This week has been crazy, but so fun! I’ve been in Pittsburgh getting trained by the American Dietetic Association on how to teach kids about nutrition. I’m having a blast, but also can’t wait to get home later this evening so I can unpack and get in my comfy clothes

I recently did some research on the supplement melatonin, because not only did I get a request for a post about it, but I have also had several people ask me about it at work. So what is melatonin? Melatonin is a neurohormone in the brain, which increases prior to bedtime. People typically take melatonin if they have trouble sleeping or staying asleep.

Overall, I think it’s a great investment. I am always skeptical about sleep aids, but the research indicates this one might be worth the money. Research suggests that taking the quick-release melatonin 30-60 minutes before you go to bed will decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and also improve the quality and duration of sleep. Dosages typically range from .5-5mg.

Like all supplements, there is a potential for side effects and drug interactions. In fact, there is a long list of side-effects so I would highly suggest talking to your doctor before starting a melatonin regimen.

Source: iStock Photo

As always, make sure the supplement is high quality. I always look for USP certified products, which means they have been third party tested for quality. I would also suggest trying the melatonin supplement on a weekend first, when you don’t have to work the next day. It may take some time to get used to your new sleep cycle (hopefully, a better sleep cycle!).

Even though melatonin seems to be safe, I would suggest asking yourself these questions first;

  • Are you sleeping in too late on the weekends? This could throw you off for the entire week and thus cause you to have problems falling asleep.
  • Are you consuming too much caffeine during the day? Clearly this could affect your sleep.
  • Are you consuming caffeine too late in the day (if I have coffee past 2pm I usually have trouble sleeping)?
  • Do you exercise later in the evening? This may give you too much energy before you go to bed.
  • Do you eat a lot late at night? Sugar or possibly even just too many calories later in the day can potentially keep you from getting a good night’s sleep.

 Question: What are your go-to methods for getting a good night sleep? Have you ever tried melatonin?