Melatonin: Doctor advises how to take supplement for sleep
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in your body that helps to regulate sleep.
At night, your levels of melatonin start rising, prompting your body to relax and eventually sleep.
Due to these abilities, melatonin has also been turned into a pill form with a promise to tackle sleep disorders.
While the desire to sleep soundly can sometimes feel stronger than following the correct dosage, Dr Ann Nainan, from The Travelling Doc, warned that taking too much doesn’t come without a tax on your health.
Dr Nainan said: “In the UK, melatonin is available only with a prescription for certain conditions, and consultation with a GP or pharmacist is advised before use.
“For most adults, a typical dose ranges from 0.2 mg to 5 mg, and it’s essential to note that more doesn’t necessarily mean better and the dose will usually depend on what you are using it for.”
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The doctor explained that taking too much of the popular sleeping pill can trigger the following side effects and potential health risks:
- Sleep disturbances: Ironically, an overdose can result in disrupted sleep or unusual dreams
- Grogginess: One of the most common side effects of taking too much melatonin is drowsiness or grogginess the next day
- Headache: Some people might experience headaches
- Dizziness: Overconsumption can result in feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness
- Nausea and Stomach Cramps: Some individuals might experience stomach discomfort, cramps, or nausea
- Dry mouth, dry skin.
The doctor isn’t the only one to warn of the side effects linked to the sleep supplement.
Dr Nazreen Morley, a GP based in the North of England, previously told Express.co.uk that melatonin can lead to excessive fatigue and lethargy, headaches and in some cases even stomach problems.
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Dr Nainan added that while melatonin is generally considered safe for short-term use, the long-term effects of supplementation with the sleeping pill aren’t “as well-understood”.
“Continuous usage should be discussed with a healthcare provider,” she said.
Another risk posed by the sleeping supplement is its interaction with other medications.
The doctor said: “Large doses of melatonin might enhance the effects of other sedatives or anticoagulant drugs.
“It can also interfere with medications for diabetes, high blood pressure, and others.
“So, it’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before starting supplementation.”
Furthermore, pregnant and breastfeeding women should also be cautious of melatonin.
“The effects of melatonin on foetal development and infants are not well-studied, so it’s often recommended that pregnant and breastfeeding women avoid melatonin,” Dr Nainan added.
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