The National Sleep Foundation explains that “Melatonin is a natural hormone made by your body’s pineal (pih-knee-uhl) gland. This is a pea-sized gland located just above the middle of the brain. During the day the pineal is inactive. When the sun goes down and darkness occurs, the pineal is “turned on” by the SCN and begins to actively produce melatonin, which is released into the blood. Usually, this occurs around 9 pm. As a result, melatonin levels in the blood rise sharply and you begin to feel less alert. Sleep becomes more inviting. Melatonin levels in the blood stay elevated for about 12 hours — all through the night — before the light of a new day when they fall back to low daytime levels by about 9 am. Daytime levels of melatonin are barely detectable.”
Bright light exposure, such as that from handheld electronics, can suppress our own natural melatonin production, and busy lives can affect sleep schedules. One half to two-thirds of adults experience insomnia. Many people often try melatonin when they try an over-the-counter supplement to treat difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep. Supplemental melatonin can often be helpful to reduce the time to fall asleep at the beginning of the night (reduce sleep onset latency). When using melatonin to treat sleep onset insomnia it is best to take it about 90 minutes before bedtime and to maintain a consistent bedtime and wake time schedule.
Difficulty remaining sleep is also known as sleep maintenance insomnia. This may occur in a pattern of frequent awakenings, awakening during the night and not returning to sleep, or a combination of both. Standard-release melatonin tablets before bedtime may not help maintain sleep. Sustained release melatonin can help people with sleep maintenance insomnia who are responsive to supplemental melatonin.
A number of high-quality long-acting, sustained-release formulations of melatonin are available. Natrol Time Release Melatonin 5 mg tablets delivers 100% vegetarian melatonin in a biphasic distribution, which means some of the melatonin is released immediately and some of it is released slowly.
Nature’s Bounty Dual Spectrum Bi-Layer Melatonin 5 mg tablets are also sustained release tablets that release some of the melatonin immediately and some of the melatonin over the course of the night.
Adrien Gagnon — Melatonin 10 mg (Extra-Strength Dual Action Time-Release), Fast-Dissolving Natural Sleeping Aid are non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan fast-dissolving tablets that provide 5 mg of fast acting melatonin and 5 mg of delayed release melatonin.
Nature’s Essentials Melatonin 10 mg releases 3mg of melatonin quickly and 7mg gradually using “advance cyclosome liposomal technology”. It is also non-GMO, gluten free, and vegetarian.
Respro Labs Natural Melatonin Stress Relief and Sleep Aid Patches are 3 mg, 7 mg, and 10 mg patches deliver melatonin through the skin rather than in pill form. Using a patch can provide consistent amount of melatonin through the night to reduce awakenings during the night.
Some people find that combining melatonin with other natural products such as chamomile, valerian, and L-theanine.
Whenever using any supplements or medications, it is always a good idea to review any supplements and over-the-counter medications with your doctor. Whenever a condition does not improve as expected, your doctor can help.
This article and all SleepMD.com articles and posts are for informational or educational purposes only and are not to be used as medical advice or to treat any specific medical condition.