Melatonin has become a very popular dietary supplement worldwide. It is known for the natural help it renders for sleeping and its other powerful health effects. This melatonin is secreted in the brain’s pineal gland as a hormone. Its main responsibility is the regulation of the circadian rhythm of the body in order to manage our sleep cycle. People who find it difficult to fall asleep natural usually take doses of this hormone. In a nation like the US, this medication can easily be gotten over the counter. As a result of its wide availability, there is a tendency of this drug to be abused, we need to know how much melatonin to take per time. And this is what will be our focus in this article.
Melatonin is not only known for improving sleep but it also has a role to play in regulating immune function, cortisol levels, and blood pressure. In addition to all this, it can function as an antioxidant significantly affecting certain health conditions. Several studies have shown that this melatonin can enhance eye health, relieve acid reflux, and decrease symptoms of depression.
Benefits Of Melatonin
1. For Sleep
Melatonin is usually referred to as a sleep hormone. This is because of its popularity as a sleeping aid and a natural remedy for issues such as insomnia. A lot of researches have been conducted to ascertain that melatonin does indeed aid better sleep.
Fifty people that had insomnia were given melatonin a few hours before going to bed and it helped them sleep quickly and improved their sleep quality. Another study was done on adults and children who had sleep disorders and it was discovered that when they took this sleep hormone, it made them fall asleep quickly and for a longer period of time with better sleep quality.
2. Decreases the symptoms of depression
Seasonal depression is a condition that is said to affect about ten percent of the worldwide population. This particular kind of depression comes in seasons, it is related to seasonal changes which occur about the same time each year. The symptoms typically appear from mid-year to the end of the year.
Researchers have said that this can be a result of the alterations that take place in the circadian rhythm which is caused by changes in seasonal light. Because of the role, melatonin usually plays in the regulation of circadian rhythm, taking it in low dosage reduces seasonal depression symptoms.
A study on sixty-eight people showed that seasonal depression is somehow related to the changes in the rhythm of circadian. But the symptoms were relieved by taking melatonin medications. However, there are still other researches that are inconclusive on melatonin’s effect on this kind of depression. More research will need to be carried out to ascertain this benefit of melatonin.
3. Increases the level of HGH
HGH stands for human growth hormone. This hormone is responsible for cellular regeneration and growth. Increased level of HGH has been linked to enhanced muscle mass and strength. Studies have shown that melatonin supplements could increase HGH levels in men.
Eight men were given between 0.5mg and 5mg of melatonin and their HGH level increased. This was also done to thirty-two men and there were similar results. However, more studies need to be done on a larger scale in order to accurately understand melatonin’s effect on HGH levels in the overall population.
4. Improves eye health
The high amount of antioxidants in melatonin helps in preventing cellular damage and it keeps the eyes healthy. Several studies have found out that melatonin is beneficial in the treatment of certain conditions such as glaucoma.
5. Helps in the treatment of GERD
GERD means gastroesophageal reflux disease. This is a disease that arises when the stomach acid returns to the esophagus. The symptoms include heartburn, belching, and nausea. Melatonin can block the release of the stomach acids and also minimizes nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is a compound that causes the esophageal sphincter to relax permitting acid from the stomach to go into the esophagus.
This is why some researchers advocate the use of melatonin in the treatment of GERD and heartburn.
How Much Melatonin To Take
Doses of melatonin should be used in 0.5 to 10mg each day. But note that not all supplements of melatonin are alike so it is best advised to use the dosage indicated for the particular supplement you are getting to prevent having serious side effects. You might also want to start off with lower doses then slowly increase it as it suits you.
If the purpose of your taking melatonin is to enhance the quality of your sleep, then you should take it a few minutes before going to bed to maximize its effect. But if your purpose is to correct the circadian rhythm of your body and to set up a regular sleep pattern then take the supplements two to three hours before bedtime.
Side Effects And Safety
For adults, melatonin is nonaddictive and safe for short term use as well as long term use. There have been concerns that the use of melatonin supplements may reduce the ability of your body to naturally produce it but this concern has been shown to be otherwise.
However, since the long term research on melatonin’s effect that has been done on this drug is only related to adults, children and adolescents are not currently recommended to use it. The common side effects of melatonin supplements are nausea, sleepiness, dizziness, and headaches.
Melatonin can also interfere with other medications like antidepressants, medication for blood pressure, and blood thinners. If you are already on these medications then It is better to speak to your doctor first to know how much melatonin to take or if you can take it all in order to avoid experiencing any adverse effects.