Getting a higher quality of sleep can help reduce stress and tension, improve brain function and help with blood glucose control. Some people have trouble falling asleep; others have issues with waking up after a few hours. Melatonin is an over the counter supplement that can help with occasional bouts of insomnia and is one of the contributing factors in reducing my blood sugar. If you are a diabetic and you are not getting enough sleep, chances are your sugar levels are higher than normal.
What makes Melatonin work? It is a synthetic version of what your body makes naturally; as you age your body produces less Melatonin. The standard dose is three milligrams, that is enough for most people to get six to seven hours of sleep but those with insomnia, who consume energy drinks or experience Seasonal Affective Disorder may need a higher dose. It has a short half life so it is only active in your system for twenty to thirty minutes so it isn’t something that is going to stay in your system.
Which brand of Melatonin is going to be the most effective for you? Almost all Melatonin is the same; the 3mg dose is standard. There are some specialty sleep blends that contain other ingredients to promote healthy sleep (Valerian root), relax your muscles (potassium) or help you stay asleep.
What are the common side effects of Melatonin? You might wake up a little groggy so it’s important to give yourself enough time to ‘get started’ in the morning before you drive. Dry mouth is another side effect you might experience due to a deeper sleep, there’s even more of a chance of this happening if you snore. A Melatonin overdose is rare; there is no treatment plan for an overdose but if you suspect that someone has purposely taken more than the recommended amount you do need to contact emergency services.
I don’t use Melatonin every night; I use it a couple times a week so I have no problems with it building up in my system or becoming non-effective. The 3mg dose is enough to help me fall asleep and stay asleep without preventing me from hearing the phone or someone calling my name. In the past when I’ve used this for more than a couple days straight it wasn’t as effective as using it occasionally. Melatonin should not be used by those who are pregnant or breast feeding. While it has not been shown to interact with any prescription medications, you should check with your health care provider or pharmacist before taking Melatonin if you have ongoing problems with insomnia and are taking medications for other issues.
When I know I am going to be on an international flight lasting more than six hours I take Melatonin to help me sleep. I do tell one of the stewardesses that I am taking it in case they try to wake me up and I’m slow to respond. During a flight the 3mg dose only lasts about four hours; part of the reason for the reduced amount of sleep time is the ambient sound and sleeping in an upright position. After doing this several time I did notice that my jet lag was almost nil and I didn’t have a problem adjusting to time differences.