help improve your sleep.
Studies show poor sleep and too little sleep are linked to chronic health conditions such as:
- Heart disease
- Mood disorders
- Memory issues
- Immune dysfunction
- Micronutrient deficiencies
Melatonin regulates sleep and modulates circadian rhythm. The pineal gland produces less melatonin as individuals hit mid-life but studies show production can also be decreased through the use of electronics that shed blue light and EMFs (electromagnetic fields). The production of melatonin is influenced by the detection of light by the retina.
Who may benefit from trying melatonin?
- Have difficulty going to sleep
- Have difficulty maintaining sleep
- Wake too early
- Wake chronically tired despite adequate opportunity and circumstances for sleep
- Experience impaired sleep and daytime impairment or distress
- Have sleep difficulties occurring at least three times per week and have experienced the problem for at least one month
Is it addictive and will my body stop making it if I take it?
No and no! If it doesn’t aid your insomnia or makes you feel groggy, you may try a precursor to melatonin, such as serotonin support (5-HTP). Since most of our serotonin is made in the gut, gut inflammation may be aiding your issues. I would be happy to work with you to find a solution by exploring other options and diving deeper into the issue!
How can I support my body’s natural production of melatonin?
- Shut off all electronic devices at least two hours before bed
- Make sure your room is dark
- Don’t sleep with your cell phone or a fitness watch
- Turn off wifi at night
- Manage stress- yoga and meditation are good options
- Make sure you are getting enough protein and good fats, as these are needed to make melatonin
How much should I take and when should I take it?
I recommend starting with a low dose, anywhere from 0.5mg to 3mg, but everyone is different so work with your practitioner on the dosing that is right for you. Take it 30 minutes before bedtime and relax!
Can I take melatonin on occasion?
Typically no since melatonin is a hormone and can take about seven days to build up in the body. I recommend taking it nightly for two weeks before giving up on it and exploring other options.
Are there other benefits to taking melatonin?
Yes! There are many benefits but a few include:
- Reducing circulating cortisol, a stress hormone
- Modulating T lymphocyte production, which helps the body fight infection
- Reducing inflammation as an antioxidant
Are you interested in purchasing Melatonin for your sleep routine? If you have a FullScript account or would like to get one set-up, check out Dr. Melanie’s protocol here.
Many issues that can disrupt sleep, but melatonin deficiency is a good place to start. You can also try breathing exercises to help calm your mind at bedtime. Here’s a blog that walks you through 4 Breathing Practices for Deep Sleep. If you feel stuck, schedule an appointment to find the underlying cause of your insomnia.
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Orexin receptor antagonists a new class of sleeping pill, National Sleep Foundation
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