Melatonin Not Working? 4 Tips to Properly Take Melatonin for a Better Night's Sleep by Dr. Vikki Petersen
Did you know that more than a third of American adults do not get an adequate amount of sleep on a regular basis? Many turn to healthy solutions for their sleep troubles, like taking melatonin before bed. However, a large number of people may report that melatonin just doesn’t work for them or makes them feel worse the next day.
But I’m here to tell you that you may actually just not be taking it properly. Melatonin is a safe hormone to take and provides many benefits beyond a good night’s sleep. Melatonin is immune boosting, protects against cancer, promotes longevity, protects against viruses and helps heal your gut. To enjoy all the benefits it is important to know how and when to take melatonin.
Here are four ways to take melatonin effectively:
- Find a Good, Reputable Supplement: Find a 3 mg, sublingual melatonin by a reputable company and take it about 30 to 60 minutes before bed. Unfortunately, there are many companies that do not have high-quality supplements. In fact, their active ingredient may be much less than advertised; therefore, it is important to check out a company before investing in a new supplement. Avoid time-releasing melatonin. You want to mimic the natural function of your body, whereby your pineal gland releases melatonin in more of a single dose rather than all night long.
- Help Your Body Produce It Naturally: Help your body to secrete melatonin by avoiding lifestyle habits that could inhibit production. Start dimming lights in your home two to three hours before bedtime. Consider blue light glasses if you are having a hard time “turning off.” Avoid stimulating computer or TV activities that get your heart rate up. Consider unplugging your modem before bed.
- Have a Standard Bedtime and Try to Stick With It: Melatonin, and therefore your sleep cycle, operate on a circadian rhythm that will best function if you stick to a routine. Consider finding an activity that calms and soothes you before bed, such as a bubble bath, calming music or curling up with a good book in dim light.
- Avoid the Melatonin Hangover: A melatonin hangover is when you take melatonin and the next morning you feel as if you were drugged. This is not a bad thing and it simply means you are very sleep deprived – you feel sluggish because your body actually wants more sleep. As your sleep quality improves the feeling will abate. To “turn off” the hangover, get in bright light. You can go outside or even try the bright light in your bathroom. This will lessen the “hangover” feeling.
One note: if you feel that you become more alert or have nightmares after taking melatonin, it indicates a nutritional imbalance. Start with a very small dose and try to find a clinician to balance your nutrition.
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