By Mart 1, 2023 No Comments


 Whether you sleep struggles have been due to anxiety, jet lag, or a chronic sleep condition, most of us have trouble getting high-quality sleep at some point in our lives. This can leave many of us looking for a little help in getting our sleep, either in the form of conventional or natural remedies.

Unfortunately, recent research has linked prescription and over-the-counter sleep aids to cognitive decline, and studies have also called the safety of melatonin-a commonly used sleep- aid into question.

Is melatonin really safe?

If you find it challenging to fall asleep and stay asleep, you’re not alone. Melatonin is one of the most widely used supplements in the US, with various forms of it available at most grocery stores and pharmacies. In fact, research shows that between 1999 and 2018 melatonin use in the US quadrupled. (It’s more strictly regulated in other countries.)

That said, research shows that we don’t really know enough about the safety of supplementing with melatonin, especially using it every night – sometimes for years on end. As the authors of one study point out: “Although melatonin is generally regarded as safe, adverse effects have been reported, and data on long-term use and high-doses are scarce.”

Some sleep experts worry that using melatonin regularly may reduce your body’s natural productivity of tis important sleep hormone.

As Seema Bonney, M.D., the founder, and medical director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia has put forth, “It is important to remember that melatonin is a hormone and using any hormone regularly can down-regulate your own production of that hormone. Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D. added, “I have not seen good data to show that high doses of melatonin will not impact your endogenous, natural production of melatonin.

Other risks of melatonin

Some research has also shown that taking melatonin leads to impaired glucose tolerance, which can harm your blood sugar health in the long term. In one study published in the journal Sleep, researchers gave 21 healthy women 5 milligrams of melatonin or a placebo in the morning and evening and then monitored their glucose tolerance for three hours after each dose. They found that those given melatonin had higher blood sugar levels.

There’s also significant cross talk between the hormone melatonin and sex hormones like estrogen and testosterone, leading some experts to worry about melatonin’s possible long-term side effects on reproductive health.

Alternatives to melatonin

Unfortunately, it is not known whether taking melatonin long-term is safe. The good news is that there are a lot of nonhormonal alternative sleep aids. If you’re concerned about the safety of long-term melatonin use, here are a few alternatives to consider, plus some science-backed lifestyle adjustments for better sleep.


 Magnesium is known as nature’s “relaxation mineral” because of the role it plays in the nervous system, and it can be helpful for winding down and getting to sleep. Experts recommend a dose of 100 to 200 milligrams, taken one to two hours before bed.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

 Research shows that CBT can be effective in helping you fall asleep, stay asleep, and get more efficient sleep and higher-quality sleep if you are an adult or adolescent with insomnia.

Hemp oil

 You’ve probably heard of phytocannabioyds which are natural compounds found in hemp oil that can reduce feelings of anxiousness and stress.

Set boundaries with work

 A 2018 Virginia Tech study showed that the mere expectation of checking work email after hours can cause anxiety and stress that can sabotage your sleep.


 Research has shown that mindfulness meditation significantly improve sleep quality.

The takeaway

 Melatonin use has soared in recent years, but there’s a lot we don’t know about its safety long term. Experts recommend leaning on melatonin as a “once in a while” sleep aid but exploring other nonhormonal options for daily use.

That’s it for now my friends; see you all the next time.

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