July 19, 2024
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(Courtesy of Parkview Pharmacy) Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced by the pineal gland in the brain. It plays a key role in regulating sleep patterns and the circadian rhythm. Here are some key points about melatonin:

  1. Sleep Regulation: Melatonin is often referred to as the “sleep hormone” because it helps signal to the body that it is time to sleep. Its production is influenced by the amount of light exposure, with levels typically rising in the evening as it gets darker.
  2. Jet Lag and Shift Work: Melatonin supplements are sometimes used to help with jet lag and adjusting to different time zones. It can also be helpful for those who work night shifts and need to regulate their sleep-wake cycle.
  3. Antioxidant Properties: Melatonin also acts as a powerful antioxidant, helping to combat oxidative stress and protect cells from damage.

Potential Health Benefits: Some studies suggest that melatonin may have other health benefits beyond sleep regulation, such as improving eye health, supporting the immune system, and possibly even playing a role in cancer prevention.

Supplements: Melatonin supplements are widely available over the counter and are generally considered safe for short-term use. However, it’s always a good idea to consult with a health care provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Side Effects: While melatonin is generally well-tolerated by most people, some potential side effects may include dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and nausea. It’s important to follow recommended dosages and not use melatonin as a long-term solution for sleep problems without medical advice.

Regulation: In some countries, melatonin is regulated as a dietary supplement rather than a medication. This means that quality and purity can vary between products, so it’s important to choose reputable brands.

Dosage

  1. Adults (18 years and older):

For insomnia: Typically, 1 to 5 milligrams (mg) taken 30 minutes to 1 hour before bedtime is common.

For jet lag: 0.5 to 8 mg taken at bedtime after dark upon arrival at the destination has been used in studies.

  1. Children and Adolescents:

Dosage varies widely based on age and condition. Consultation with a pediatrician is crucial for determining the correct dosage for children.

  1. Elderly:

Lower doses (0.5 to 3 mg) are often recommended due to potential increased sensitivity and to minimize daytime drowsiness.

  1. Specific Conditions:

Some research suggests higher doses (up to 12 mg) may be used for certain conditions under medical supervision, but this should only be done under healthcare provider guidance.

It’s important to start with a low dose and adjust gradually based on individual response. Melatonin should be taken in a dark environment, about 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, to mimic the body’s natural production of melatonin. Always consult with a health care provider before starting melatonin, especially if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking other medications

 

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