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 natural hormone production in the body can impact the optimal time to take melatonin. Melatonin synthesis is typically at its highest during the night and lowest during the day and is stimulated by darkness and inhibited by light. Therefore, taking melatonin at night may have more significant benefits for promoting sleep.
Additionally, it’s crucial to consider how melatonin impacts the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol levels generally peak in the morning and gradually decline throughout the day. Taking melatonin at night may help lower cortisol levels, which can be beneficial in 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:
- 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..
- 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”.
- 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.
- EMF exposure: Exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) may interfere with melatonin production and disrupt sleep-wake cycles.
- Blue light: Blue light has been shown to suppress melatonin production and disrupt sleep-wake cycles.
- 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 can negatively impact the effectiveness of melatonin for some individuals. Caffeine acts as a stimulant, reducing melatonin synthesis and disrupting the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle by increasing cortisol levels, a stress hormone that counteracts melatonin.
Additionally, caffeine reduces GABA, a neurotransmitter crucial for sleep and relaxation, making it harder to fall and stay asleep. To improve sleep quality and enhance the efficacy of melatonin, reducing or switching to decaf coffee may be necessary if you consume a lot of caffeine and have difficulty sleeping.
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.
The effectiveness of melatonin supplements can vary depending on an individual’s baseline melatonin level in the blood. Studies suggest that those with lower baseline melatonin levels may benefit more from taking melatonin supplements. Microdoses of melatonin, or very small amounts, may also be effective in improving sleep quality. However, it’s important not to overdo it as excessive melatonin can have negative effects and interfere with sleep.
Aside from melatonin supplementation, consuming a diet rich in magnesium and zinc can also enhance sleep quality by promoting melatonin synthesis.
- Can You Take Melatonin On An Empty Stomach?
- Xanax And Melatonin: Can I Take A Together?
- Can Take Melatonin Cause Nightmares?
“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?
It is important to keep in mind that taking excess melatonin may not necessarily result in better sleep and can even cause sleep disruption and other adverse effects like drowsiness. Research suggests that taking small doses of melatonin, known as microdoses, may be more effective in promoting sleep.
It is also essential to consider that the underlying cause of sleep difficulties might not always be related to melatonin levels. For instance, low levels of the neurotransmitter GABA have been linked to sleep issues, and incorporating GABA-rich foods into the diet or taking GABA supplements (although not effective for everyone) or probiotics like Lactobacillus Rhamnosus (which is a precursor to GABA) may help improve sleep.
If you opt for melatonin supplementation, it is recommended not to exceed 10 mg without the supervision of a healthcare provider. A typical starting dose is between 0.3 to 1 mg.
In addition to melatonin, incorporating nutrients like magnesium and L-theanine that support sleep, and avoiding caffeine close to bedtime, can also enhance the quality of sleep.
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?
Melatonin is widely recognized for its role in regulating sleep, but it can also impact other hormones, such as adrenaline, thyroid, and cortisol, as well as the adrenal gland. While melatonin can have positive effects on the adrenal gland, it’s important to be mindful of the dosage as excessive melatonin intake can result in hormone imbalances.
|Hormone||Function||Relationship with Melatonin|
|Cortisol||A stress hormone that helps regulate metabolism and the immune system||Cortisol 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.|
|Melatonin||A hormone produced by the pineal gland that helps regulate sleep||Melatonin 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.|
|Thyroid||A gland that produces hormones that regulate metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature||There is some evidence to suggest that melatonin supplements may have a positive effect on thyroid function, but more research is needed to confirm this.|
|Adrenaline||A hormone produced by the adrenal gland that helps regulate the body’s fight or flight response||Adrenaline 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.|
|Serotonin||A neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sleep, and appetite||Melatonin 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.
|Hormone||Function||Relationship with Melatonin|
|Oxytocin||A hormone involved in social bonding, sexual behavior, and childbirth||Some 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.|
|Thalamus||A part of the brain that plays a role in the sleep-wake cycle and the transmission of sensory information||The 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Progressive muscle relaxation: A technique that involves tensing and relaxing different muscle groups to promote relaxation and improve sleep.
- 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.
- 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 are crucial components of the endocrine system, responsible for maintaining the body’s balance and stability. They are typically more potent than vitamins, which are needed in small quantities to ensure the proper functioning of the body.
Although hormones, such as melatonin, can effectively enhance sleep in some individuals, they may not be effective 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 are crucial to consider when seeking natural ways to improve sleep. While these changes require more effort than simply taking supplements or other drugs, the benefits are long-lasting and can also lead to an overall improvement in quality of life and productivity.
One technique I personally recommend for promoting emotional well-being is keeping a gratitude journal and writing down your emotions and daily experiences.
To optimize sleep and melatonin production, consider incorporating the following lifestyle changes into your routine:
|Lifestyle Change||Benefits for Sleep||Tips for Implementation|
|Avoiding blue light||Blue 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.|
|Exercise||Regular 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 techniques||Techniques 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 hygiene||Establishing 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.|
In conclusion, while melatonin may be effective in improving sleep for some individuals, it may be more beneficial to consider alternative options, such as microdoses of melatonin, GABA, 5-HTP, valerian root, progressive muscle relaxation, Wim Hof breathing, cognitive behavior therapy or even Sufism.
To promote sleep and relaxation, incorporating techniques like progressive muscle relaxation, eating magnesium-rich foods, and incorporating gratitude into one’s routine may also be helpful. As with any sleep aid or supplement, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare provider before starting anything new.