The naturally occurring hormone melatonin helps the body regulate when to sleep and wake. Available to supplement in various forms, below is a breakdown of what you need to know about dosing melatonin to restore a balanced body clock.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that plays a crucial role in your body's sleep-wake cycle. The body uses fading sunlight as a cue to spike melatonin levels, signalling that cells should enter a rested state, ready for sleep. Then, when the sun rises, levels diminish to help you wake and get ready to start the day.
While this interaction is crucial to the body's body clock and circadian rhythms, there is one significant downside—melatonin production is easily disrupted. This makes it harder to fall asleep at night and, over time, can lead to several debilitating health conditions.
Fortunately, you can 'top up' melatonin levels with supplements, helping restore a balanced body clock, and get functions such as sleep and digestion back in sync. It may also help with issues such as jet lag, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD), and sleep disorders in children.
While there are no official guidelines on melatonin dosing, we can use several studies to ascertain a relatively safe threshold. Furthermore, a Swinburne University of Technology paper found that gender didn't play a role in melatonin suppression. Generally speaking, the dosing range for male and female adults should be the same.
The safest dose of melatonin will always be the lowest amount that's effective for you. However, to get you started, consider the following:
• For most healthy individuals, the range of 0.5-5mg appears safe, with 2mg a typical starting point.
The final caveat to melatonin supplements is the duration of use. Melatonin should be used as a short-term aid to restful sleep, with a dosing routine typically lasting 1-4 weeks. Prolonged use of melatonin supplements can disrupt your body's ability to produce the hormone naturally.
Generally, children take melatonin supplements to help with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, given the impact sleepiness has on attention, learning, obesity, and mood, melatonin supplementation could benefit many children.,
The caveats of melatonin use in children are similar to that of adults, with long-term use discouraged. And despite the use of melatonin supplements being well-tolerated, there is the risk of mild side effects in children, including:
• Increased bedwetting
Then, there is a melatonin dosage to consider. There aren't a lot of studies regarding melatonin use in children, so our understanding is limited.
• In most cases, observing a similar dosage guideline to adults is considered safe (0.5-5mg).
However, given the potential impact on hormonal development, it's best to discuss taking melatonin with a doctor or physician for case-specific advice.
The most common applications of melatonin are in the elderly. Not only is there less risk to hormonal development, but natural melatonin production decreases as we age. Without the hormone to help balance our circadian rhythms, instances of insomnia and other sleep-related disorders increase.
Encouragingly, several studies support the use of melatonin supplements in adults aged 55-80 years,. Results indicate an improved quality of life, driven by shortened sleep latency (the time it takes to fall asleep) and morning alertness. Another noticeable development was the lack of withdrawal effects, even after taking prolonged-release melatonin (PR-melatonin).
• Recommendations remain similar to that of younger adults and children. 2mg appears to be an appropriate starting point.
Keep in mind that these guidelines are merely recommendations, and everyone's melatonin needs differ slightly. To get the best outcome possible, you must monitor your intake and adjust the dose accordingly.
The timing of melatonin supplements is a crucial consideration. Remember that we want to encourage the body's natural circadian rhythms, not cause further disruption by taking melatonin when levels would usually dip.
While it's true that melatonin levels start to rise in the early afternoon, you want to spike levels as close to your regular bedtime as possible. For that reason, you'll want to take your melatonin supplements roughly an hour before sleep. However, if you're a shift worker, timing does get trickier, as you may not be sleeping at times that follow the sun's rising and setting.
That said, to avoid daytime drowsiness and other unwanted side effects, it's still best to take melatonin as close to your typical bedtime as possible. If this happens to be early in the morning or during the day, try to limit your body's exposure to natural sunlight. Then, the melatonin supplements can work alongside adjustments in your body's circadian rhythm rather than against it.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that plays a fundamental role in restful sleep. While most of us won't need to worry about keeping levels topped up, there may be situations where supplementation helps get your circadian rhythm back on track. Under these circumstances, knowing how much melatonin to supplement is crucial.
However, the most important thing to remember about melatonin supplements is that they are only intended as a short-term aid to restful sleep. While mild doses appear safe across children and adults, take melatonin for too long, and it can start to disrupt the very functions you're trying to support. This becomes especially important in children because prolonged melatonin intake can disrupt hormonal development.
Provided you take a sensible and informed approach to melatonin supplements, there's little reason you shouldn't use them to support a natural sleep-wake cycle. Given how crucial sleep is to thinking and feeling our best, a top-up of melatonin could be a short-term solution to restoring the best version of yourself.
Explore a comprehensive selection of natural sleep aids, with and without melatonin, using the Cibdol store. Or, to learn more about the influence of natural ingredients on the body's sleep-wake cycle, visit our CBD Encyclopedia for everything you need to know.
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