Is Melatonin The Answer for Jet Lag?
“A government survey, published in the National Center for Integrated and Complementary Health last year, found that 3.1 million Americans – that’s 1.3% of the population – take melatonin supplements for jet lag and other sleep problems. The use of melatonin has more than doubled in the US between 2007 and 2012.”
But Is It Safe?
In other countries, like the UK, melatonin is only available if prescribed by a doctor to treat sleep disorders in patients 55 and over. So should it be regulated as a natural supplement available to Americans over-the- counter?
The Mayo Clinic reports:
The most common melatonin side effects are:
● Daytime sleepiness
Other, less common melatonin side effects might include abdominal discomfort, mild anxiety, irritability, confusion and short-lasting feelings of depression.
In addition, melatonin supplements can interact with various medications, including:
● Blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants)
● Medications that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressants)
● Diabetes medications
● Birth control pills
Melatonin works by mimicking your natural sleep cycle and inducing this natural biomarker for darkness, but it can actually interrupt your natural sleep-wake cycle if you take it for jet lag after long haul flights. Especially if you are travelling in an out of various time zones.
“Some scientists do not advocate using melatonin for jet lag, having tried it several times following flights from London to Australia. Why? It’s hard to know when to take it, and unless you know precisely where your internal clock is, there’s a danger of shifting it in the wrong direction. Instead, you should implement changes to light exposure, seeking out light when flying west and, when flying east, avoiding morning light and seeking out afternoon light for the first few days after arrival.” This will help your body naturally produce melatonin and put your body in the right natural biomarker to know when it’s dark out and time to rest.
In the event that you do want to go with melatonin, seek out the advice of a physician for dosing and times to take the supplement.
For more sleep news, check out our blog Holy Sheets! By NuSleep - we make bedding you can relax in.
- Romell Bhaala