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When to Use Melatonin Supplements for Sleep

Taking melatonin, a natural hormone that regulates the human biological clock, can seem like a foolproof ticket to dreamland: it isn’t physically addictive, and, according to Time, some claim it doesn’t cause foggy hangovers like sleeping pills. But is it a sensible long-term solution to sleep woes? Not really, says Chris Winter, MD, medical director of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Sleep Medicine Center. While it can help you sleep through a bout of jet lag or insomnia, over the long term, it could cause problems. Dr. Winter explains that when night falls, your brain naturally produces melatonin, signaling to your body that it’s time to sleep. But when you take a melatonin supplement, your body may start producing melatonin at that time instead of your body's natural time (which may be different), thus throwing off your internal clock. He also warns that melatonin supplements could be psychologically addictive—you may begin to feel you need them in order to sleep. When all is said and done, it could be best to save these supplements for unusual occasions of unrest, and to establish long-term routines that signal to your body that it’s time to sleep, such as creating a quiet environment at night and turning off the TV well before bedtime.

Source: Time

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