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Can I Use Melatonin for Insomnia?

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  • Written By: Amy Hunter
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 03 December 2016
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The use of melatonin for insomnia is well documented. Melatonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the body. Levels of this hormone fluctuate throughout the day, and affect our circadian rhythms. Supplementing with melatonin for insomnia increases the amount of melatonin in the body, leading to drowsiness.

Melatonin is recognized as an effective treatment for insomnia and is highly regarded as a supplement. In many countries, it is impossible to buy melatonin without a prescription. In the United States and Canada, melatonin is available over the counter. In the United States, melatonin is considered a dietary supplement, which means that the quality of the product is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. If you plan to supplement with melatonin for insomnia, it is important to purchase from an established company.

The body produces melatonin in several areas of the body, including the pineal gland, which is in the brain, the retina and the gastrointestinal tract. Melatonin requires darkness for production. Any light, and particularly blue light, can interfere with the body’s production of melatonin.

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Before you begin to supplement with melatonin, you may want to attempt to increase your body’s production of the hormone. The most effective way to increase production of melatonin is by sleeping in a totally dark room. Even the light from a digital alarm clock can disrupt the production of melatonin in the body. For several hours before bed, avoid watching television, playing video games or working in front of the computer. All of these things expose your body to high levels of blue light.

After experimenting with these steps, you may decide that you need to supplement with melatonin for insomnia. Melatonin is an effective and safe supplement. The side effects that are most commonly reported typically occur when people supplement in high doses. These side effects include headaches, nausea, grogginess that persists into the following morning, irritability and vivid nightmares. For people that have existing issues with low blood pressure, melatonin can exasperate the problem.

There is no evidence that high doses of melatonin for insomnia are more effective than low doses. Three milligrams, taken 30 to 90 minutes before you intend to go to bed, should provide an effective relief from insomnia. For some people, the addition of light therapy in the morning increases melatonin’s effectiveness. Melatonin is a highly regarded treatment for people who suffer from insomnia due to shift work, night work and jet lag. If your insomnia has some other cause, melatonin may not be as effective.

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discographer
Post 4

@bear78-- Yes, I have been using it for a few weeks and it is working for me. I take 3mg/day. Most products are either 3mg or 5mg. 3mg works fine for me. I usually take it half an hour before bed time and it makes me sleepy very quickly. I have not experienced any side effects.

I'm not sure if the effects of my melatonin supplement will reduce over time or not. But it seems to be working great so far. It has made a huge difference for me as I was only getting about four hours of sleep a night. Now I sleep eight hours without waking up. I think that's a huge improvement and I don't have to take prescription medications.

Do read up on the possible side effects and make sure to follow the dosage recommendations though. I've heard from a friend that it causes more dreams but I haven't experienced that side effect so far.

bear78
Post 3

Does anyone here use melatonin supplements for insomnia? Does it work for you? How much do you take daily and when do you take it?

donasmrs
Post 2

I experienced light's effects on melatonin production myself. Last year, there was a school assignment where we had to give up technology for a week. I decided to give up TV entirely and computer use in the evening. During the week, I spent my evenings by reading and noticed that I started sleeping several hours earlier than usual each day. It became obvious that I was delaying sleep by watching TV and using the computer. I also know that I feel much more rested when I close all the curtains and make the room totally dark at night.

I think that by making some small changes to how we spend our evenings can play a huge role in our natural melatonin production. Insomniacs must make these changes. I think it's technology that's causing more and more people to suffer from sleep problems.

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