Melatonin is actually a dietary supplement which is used as a sleeping pill and a well-known hormone in the human body that controls sleep. There are some concerns which are responsible for increasing popularity of melatonin and most of these concerns are due to lack of information about long-term side effects of melatonin as a sleeping supplement.
Usually, people use melatonin to regulate their internal clock such as people whose work routines change (work-shift disorder) use melatonin to adjust their internal system as well as it is used by blind people to establish their day and night cycle. But the potential threats behind the process are always overlooked.
To review side effects of melatonin as the sleeping supplement you can consider following points.
What Melatonin is?
Melatonin is a hormone released mainly at night. It is a neuro-hormone and it is produced by pineal glands which are the part of pituitary glands of the brain. When this hormone is released body gets prepared for sleeping and that is why this hormone is named as ‘hormone of darkness’.
Functions of Melatonin
Melatonin supplements are used to aid in sleeping, to improve quality and quantity of sleep significantly. It helps you fall asleep within a very little time. And its effects are considered mild.
Besides sleeping, melatonin plays many other functions within the human body. It also controls body’s temperature, blood pressure, cortisol level and plays a role in production sexual impulses as well as aids body’s immune system. It also works as an antioxidant in the body.
Countries treat their public differently for using this supplement. As in the US, it is available freely. Anybody can use it free of prescription. Just go to the counter, have it. While it is available to the public of Australia and European countries only if prescribed and these countries assure that the buyer is an old adult with diagnosed sleep disorders.
Its growing use is the key to increased risks and exposure to the side effects of melatonin as a sleeping supplement.
Search and research proves that the side effects of melatonin are long termed but a few other studies don’t support the idea. According to them, there is no serious side effect of melatonin and it does not cause any dependency upon users. However, some medical researchers have studied that melatonin used as a supplement can reduce the natural ability of the brain to produce this very hormone which is no less than a potential threat to the body.
Many practitioners have also studied general symptoms in people using melatonin supplements. These include dizziness, headache, nausea etc. But these could not be attributed to melatonin because of their common possibility in treatment and placebo groups.
These supplements are considered relatively safe, but only in short-term prescriptions. While its long-term safety is considerable especially in case of children.
Used by Children
Some parents give melatonin supplement to children who feel trouble in falling asleep. It can be lack of awareness. However, it is still questioned to FDA which has not approved nor evaluated it yet, in children.
Melatonin supplements are surely for adults in Europe but a current Norway research revealed that it is also being prescribed for children as well.
Many experts do not prescribe it to children but there is no cause for their concern yet. They may know its long-term and wide-ranging effects, while these effects are not explainable till now. They may ensure their safety as they are a group of growing and developing people. So most of them are reluctant to prescribe it to children.
However, there is a tire need for the comprehensive study of long-term uses of melatonin before allowing its use in children.
Many other points have been raised but they need to have thoroughly researched.
General Effects of Melatonin
There is a sleep medication zolpidem and when we take it along with melatonin can effect adverse effects on memory and also on muscular performance.
It can thin your blood so if you are intended to take a high dose, don’t forget to ask your doctor first otherwise it can lead you to suffer the great problem.
As melatonin performs other functions along with sleep control, its variation can cause a drop in body temperature. Which is not a big problem but it can make difference in people who suffer difficulty in keeping their body warm.
For its regular use, standard dosage ranges from 1 to 10 m.g per day. However, to aid sleep, it is just for normal people who are not suffering from other diseases. As the establishment of optimal dose still, need to be considered.
Important to remember: All melatonin supplements are not same. Therefore, make it sure to follow some instructions before using these which are available on the label.
Remember that in case of an overdose of supplements, health authorities are not monitoring you. Try to choose brands which involve the third party, such as NSF, to be certified as it reduces the risk and ensures the reputation of company or brand you are using. Additionally, many practitioners do not recommend this to children and adolescent. Because they needed more security or evidence for its safety in these groups. As melatonin is transferred into breast milk. So breastfeeding mothers should avoid this because it may cause daytime sleeping in nursing infants and it is in excess.