A lot of people take Melatonin as a sleep aid and there are definitely times it can be really helpful, like when you’re traveling to a new time zone since it can help shift your sleep timing. But there are a lot of myths surrounding this popular product.
Here’s what many of us get wrong about melatonin.
- Melatonin is a sleep supplement - It’s actually a hormone that the body produces naturally, not something that was created to enhance sleep. While it’s commonly used here, it’s not advertised or used casually outside the U.S. and Canada, according to Dr. David Kennaway. He says melatonin often requires a prescription and is only meant for short-term use in other countries.
- Melatonin helps with sleep quality - It signals the body that it’s time to sleep, but it doesn’t necessarily improve sleep quality. Dr. Frank Lipman explains that melatonin is better used for helping to get your sleep schedule back on track temporarily. Dr. Kennaway points out that even if it helps you fall asleep, the hormone might not make it easier to stay asleep or reach deep sleep stages.
- It’s safe to take in high quantities - In case you’re tempted to pop another melatonin when you want to fall asleep faster, behavioral sleep doctor Shelby Harris says it’s best to stick to low doses. “If you’re taking more than three to five milligrams nightly, then melatonin isn’t likely for you,” she explains, adding that “sometimes more is just more.” Plus, taking higher doses of melatonin can lead to unpleasant things like nightmares, grogginess and headaches.
- Melatonin is side-effect free - Just because it’s naturally produced by our bodies doesn’t mean it doesn’t have side effects. Lipman says that taking a lot of melatonin over time can affect other hormones and suppress your body’s ability to make melatonin. Research has also found it can have side effects including queasiness and dizziness.
Source: Mind Body Green