Sleep problems are very common. It’s estimated that half of all adults cannot fall asleep easily. Or they wake up during the night and can’t get back to sleep.
Chronic insomnia is miserable. I know, because I suffered from it myself. Eventually, I learned about natural remedies. But I need to rotate them. Otherwise, my remedies stop working. But that’s okay. I’ve collected a large selection of sleep remedies. So I can pick and choose.
Through the years, I tried a lot of sleep aids. Melatonin is one of them. It worked great, for a few nights. Then, it stopped working.
So, perhaps you’re wondering if this hormone is safe to take long term. I don’t know the answer. I’m not sure anyone does, since more research is needed. However, there is evidence that it might stop working, even over the short term. So you may not want to take melatonin indefinitely anyway.
Is Melatonin Safe To Use Long Term?
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I first used melatonin more than a decade ago. My experience with positive. But only for a few nights. This naturally occurring hormone sent me into a deep sleep. I fell asleep right away, and I didn’t wake up a lot at night. Then, melatonin stopped working.
The night it stopped working, I noticed something strange. Instead of putting me to sleep, melatonin kept me awake. At the time, I was puzzled. Now, though, I know my experience was not that unique.
That’s because it’s possible melatonin can cause what’s known as a “paradoxical reaction.” This means your body responds in the opposite way to what’s intended. So, instead of making me drowsy, taking this hormone for a few nights straight made me wired.
Does Melatonin Really Work for Sleeping?
It appears the reason melatonin is promoted as a natural sleep aid has to do with the fact that naturally occurring melatonin regulates the sleep cycle. It’s believed that people with chronic insomnia may suffer from low levels of melatonin. (One online doctor actually advocates testing the saliva for melatonin levels.)
Because low levels of melatonin may affect sleep, the rush has been on to market melatonin supplements. But whether or not you should take these long term is a matter of great debate.
I’m not a doctor, and I certainly can’t give medical advice. However, I can share my personal experience with melatonin. It wasn’t a magic bullet, by any means. It did buy me a few nights of good sleep. But that’s it. Then it kept me up.
So, naturally, I don’t think melatonin is a good long-term sleep solution. Actually, there’s concern among researchers it can promote chronic insomnia. High blood levels may overwhelm the body’s melatonin receptors. This, in turn, could cause even naturally produced melatonin to work less efficiently.
Melatonin Does It Work for Sleep?
However, at the same time, I wouldn’t rule out using melatonin for a quick, short-term fix. I don’t have any in the house right now. (Because I own a number of other natural sleep remedies.) I might take it again, for instance, if I was traveling and needed to reset my body clock. Then, I might think about taking one dose around bedtime. The next night, I’d use something else.
It appears, though, that melatonin is far safer than prescription sleeping pills. These can be habit forming. Many holistic health experts also believe they don’t lead to deep, healthy sleep anyway. So, for short term use, melatonin is probably safe. Personally, though, I’d probably want to use it only for a night or two.
Here’s some research you might find interesting. In 2013, the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a study on long-term use of melatonin with hemodialysis patients. It found no long-term positive effects for sleep, or general quality of life.
Does Melatonin Work To Help You Sleep?
Obviously, more research is probably needed, given the wide range of OTC melatonin supplements on the market. Do they have any real benefit? And for how long?
According to WebMD, a mainstream medical health site, melatonin supplements “are safe in low doses for short-term and long-term use.” However, people are also told to talk with their doctors before taking melatonin.
The key word here seems to be “low dose.” Initially, according to other published reports, melatonin research was done on low 2 and 3 mg. doses. However, some of the supplements sold over the counter are 10 mg. per dose. (Knowing what I know now, no way would I ever consider taking “super strength” melatonin.)
Does Melatonin Help You Fall Asleep?
Anyway, my reviews on melatonin are mixed. If I had some, I may consider taking it on occasion. However, I probably won’t rush out to buy any. I have so many other natural sleep remedies that I use, without worry about potential long-term effects.
I do need to rotate them. But they work well for me, as long as I do that. Here are a few of my favorite natural sleep remedies.
Oregon’s Wild Harvest Stress Guard Formula (It’s available here)
Tulsi Tea With Lavender (It’s available here)
Plant Therapy Sleep Aid (It’s available here)
Megafood Multi Vitamins (They’re available here) These vitamins contain natural B-complex vitamins, which promote good nerve health. For me, they also help me sleep.
These statements have not been approved by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use essential oils or herbal or homeopathic remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.
For More Reading
Natural Sleep Remedies That Work For Me
If you suffer from insomnia, there are many other natural sleep remedies, aside from melatonin. I’ve battled with sleep for much of my adult life. But, in recent years, I’ve found great relief. Natural remedies have been so helpful. Homeopathy has as well. So I wanted to share some of my previous posts on using herbs, homeopathy and essential oils for better sleep.