Is melatonin addictive or not? If you take melatonin supplements to help you fall asleep, you must have wondered at least once. But you must be familiar with its fundamentals before diving in. In this article, you will learn everything one needs to know before using melatonin and whether it is addictive or not.
1. What is Melatonin?
The simplest way to define melatonin is as ‘a hormone associated with the control of sleep in the body.’ It’s a naturally occurring hormone made in the human body’s pineal gland. But it is also prepared in the laboratory and is sold as a melatonin supplement.
The hormone melatonin is created naturally, but as you get older, less of it is produced. The sleep-wake cycle is a messenger that alerts our bodies to relax or sleep. Are you aware that melatonin can also be found in nature? Melatonin can be found in many dietary categories, for instance, fish, eggs, and nuts.
It gets prepared in the labs as supplements in pills, gummies, liquids, and more. These melatonin supplements are not only ineffective but are not recommended for treating sleep issues either. But still, it should only be used by people after consulting with their healthcare provider.
1.1. Why is it Produced?
Most of the time, your surroundings are dark when you fall asleep. Darkness triggers the body to create the melatonin hormone. As a result, your brain produces this hormone at night. This hormone results from the darkness.
The pineal gland in your body will stop releasing melatonin when it comes into contact with blue or natural light, as the light influences it. Imagine you’re using your phone immediately before you go to bed. As a result of the phone’s bright display, your body will stop melatonin processing. The last alternative is to take melatonin supplements when your body cannot create them, which will cause you to fall asleep.
2. Is Melatonin Addictive?
Do you know anything about what makes something addictive or how someone becomes addicted to something? Dopamine is the extremely straightforward solution in this situation. You get addicted to something whenever you start to experience dopamine from it. However, it does not apply to melatonin sleep aids for some reason. And melatonin has no withdrawal symptoms, regardless of whether it is addictive.
Melatonin supplements are safe to take for brief periods. But if you start using melatonin for an extended period, your physical or psychological well-being will not be harmed. According to a post, melatonin is not addictive, but its excessive use would cause your body to stop producing its melatonin and disrupt your circadian rhythm. However, it should only be taken on your doctor’s advice, as melatonin is a prescription drug.
2.1. Positive Effects of Melatonin Use
i) Safe for Adults
Healthline says it is safe for adults to use melatonin even if they use it long-term. Adulthood is not easy for everyone. So, many responsible factors prevent them from sleeping properly, and sleeping is an important function of our body. Sleep is not fulfilled due to a lack of melatonin, and they take medicines lastly to fall asleep.
ii) Treat Insomnia
People with insomnia frequently have trouble falling asleep. Even if they sleep, they still feel exhausted after waking up. Many turn to melatonin sleep aids to combat this because they help with insomnia. You can enhance your sleep cycle by using melatonin as a therapy aid.
iii) Circadian Rhythm
It is a 24-hour clock that is inbuilt into our bodies. All the physical, mental, and behavioral changes occur due to the circadian rhythm. It helps to maintain sleep hygiene and is also referred to as the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Additionally, it increases mental alertness. Sleep aids support the body’s circadian cycle.
iv) Jet Lag
Have you ever heard of Jet lag as a sleep disorder? A temporary sleep disorder usually happens to people traveling over different time zones. Your body’s natural clock is off when you travel through other time zones. Additionally, the circadian rhythm is altered when it comes into contact with light, disrupting the sleep cycle. Sleep aids are utilized to deal with this.
v) Other Conditions
Melatonin is not only used to maintain sleep hygiene but is useful for kids as well. As per studies, it treats ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), autism spectrum disorder, and seizures in children. It is also helpful to relieve people who face anxiety before or after surgery.
2.2. What are the Aftereffects of Melatonin Supplements?
i) Hangover Effect
The hormone melatonin is one of the dietary supplements classified by the Food and Drug Administration used to reduce sleep problems. Due to the high doses of melatonin, there is a high chance that an individual consuming it will get hangover effects like headaches, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, and many more. All these side effects occur due to the disturbed sleep cycle.
ii) Mental Issues and Others
Consuming melatonin over a long period increases the risk of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, mild tremors, abdominal cramps, irritability, reduced alertness, confusion, and abnormally low blood pressure. All these are short-lasting feelings, but in some cases, they can make some mental causes worse. Some people get into a more depressive state after consuming melatonin.
iii) High Blood Pressure
Because melatonin is a prescription sleep aid, it might have negative effects when combined with other chemicals in the body. Melatonin can make it more difficult for those with high blood pressure to control their condition when they are already using other medications. Therefore, go to your doctor before using melatonin supplements because they know which ones are ideal for those with high blood pressure.
3. Precautions and Warnings Before taking Melatonin
Even a little melatonin intake during pregnancy can impact your health, and taking bigger doses will make it more challenging to become pregnant. Webmd.com states that there isn’t enough reliable data to determine whether using melatonin while pregnant is safe. You may be taking other medications during pregnancy, so try to avoid melatonin because no one wants to take such risks.
Children’s bodies won’t handle a high amount of melatonin. So it would be best if you discussed with the doctor how much melatonin should be given to children. Melatonin is safe when given to children on a short-term basis. A daily dose of no more than 3 mg is typically advised for children. Melatonin should only be given on a doctor’s prescription.
iii) Transplant Process
People who have undergone the transplant process already have to take certain medications to suppress their immune systems. But consuming melatonin increases the immune system as melatonin regulates the circadian rhythms in the body. So it can affect the people who went through the transplant process, so be careful before consuming it.
iv) Bleeding and Seizure Disorder
A single dose of melatonin can result in the worst bleeding if you suffer from a bleeding disorder. It can make you bleed more than before. Melatonin levels in the body keep fluctuating, which creates a high risk of having a seizure.
v) Daytime Drowsiness
If you take melatonin, you’ll feel drowsy, which also applies to other sleep medications. For your safety, you shouldn’t drive or work with heavy machinery for about five hours after taking melatonin. The feeling of exhaustion is very common in this.
4. Is Melatonin safe?
Melatonin is not like other sleep aids; that’s why it does not cause habit-forming in people. Despite being considered safe, melatonin use over an extended period has consequences. So, you should be careful before taking it and follow all the safety measures.
According to sleepfoundation.org, melatonin is not safe for everyone. Before consuming it, you must consider with a doctor, as they will prescribe a suitable medicine to your body type and whether you need supplements or not. If the problem is not serious, you can work naturally to increase melatonin production from some foods. The production of natural melatonin is way better than that of artificial ones.
Using melatonin every night before going to bed isn’t a good sign at all. Melatonin is a temporary solution if you are troubled with getting a good night’s sleep, but it can’t be a permanent solution. Although doctors do not recommend melatonin use, people still use it. If you are suffering from an autoimmune disease, you should strictly avoid it.
5. Is Melatonin Addictive: Conclusion
No, if you take melatonin, you are not addicted to it. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone whose production declines with advancing age. People have trouble falling asleep because their bodies produce less melatonin, so doctors or medical associations advise taking melatonin to meet their needs.
Overall, it’s risk-free, but there are unavoidable negative effects. It is advised to speak with a doctor before using it because there are several forms of melatonin and different recommendations for dosage and whether it should be taken orally or sublingually. Only the doctors can provide you with the answers to all of your queries. So, if you’re using melatonin, don’t worry; it’s an important requirement for our bodies.