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Melatonin Has Side Effects

By Paul Rothbart

Melatonin is a natural substance that your body produces. It's important in helping to maintain your circadian rhythm which governs periods of sleep and wakefulness. Melatonin also helps you fall asleep and get quality sleep. It contributes to you getting enough of the valuable REM sleep. Many people take melatonin supplements when they are having trouble sleeping and it is recognized as a viable treatment for insomnia. Melatonin is usually safe but it does have potential side effects that are not widely known. You should be aware of them before deciding to use it.

Making Depression Worse

Melatonin on its own doesn't cause depression but if you already suffer from it, you need to know that melatonin may make it worse. Although there is very little research to back this up there are scores of people with depression who have reported that taking melatonin supplements has worsened their depressive state. Since a symptom of depression is insomnia, many people do take it to sleep better. This can lead to a psychological addiction to melatonin.

It Can Confuse Your Body

If you are taking supplements frequently, your body may feel that it no longer needs to produce its own melatonin. This can make it very difficult to fall asleep and cause you to take larger doses. It can lead to a cycle where you cannot sleep without the supplements. In a case like this, it's better to stop taking the melatonin until your body begins producing it in sufficient quantities to allow you to sleep.

It Can Make You Drowsy During the Day

It doesn't happen to everyone but some people do find that taking melatonin supplements makes them drowsy during the day. It can happen to people who are using large doses or to those who are more sensitive to melatonin's effects. It can cause problems if you are feeling groggy and find it difficult to work. If you become drowsy while driving or operating machinery, it can be dangerous. If you do experience daytime drowsiness, it is best to stop taking the melatonin.

It Can Cause Problems With Pregnancy

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding have to be cautious about taking any medication and should not do so without consulting with a physician. The potential side effects melatonin has for adults would be far worse for a fetus or a baby. There is also some evidence to suggest that melatonin can interfere with getting pregnant and even cause infertility. Women who are planning on getting pregnant should not take supplements.

Melatonin is produced by the body and one of its main uses is in helping you sleep. If you suffer from insomnia, taking melatonin supplements can help you get to sleep. However, there are potential side effects to consider before you start using it as a sleep aid. Talking to your doctor is always a good idea.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Covington, Ga.

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