A lot of people know that they can take melatonin to help them sleep. The reality, unfortunately, is that a lot of people don’t know how to use melatonin properly. Today I’m introducing how to use melatonin as a tool to fight insomnia, while also showing some common mistakes people make when taking this popular sleep aid.
As always, please familiarize yourself with the WGOWJ Disclaimers and consult your Doctor before making changes to your treatment plan.
What is Melatonin & where does it come from?
Melatonin is just a naturally-occurring hormone that is produced by the brain – specifically, the pineal gland. There is already an existing supply in your body.
How does it work?
Melatonin essentially works by communicating with your body to let it know that it’s time to sleep. This hormone plays a serious role in the concept of a sleep cycle – as it regulates sleepiness & wakefulness. This is why it can be particularly important to know how to use melatonin.
How do I take it?
You can most commonly purchase melatonin in capsule or tablet form. It’s a very common sleep aid that you can usually find pretty easily at your local convenience store. If you do a little digging, you can also find melatonin gummies & teas.
Typically, the recommendation is to take melatonin about 30 minutes before bed, with that time-frame extending several hours if you’re dealing with a sleep disorder that delays melatonin release.
Why take it?
Melatonin is commonly taken to regulate sleep, though it’s also used as an antioxidant. Remember that this hormone regulates sleepiness and wakefulness, meaning that taking it before bed should get your body ready to go to sleep. Essentially what you’re doing is kick-starting your system into a rest mode and telling your body that you would like to sleep soon.
How much should I take?
A huge point to make about melatonin is that it’s not more effective just because you take a higher dose. Remember that what you’re doing is telling your body you want to get ready to sleep. Adding a higher dose to that doesn’t necessarily make you fall asleep faster. Melatonin is just a tool to start to begin the sleep cycle. Generally, a dose is about 3 mg – 5 mg, depending on the purpose of use.
Try easing into a night time mindset with Candle Meditation.
What do I need to know to learn how to use melatonin properly?
To learn how to use melatonin properly, you need to be aware of a few things:
- Every night, your body has a melatonin spike – which is pretty much when you start to feel tired for the evening and your body is telling you that it’s time to get some rest soon. With melatonin, we’re really trying to start that spike or help it along, so that we can begin the process when we haven’t been sleeping well or our melatonin spike is out of sync.
- Melatonin only kick-starts the cycle, it’s not actually intended to help you get a good night of sleep. It’s incredibly common to take melatonin, fall asleep, and then wake up in the middle of the night. A good way to prevent this from happening is by using your nightly melatonin in conjunction with an extended release version of melatonin.
- Melatonin is a corrective tool, intended to be used to reregulate the sleep cycle. Prolonged use may affect your body’s natural ability to produce this hormone.
Melatonin is a hormone & antioxidant that can start the sleep cycle, but it's your sleeping habits that will determine the quality of your sleep and the effectiveness of a melatonin supplement. Click To Tweet
So how come melatonin still doesn’t work for a lot of people?
This is why I’m showing people how to use melatonin. To understand all of this, you really have to understand what’s happening in your body as melatonin production increases and your nightly spike arrives. It may not necessarily be that it’s not working for you, so much as other poor sleeping habits may be preventing the melatonin from being effective.
This entire process operates around the photoreceptors in your eyes – light intake plays a huge role in whether or not your body starts to produce melatonin, as well as whether or not you’ll even feel your nightly spike. A very simple clarification – if light is going into the photoreceptors in your eyes, your body may still think that it’s time to be awake, which means it won’t produce the melatonin needed to start transitioning into sleep.
If light is going into the photoreceptors in your eyes, your body may still think that it’s time to be awake, which means it won’t produce the melatonin needed to start transitioning into sleep. Click To Tweet
This is the biggest area where people go wrong with melatonin. If you’re taking melatonin before bed and it’s still not doing a lot for you, you may need to reassess your light intake. A lot of times the answer to bad sleep is poor sleeping habits: staring at your smartphone all hours of the night, watching television while trying to sleep, playing video games, etc. All of these activities keep you awake, as the light entering your eyes will inhibit the body’s melatonin production – meaning you won’t get as tired.
In short, what you need to know in order to learn how to use melatonin properly, is that it’s not a sleeping pill. Melatonin is just a hormone that helps your body to start getting tired. In particular, it’s important to note that light exposure can impact the effectiveness of this hormone, and that electronics should be powered down when trying to sleep!