Research says melatonin use for sleep is on the rise, despite potential health harms

Sleep expert Rebecca Robbins, a faculty member in the sleep division, said while overall use in the US adult population remains “relatively low”, the study said “has noted an increase significant increase in melatonin use over the past few years for Harvard Medical School, who were not involved in the study.

Research, published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA, found that in 2018 Americans used more than double the amount of melatonin they took a decade earlier. Experts worry that the pandemic’s negative impact on sleep could add to widespread reliance on sleep aids, Robbins said.

“Sleep use has been associated in prospective studies with the development of dementia and early death,” she said.

Melatonin has associated headache, dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, drowsiness, confusion or disorientation, irritability and mild anxiety, depression and tremors, as well as unusually low blood pressure. It can also interact with common medications and cause allergies.
While short-term jet use, shift workers, and those with difficulty sleeping appear to be safe, long-term safety is unknown. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health at the National Institutes of Health.

Bigger dosage, less prescription

Research shows that as of 2006, a small but growing segment of adults are using amounts of melatonin that far exceed the 5-milligram-a-day dosage typically used as a short-term treatment.

However, the pills for sale may contain much higher levels of melatonin than what is advertised on the label. Unlike drugs and foods, melatonin is not fully regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, so there’s no federal requirement for companies to test drugs to make sure they’re safe. contains the advertised amount of melatonin.

People are using twice as much melatonin than they used to, sometimes at dangerously high levels.
“Previous Research Robbins, co-author of “Sleep for Success! Everything You Must Know About Sleep But Too Tired To Ask. “
Nor is there any requirement that companies test their products for harmful hidden additives in melatonin supplements sold in stores and online. Previous studies have also found that 26% of melatonin supplements contain serotonin, “a hormone that can be harmful even at relatively low levels,” according to the study. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health.

“We cannot be certain of the purity of commercially available melatonin,” says Robbins.

Taking too much serotonin by combining medications such as antidepressants, migraine medications, and melatonin can lead to serious drug reactions. Mild symptoms include shivering and diarrhea, while more severe reactions can lead to muscle stiffness, fever, seizures, and even death if left untreated.

It’s a hormone, not an herb

Because it’s bought over-the-counter, experts say many people view melatonin as an herbal or vitamin supplement. In fact, melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, located deep in the brain, and released into the bloodstream to regulate the body’s sleep cycle.

“There’s a view that if it’s natural, it can’t be hurt,” Robbins told CNN. in a previous interview about the effects of melatonin on children. “The truth is, we really don’t know the long-term effects of melatonin, for adults or children.”
8 ways to fall back to sleep after waking up at night

Another fact: Studies have found that while melatonin use can be helpful in inducing sleep if used correctly — taken at least two hours before bedtime — the actual benefits are very small.

“When adults take melatonin, it reduces the time it takes them to fall asleep by four to eight minutes,” Dr. Cora Collette Breuner, professor of pediatrics at Seattle Children’s Hospital at the University of Washington, told CNN. last March.

“So for one person Given the hours it takes to fall asleep, perhaps it’s better for them to turn off their screens or exercise 20 to 40 minutes a day, or not drink any caffeinated products, Breuner said.

“These are all effective sleep hygiene tools, but people are very careful doing them. They only take one pill, right?”

Train your brain to sleep

There are proven sleep tips that are just as effective, if not better, than sleep aids, experts say. The body begins to secrete melatonin at nightfall. What do we do in our modern culture? Using artificial light to keep us awake, often too long for the body’s normal bedtime.

Study says smartphone addiction ruins sleep, but you can fight it

Research has found that the body slows or stops the production of melatonin if exposed to light, including blue light from smartphones, laptops and the like.

Dr Vsevolod Polotsky, who directs basic sleep research in the division of critical care and pulmonary medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said: in a previous CNN interview.
So ban those devices at least an hour before you want to fall asleep. Like to read to yourself to sleep? That’s fine, experts say, just read in dim light from a real book or use the e-reader in night mode.

“Digital light suppresses the circadian cycle, while dim reading lights do not,” says Polotsky.

Other tips include keeping your bedroom temperature around 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15 to 20 degrees Celsius) cooler. According to experts, we will sleep better if it is a bit cold.

Establish a bedtime ritual by taking a warm bath or shower, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Or you can try deep breathing, yoga, meditation, or light stretching. Experts say go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on your weekends or days off. The body likes routine.

If your doctor prescribes melatonin to help relieve jet fatigue or other minor sleep problems, keep taking it “for the short term,” says Robbins.

If you’re planning on using melatonin to aid in short-term sleep, try to buy pharmaceutical-grade melatonin, she advises. To find out, look for stamps that show the product has been tested by an independent, nonprofit organization United States Pharmacopeia Convention Dietary Supplement Verification Program.

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