For some it can feel impossible to get a good night’s sleep. Your brain constantly wired discerning all the priorities, stressors, and tasks that fill your life, can be grueling and keep you up at night. Lack of quality sleep can you leave irritable, unproductive, groggy, and even effect your hormones causing weight gain and muscle loss. Sleep supplements like melatonin have often been used intermittently as a way to get better quality sleep. But the question often asked, is “can you take melatonin every night” It’s not as straightforward as you would think. We’re going to break down the science and current research to find out if it is safe, to take melatonin every night.
Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone and powerful antioxidant, that induces sleep by working with your circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle. Think of Melatonin as your internal bed-time reminder. In supplemental form, melatonin won’t put you to sleep like other sleep aids, melatonin signals your body, putting it into a deeper sense of relaxation for sleep preparedness.
Melatonin is safe as a dietary supplement. Unlike many prescribed sleep medications, you are unlikely to become dependent, and have a diminished response after repeated use (habituation) or experience a hangover effect.
Melatonin is a naturally produced hormone by the pineal gland in your brain. Light exposure inhibits the production of melatonin and darkness stimulates it. Those with balanced and healthy circadian rhythms will experience peak production between 2-4 a.m. [R]. Melatonin is synthesized from tryptophan, an essential dietary amino acid. Your circadian rhythms are controlled by an endogenous time-keeping system oscillating approximately under a 24-hour cycle under constant conditions [R]. The master oscillator is in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the anterior hypothalamus in the brain – The most powerful pacemaker is the environmental light–dark cycle. Melatonin is secreted into the blood system and cerebral spinal fluid surrounding the spinal cord and brain, and stimulates the SCN, essentially signaling your body to wake up, or chill out.
When you’re traveling across multiple time zones, you may experience jet lag. Jet lag can feel like a bad hangover, interrupt critical thinking, increase daytime lethargy, impair functioning, and even cause digestive problems. Jet lag occurs when your body’s internal circadian rhythm is out of sync with the new time zone. Considering your body operates on a 24-hour clock, your master oscillator can get severely interrupted when you change things up.
Studies have shown that melatonin may reduce jet lag, by syncing your internal clock with the new time zone change [R].A review published in the Cochrane Database, identified nine studies that found that melatonin taken close to the target bedtime at the destination, decreased jet-lag from flights crossing five or more time zones, at an effective dose of 2-5mg [R].
Anxiety and depression effect nearly 40 million people in the United States in any given year, with another 322 million living with depression worldwide. Studies have shown that melatonin may provide potential therapeutic effects for depressive symptoms and anxiety [R]. By achieving a calm and relaxed state, sleep latency (time to fall asleep) is improved in addition to sleep quality and sleep duration.
The most recognized benefit of melatonin is helping you fall asleep, by syncing your internal clock. Current evidence suggests that melatonin supplementation, can help you achieve optimal sleep cycles and improve sleep latency.
A systematic review published in the Journal PLOS One, analyzed 19 different studies and found that melatonin improved sleep latency by an average of 7 minutes and increased overall sleep duration [R].
Human growth hormone (HGH) is a naturally produced hormone that is vital to cellular growth and regeneration.
A study published in the journal of Clinical Endocrinology found that melatonin increases the circulating concentrations of human growth hormone, oxytocin and vasopressin [R].
Naturally boosting HGH can contribute to an increase in lean muscle mass, strength, and enhance recovery as well as exercise performance. Not to mention improve overall quality of life.
According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) and National Institute of Health (NIH) short-term use of melatonin supplements is safe. However, research on long-term use of melatonin is limited and more research is needed.
A common recommendation is to supplement with 1-3g of melatonin for 30-60 days, then take a small break. Unlike many prescribed sleep medications, you are unlikely to become dependent, and have a diminished response after repeated use. However, there are no long-term studies that have investigated the long-term use of melatonin. Melatonin can be a good alternative to over-the-counter or prescribed sleep medications, as these can become addictive.
A 126-day randomized controlled trial, evaluated the use of melatonin on sleep parameters on fourteen subjects who had experienced mild-moderate sleep disorder complaints. Study participants received 5mg or placebo daily. Study results found that melatonin treatment significantly improved sleep quality scores, anxiety, with 9 out of 14 discontinuing use of prescribed sleep medications [R].
Studies show that the efficacious melatonin dose for better sleep quality and sleep duration is between 2-5mg, with better and longer sleep obtained at 5mg.
Clinical research has shown only mild side effects of melatonin supplements, reported in various short-term studies, such as headache, nausea, dizziness, and sleepiness.
Melatonin is safe to use as a dietary supplement. If you are experiencing sleep problems, disruption, or poor sleep quality, try improving your sleep routine, by reducing screen time before bed, wearing blue-light glasses, drinking anxiety reducing tea, introducing a weight blanket, and most importantly working with a certified nutrition coach to identify what factors in your diet may be contributing to lack of sleep quality. If you still experience irregular sleep cycles, or lack of sleep quality, we would suggest speaking with your physician, then adding a quality sleep supplement with a mix of sleep ingredients, such as Swolverine’s ZMT to achieve restful relaxation, improved sleep quality, and better recovery.
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