Most of us know melatonin helps you sleep. But do you know how/why? Let’s hit some basics before we get into the nitty gritty.
Melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland at night, and has been credited with control of the sleep-wake cycle. Yup, you make melatonin naturally (just like you make cannabinoids naturally!).
When most people pop that melatonin pill or eat a gummy before bed, it is more often than not to help with insomnia. But wait, here’s some info you should know before you go from Dr. John Andrefsky (neurologist and sleep medicine specialist):
“Melatonin decreases sleep latency by about six minutes, which is not a lot of time considering people sometimes can’t fall asleep for 45 minutes, an hour or two hours. Melatonin effects when you fall asleep, not how quickly.”
This is backed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine:
“The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says there isn't enough scientific evidence to support using melatonin to get to sleep or stay asleep. Research shows that on average, melatonin cuts the amount of time it takes to fall asleep by only about 7 minutes.”
The research is definitely mixed about melatonin’s benefits for most people and it seems that melatonin does not quite live up to the hype.
That begs the next question, “Is melatonin supplementation safe long term?”
While there is not extensive research on this, the research that has been completed has deemed melatonin safe for up to three months but not recommended for long term use.
Finally, are you dosing properly?
More is NOT better! If you do decide to supplement with melatonin for that occasional sleepless night, research suggests that the optimal dose is VERY small, 0.5 milligrams or less, to produce levels similar to what your body produces. Many of the supplements out there on the market yield doses of 1 to 10 milligrams which can bring the levels of melatonin in your blood to 3 to 60 times normal levels. Whoa partner!
To make matters even worse, taking a frequently-marketed 5-10 milligram dose can cause:
Losing effectiveness over time because brain receptors get desensitized to it
Next-day drowsiness, which can affect work performance
Decreasing body temperature in the elderly
Interacting with other medications
Well, there hasn't been a ton or “warm-fuzzies” on melatonin. Is there a GOOD time to supplement?
When traveling, your body naturally corrects one hour lost or gained every 24 hours.
Dr. Andrefsky has stated that melatonin can be great for travelers crossing time zones as it can help speed up this correction process, but for the everyday insomniac, not necessarily.
So jet laggers and travelers, melatonin may definitely be your friend to help you adjust that all-important body clock.
Does all this info have you prepping for a melatonin break? If you are looking to take a break from melatonin but still want to maximize your sleep cycles, check out C3 by Arcanum! It's an ideal ratio of CBD:CBN:CBG making it an optimal tool in your tool box to help increase the quality of your all-important sleep.
Stay healthy, my friends!