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Melatonin

Melatonin
By Medicover Hospitals / 25 Feb 2021
Home | Medicine | Melatonin

What is Melatonin?

  • Melatonin is a hormone that is released by the pineal gland to the brain. To encourage restful sleep, people may also take it as a natural or synthetic supplement. In the body, melatonin performs several functions, but it is mainly noted for preserving circadian rhythms. The circadian rhythm is the internal clock of the body. It gives instruction to the body on when to sleep and when to wake up.
  • Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone present in the body. Typically, melatonin used as the medication is made in a laboratory synthetically. Mostly the medication is available in the form of a pill, but melatonin is also available in forms that can be inserted under the tongue or under the cheek. This facilitates the absorption of melatonin directly into the body.
  • Melatonin is also a potent antioxidant, which can have a host of other advantages. It can, in fact, help:
  • Support Eye health
  • Treat stomach ulcers and heartburn
  • Ease tinnitus symptoms
  • Raise the growth hormone levels in men
    1. Melatonin Uses
    2. Melatonin Side effects
    3. Precautions
    4. Melatonin vs Zolpidem
    5. Frequently Asked Questions
    6. Citations

    Melatonin Uses:

  • Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland which regulates the sleep cycle. Melatonin may be used to treat Alzheimer's disease, withdrawal of benzodiazepine or nicotine, cancer (adjunctive therapy), headache (prevention), insomnia, jet lag, shift-work disorder, sleep disorders, platelet (thrombocytopenia) deficiency (chemo-induced), winter depression, and involuntary muscle movement (tardive dyskinesia).
  • In circadian rhythm sleep disorders, melatonin is effective and helpful for sleep-wake cycle disorders. Melatonin is available under the various brand names below: N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, pineal hormone melatonin.
  • Melatonin Side effects:

  • Some of the common side effects of Melatonin are:
    • Dizziness
    • Headaches
    • Nausea
    • Drowsiness
    • Vomiting
    • Stomach cramps
    • Irritability
  • Melatonin can also cause some other serious side effects. Talk with your doctor if you are experiencing any unusual problems while you are taking these medications.
  • Precautions:

  • Before taking Melatonin talk with your doctor if you are allergic to it or any other medications. The product may contain some inactive ingredients which can cause some serious allergic reactions. Before using Melatonin talk with your doctor if you are having any serious allergic reactions or some other serious problems.
  • How to use Melatonin?

  • If you would like to try melatonin, start taking the supplement at a lower dose. Start with 0.5 mg (500 micrograms) or 1 mg 30 minutes before going to bed, for instance. Try increasing your dose to 3-5 mg if that does not seem to help you fall asleep. Taking more melatonin than this would certainly not help you fall asleep more easily. The aim is to find the lowest dosage that will help to make you fall asleep.
  • Missed Dose:

  • If you miss a dose, avoid taking Melatonin tablets unless you have time to sleep for 7 to 8 hours afterwards. Skip the missed dose and go back to your daily dosing cycle if you miss a dose of this drug. Do not use duplicate doses. Using this medicinal product only when you are unable to sleep.
  • Overdose:

  • Symptoms of overdose can include extreme drowsiness, confusion, lack of balance, severe muscle weakness, fainting, or shallow breathing. If you have taken more than the prescribed Melatonin tablets there is a chance of getting a harmful effect on your body’s functions. Overdose of a medicine can lead to some medical emergency.
  • Warnings for some serious Health Conditions:

  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: If you are pregnant or if you want to breastfeed, it's best to stop taking melatonin. Not enough research has been done to know if you and your baby are healthy. In small quantities, melatonin moves into breast milk and this may make a baby more sleepy. Speak to a doctor first before taking melatonin if you intend to breastfeed.
  • Storage

  • Direct contact with heat, air and light may damage your medicines. Exposure to medicine may cause some harmful effects. The medicine must be kept in a safe place and out of children’s reach. Mainly the drug should be kept at room temperature between 68ºF and 77ºF (20ºC and 25ºC).
  • Melatonin vs Zolpidem:

    Melatonin
    Zolpidem
    Melatonin is a hormone that is released by the pineal gland to the brain. To encourage restful sleep, people may also take it as a natural or synthetic supplement. Zolpidem is a prescription medication that comes in the form of an oral tablet and an oral spray. There are three types of oral tablet:immediate-release, extended-release, and sublingual.
    Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland which regulates the sleep cycle. Melatonin may be used to treat Alzheimer's disease, withdrawal of benzodiazepine or nicotine. Zolpidem is used in adults to treat a certain problem with sleep (insomnia). It makes you fall asleep quicker if you have trouble falling asleep, so you can get better rest at the night.
    Some of the common side effects of Melatonin are:
    • Dizziness
    • Headaches
    • Nausea
    • Drowsiness
    • Vomiting
    Some of the common side effects of Zolpidem are:
    • Headache
    • Drowsiness
    • Dizziness
    • Diarrhea
    • Dry mouth

    Frequently Asked Questions:

    For short-term usage, melatonin is usually healthy. You are unlikely to become reliant on melatonin and have a decreased response after prolonged use (habituation), or can experience a hangover effect. The most common side effects of melatonin include the following: headaches.
    Taking melatonin supplements every night is healthy, but only for the short term. In your sleep-wake cycle, melatonin is a natural hormone that plays a part. It is synthesised primarily by the brain-located pineal gland. In response to darkness, melatonin is released and is blocked by light.
    For insomnia: Most researchers have used 2 mg to 3 mg of melatonin prior to bed for up to 29 weeks. For shorter durations, higher doses of up to 12 mg daily were also used (up to 4 weeks). For insomnia that occurs in conjunction with other conditions: 2-12 mg was used for up to 4 weeks.
    The results of several laboratory studies and clinical trials indicate that the circadian and seasonal patterns of melatonin secretion are disrupted in the case of obesity. Lower levels of melatonin secretion will increase appetite in the autumn-winter cycle and contribute to weight gain.
    Drowsiness is one of the most common side effects of melatonin. The morning after taking melatonin, certain individuals can find that they feel tired or groggy. It may help a person to wake up feeling refreshed by taking melatonin earlier in the evening or reducing the dose.
    Keep in mind that melatonin does not have much of a daytime presence, as it occurs naturally in the body, so if you take melatonin too close to morning (such as if you wake up at 4 am and erroneously take some to get back to sleep) whole day you can get sleep and feel drowsy.

    Citations:

  • Melatonin, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1357272505002736
  • Atioxidative protection by melatonin, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1385/ENDO:27:2:119