Want to hear a headline that really made me laugh today?
Read it and weep: “Melatonin ‘Should Be a Last Resort’ in Tackling Sleep Issues.”
You can’t be serious…
The most ironic (and predictable) part of this warning is that one of Big Pharma’s best-selling sleep drugs, earning them up to one billion per year, is a synthetic version of — you guessed it — melatonin!
Of course, if you really want to know what’s behind this growing anti-melatonin movement, all you have to do is follow the money…
US consumers shelled out more than $400 million on natural melatonin supplements in 2018. Cash that could have lined the drug industry’s pockets.
So needless to say, these warnings are as hollow as they come. Because the truth is, natural sleep solutions really don’t get safer, or more effective, than melatonin.
Much more than just a sleep aid
The amount of research behind melatonin is staggering, with more than 4,000 studies touting its benefits — and safety — in recent years alone.
And I’m not just talking about sleep benefits, either. Melatonin plays a role in a number of key body systems, including:
- Endocrine health
- Energy production
- Heart health
- Reproductive health
- Respiratory function
So while everyone’s individual natural levels vary, there’s a pretty clear benefit, as far as I’m concerned, in making sure yours are optimal.
And that depends on a number of factors. If you’re an early bird, your melatonin production is going to start sooner in the day than a night owl. And if you get a good amount of regular sleep, you’re going to be generating melatonin for longer than someone who’s sleep deprived.
But ultimately, age-related melatonin issues present a sort of chicken-or-the-egg problem. As you get older, your natural melatonin production begins to dwindle. And sleep struggles only make the problem worse.
If you ask me, that’s why melatonin is one of the more important supplements for aging people to keep handy.
The real deal when it comes to dosage
This article also warns that doses above 1 mg will raise blood levels beyond “normal physiologic concentration.” But let me be clear that ample research has shown there is absolutely nothing inherently dangerous about this.
In fact, I recommend a starting dose of 3mg at bedtime. (You can slowly increase the dosage in increments if need be, just never exceed 15 mg.)
A little experimentation over time will help you find the dosage that works best for you.
When it comes to different varieties of melatonin supplements, I believe that short-acting melatonin is best for treating jet-lag, while the time released versions are great for insomnia. (And if you’re using it to help with sleep issues, be sure to take it an hour before your usual bedtime at the same time every night.)
But keep in mind, I’m not saying that melatonin is the only thing I would recommend for sleepless nights. In fact, environmental factors also play a huge role in insomnia—and they should always be addressed first…
There’s more to quality sleep than supplementation
One of the biggest sleep disruptors is blue light — from your television, computer, tablet, or phone. This light sends a signal to your pineal gland, instructing it to stop generating melatonin. In turn, this keeps your brain awake and active, setting the stage for a night of tossing and turning.
And that’s why eliminating exposure to electronics is particularly important before bedtime. (At the very least, you can switch on the nighttime features on your devices — so that the screen automatically becomes dimmer and switches to a warmer hue.)
Another thing you might want to consider is avoiding shopping in the evening hours, if you can. That’s because a lot of stores have now switched to using blue LED lights to keep things brighter. Surprisingly, this can also interfere with your natural body clock — disrupting sleep and even triggering anxiety in some people.
Outdoor lighting can also mess up your natural sleep-wake cycles. I recommend taking steps to minimize your exposure with black out shades or a sleep mask.
Another natural trick for safer, sounder sleep
One thing you should get, however, is more sun exposure in the morning. That can be hard to swing in the winter. But making a point of opening up the shades and getting outside after sunrise for at least 20 minutes (without sunscreen) could be all it takes to keep your sleep cycles regular until sunnier, warmer days return.
These approaches — and additional advice on overcoming insomnia for good — are outlined in much more detail in my Perfect Sleep Protocol. So if you’re struggling to get the sleep you need, I urge you to click here to learn more — or sign up today.
meantime, rest assured that melatonin is no way a “last resort.” But it
shouldn’t be your first and only one, either. Because while the
path to quality sleep isn’t complicated, it should be comprehensive.