Melatonin, a hormone produced naturally by your body’s pineal gland, is a popular supplement used by an estimated 3.1-M Americans.
One of its Key roles is regulating your body’s circadian rhythm, and melatonin supplements are often used as sleep aids or to help sleep problems related to shift work, jet lag and sleep disorders.
From Ys 2007 to 2012, use of melatonin among US adults more than 2X’d perhaps because sleep troubles are so widespread.
A Consumer Reports survey found 80% of US adults struggle with sleep, and 20% tried a natural remedy to help. Of those, melatonin was the most popular, with 86% of those who had tried a supplement as a sleep aid choosing melatonin.
Spending on the supplement alone reached $408-M in Y 2017, hinting at its popularity.
The Big Q looms: Is melatonin safe for nightly use?
The Big A: Melatonin has a very safe track record, with few reports of adverse events, especially when taken at low doses between 0.5 milligrams (mg) and 5 mg.
Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, noted in Time, “melatonin is very safe if taken in normal doses.”
In fact, melatonin appears to exert numerous beneficial “side effects,” and it’s even been suggested that, originally, this hormone may have primarily functioned as an antioxidant.
“Some of the emerging science is showing that in people with higher levels of inflammation, melatonin in the range of 6 mg to 10 mg may decrease markers of inflammation,” the co-director of the Sleep and Circadian Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan, says.
It’s important to remember that melatonin is a hormone, which could have unknown effects.
“Melatonin has an incredible safety record, no doubt about it,” Dr. Mark Moyad, Jenkins/Pomkempner director of preventive and alternative medicine at the University of Michigan, says. “But it is a hormone, and you don’t want to mess around with hormones until you know what they’re doing.”
So if you are having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, pay attention to sleep hygiene 1st, even before trying a natural supplement like melatonin.
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