Clearing misconceptions about Melatonin
The public is still pretty much in the dark when it comes to melatonin. Some doctors have spread inaccurate information about this chemical our bodies produce while we’re in deep sleep.
I’m not a doctor; yet, I feel the need to clarify these myths about melatonin.
Misconception: Melatonin is a sleep aid.
When patients hear their doctors say, “sleep aid,” they think, “natural sleeping pill.” In fact, the label on one bottle reads: Promotes sleep.
Melatonin is NOT a sleep aid nor does it promote sleep.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is a chemical we produce while we experience deep sleep such as Rapid Eye Movement (REM).
When we sleep fitfully, we don’t go through as many periods of deep sleep. This means we don’t produce enough melatonin, the absence of which contributes to our sluggishness during the day.
Misconception: Melatonin helps you sleep.
Melatonin does NOT help you sleep.
Taking 1 to 3 milligrams of melatonin before you go to bed at night replaces the chemical your body does NOT produce while you suffer from insomnia or occasional bouts of fitful sleep. CAUTION: Discuss your use of melatonin and the suggested dose with your doctor first! Print a copy of this article and share it with your doctor.
My experience with melatonin
I take 3 mg occasionally when I travel or when I’ve gone through a period of additional stress and can’t sleep. I also take melatonin during the holidays when I attend parties and stay up too late and still wake up at my typical predawn hour.
Melatonin helps me function better during the day instead of feeling so tired.
I don’t recommend taking melatonin daily. Again, I am NOT a doctor. However, I do believe in moderation.
When we regularly take a supplement, I believe our bodies adapt by relying less on our own internal chemical production for good health. Instead, our bodies grow more dependent on these supplements (melatonin included) requiring us to take higher doses. My sister-in-law surprised me when she said she takes 12 mg of melatonin per night! This is the first I’ve heard of this high dose and wonder what the effect will be over time.
My best to you on your quest to feel you’ve had a restful sleep.
Please print this article and discuss it with your doctor.
For more information about melatonin, click on the following articles.