Nearly 30% of adults in America report getting less than six hours of sleep a night. Not only does a lack of sleep make us feel unfocused in the morning, but it can also have far-reaching consequences to our overall health. Serious conditions such as hypertension, anxiety, obstructive sleep apnea, and diabetes have all been linked to sleep loss.
Do you ever have trouble getting to sleep or staying asleep? Unfortunately, insomnia can be difficult to manage, and prescription sleep aids often come with unwelcoming side effects and can foster dependency.
One of the most common remedies for sleeplessness nights is an over-the-counter dietary supplement known as melatonin. But can it really help with a good night’s rest? Just how safe and effective is melatonin?
What Is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies naturally produce through a small pinecone-shaped endocrine gland in the middle of our brains called the pineal gland and react with our receptors in the brain. When the sun sets at the end of the day, a healthy pineal gland releases more melatonin to signal to the body that it’s time to fall asleep. In the morning, melatonin levels decrease so you can start your day.
It’s not just human brains that produce melatonin. You can also find this compound in certain nuts, vegetables, and fruits. For example, goji berries are packed with more than just antioxidants; they’re also quite high in melatonin. Pistachios, almonds, and cashews are also all rich in melatonin, in addition to being chocked full of minerals like magnesium that can promote healthy sleep patterns.
Low Melatonin Causes
Things like caffeine, alcohol, shifts in routine, stress, and normal aging can all affect melatonin production. When these levels are low, it can create a melatonin deficiency that makes falling asleep more difficult and can leave you feeling more tired and unfocused during the daytime.
Studies also suggest that prolonged exposure to blue light, fluorescent light, or even soft bedroom lighting can elicit a strong melatonin suppression response.
Fighting Melatonin Deficiency
One way to improve your sleep and combat a melatonin deficiency is with dietary supplements. Melatonin supplements come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors. Most commonly, however, it’s sold in pill or capsule form. Generally you can find it at your pharmacy store as “melatonin 5mg’s sleep support”. Studies suggest that these supplements can help to regulate the sleeping cycles of patients suffering from circadian rhythm disorders and REM sleep disorders.
Another option that’s become more readily available since the 2018 farm bill federally legalized hemp is CBD. This natural compound found in the cannabis plant doesn’t produce any intoxicating effects but, according to preliminary studies, may be helpful in treating insomnia.
Are Melatonin Supplements Safe To Take?
One of the largest advantages that melatonin has over other sleep aids is its lack of intrusive side effects and the fact that patients don’t develop dependence or tolerance. Take, for example, clonazepam—a form of benzodiazepine commonly prescribed for sleep. Not only is clonazepam highly addictive and full of negative side effects, but it can also actually worsen sleep apnea in patients. With melatonin sleep apnea doesn’t worsen, and patients don’t have to worry about building up a tolerance or going through withdrawals upon discontinuing use.
A recent clinical trial in sleep science-melatonin, from 2017 conducted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and Dr. Nalaka Gooneratne, looked into potential adverse effects of melatonin in older adults. The study looked at 27 patients/65 years or older who were shown to have sleep efficiencies of less than 80%.
Nine of the participants were given a low dose of melatonin (0.4mg), ten were given an average dose of melatonin (4.0mg), and the other eight were given a placebo. For the course of ten weeks, participants had three study visits where researchers would monitor for adverse effects, as well as five overnight clinic stays (three at the beginning of the study and another two at week six).
At the beginning of the study, patients were given sleep questionnaires, cognitive tests, and psychomotor tests to create a baseline. The tests were repeated at week six as well as at the conclusion of the study to determine if there were any changes related to the melatonin. A final follow-up assessment was conducted one month after the trial’s completion.
The trial results determined that no participants in either the high dose, low dose, or placebo group experienced any severe adverse reactions.
Should I Take CBD Or Melatonin For Sleep?
Good news: you don’t have to choose between melatonin and CBD products!
Both CBD and melatonin can be taken in tandem to maximize each compound’s restful benefits. Vitdadiol’s Integrate Rest Capsule consists of CBD mixed with melatonin. These 5mg melatonin sleep support capsules are backed up with 35mg of CBD isolate to help you fall a
sleep, stay asleep, and wake up feeling more rested.
Integrate Rest Capsules are designed to be taken as part of your normal nightly routine—around one to two hours before your desired bedtime.