Chances are, if you’ve ever suffered from a sleep disorder or been unlucky enough to land the graveyard shift at work, you’ve come across Melatonin in some form or another. Commonly used in prescription and over the counter sleeping pills and relaxation aids, Melatonin has increased in popularity as the number of Americans suffering from sleep related disorders has risen. But what are the dangers of this drug which is seemingly readily available to anyone?
It’s a hormone
Not many people realize this, but Melatonin is a hormone – it’s involved in regulating the sleeping and waking cycles of humans and animals and can be prescribed by doctors for those experiencing trouble regulating their sleep patterns. It’s also readily available to buy online without a prescription, and this has caused a great deal of controversy over its safety.
Help with jet lag
Melatonin is a great, short-term supplement to reduce jet lag caused by flying across several time zones, and used in this way it is relatively safe. The dangers arise when people rely on Melatonin to help them sleep on a regular basis – night shift workers frequently use it to assist them with sleeping during the day.
Regular use of Melatonin can lead to some (or all) of the following side effects:
- Weight gain
- Sleepiness in the daytime
- Short-lasting depression
- Abdominal pain
With other relaxation aids readily available on the market, there are much better options to assist with sleepless nights. Relaxation drinks which contain a blend of natural herbs and amino acids can help people to wind down, and combined with a healthy diet and regular exercise, as well as good sleep hygiene, most people experience an improvement with their insomnia. By switching off smartphones and laptops an hour before bed, practicing yoga or meditation or even reading for an hour whilst sipping a relaxation drink, most people will sleep more soundly and have no need for sleep medication which contains Melatonin.