Melatonin is a hormone that the brain secretes to promote sleep. The cycle of sleep and wakefulness depends heavily on melatonin. Sleep issues arise because of insufficient melatonin secretion in people with various illnesses such as autism, sleeplessness, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Melatonin collaborates with the circadian rhythm of the body.

Uses of melatonin

The cycle of dark and light over 24 hours is under the control of the circadian rhythm, a biological internal clock. Sleep problems involving the circadian rhythm occur when the cycle breaks down. This cycle also manages the balance of hormones, cell regrowth, and many other things. Circadian rhythm sleep disturbances can result from several conditions, including shift work, routine changes, medication use, time zone changes, mental health conditions, pregnancy, and illnesses including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Numerous disorders are caused by it, including jet lag, advanced sleep phase syndrome, delayed sleep phase syndrome, and non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder. A melatonin supplement prescribed by a health care provider helps in treating circadian rhythm issues.

Is taking melatonin long-term harmful?

Melatonin dietary supplements are not FDA approved. Without a prescription, one can get a melatonin supplement from any pharmacy. The side effects of melatonin are drowsiness, headache, nausea, and dizziness. Before using any medication, it is always wise to consult a health care provider and determine the ideal dosage. 

Melatonin benefits

  • Consumption of melatonin dietary supplements may increase the levels of HGH(human growth hormone) that aids in cellular regeneration and maintains metabolism in children and adults. 
  • The antioxidants in melatonin protect the retina, prevent age-related damage, and preserve clarity, all of which contribute to better eye health.
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease is where the stomach fluids flow backward into the food pipe causing heartburn. There are suggestions that melatonin prevents stomach acids from being secreted. As a result, your lower esophageal sphincter relaxes, allowing stomach acid to enter your esophagus. It also results in a decrease in the generation of nitric oxide.  
  • Seasonal depression is a form of depression that is related to changes in the seasons. It usually occurs during the fall or early winter of every year. Circadian rhythm may cause seasonal depression because of seasonal light changes. It is proven that the intake of melatonin capsules was beneficial in reducing the symptoms. 

Melatonin side effects in elderly

The melatonin side effects in the elderly are listed below:

  • Trouble waking up
  • Dizziness
  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Acid reflux
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Digestive discomfort  

Even though there are a lot of side effects, melatonin is proven to increase the sleep time and quality of sleep in older adults including Alzheimer’s patients and Parkinson’s disease. Because melatonin has powerful antioxidant properties, it may be able to reduce the oxidative damage that usually comes from chronic inflammatory health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney illness, and arthritis.

Before consuming any sleep aids, it is advisable to consult a health care expert. Hope this blog helped in gaining some knowledge about melatonin sleep aids’ benefits and side effects.