With sleep disorders rising around the world with every passing day, people are more interested in sleep aids than ever. Sleep aids come in various forms. They come as liquids and as pills, and sometimes even as a supplement in the form of powder. To make sleep aids easily accessible, most of them are available over-the-counter and don’t even require a prescription. Sleep aids used to be an easy way for people to commit suicide, but modern sleeping pills no longer have the potential to kill. If you overdose on sleeping pills, you’re only going to sleep for a long time and in the worst case scenario get very sick.
Modern sleep aids also incorporate natural ingredients to help people sleep without resorting to chemicals always. Although sleep aids are not a cure for sleep disorders and should not be consumed on a regular basis, they are popular everywhere because they are a fast and easy means of falling and staying asleep. To make sleeping pills safer, there are now the kinds that are made of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Because melatonin is a natural part of our body, consuming melatonin sleep aids are believed to have fewer side effects than regular sleep aids.
But melatonin can also make it hard for you to wake up on time every morning if you don’t know when to time its consumption. In this post, we discuss melatonin production, melatonin sleep aids, and the right time to take it.
What Is Melatonin?
Like all bodily functions, sleep is also controlled by hormones. The hormone for alertness is serotonin, and the hormone for sleep is melatonin. While sunshine and bright lights aid in the production of serotonin, darkness aids in the production of melatonin. Melatonin is normally produced only after sundown.
But hormonal imbalances are common in every individual, and if your melatonin production is not normal, you are going to have sleep issues. Being exposed to bright lights also hinders melatonin production and makes it hard for sleep to come at night. Blue light is one of the worst enemies of melatonin production. If you are exposed to electronic devices most of the time, you are more at risk for suffering from sleep disorders. This is because the blue light emitted from backlit electronic devices significantly hinders melatonin production.
For a healthy sleep-wake cycle, the serotonin and melatonin productions should be in balance. Lack of melatonin causes sleep disorders like insomnia whereas a lack of serotonin causes depression and low energy. Melatonin is produced by the part of the brain called the hypothalamus.
Melatonin Sleep Aid
Sleep aids are known to have various side effects. This led to the development of sleep aids made with melatonin, a hormone that’s naturally present in our bodies. However, melatonin sleep aids aren’t a solution to low melatonin production. They only help you fall asleep by increasing the amount of melatonin in your brain. If you don’t take it, your melatonin levels will go back to their previous state.
Melatonin sleep aids usually come in the form of a pill and should be taken before bedtime. Melatonin supplements are available over-the-counter and don’t require prescriptions. Melatonin supplements are either pure or compounded and added to other products. Pure melatonin supplements are always available as pills or capsules, but when they are mixed to other products, they are also available as liquids or sprays.
Because melatonin supplements are very potent and fast-acting, they should be taken only before bedtime.
Melatonin Supplement Dosage
Generally, melatonin supplements are available as over-the-counter drugs in most pharmacies. But they don’t require a prescription, are not regulated by the FDA, and have no fixed dosage. The appropriate dosage is usually mentioned on the pack but can also be misleading in many cases.
Before taking a melatonin supplement, it is important to consult a healthcare practitioner for the right dosage. Melatonin is more potent and faster acting than most other sleep aids and should be used judiciously to avoid side effects. Unlike other sleep aids, even the lowest dose of melatonin has been found effective in treating sleep issues. You don’t always have to take the highest dose for the maximum effect. To be on the safe side, it’s best to start with the lowest dosage.
There have so far been no adverse effects reported from melatonin supplements. However, the timing is everything in taking melatonin supplements. More important than the dose is the time when you are taking the supplement.
How Long Does Melatonin Last?
A lot of people new to melatonin supplements experience excessive sleepiness during the day after taking sleep aid at night. This is because of wrong timing.
The effects of melatonin last according to the dosage. A dosage of 0.5 mg will last only an hour while a 10 mg dosage will last more than seven hours. It all depends on how severe your condition. If you have infrequent episodes of sleeplessness, then a dosage of one or two milligrams should help you fall asleep. If you’re a chronic insomniac or suffer from the delayed onset of sleep, you need a dosage of 10mg or higher.
The effects of melatonin are also quick to go away. Taking higher doses isn’t the solution here. You simply have to time it right. If you simply want to get better sleep and don’t suffer from a sleep disorder, you should take the supplement no sooner than 30 minutes before going to bed. If you suffer from delayed sleep onset, you should take it at least an hour before going to bed.
If you have been diagnosed with a sleep disorder and also take other sleep aids, you should not start taking a melatonin supplement without consulting a doctor. Melatonin supplements are usually known to be safe and can also be given to children. However, dependence on any sleep aid isn’t recommended.
Although melatonin supplements are considered safer than most other sleep aids, they should be taken only if recommended by a doctor. Consuming the wrong supplements or medications can make your condition grow worse.