Is Melatonin Safe to Take Every Night for Sleep Long Term?
Melatonin is a hormone our body produces to regulate sleep and provide numerous health benefits. It helps to ward off inflammation and disease and even supports the intestinal microbiome.
However, research has shown that melatonin levels may decline after age 30, with a more pronounced drop around age 40. By the time we reach our 60s, 70s, or 80s, melatonin production can be significantly lower compared to our younger years.
If you are a parent, like I am, I am sure you’ve experienced those mornings trying to get your child to wake up, and it’s not easy. They really aren’t faking it. Kids have extremely high melatonin levels that help them sleep deeper.
The decline in melatonin production is one of the factors contributing to the higher prevalence of sleep disturbances among older adults. Insufficient melatonin levels can result in difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or experiencing restorative sleep.
Is melatonin bad for you? No! It can prevent chronic disease.
First, it’s essential to understand that melatonin is not bad for you! It is not only a sleep-cycle regulator but also plays a vital role in preventing heart attacks, strokes, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and osteoporosis.
Ideally, our bodies should produce sufficient melatonin throughout our lives. Just because research says melatonin decline happens to some people, that doesn’t mean it is true for you. Paying attention to how you feel before and after supplementation is vital to maintaining your well-being.
Is it safe to take melatonin every night?
If taking a melatonin supplement makes you feel better, it’s likely that your body isn’t producing enough on its own, and you may need to supplement to maintain adequate levels.
Conversely, if a melatonin supplement makes you feel worse or disrupts your sleep, your body may already be producing enough of it.
Melatonin for kids
Some studies have indicated melatonin supplements for kids can interfere with puberty, and it’s not advised. As I mentioned above, kids already have high melatonin levels. If something interferes with their sleep, it could be autoimmune-related, and time to dig deeper. Symptoms such as anxiety and stress are linked to disruptions in the gut. If they’ve recently had strep throat checkout my article on PANDAS.
Insomnia in children can also be caused by poor sleep habits, like an inconsistent bedtime routine or excessive screen time—certain medications or stimulants like caffeine. Melatonin for kids is not a substitute for healthy restorative sleep. Consult with your doctor (ideally a functional medicine practitioner) to get the help your child needs.
What is the best melatonin to take?
When taking a melatonin supplement, the best is always a high-quality, nutraceutical-grade supplement (like the Melatonin 3 mg found in my online store) to ensure purity and effectiveness.
Pharmaceutical companies are legally required to test their products for purity and content before selling them to the public. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the over-the-counter supplement industry.
Nutraceutical-grade supplements are made by companies that subject their products to rigorous independent testing to ensure purity, effectiveness and accurate labeling before they’re released to the public.
All of the supplements in my store are nutraceutical-grade including the Melatonin 3 mg lozenges that dissolve in your mouth. By dissolving, the melatonin supplement may go directly to the brain and bypass the liver causing it to work quickly and effectively.
Is melatonin safe long term? It may be beneficial for some people.
Taking melatonin long-term may be beneficial for some people, especially if they cannot produce enough on their own. Melatonin can help protect against various health issues, including heart attacks, strokes, Alzheimer’s, cancer, osteoporosis, and other chronic conditions.
However, it’s essential to monitor how your body reacts to supplementation and work with your healthcare provider (ideally a Functional Medicine doctor) to determine if it’s needed and to adjust your dosage accordingly.
Cancer patients have found relief with high-dose melatonin.
In cancer cases, high-dose melatonin (30-50mg) has been shown to stop cancer progression, especially in patients who have exhausted traditional treatment options. When a person with cancer takes a high-dose melatonin supplement, their body uses it for immune system support, not just for sleep. Thus, they may not experience the same drowsy side effects that someone without cancer might.
If you’ve had cancer, maintaining proper melatonin levels can help reduce the risk of recurrence.
To sum up, taking melatonin long-term may be safe and beneficial for those who need it, but it’s crucial to listen to your body (and your doctor.)