Melatonin for Sleep: What You Need To Know24 Mar 2023
Struggling with a good night’s sleep isn’t uncommon – each of us deals with sleep disturbances at some stage in our lives. But it becomes a serious problem when the issue persists. This is why melatonin supplements have gained popularity.
But what is melatonin, really, and how long do its effects last? Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your brain’s pineal gland. It regulates your sleep cycle and helps you doze off easily. Today, there are various external triggers that hinder your snooze pattern, such as working in shifts, staying up late at night, stress, lifestyle, exposure to digital screens for too long, etc. That’s why understanding what melatonin for sleep is and how it works is extremely important, before jumping into any supplement routine. This article helps you understand melatonin and its role in balancing your sleep-and-wake cycle.
Melatonin is nothing but a sleep-regulating hormone that is naturally produced by the body. It regulates your circadian rhythm. Many people take melatonin supplements as an aid for sleep disorders, like insomnia, delayed sleep phase, etc. Some of the conditions where melatonin for sleep can be of great use are:
- Getting over jet lag
- Adverse effects of stimulant medications
- Indications of neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
How does Melatonin work?
Your body makes more melatonin as the sun sets, which triggers sleep for you at night. Melatonin levels usually increase in the evenings, and drop in the mornings after sun rise. The amount of melatonin your body produces totally depends on the amount of light you get each day, plus the rhythm of your own body clock. When you consume a melatonin supplement in the evening, it helps trigger your body into a state of drowsiness, helping you doze off and get the rest you need.
How important is Melatonin?
One-third of your life is spent sleeping. Sleep is as essential to surviving as food and water. There are several biological processes that happen during sleep.
The brain refreshes and eliminates information. It boosts the health of brain function by reorganising nerve cells. Repair of cells, restoration of energy and release of essential hormones and proteins all happen during sleep. These processes are critical for the overall health of the body.
Sleep and mental health are interlinked. If you have to overcome stress you will have to get enough sleep. A minimum of 6 to 8 hours of sleep is required for overall health.
Sleep disorders can disrupt critical biological processes and lead to several issues like cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, diabetes, etc.
Melatonin regulates the sleep cycle by regulating your body’s circadian rhythm. Though melatonin is produced naturally, several factors like irregular sleep times, blue light exposure from digital screens, stress, etc., can hamper the production of melatonin. This is why it is imperative to dim the lights and cultivate proper sleep hygiene before bedtime. If you keep the lights on, or binge-watch a TV show before sleep, your body will find it tough to produce melatonin to help you snooze. If you’re already struggling with a pattern of less sleep, caused by any or all of these factors, melatonin sleep supplements can help you zzz and boost your overall health.
What is the time required for Melatonin to work?
After consumption, it normally takes anything between 20 minutes to 2 hours for melatonin to work. Sleep therapists suggest taking 1–3 mg two hours before bedtime for best results.
Also, the production of natural melatonin rises two hours before bedtime. Establishing a regular bedtime routine will aid your body clock to send appropriate signals that it is time to elevate your melatonin levels.
The effect of melatonin differs amongst individuals. There is no definite answer to how long melatonin lasts. You need to experiment with the level and time of consumption for some time to determine when and how much melatonin to take before bed for a zenful sleep.
Regular-Release and Extended-Release Melatonin
When you imagine melatonin you will probably visualise a pill that rapidly releases melatonin into your body. However, today melatonin supplements are created in various modern, easy-to-consume formats, such as orally-dissolving strips, gummies, capsules, etc. These are usually regular-release melatonin supplements, released into your body on consumption and helping you fall asleep.
Melatonin is also created using a slow-or-time release format. Extended-release melatonin supplements are just that – they release melatonin into your body gradually, after a couple of hours, so that you can continue to sleep peacefully all night long.
Extended-release melatonin replicates your body’s natural melatonin synthesis and is beneficial for people who are in the habit of waking up frequently during the night. This extended-release melatonin helps you stay asleep
How long does Melatonin stay in your system?
The time taken by your body to reduce melatonin by half is 40 minutes. The first 40 minutes go into processing half of the melatonin while the rest is processed throughout the night.
Factors affecting Melatonin’s effectiveness & duration
Melatonin normally stays in your body for 4 to 8 hours. But this again depends on other factors as well, such as:
Age: The metabolic rate of melatonin largely depends on your age. As you age the metabolic rate of melatonin decreases and so it will last longer as it takes time for the effect to wear off.
Caffeine: Studies have indicated that caffeine can alter melatonin production, negating the benefits of melatonin for sleep.
Exposure to blue light: Melatonin production increases as light decreases. Exposure to strong blue light from digital devices, such as your smartphone, TV screen, laptop, and tablet, can reduce the production of melatonin. This is because your body clock is tricked into believing it’s still daytime, sending signals to your brain to stay awake.
Physique: The height and weight of your body are also detrimental factors for the absorption of melatonin and how it affects you.
Tobacco products: Research on animals has shown that nicotine inhibits the effectiveness of melatonin.
Other drugs: Being on drugs, like blood thinners and suppressants, may inhibit the effectiveness of melatonin.
Duration of Melatonin’s effects
The effect of melatonin lasts for 4 to 8 hours. There can be a marked variation in this duration depending on the dosage. Sleep therapists recommend starting with a dosage between 1 to 3 mgs which is possibly the lowest dosage.
Side effects are unlikely if the dosage is low as the effect of melatonin wears off quickly.
Side effects of Melatonin
If you’re struggling with sleep disruptions and you intend to take a melatonin supplement, you need to know its potential side effects, as it is a dietary supplement. Melatonin is not regulated by the FDA, which means there are no official guidelines for the consumption of melatonin.
The side effects are negligible if melatonin is consumed in moderate dosage. However, some of the common side effects could be headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea.
Other side effects could be anxiety or depression, irritability, confusion, joint pain, abdominal pain, seizures, tremors, etc
Before using melatonin it is recommended to consult a physician to ascertain the effectiveness of melatonin for sleep.
If you’re dealing with sleepless nights and finding it difficult to get uninterrupted sleep, don’t neglect it. A regulated sleep cycle is essential for various bodily processes to boost optimal health. Melatonin helps in promoting sleep. It also helps in overcoming jet lag, sleeplessness caused by blue light exposure, headaches, and sleep disruptions caused by stimulant medications.
If you’re contemplating trying safe melatonin supplements for sleep, you can give Setu Sleep Supplements a go! They’re extremely effective and have no side effects. Moreover, they’re non-habit forming – you don’t get addicted to them as they’re not sedatives of any kind. You can easily stop the supplements when your snooze-wake cycle is back on track and your circadian rhythm is functioning optimally!
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