It’s because melatonin helps govern your physique’s circadian rhythm—aka its sleep-wake cycle—so if you launch melatonin, it’s principally a organic sign to hit the hay. “Melatonin in our brains helps us get sleepy,” medical psychologist and sleep specialist Shelby Harris, PsyD, creator of The Girls’s Information to Overcoming Insomnia, beforehand instructed Effectively+Good.
To assist improve the mind’s pure melatonin and induce sleepiness, some of us flip to taking melatonin in tablet type (although it’s discovered naturally in sure meals, together with pistachios). “Taking melatonin might 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 might support those that are experiencing jet lag signs.”
The difficulty, Rifkin says, is that oftentimes individuals 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 proven to be protected for short-term use, there isn’t sufficient analysis to point out that it’s protected 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 1 hour earlier than bedtime,” behavioral sleep specialist Carleara Weiss, PhD, sleep science advisor for Aeroflow Sleep, instructed Effectively+Good. “Doses greater than optimum—that’s, 5 milligrams at a time—can result in dizziness, complications, and nausea, and a few individuals might expertise modifications in blood strain, vivid desires, or nightmares.”
What’s extra, there’s some analysis that has proven that melatonin dietary supplements typically comprise false dose labeling making long-term use all of the riskier: A 2017 research revealed within the Journal of Scientific Sleep Drugs 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 impression the guts, the mind and extra. “Selecting a complement isn’t simple in a cluttered, unregulated market,” says Rifkin, who underlines that a very powerful 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 the USA Pharmacopeial Conference, which can typically say ‘USP-verified.’ Monat Sleep Drops are an incredible instance of an excellent-quality complement with no synthetic sweeteners and a science-backed improvement.”
Most significantly, you’ll want to seek the advice of with a doctor earlier than beginning on any dietary supplements, together with melatonin. And in case you’re new to taking melatonin, Rifkin recommends beginning on the decrease finish of the vary and alter your dosage as wanted—and maintaining a tally of the signs under.
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 might intervene together with your physique’s circadian rhythm, inflicting extra sleep issues,” says Rifkin. “Moreover, some individuals could also be extra delicate than others to the consequences of melatonin, which is why it’s greatest to begin with a one milligram dose and improve solely as wanted.”
2. You’re groggy
“Taking an excessive amount of melatonin might result in signs, like grogginess through the day and nightmares whereas 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 probably irritate despair and nervousness.
4. Your blood strain is up
“An excessive amount of supplemental melatonin might even impression your blood strain, one more reason why it’s essential to talk with a health care provider about taking melatonin in case you’re at present taking treatment, together with people who scale back blood strain,” says Rifkin.