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Health & Food

Can’t Sleep? Melatonin May Be An Option

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?

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