We all have the occasional night when we have trouble falling asleep, and for some, taking a melatonin supplement is a useful wakefulness. According to new research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, this is happening more often than ever before. Here’s what you need to know about the recent trends in the use of melatonin and why they are so important.
The consumption of melatonin is in the United States, according to this report.
For this research letter, a team of healthcare professionals examined the declared use of melatonin supplements among American mature between 1999 and 2018. Based on their analysis, the authors of the study write that the prevalence of consumption of melatonin supplements has “increased dramatically” in all population groups since the beginning of the century.
They note that in addition, taking more than 5 milligrams per day (significantly higher than the typical recommended dose of 0.5 milligrams) has also become more frequent — which could prove to be a peril tendency. “These estimates may raise safety concerns, especially since the actual melatonin content in marketed supplements may be up to 478% higher than the labeled content, and the evidence for the use of melatonin in sleep disorders is small,” they write.
Why Taking Melatonin Every Night May Not Be Effective
Although taking a low dose of melatonin may be helpful to reset the circadian clock (especially if a reset is needed, think: travel) and to resume your sleep in the short term, taking it in high doses for longer periods of time — as this research suggests that more people are doing it now — may not be such a wise decision.
Dr. Frank Lipman, MD, summarized why in a recent episode of the mbg podcast: Melatonin, he explained, is a hormone and in addition to promoting sleep, it also affects a number of other processes in the body. “Taking a lot of melatonin — many people take 3 to 5 milligrams to sleep — affects your other hormones over time, suppressing your body’s ability to make melatonin,” Lipman said.
And although these high doses may help some people fall asleep faster, there is little evidence that melatonin improves the overall quality of their sleep. As such, it is not recommended to take it as a night sleep supplement.
Instead, he says that a non-hormonal formula such as mbg’s sleep support +, which consists of magnesium bisglycinate, PharmaGABA ® and jujube, is more suitable for nighttime use.*
As more and more people take melatonin supplements (and those with extremely high amounts of melatonin, besides), it’s important to really understand what we’re consuming. Although melatonin may be effective for things like settling into a new time zone, it may not be helpful — and actually harmful— if taken in high doses every night.