Doctors Have Issued a Warning About Melatonin Use For Sleep


Many people have trouble sleeping from time to time. Sometimes this problem is short term, such as someone who is experiencing jet lag or suffering from anxiety about a particular event. Often these problems correct themselves, but sometimes people turn to pills in order to help them sleep in the meantime.

Melatonin is a popular supplement that many people use to prevent insomnia. It seems safe enough since it is a hormone that the body naturally produces. It tells us that it’s time to sleep by increasing production at night when it’s dark out and decreasing production during the day when it’s light out.

Most people have enough melatonin that they don’t need a supplement, but as we mentioned above, there are times when popping a melatonin supplement might be helpful. In most cases, doctors agree that taking melatonin supplements is perfectly fine; however, it may be a problem if these supplements are used in high doses.

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, high levels of melatonin may cause health problems that are even worse than insomnia. These health problems include dementia and early death.

Even though melatonin is an over the counter supplement, it’s important to remember that it can interact with other medications. It is important to talk to your health care provider before taking melatonin especially if you have epilepsy or take blood thinners.

Since melatonin is available over the counter in the United States, that means that it’s not regulated by the FDA. That means that the label may not always accurately reflect what’s in the product, and it may lead some people to believe that it’s safer than it really is. It’s important to remember that even if the label says “natural” that does not necessarily mean that it’s “safe.”

The older population may be at increased risk of negative side effects from taking melatonin particularly because it may be more effective in older people than in younger people, which means it could cause drowsiness during the day. In addition, anyone with dementia should not take melatonin.

In general, it is considered safe to take melatonin on an occasional basis, but talk to your doctor first. Also, be aware that common side effects include sleepiness, headache, nausea, and dizziness. The side effects for children are similar and include drowsiness, agitation, headache, dizziness and increased urination at night which could lead to bed wetting.

Have you ever taken melatonin to try to fall asleep? Does it surprise you that taking melatonin in high doses could have very serious side effects?