Did you know that melatonin is actually a hormone produced by the pineal gland? Not a vitamin or mineral. This means that taking it comes with some heavy side effects most will want to avoid.
It's important to know that melatonin is a sleep regulator and not a sleep initiator. Most people who take melatonin want to fall asleep quicker and wake up refreshed; however, it's not designed for either of these.
With that being said, melatonin can help some people such as those who experience jet lag after traveling or those who work night shifts and sleep during the day.
But for those taking melatonin to fall asleep faster, it often results in undesired side effects including next-day drowsiness, brain fog, nightmares, and less frequently, depression.
This WebMD article highlights some of those risks:
Read this blogger's experience with using melatonin for one week:
This article published by Michael J. Breus, PhD (The Sleep Doctor) explains why most should not take melatonin regularly for sleep:
After reading these excerpts, you may be wondering "what can I take instead of melatonin?"
Fortunately, there are some effective herbal alternatives:
1) Amino acids such as L-tryptophan and L-theanine
2) Sedating herbs such as chamomile, passionflower, hops, and valerian root
3) Relaxing minerals such as magnesium glycinate
4) Phosphatidylserine, a phospholipid supplement that blocks the release of cortisol. When cortisol levels rise in the middle of the night, it causes sleep disturbances which can be improved with phosphatidylserine.
5) Ashwagandha, an adaptogen normally taken during the daytime, can help with sleep since it helps with anxiety and supports the nervous system
Hopefully, you learned something from reading this post and we want to hear your experience with taking melatonin? Have you tried alternatives? What's worked and what hasn't?