Is Taking More Melatonin the Solution?

Many people struggle with getting enough sleep, which can negatively impact their physical and mental health. As we discussed, melatonin(a hormone naturally produced in the brain that helps regulate sleep-wake cycles) is an option for improving sleep. In this article, we will explore whether it is safe to take more melatonin if you are having trouble sleeping…

We’ll go through the evidence on melatonin’s effectiveness for enhancing sleep, as well as the best dosage and time. We will also assess any potential hazards or negative effects of taking increased melatonin dosages and look into alternative sleep aids.

By understanding the role of melatonin in the sleep-wake cycle and how it can affect REM sleep and brain waves, we can better understand the potential benefits and risks of taking additional doses of melatonin for sleep.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone released by the pineal gland in the brain that aids in the regulation of sleep-wake cycles. It modulates brain waves and the quantity of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is critical for learning and memory consolidation.

Furthermore, some studies suggest that melatonin may help preserve brain cells from harm and may even have a role in the prevention of some neurological disorders like amyloidosis. What are Amyloids? Amyloidosis is a category of diseases characterized by an excessive buildup of misfolded proteins or amyloids. (Which contributes to Alzheimer, and Anxiety)

Melatonin may also help lower cortisol levels and function as a strong antioxidant property, which means it Melatonin can possibly protects cells and mitochondria from damage caused by harmful molecules known as “free radicals.”

When To Take Melatonin?

The body’s natural hormone production is one factor that may affect the best time to take melatonin. So, Melatonin synthesis is normally strongest at night and lowest during the day, and it is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. Taking melatonin at night may thus be more beneficial for promoting sleep.

Another issue to consider is the influence of melatonin on the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol levels are normally peak in the morning and gradually decrease during the day. Taking melatonin at night might help lower cortisol levels(in the blood plasma level), which may be useful for promoting sleep.

What Factors May Affect the Effectiveness of Melatonin for Sleep?

There are several factors that may affect the effectiveness of melatonin for sleep, including:

  1. Age: Melatonin synthesis declines with age, which might be the reason why people experience sleep disorders when they get older. Yet, research on “melatonin’s” efficacy promoting sleep in older persons has been variable, but it has the big relationship between melatonin decline and sleep problems..
  2. Lifestyle: Melatonin efficacy may be affected by activity level and diet. A diet heavy in processed foods and lacking in nutrients may disturb sleep-wake cycles by interfering with melatonin synthesis.(Serotonin, B6, Folate, Zinc, and Vitamin C)  On the other hand, regular exercise has been found to enhance sleep quality and may assist boost “melatonin production”.
  3. Medical conditions: Melatonin production may be impaired in persons who have mitochondrial dysfunction or difficulties with the energy-producing components within cells. Pineal gland difficulties, or problems with the gland that makes melatonin, can also have an impact on melatonin production and sleep.
  4. EMF exposure: Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) may interfere with melatonin production and disrupt sleep-wake cycles.
  5. Blue light: Blue light has been shown to suppress melatonin production and disrupt sleep-wake cycles.
  6. Too much iron: İron toxicity in the body has been linked to reduced melatonin production, which may lead to sleep problems. Iron overload(men) disturbs the endocrine system and reduces the amount of Serotonin, Dopamine, or other positive chemicals.

Related: Iron Toxicity: What Are The Effects Of Iron Overload? -Guide 2023

Melatonin has been shown to play a role in maintaining the balance of mitochondria, which are small structures within cells that produce energy. Research has also shown that melatonin may increase the activity of a protein called AMPK in the liver of rats that have been exposed to alcohol.

The Reason Melatonin Does Not Work Because of Caffeine

Excessive Caffeine consumption is one reason why melatonin may not function for “certain people”. Caffeine is a stimulant that, by reducing melatonin synthesis, can interrupt the body’s normal sleep-wake cycle. It performs this by boosting cortisol levels, a stress hormone that can disrupt sleep and counteracts melatonin.

Caffeine can also reduce the amount of GABA, a neurotransmitter involved in sleep and relaxation. This might make it difficult to fall and remain asleep.

If you have difficulties sleeping and drink a lot of caffeine, you should consider reducing back or switching to decaf coffee. Caffeine consumption should be reduced to enhance sleep quality and the efficacy of melatonin for sleep.

Related: What Happens If You Drink Caffeine and Melatonin Together?

Do Melatonin Supplements Work?

Research on the effectiveness of melatonin supplements for sleep has yielded mixed results. Some studies have found that melatonin supplements can improve sleep quality and duration, while others have found no significant effects.

Why?

One factor that may influence the effectiveness of melatonin supplements is the individual’s baseline melatonin plasma level or the amount of melatonin present in the blood”. Some research suggests that people with lower baseline melatonin levels may benefit more from melatonin supplements.

Melatonin microdosages, or extremely small amounts, may also be more beneficial for enhancing sleep. It is vital, however, not to overdo it since too much melatonin can interrupt sleep and produce other negative effects.

In addition to taking melatonin tablets, consuming magnesium and zinc-rich meals may enhance sleep quality by helping melatonin synthesis. 

Suggestion:

“Melatonin is a hormone produced in the pineal gland that helps regulate the body’s internal clock. It is involved in the sleep-wake cycle, and taking melatonin supplements can help improve sleep in individuals with insomnia or other sleep disorders.”

– Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Can I Take More Melatonin If I Can’t Sleep?

Can I Take More Melatonin If I Can't Sleep
Is Taking More Melatonin the Solution?

To begin, it is important to understand that taking extra melatonin does not always help sleep. In fact, taking too much melatonin may trigger sleep disruption and other adverse effects.(Drowsiness) Rather of increasing the amount, some study shows that microdoses of melatonin, or very small dosages, may be more beneficial for fall in asleep.

It is also worth considering that the root cause of your sleep problems may not be related to melatonin at all. For example, low levels of the neurotransmitter GABA have been linked to sleep problems. Containing GABA-rich foods into the diet, such as nuts, seeds, and legumes, or taking GABA supplements(not work for all people) or consuming probiotics such as “Lactobacillus Rhamnosus”(precursor of GABA) may help improve sleep.

If you do decide to try melatonin supplements, it is important not to take more than 10 mg unless under the supervision of a healthcare provider. A good starting dose is generally in the range of 0.3 to 1 mg.

In addition to melatonin, incorporating other nutrients into the diet that support sleep, such as magnesium and L-theanine, may also be helpful. It is also important to avoid caffeine, which can disrupt sleep-wake cycles close to bedtime.

Related: Why Isn’t My Melatonin Putting Me To Sleep?

“Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle and can be taken as a supplement to treat sleep disorders.”

– Dr. Roshini Raj, physician and television host

Can Taking More Melatonin Lead To An Imbalance In Other Hormones?

Hmm. Yes. Melatonin is well-known for its role in regulating sleep. However, it can also affect the adrenal gland, Adrenaline, Thyroid and natural Melatonin levels including cortisol. While the effects of melatonin on the adrenal gland are largely positive, it is important to be mindful of dosage as taking too much melatonin can lead to an imbalance in other hormones.

HormoneFunctionRelationship with Melatonin
CortisolA stress hormone that helps regulate metabolism and the immune systemCortisol levels naturally drop at night, while melatonin levels rise. Taking melatonin supplements can help further lower cortisol levels, leading to a sense of relaxation and improved sleep.
MelatoninA hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate sleepMelatonin production is influenced by light exposure and follows a natural circadian rhythm. Taking melatonin supplements can help reset this rhythm and improve sleep in individuals with jet lag or certain sleep disorders.
ThyroidA gland that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, and body temperatureThere is some evidence to suggest that melatonin supplements may have a positive effect on thyroid function, but more research is needed to confirm this.
AdrenalineA hormone produced by the adrenal gland that helps regulate the body’s fight or flight responseAdrenaline and melatonin have opposing effects on the body, with adrenaline increasing alertness and energy and melatonin promoting relaxation and sleep. Taking melatonin supplements can help lower adrenaline levels and improve sleep.
SerotoninA neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sleep, and appetiteMelatonin is produced from serotonin and is thought to help regulate serotonin levels in the brain. Low levels of serotonin have been linked to insomnia and other sleep disorders, and increasing serotonin levels with the

“Cortisol is a hormone that is released in response to stress. It helps to increase alertness and energy, but when it is present at high levels or there is an imbalance in its production, it can disrupt sleep.”

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, neurosurgeon and CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

As we can see in the table, Melatonin hormones affect all of the hormones important for overall health and well-being. Yet, I’ll give you another important hormone-like chemical that also helps mood, energy, as well as other aspects of life. Here check the table you’ll understand.

HormoneFunctionRelationship with Melatonin
OxytocinA hormone involved in social bonding, sexual behavior, and childbirthSome research suggests that oxytocin may regulate sleep and that low oxytocin levels may be associated with insomnia. Melatonin supplements (500 mcg of melatonin)may help improve sleep by increasing oxytocin levels.
ThalamusA part of the brain that plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle and the transmission of sensory informationThe thalamus is involved in the production and regulation of melatonin, and abnormal function of the thalamus has been linked to sleep disorders. Melatonin supplements may help improve sleep by normalizing thalamic function.

What Works Better Than Melatonin?

Here is a list of alternative options for improving sleep besides melatonin:

  1. GABA: A neurotransmitter that plays a role in sleep and relaxation. Incorporating GABA-rich foods into the diet or taking GABA supplements may help improve sleep.
  2. 5-HTP: A supplement that is converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in sleep and mood. Some research suggests that 5-HTP may be effective in improving sleep. It is worth noting that 5-HTP is a precursor to melatonin, so it may help increase melatonin levels in the body.
  3. Valerian root: A herb used for centuries to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Some research suggests that valerian root may be effective for improving sleep quality and reducing the time it takes to fall asleep.
  4. Progressive muscle relaxation: A technique that involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to promote relaxation and improve sleep.
  5. Wim Hof breathing: A breathing technique developed by the Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof that may be combined with progressive muscle relaxation for improved sleep.
  6. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): A type of therapy that aims to change negative thought patterns and behaviors that may be contributing to sleep problems.

Hormones, which are produced by the endocrine system, play a vital role in maintaining the body’s balance and homeostasis. They are generally stronger than vitamins, essential nutrients the body needs in small amounts to function properly.

While hormones, such as melatonin, can be effective in improving sleep in some people, they may not work for everyone.

How Do You Relax When You Can’t Sleep?

Here are some tips for relaxing when you can’t sleep:

  • Avoid doing anything that may trigger anxiety or stress, such as checking the time, surfing through, social media and watching the news.
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as Wim Hof breathing or Inner Smile meditation, to calm the mind and body.
  • Consume magnesium-rich foods or juices into the diet to help with muscle relaxation and improve sleep quality.
  • Take B6 and B1(thiamine) supplements, which may help with reducing anxiety, and an overactive amygdala as well as promote relaxation supporting the production of serotonin..
  • Practice gratitude by writing down three things you are grateful for each day or participating in a gratitude journal to shift focus away from negative thoughts and promote a sense of calm and appreciation.

Are There Any Lifestyle Changes That Can improve My Sleep Quality Without Using Melatonin Or Other Sleep Aids?

Lifestyle changes huge things you need to consider when it comes to natural ways of optimizing sleep. Yet, lifestyle change needs more investment than supplements or other drugs when it comes to sleeping. However, the good news is that natural ways of optimizing sleep will be stuck with you for a while, and they’ll also improve your life quality and productivity in a better way.

I’m a big fan of a gratitude journal and writing your emotions and daily journey process for emotional well-being. Yet, below I’ll provide you with lifestyle changes, you can implement in your life for a better quality of sleep and melatonin production.

Lifestyle ChangeBenefits for SleepTips for Implementation
Avoiding blue lightBlue light from screens can suppress melatonin production and disrupt the sleep-wake cycle. Avoiding screens for at least an hour before bed can help improve sleep.Use a blue light filter on screens, or consider using a traditional alarm clock instead of a smartphone. Avoid screens in the bedroom.
ExerciseRegular exercise has been linked to improved sleep quality and duration.Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise. Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime because of cortisol secretion will impair melatonin as we talked.
Relaxation techniquesTechniques like meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.Experiment with different techniques to find what works best for you. Consider setting aside time for relaxation before bed.
Sleep hygieneEstablishing good sleep hygiene habits, such as sticking to a consistent sleep schedule and creating a comfortable sleep environment, can improve sleep quality.Set a consistent bedtime and wake time, and avoid napping during the day. Keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, and use a comfortable mattress and pillows. Avoid caffeine and alcohol close to bedtime.
Lifestyle changes will make you get better sleep

Outline

In conclusion, while melatonin can be an effective option for improving sleep in some people, but it might be more useful to try micro dosages of melatonin or to explore alternative options, such as GABA, 5-HTP, valerian root, progressive muscle relaxation, Wim Hof breathing, or cognitive behavior therapy.

Additionally, incorporating relaxation techniques, magnesium-rich foods, and supplements and practicing gratitude can all help improve sleep and relaxation.(Gratitude changes the brain’s Serotonin level) It is always best to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new sleep aid or supplement.

innerfuel logo

Optimize Your Life, Body, And Soul