A good night’s sleep is a great way to restore your body. However, 1 in 3 adults don’t get enough. For some it’s a hectic schedule, while for others it’s their chaotic mind running a marathon every minute. The result? Many people have turned to melatonin supplements that claim to improve sleep quality and improve brain power. However, the question that comes to mind is, “Is it safe to consume melatonin supplements?” Many myths surround the subject of melatonin consumption. We’ll take a look.
What is melatonin?
Our body’s internal clock operates according to the circadian rhythm which is responsible for maintaining and regulating our daily functions. One of its main functions is to keep our sleep-wake cycle under control. The pineal gland in the brain produces melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate sleep patterns. It is usually secreted in response to darkness and its production helps induce sleep and maintain circadian rhythm.
However, due to the modern lifestyle, the regulation of melatonin secretion in the body is disturbed. People who work night shifts, suffer from jet lag, or have problems like insomnia, may have decreased or abnormal melatonin release patterns. Melatonin signals the body about when to sleep and prompts us to wake up on time in the morning when the brain stops producing melatonin.
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However, it is important to clear up some common myths about melatonin. Health Shots contacted Dr. Suhas HS, Consultant Pulmonologist, Manipal Hospitals, Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru to bust common myths about melatonin.
Myth 1: Melatonin is a sleep aid
“One of the common myths about melatonin is that it’s a sleep aid. When in reality, it is not a sleeping pill, it simply helps to regulate the biological clock. It does not cause sleep on its own and can therefore be used safely, ”explains the expert.
#Myth 2: Consumption of melatonin is addictive
Another myth says that melatonin is addictive and becomes a habit once taken regularly. In fact, it has no addictive properties. Instead, it acts like a drug to help maintain circadian rhythm. But that does not mean that it is free from side effects. People may experience dizziness, drowsiness, anxiety, headaches, and irritability. Therefore, one must have a prescription with one to consume the tablet as recommended by the doctor.
Myth 3: Melatonin causes desensitization over time
“There are people who think that melatonin causes desensitization over time. However, long-term studies conclude that there is no desensitizing effect. Melatonin essentially acts as a natural chemical produced in the body. When provided in supplement form, it simply enhances production and helps maintain our body’s circadian rhythm. Small amounts of melatonin are present in the foods we eat, which can also help induce sleep,” explains the expert.
#Myth 4: Melatonin has a negative impact on blood pressure
“Many people doubt that melatonin has a negative impact on blood pressure or that it causes blood pressure to rise or fall. However, in reality, there is no evidence linking melatonin to negative effects on blood pressure. This was not associated with any change, whether it was an increase or a decrease in blood pressure, ”explains the expert.
A word of warning from Health Shots. Do not consume any supplement without expert supervision or doctor’s recommendation to avoid any adverse effects.