If you’ve been tossing and turning during the pandemic, you’re certainly not alone. You’re also not the only person who may have tried using melatonin as a sleep aid.
Research suggests that melatonin, when used in relatively small doses for short stints, is safe and effective in helping regulate sleep. Some ways where it might be used include combatting jet lag or helping to regulate sleep after a few days of sleepless nights.
However, it is not recommended to be taken in large doses or for extended periods. Typical dosing instructions are for 5 milligrams (mg) per day.
New research suggests that some are taking far larger doses and using it for much longer than a few days, which is prompting health concerns.
Use has been rising steadily for years, and the pandemic may have taken things to a new level. Americans were taking more than double the amount of over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids in 2018 than in 2008. And since 2006, the study shows a small but growing number of people are exceeding the low dose, short-term treatment guidelines.
According to CNN, melatonin is linked to headaches, nausea, dizziness, stomach cramps, drowsiness, confusion, disorientation, irritability, mild anxiety, depression, tremors, and potentially abnormally low blood pressure.
Taking too much melatonin can be a risk because it may mess with your body’s endocrine system – something you don’t really want to do. Melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces to help you rest. Supplementing too much can throw this delicate system out of rhythm and potentially create problems.
In short, be careful with melatonin supplementation and realize that it is designed to be taken in small doses. Taking more than that could lead to unexpected risks.