17 November 2014

Sleep Hygiene Tip of the Week || Melatonin is tricky

"Walgreens Melatonin" (2010) by Jed Carroll,
UK. CCA:2.0 Generic. Publication of this
image does not imply endorsement of this
or any products by SleepyHeadCENTRAL.
The seemingly kneejerk practice of automatically turning to medications to treat health disorders, even over-the-counter supplements (which are essentially unprescribed drugs), is a discussion for another time.

Over-the-counter sleep aids that are touted for their sleep-promoting properties (namely diphenhydramine, valerian and melatonin) have their fans and detractors, as well.

For this week's tip on sleep hygiene, melatonin is going to nab a little of that spotlight.

Some people LOVE using melatonin and swear by it for their problems with falling asleep or maintaining sleep. Others find it useless.

Sleep science is not conclusive on the benefits of melatonin, either. Melatonin dosages currently available from the drugstore may or may not be adequate. Also, melatonin requires a very careful schedule of dosing for it to work, and that schedule will depend entirely on the individual using it.

SHC maintains the policy of asking your doctor for advice before using melatonin, and if you should decide to go this route, to seek exact advice regarding timing and dosage from a medical professional. With any medication or supplement, there can be side effects as well, so please look at this aspect of melatonin use before taking this popular sleep aid.

Below are some articles that help explain how and why melatonin works (or can work) and why it may or may not be for you.

YourSleep || AASM.net
Over the Counter: Will Melatonin Cure Your Sleep Problems?

Natural Practitioner
Monograph: Melatonin


Wellness || Cleveland Clinic
Melatonin Supplement Review

Drugs and Supplements || Mayo Clinic
Melatonin (N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine)