Drawbacks to Relying on Melatonin
When struggling to fall asleep, you may decide to head to medicine cabinet for some melatonin to easily fall asleep. However, this quick fix is meant to be on occasion and not something we rely on.
"We do know that those don't tend to have you have a normal sleep cycle, particularly some prescription medications will not allow you to sort of get into the stages of deep sleep that you need to for that restorative regenerative sleep."
According to Dr. Amy Parente of Mercyhurst university, melatonin is a natural compound produced in the brain. Melatonin naturally works to signal to your body that it's time to sleep when it is dark.
Instead of relying on the over-the-counter medication, health experts recommend cutting light exposure earlier to signal to yourself bedtime is coming soon.
"As the sun goes down, your body sort of gets signals that it's getting to be time to sleep, so your body ramps up production of melatonin," said Dr. Parente. "It's another reason why it's really problematic to have light exposure when it's not meant to happen, because it suppresses the production of melatonin."
Because the over-the-counter supplement has grown in popularity, we sat down with local pharmacist Ciarra Bodnar to learn how taking the medication impacts our sleep schedule.
"This is really only used to help you fall asleep, not necessarily staying asleep or sleeping longer," said Bodnar. "So, if your sleep disorder is more so on that side of things, then the medication may not be as helpful for you."