I hear from patients all the time who have tried Melatonin to help with their sleep issues and ended up feeling even worse than they do when they can’t get enough sleep. I am constantly being asked How much Melatonin should I take to sleep? Why isn’t Melatonin helping me sleep?
There are plenty of reasons why Melatonin might not be working for them, but one of the most common is that they could be taking it wrong.
It’s helpful to first understand a little about what Melatonin is and what it does.
Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland—a pea-sized gland in the middle of our brain. Its purpose is to regulate our circadian rhythm to fall in line with the natural dark/light cycles of the sun. When the sun goes down, our pineal gland gets turned on by the suprachiasmatic nucleus which is located in the hypothalamus. Then melatonin levels rise quickly to make you sleepy.
However, if you are not in a dimly lit environment, the brain is tricked into thinking it is still daytime.That’s why you don’t get sleepy when you’re on your tablet or watching TV. The blue light emitted from electronic devices suppresses our natural production of melatonin. So even if we know we are tired and need to go to sleep, our brain is getting the opposite message.
Some people may be wary of trying melatonin due to side effects. This usually occurs because the dosage is too high.
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Melatonin side effects
- Morning drowsiness
- Vivid dreams.
- Small changes in blood pressure.
Most people overdo it with the Melatonin and then claim it doesn’t work. You only need tiny doses to support your natural sleep cycle. As little as 1-3 mg about an hour before you go to bed can boost your melatonin by 20 times. If melatonin still doesn’t work for you, it’s likely your sleep problems have other causes and need further workup by one of our Parsley doctors. The short answer is: Try to take less, and then call your doctor.