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Is Melatonin the New “Vitamin M”?

Melatonin supplements are taking up more space on drugstore shelves and across social media platforms. But what exactly is it?

Melatonin, often referred to as the sleep hormone, is a central part of the body's sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with the darkness of the evening, promoting healthy sleep and helping to orient the body to circadian rhythms.

Melatonin is a hormone produced by your brain in response to darkness. It helps with the timing of sleep as well as your circadian rhythm. It safely helps over 70 million Americans who suffer from chronic sleep problems. Before visiting your primary healthcare provider, learn a little more about melatonin here.

What Are the Benefits of Taking Melatonin?
Besides sleep, melatonin supplements provide a number of benefits. Since melatonin is naturally produced by our bodies, melatonin supplements are great for people who have low levels of it in their systems.

1. Research suggests that melatonin supplements have helped people with jet lag. Jet lag often leaves you feeling unwell overall and leads to disturbed sleep, but the use of melatonin has been shown to reduce these symptoms.

2. Melatonin is quite popular with people suffering from delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD). People with this disorder usually have trouble falling asleep before 2 to 6 a.m. and prefer waking up between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Studies have shown that taking melatonin 1 hour before your desired bedtime combined with going to bed at a set time led to several improvements and better sleep.

3. Anxiety before and after any surgery is quite common. Since melatonin supplements are relatively more natural, they are safe to have and have proven to be helpful in reducing anxiety.

Is Melatonin Safe?
Melatonin is considered quite safe for adults when used for short periods. However, before taking any melatonin supplement on your own, always check with your doctor if you already have any medications that you take on a regular basis. Since melatonin is considered a dietary supplement rather than a prescription drug by the FDA in the United States, it is important to be more cautious. This is unlike any other where melatonin is available through prescription. Because of this, while FDA standards are expected, there is no systematic process for ensuring they meet.

Melatonin and Insomnia
Insomnia is a condition in which people have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. If these symptoms persist for more than a month, it is considered chronic insomnia. While cognitive behavioral therapy is a recommended treatment for this disorder, the use of melatonin may have some positive effects on the condition.

Read More Blog: 5 Ways to Get the Right Vitamins Everyday

Can Children Take Melatonin?
Although it is primarily intended for use by adults, pediatricians sometimes recommend melatonin for children. In a 2012 national survey, it was the second most commonly used dietary supplement among children in the United States. Children suffering from autism spectrum disorder have also benefited from the use of this supplement.

If you start on a melatonin journey, it is essential that you take it at the right times of the day. Taking it too early or too late can shift your biological clock and cause changes in your sleep and wake times. The NHS recommends taking melatonin 1-2 hours before your desired bedtime. If you're taking melatonin to prevent jet lag or when you're traveling, start the dose a few days before you leave to allow your body to acclimatize to the new time zone.

Now that you've learned more about this new supplement, you can decide whether you need it or not. Instead of taking this call on your own, it is always advised to approach a medical professional and refer to the medical services provided by them to help clear any ambiguity on the same.

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