Sleep deprivation does a lot more than make you groggy and grumpy. It can impair your concentration and reasoning ability, and, in the long run, even lead to serious health conditions such as stroke, diabetes, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Constantly tossing and turning at night can leave anyone exhausted, which is why many people start looking for medications or supplements to treat sleep deprivation as soon as they start to experience it. One of the supplements that people ask about most frequently is melatonin.

What Is Melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that is produced by the body. It’s secreted by the brain’s pineal gland and regulates your sleeping and waking cycles. Melatonin supplements can help you replace this hormone if you aren’t producing enough of it on your own due to a health condition or sleep disorder. However, it’s important to know that taking melatonin might not be the right solution for you, or could possibly have undesirable effects, which is why it’s important to always consult with your sleep doctor in Jacksonville, FL, before you start taking it.

If you’re considering taking melatonin, here are some things you need to know:

1. Look for Quality

Unlike over-the-counter or prescription drugs, supplements don’t need to prove their safety and efficacy to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Therefore, some supplements could have a higher or lower dose than stated, or even contain potentially dangerous ingredients. This is why it’s important to only obtain melatonin from a reputable source—so do your research and speak to your sleep doctor. The bottle should also have logos from supplement-verifying organizations, such as, NSF International, USP, and UL. These indicate that the product is safe to use and free from any contaminated or harmful ingredients.

2. Start Small

Start with a dose recommended by your doctor. A good rule of thumb is to choose supplements between 0.2 and 0.5 milligrams. Unfortunately, many stores offer supplements with far more melatonin than your body naturally produces, so be sure to avoid those.

3. Be Cautious about Long-Term Use

Melatonin generally appears safe when used for around three or fewer months. However, there is a lack of long-term studies to indicate whether it’s safe to take melatonin long-term. Therefore, it’s best to consume it only when needed in order to avoid possibly becoming dependent or experiencing any negative side effects.

4. Consider the Other Medications You Take

If you’re taking other mediations, consider how they will interact with melatonin supplements. Remember that melatonin can affect the way other medications work. For instance, it can boost the effects of blood-thinning drugs and decrease the effectiveness of blood pressure and diabetes drugs. Be sure to consult your sleep doctor first if you take other prescribed medicines.

5. Be Careful Driving the Next Morning

Using melatonin is generally safe to help you deal with your sleep disorder. However, a common side effect of melatonin is next-day drowsiness. Some people experience headaches, nausea, fogginess, or dizziness the day after taking it, so it’s advisable not to drive until you know how it will affect you.

Consult an Experienced Sleep Physician

Dealing with sleep problems for a long time can leave you desperately seeking solutions. If you’re one of those people, melatonin could possibly help. Keep in mind the information listed in this guide, and consult your sleep doctor before using it to ensure a safe and successful sleep experience.

Sleep Doctor in Jacksonville, FL

Whether you need help dealing with a sleep disorder or excessive daytime sleepiness, book an appointment with Jacksonville Sleep Center to improve your quality and quantity of sleep. We offer sleep studies in Jacksonville, FL. Book your appointment today!