Can Melatonin Help You Sleep Better?

As we’ve come to learn, losing sleep has a ton of short and long term side effects. We’re (sometimes) guilty of delaying sleep – we get it, life’s busy – but there are other times where we actually have trouble dozing off because we don’t feel sleepy. 

So what’s a troubled sleeper to do? Well, some refer to melatonin supplements. 

First, let’s clear the air: melatonin is naturally-produced hormone that calms your body in order to help you fall asleep. Therefore, melatonin supplements isn’t a straight shot to sleep. 

How does it work? 

Melatonin works with your circadian rhythm, also known as your body’s internal clock, to inform you when it’s time to wake up, eat, and sleep. In order to signal sleep, your body’s melatonin levels rises. It also binds to receptors in the brain to lower nerve activity and your dopamine levels, which is a hormone that keeps you awake. 

Does it work? 

Studies have proven that melatonin can help you hit the hay easier. It’s also been useful in helping those whose circadian rhythms are out-of-whack from things like jet lag and shift work

Is melatonin right for you? 

There are plenty of reasons why you may be having trouble falling asleep at night, including higher than usual stress levels, smoking, and exposure to too much light at night (environmental and blue light emitted from your phone). 

How much melatonin should you take? 

According to Healthline, start with a lower dose: “start with 0.5 mg or 1 mg 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn’t work, then try increasing it to 3–5 mg or follow the instructions on the supplement.”

Safety first

Melatonin supplements may cause mild side effects (sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, nausea), but they are completely safe, non-toxic, and non-addictive. Of course, if you’re currently taking other medication, consult with your doctor to get the 411 before integrating the supplement.