Melatonin is a natural hormone produced by the body. Many people swear that taking this supplements 30 minutes before bedtime drastically improves their sleep quality. However, it will not work for everybody. Because it is a hormone, and not a sleeping supplement, it is important to understand how and why it works.
A pea-sized gland in the middle of our brain, known as the pineal gland, is responsible for the body’s melatonin production. Its purpose is to regulate our circadian rhythm in accordance with the sun’s natural dark/light cycle. When the sun goes down, the suprachiasmatic nucleus stimulates our pineal gland to increase melatonin levels, which makes us sleepy.
It is important to note, that if you are not in a dimly lit environment, and are watching TV or using your tablet or smartphone device (or any device that emits blue light), the brain is tricked into thinking that it is still daytime, therefore suppressing the production of melatonin. Personally, melatonin did not help me much is getting a good night’s sleep, but that is just my experience. Changing my sleep hygiene had significant improvements on my sleep (download my FREE book).
The reason why melatonin did not help me is because my circadian rhythm and sleep pattern was all messed up. In fact, when I took melatonin, I felt very drowsy and lethargic in the morning, particularly when I was going to be asleep for less than 7 hours. Some people can experience other nasty side effects, such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea. These reaction, however, are rare. We only need as little as 1-3 mg, preferably on an empty stomach. Everybody reacts differently to supplements – and melatonin is no exception. You should definitely give it a try, since the risks are now, and it is very inexpensive. It may help improve the quality of your sleep, but don’t expect it to be a magic bullet.