Melatonin is a hormone created naturally in your body secretes which mainly aids in maintaining your biological clock otherwise known as wake-sleep cycle. This process mainly relates to sleep and wakefulness. In normal case, a human must have an average sleep time of 8 hours and day activity hours of 16 hours. The synthetically make of melatonin is also available without any prescription such as over the counter medicine in the US as dietary supplements.
Natural melatonin made by the body that releases (endogenous melatonin release) increases every day mainly to darkness between 11pm and 3 am. This increases at a level of 200 picograms (pg) per mL. The melatonin levels released in the night time is almost 10 times higher than compared to day time. These levels mainly fall sharply before daylight. These are also not deductible in day time. This is called circadian rhythm; the rise and fall of the melatonin levels which signals sleep and wake times.
It is from tryptophan the natural melatonin secretion starts. In which serotonin works as an intermediary and is later released to the melatonin receptors in eyes, brain and other parts which helps to control wake and sleep cycles. It lasts only up to 20 to 50 minutes; its half life is short. Later on, CYP-450 enzyme system metabolizes the melatonin in the liver and later excreted through feces or urine.
How Effective is Melatonin Supplement?
There are many uses of having melatonin supplement such as cancer treatment to sleep disorders however studies still do not have all the uses of it. In normal terms most of the studies conducted were for the effective treatment of mainly sleep disorders and jet lag. Early researches also suggest high anti-oxidative activity which proves to have a role in adapting to immune response and also can work on anti-tumor activity.
Whenever melatonin is taken in its supplement form it is mainly to induce natural hormone and give its effects. For the first half an hour, high possibilities of drowsiness while taking melatonin supplement. Taking melatonin supplement minutes before your bed time is also not the best method to take the medicine for sleep disorders. Melatonin supplement does not work effectively for everyone and you must talk to your doctor about the dosage and best time to take it.
What is the Recommended Dosage of Melatonin Supplement?
Melatonin supplement is mainly considered to effectively treat jet lad and help in people suffering from sleep disorders at times when you are not much awake.
Always, the initial dosage for the treatment of jet lag is between 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams. In order to get 0.5 milligrams dosage, you can cut half the 1 milligrams tablet especially when you do not get the smaller dosage from your pharmacist. For some people lower dosages work effectively but for few only higher dosages of 3 to 5 milligrams melatonin supplement works. There are possibilities to have various side effects for higher dosage tablets such as vivid dreams, next dry grogginess or headaches.
It is wise to always take lower dosage of this medicine to start. The Cochrane review showed us that dosages above 5 milligrams are no longer effective compared to the lower dosages. Even though high dosage of melatonin supplement is available in the United States it would result in high levels of physiologic melatonin.
Melatonin Supplement for the Treatment of Jet Lag
What is jet lag? This is called the air travel difficulty which mainly causes trouble in concentrating, sleeping, constipation, fatigue, etc. This happens mainly if you are flying to different time zones could get worse when you cross over more time zones.
The initial dosage of the treatment starts from 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams. In most cases the lower dosage will work however in few cases higher dosages would be recommended. When time is lost, it would be more difficult to fly east rather than west gaining it back. Even though you can find very higher dosages of 20 milligrams melatonin supplement tablets on the internet, it is not advisable to buy and have them.
Melatonin Supplement for Jet Lag
Westbound: This is in case you are travelling to western countries for example, going to Australia from the US. You would not need a dosage for the very first travel however you might need the medicine for the next four nights in the new time zone that is Australia which must be taken after dark and 30 minutes prior to bed time. In most cases, this medicine would not be needed much for travel towards west
Eastbound: This is in case you are travelling to the Eastern countries for example, flying to Europe from the US. This medicine can be taken after dark and 30 minutes prior to bed time in the new country or if you are in the plane at that time. Similarly, you will need to take the medicine for the next four nights at the new time zone 30 minutes before bedtime after night falls. In case you feel drowsy the next day after taking melatonin supplement, you must try a lower dosage for the next day.
This jet lag problem will slowly resolve on its own within 3 to 5 days however not always when you continue travelling to different time zones.
Dosage Information for Melatonin
Treatment for Lack of Sleep (Insomnia)
Dosage: Melatonin supplement can be taken 30 minutes prior to bed time at doses 0.1milligrams to 0.5milligrams. Various study on the medicine shows us that the medicine is effective in promoting sleep but not to maintain it like the early morning awakening.
Treatment for Shift –Work Sleeps Disorders
Dose: Melatonin supplement has to be taken 30 minute prior to the onset day time sleep hour. This medicine will only improve day time sleep time by an additional 30 minutes and will not let you be alert during night hours.
Treatment for Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
This problem mostly is found in adolescents who are mostly due to the reason of less melatonin production and deficiency of melatonin at these early stages in life. When compared to conventional bed times of 10 to 11 pm sleep onset will be delayed by 3 to 6 hours. This condition is most likely to affect your daily activities, academic performance, and also cause morning drowsiness which is danger for teen drivers. This is the main reason every sleep disorder at this age or stage in life must be treated by a doctor.
Dose: You will need to take 1 milligrams of melatonin supplement at least four to six hours prior to your set bed time. When the bed time is set, you can also take maintenance dosage of 0.5 milligrams 2 hours prior to the set bed time. Along with melatonin supplement, behavioral management and bright light therapy will improve results. It is wise to not do any dangerous activities after taking this medicine as it can lead to drowsiness.
Treatment for Non 24-Hour Sleep Wake Disorder
This is a circadian rhythm disorder; more than 70 percent of blind people suffer from it. There are no chances to reset the biological clock for people who are completely blind. The sleep and wake up time for people suffering from this condition will be a little later each day. The sleep time will not be same as it goes out of alignment due to the normal sleep-wake phase. With extra minutes adding to it on a daily basis normal wake-sleep will be disrupted.
When melatonin is given to people suffering from Non-24, it is mainly to help stimulate and reset their biological clock, which is long sleep at night and long awake during day time. There are any instances of large scale trials done on this therapy till date.
Dosage: For completely blind people, 0.5milligrams melatonin supplement per day is a good and effective dosage.
- Prescription only melatonin agonist, Hetlioz is approved and mostly given to Non-24 blind people.
- Hetlioz (Tasimelteon)
- This is a fast dissolving melatonin supplement. In the United States, there are fast dissolving melatonin supplement to take orally
- Always ensure your hands are dry and use it to take the tablet outside the pack and to place in your mouth
- The tablets are not to be swallowed whole but you will wait for it to dissolve completely in your mouth without chewing. You can also drink fluids to help swallow the tablet.
Melatonin and Pregnancy
Melatonin supplement like the other dietary supplements has not be studied on children, breast feeding and pregnant women. If you are pregnant or breast feeding your child get your doctor’s advice before you take any dietary supplements. Similarly if you are giving this medicine to a child of less than 18 years of age, talk to your doctor first.
What are the Side Effect of Melatonin?
Drowsiness is the most common side effects of melatonin supplement in children. Here are the other common side effects of melatonin supplement:
- Chances for high risk of seizures in children who are suffering from neurological conditions.