Busting Myths: 4 Rumours Around Melatonin

06 Jan 2020

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Most of us love to sleep, don’t we? Whether it is a long tiring day at work or a lazy Sunday noon, all we think about is enjoying some shut-eye comfortably in our bed. However, did you know that one out of three [1] adults find it difficult to have a peaceful sleep at night? Despite endless attempts to sleep, either their work schedules don’t allow them or their busy minds won’t let them. In such cases, a lot of people look for supplements such as melatonin to sleep. However, there are a lot of myths around this amazing natural sleep-booster, we bust them all!

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in your brain. This hormone is produced only as a response to darkness and is inactive in the daylight. Hence, being exposed to light at night can affect melatonin production.

As natural as melatonin is, our ability to produce it diminishes due to several factors such as:

  • Growing age
  • Change in daylight due to seasons
  • Insomnia
  • Working the night shift
  • Nonstop flights or traveling to a place with different time zone

Melatonin is likely to be used by people who have trouble falling asleep, have very diverse work hours or jet lag.

Busting Myths

1. Melatonin Is A Sleeping Pill

First things first, melatonin is NOT a sleeping pill, it’s just one of the many chemicals your body releases daily. It doesn’t make your body fall asleep it just gives a signal to your brain that it’s time to sleep. Hence, melatonin supplements make it easier for you to sleep rather than forcing your body to fall asleep.

2. Melatonin Is Addictive

There are a lot of rumours that suggest that melatonin supplements are addictive. However, it is safe for adults in both short term and long term use, even when taken in high dosage. Studies [2] have shown that it is also given to several medical and surgical patients, and has worked well without any signs of addiction.

3. Natural Melatonin Production Is Affected

There are concerns that consuming melatonin supplements may reduce your body’s ability to secrete this chemical naturally, and you will always be dependent on them. However, several studies [3] have suggested that despite taking melatonin for a long period, the body could still produce the chemical in the right ratio.

4. The Higher The Dose, The Better

Melatonin is available in supplements ranging from one to 10 mg at any pharmacy, and most people prefer to start with 0.5 mg to 5 mg. However, there is no scientific backing to the fact that higher dose works better. You may start taking a lower dosage initially and eventually increase it depending on what suits you the best, and as advised by your healthcare practitioner.

References:

  1. https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/pdfs/Insomnia.pdf

  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26692007

  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9062869

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