It is one of these over-the-counter solutions we take when we feel our sleep is below average. And without a prescription needed, melatonin has long been prescribed through the medical world and the media as a proven supplement to combat restless nights.
For those unaware of this chemical, melatonin is a hormone that helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle. It is naturally produced in the body in general in ample volume however, too many people take it as a supplement to help them with obtaining a steady sleep rhythm. While melatonin is generally considered safe, taking too much of it can have negative side effects.
Here are some reasons why taking too much melatonin before bedtime can be harmful:
It can disrupt your circadian rhythm:
Taking too much melatonin can disrupt your body’s natural circadian rhythm (your 24-hour internal body clock), making it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. This can lead to sleep disturbances, which can have negative effects on your health and well-being;
It can cause drowsiness and grogginess:
Melatonin is a sedative, so taking too much of it can cause excessive drowsiness and grogginess, which can affect your ability to function properly the next day. This can be particularly dangerous if you drive or actively exercise.
It can cause headaches and nausea:
Some people experience headaches and nausea after taking high doses of melatonin, which can be uncomfortable and disruptive to sleep;
It can interact with other medications:
Melatonin can interact with other medications, including blood thinners, immunosuppressants, and medications that affect the central nervous system. If you are taking any other medications, it’s important to speak to your doctor before taking melatonin.
However, at Aspire we have noticed that we are losing awareness of our lifestyle habits which may well be the driving force behind a lack of proper sleep. As quality and quantity are equally important, there are several ways to improve sleep without taking melatonin. Here are some tips:
- Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Our bodies like a regular rhythm, especially when it comes to sleep;
- Take a warm bath, read a book, or listen to calming music before bed. Do this around 1 hour before switching off the lights to allow your body to fully relax;
- The blue light emitted by electronic devices can interfere with your body’s production of melatonin, making it harder to fall asleep. Thus shutting down electronic equipment before bedtime is essential;
- Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. Invest in a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding. Change your bedding every 7-9 years;
- Regular exercise can help improve the quality of your sleep. However, it’s important to avoid exercising close to bedtime, as it can be stimulating and make it harder to fall asleep. Our Bangkok personal fitness trainers have shown to deliver results consistently;
- Caffeine can interfere with sleep, so it’s important to limit your intake, especially in the afternoon and evening. While alcohol can make you feel drowsy initially, it can disrupt your sleep later in the night;
- Techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation, which can improve sleep.
- Sleep problems can sometimes be a symptom of an underlying health condition, such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome. If you suspect that you may have an underlying health condition, it’s important to talk to your doctor.
These tips can help improve your sleep without the need for medication. However, if you continue to have sleep problems despite making lifestyle changes, it’s important to talk to your doctor to rule out any underlying health issues and discuss other treatment options.
In general, it’s recommended to take melatonin in low doses, starting with the smallest effective dose and increasing it gradually if needed. It’s also important to take melatonin at the right time, ideally 30 minutes to an hour before bedtime, to help align your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
The Aspire Club is one of the very few personal fitness training studios where quality sleep is part of their coaching programmes. We have proven methods where clients were off melatonin in record time through mindful practices, lifestyle changes, and creating awareness when bedtime has arrived.