Melatonin is a hormone that is found naturally in the human body. It is secreted in the pineal gland. Melatonin drugs are made synthetically in the laboratory. It is commonly available in pill form, but it has other types that can be placed under the tongue or in the cheek.
As drugs, melatonin supplement is absorbed directly into your body. This article will help you understand what exactly Melatonin supplements are and what benefits you can derive from using them.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone produced by your body’s pineal gland. This gland is pea-sized and rests above the brain’s middle. In daytime, the pineal gland is not active.
As the sun sets, and darkness starts to occur, the pineal gland is activated by the SCN. It begins to produce Melatonin, which circulated into our blood system.
This process usually occurs at around 9 pm every day. When melatonin level in the blood becomes high, you become less alert, and sleep becomes inviting. The melatonin level in the blood stay concentrated for like 12 hours (all night) and then begins to fall back to normal as daytime approaches.
Besides the time, bright light can also affect the production of Melatonin by the pineal gland. Melatonin only comes out in the dark.
Even the pineal gland is activated; if you are not in a dimly lit environment, it will not produce Melatonin. Aside from sunlight, very bright indoor lighting can also prevent the release of Melatonin.
When Should I Take Melatonin Supplements?
There is no specific time considered the best time to take Melatonin supplements. The best time you should take melatonin 10mg depends on you. It also depends on your body’s absorption rate as people tend to absorb medication at a different pace.
However, it is recommended to take Melatonin 45 to 60 minutes before your bedtime. Melatonin supplements start working after 30 minutes when their concentration levels in your blood are high. You can then adjust the timing to suit you, depending on how long it took you to fall asleep.
The critical thing here is that you should not take Melatonin at or after your ideal bedtime. It could shift your body’s clock in the wrong direction, thereby resulting in daytime sleepiness.
Uses of Melatonin Supplements
A lot of research is still undergoing to discover what Melatonin supplements are used for. One of the most popular applications of the supplement is to induce and promote restful sleep.
However, researchers have discovered some of the other uses of Melatonin supplements. Some of these uses require additional research to establish if Melatonin supplements can be used for that purpose.
Some of the established uses of Melatonin supplements are:
Melatonin has proven to have the ability to induce and promote a night of restful sleep. So, if you are having trouble falling asleep, you could try out Melatonin supplements under the prescription of a qualified physician.
Though Melatonin is produced naturally in our body, taking the supplement orally would make you fall asleep faster. Taking Melatonin supplements at bedtime is also known to improve sleep in adults and children who are blind.
Sleep Disorder Correction
Melatonin supplement can also correct sleep disorders caused by particular blood pressure medicine like atenolol, propranolol, and the likes. These drugs tend to lower the Melatonin level in the body, thereby resulting in sleep disorders. Taking Melatonin supplements would help in correcting this.
Melatonin supplements can also be used for endometriosis (a painful uterine disorder in women). Women with endometriosis can take Melatonin supplements daily for eight weeks. Melatonin would also help to reduce pain during intercourse, mensuration, and also ease the strain while passing out urine.
Lower Blood Pressure
It helps lower blood pressure. Taking the controlled-release form of Melatonin under the supervision of a physician has been proven to help lower blood pressure for people with high blood pressure. However, it should be noted that the immediate-release form of Melatonin would not work for this purpose.
Research has proven that Melatonin can help improve some symptoms of jet lag, such as movement coordination and alertness. Melatonin also tends to slightly enhance some of the other jet lag symptoms like tiredness and daytime sleepiness. However, Melatonin has not been proven to be effective in reducing the time it takes for people with jet lag to fall asleep.
Melatonin can also reduce anxiety before surgery. Research has shown taking Melatonin before surgery is as effective as taking midazolam (a conventional medication that helps reduce anxiety before surgery). However, it can have a few side effects in some people.
Solid Tumors (tumors without liquid or cysts)
Taking a high dosage of Melatonin along with chemotherapy and other cancer treatment might help reduce the tumor size and increase their chance of survival.
Applying Melatonin gel to your skin before exposure to the sun would help prevent sunburn. Also, people who are very sensitive to sunlight can apply melatonin cream to their skin to help reduce the effect of the sun on their skin. However, Melatonin cream might not work for people with less sensitive skin.
TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders)
This painful condition can affect the muscle and jaw joint. Research shows that a dose of Melatonin before bed for four weeks would help reduce pain by 44% and increase the tolerance level by 39% in women.
It can help correct thrombocytopenia (low levels of platelets in the blood). Melatonin supplements can help improve low blood platelet conditions associated with cancer treatment, cancer, and other disorders.
More Uses Of Melatonin
Some of the possible uses of Melatonin supplements (which would need extensive research to be established) are:
AMD (Age-related macular degeneration)
This eye disease results in vision loss in older adults. Early research has shown that Melatonin supplements can help delay vision loss in people with AMD.
Though it’s yet to be fully proven, research shows that Melatonin can help reduce the symptoms of eczema in children.
Limited research has shown that Melatonin might help reduce insomnia in children with ADHD (Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder) who are taking stimulants.
Melatonin can aid the reduction excessive urination during the night in men with enlarged prostate. However, this is yet to be sufficiently medically proven.
Taking Melatonin orally before cataract surgery tends to reduce the pain patients experience during the operation. It could also reduce pressure in the eyes before and during the surgery.
It can help reduce symptoms of CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) like fatigue and concentration.
Shortness Of Breath
Some evidence and research show that taking melatonin supplements improves shortness of breath for people with COPD. However, it is not proven to improve exercise capacity or lung function.
Taking 10mg of Melatonin every evening can help reduce the frequency of cluster headaches. However, taking a lower dosage does not seem to work.
Evidence shows that taking Melatonin every night for 14 days would help reduce the risk of delirium (a mental state whereby a person is confused and is unable to think clearly) in adults.
Taking Melatonin every night seems to reduce indigestion in some people.
Epilepsy (seizure disorder)
Some evidence and research have shown that taking Melatonin every night can help reduce the length and number of seizures in children with epilepsy. However, more research would be needed to prove this medically.
Melatonin might help reduce the intensity of stiffness and pain in people with fibromyalgia.
Taking Melatonin every night might reduce acid reflux symptoms, including heartburn. However, common medication may be more effective.
Some evidence has shown that taking Melatonin along with omeprazole aids the healing of people with ulcers that are caused by H. pylori infection.
Some evidence has shown that taking melatonin supplements every night would help reduce migraine headaches in children and adults. Also, when the problem does occur, they are usually milder and pass more quickly.
Early research and evidence have shown that Melatonin injected directly into the patient’s vein within 2.5 hours of a heart attack could help reduce damage to the heart.
Taking Melatonin 3 hours after quitting smoking tends to reduce restlessness, anxiety, and cigarette cravings.
Some evidence has shown that taking melatonin supplements might improve memory while under stress.
More evidence and research are needed to rate Melatonin for these uses.
What Can I Not Use Melatonin For?
It has also been established that Melatonin can NOT be used for the following. It has been proven that Melatonin does not work for these purposes.
- It does not help in improving athletic performance
- 2. It does not help in improving appetite or bodyweight
- It does not prevent dry mouth in people with neck and head cancer
- Melatonin does not improve fertility or pregnancy rates in women
- Melatonin cannot prevent depression. Even though Melatonin can help improve sleeping disorders, research has not proven that it can help reduce depression.
Side Effects of Melatonin Supplements
While Melatonin is generally safe to take, it also brings a few side effects. Some of these side effects are:
- In people with dementia, Melatonin may trigger a bad mood
The primary purpose of Melatonin in the body is to regulate day and night cycles. Darkness activates the production of more Melatonin, which makes the body less alert and an indication to prepare for sleep.
Light decreases the melatonin production level and signals the body that it is time to wake. People who have trouble sleeping may have low levels of Melatonin production in their body. However, taking Melatonin supplements would help address this problem.