Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the human body that works as a sleep aid. It is produced in cycles according to how much light one receives. Darker environments stimulate the production of melatonin, therefore, melatonin levels tend to peak at night. The average person produces between five and twenty five micrograms of melatonin each night. These numbers tend to decrease with age.
Melatonin has been approved for over-the-counter use to aid with sleep difficulties such as insomnia. Two varieties of melatonin exist; one comes from the pineal gland of animals, and the other is synthetically produced. The synthetic version is likely to be safer since it is free of any viruses or biological contaminants. Melatonin has been proven save when taking moderate doses, as with most medicines there can be potential side effects.
As a sleep aid, melatonin may to produce a mental fog or dullness. Those suffering from any type of depression or psychological disorder should not take melatonin in high dosages, as it may exacerbate mental issues. Furthermore, it may not induce sleep inducing for them. Nightmares are one of the possible melatonin effects as well.
Other potential melatonin side effects include drowsiness, increased or decreased heart rate, nausea or other abdominal discomfort, lowered body temperature, and headaches. Some people have reported an altered sleep pattern, vivid dreams, confusion, and mood changes. Side effects from melatonin are usually temporary and will disappear after usage has ceased.
After prolonged use, one of the melatonin effects might be the suppression of the pineal gland. This is the gland responsible for producing melatonin in the body using the amino acid Tryptophan. The side effects from melatonin that is used excessively could be a significant decrease in the pineal gland’s ability to secrete melatonin. If such melatonin effects are suspected, discontinue usage for a time. It is best to gradually decrease dosage rather than completely stopping altogether, as this may bring on a strong case of insomnia.
Those most vulnerable to melatonin side effects include pregnant women or those hoping to conceive, emotionally or mentally disturbed patients and people who are afflicted by depression. People with severe allergies should confer with their doctor prior to taking Melatonin and those using steroids.
Also, people who have high blood pressure levels should avoid taking melatonin, as it can interact with some of the medications used to control high blood pressure. Melatonin can limit the effectiveness of common blood pressure medications and blood thinners. Please talk to your physician if you have high blood pressure levels or if you are using blood thinners or certain sedatives.
Melatonin may interfere with certain medicines, such as anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, birth control pills, and diabetes medicine.