Disclaimer: This article is to provide you information and not medical advice.
Most of us have had sleepless nights, tossing and turning in bed trying to sleep, staying up for no reason at all, or finding it hard to go back to sleep once waking up. If you are among those people, you must have heard about the sleep aid known as melatonin. So, what is melatonin, how does it work, and are there any side effects?
It is a naturally occurring hormone that can assist you to sleep faster. A Sleep Science article informs that many US citizens use melatonin over the counter to fall asleep quickly. However, before starting to use melatonin, it’s vital to comprehend its insights, how it works, and everything else necessary.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates the circadian rhythm to promote sleepiness. You can use melatonin to modulate your sleep cycle and put yourself to sleep in a better way. You can use it as a sleep aid for severe medical conditions like insomnia. Some situations where people use melatonin regularly are:
- Against irritable bowel syndrome
- Against insomnia syndrome
- Against migraine issues
- Against jet lag
- Against side effects of stimulant medications
- Against neurodevelopment disorder symptoms
According to Luis F. Buenaver, Ph.D., CBSM, sleep expert, melatonin levels go up in the evening, inducing a calm wakefulness state that promotes sleep. Your body produces melatonin naturally, and taking melatonin as a supplement at evening time only increases the production so you can go to sleep early.
How Long Does Melatonin Remain in Your System?
Melatonin stays for an extended period in the system. The amount of melatonin you take is processed in two halves. It takes forty minutes for your body to reduce melatonin in half. So, the first half of melatonin is spent during the first forty minutes, and the rest is processed through the night.
However, various factors can affect the processing of melatonin. Usually, melatonin stays in the system for about four to eight hours. Other external factors that affect how long melatonin lasts in the body are:
- Exposure to light
Exposure to bright/blue light emitted by gadgets and devices can cause it harder for melatonin to take effect. These lights send a signal to the brain that it’s daytime. Thus, it becomes harder for the brain to comprehend the sleeping impact put forth by melatonin.
The metabolism changes as we age. So, the older you get, metabolism levels slow down accordingly. Thus, as you age, the melatonin wears down that slow. The younger you are, the faster it leaves your system.
A study depicts that caffeine can reduce the effect of melatonin by modifying its production. Thus, it’s advised not to take in caffeine before 4 hours of your bedtime.
- Use of tobacco
Other studies in animals have shown that nicotine can restrain the natural effect of melatonin. So, it is advised not to consume nicotine after taking melatonin.
Different kinds of medications such as immunosuppressant, blood thinners, and other stimulants can harm the effectiveness of melatonin.
- Body type
Body factors like height and weight impact what you consume and how the body reacts to it. So, the amount of melatonin you need should be prescribed by an expert.
Melatonin generally wears off between four and eight hours. However, the number of hours it lasts may vary depending on the amount you take. Thus, professionals suggest taking it as minimal as possible. A lower dose of melatonin also means that it’ll wear off quickly, and you’ll experience almost no side effects.
What are the Side Effects of Melatonin?
Melatonin is a dietary supplement. Thus, it is essential to understand the potential side effects of melatonin. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in the USA does not regulate melatonin like managing prescriptions. So, there are no particular or official guidelines to follow when it comes to melatonin consumption. However, the side effects seen by taking melatonin vary from person to person and are not very common overall. Below are various kinds of side effects cause by melatonin.
The common side effects of melatonin are:
These side effects do not last long, and a good night’s sleep can put them away.
The less common side effects of melatonin are:
- Sleep loss
- Joint pain
- Abdominal pain
Thus, it’s vital to take advice from your doctor before consuming melatonin, no matter how much. Even if you are taking 1 milligram, talk to a professional to know what exactly you’re getting into. Talking to a medical professional will also give you clarity on needing melatonin or not in the first place.
How Long Does it Take for Melatonin to Work?
There are different factors involved for melatonin to start its effect. Generally, it takes around somewhere between 20 minutes and 2 hours. Thus, researchers advise taking melatonin about two hours before bedtime. This timeframe will give you an ample amount of time to drift to sleep and be asleep for long enough.
Also, melatonin levels start to rise naturally two hours before bedtime. So maintaining a consistent bedtime can help to stop infusing yourself with melatonin after a while. Regulating consistency sends a signal to the brain for producing melatonin so you can sleep naturally. You can stop using melatonin after one to two months. So, having a regular sleep schedule can help for the natural production of melatonin.
We have already established that it takes a different time to start its effect and the time for which it lasts. So, take the minimum amount of melatonin at first and experiment. This is where a professional can help you after regulating your body with melatonin.
How to Avoid Taking Melatonin?
The best way to avoid melatonin consumption, suggested by Sleep Science, is to get the perfect, comfortable mattress. What kind of a new mattress depends on your sleeping position, comfort level, body type, mattress type, preference, etc. So, if you don’t know which mattress is best for you, visit our mattress store. At Mancini’s Sleepworld, SleepMatch is perfect for those who are looking for a good night’s sleep.
This new technology evaluates thousands of parameters to find the best mattress for your body and then color codes them based on your body type, thus matching you with the perfect mattress. Because it is science-based, there is almost no room for human error, making it more effective than a salesperson’s advice. All you have to do is call and book an appointment to find SleepMatch at the nearest Mancini’s Sleepworld mattress store.