If you’re reading this, you may not be sleeping well at night. Or, your children may be having trouble sleeping. This can happen for various reasons and when it does many people self-medicate with over the counter sleep aides or natural remedies. For those of you who suffer from insomnia or other sleep-related disorders, you might have even consulted a doctor.
There are many choices of sleep aides on the market. One of the most commonly used of those is melatonin supplements. They come in a wide variety and come in doses for both children and adults. There are natural and synthetic forms of over the counter melatonin. Companies use the pineal gland of cows to manufacture “natural” melatonin, and the other types are synthetically engineered. You should do your homework before deciding if melatonin is right for you and your family.
The word overdose is widely associated with people dying due to a drug overdose or overdosing on pharmaceutical drugs. Each day in the United States hundreds of people die of an overdose. Make sure that you do not become dependent on medications and stick to the recommended dose. This will lower your chances of overdosing.
As with any medication, you should only take the dose prescribed. Since melatonin is sold over the counter and not prescribed by a doctor, it is up to you to follow the directions on the label. If you have questions or are unsure of the proper dose, ask to speak to the pharmacist.
Can You Overdose on Melatonin?
It is possible to overdose on melatonin. However, you can not die from a melatonin overdose. Taking too much melatonin will make you feel sick, cause grogginess, and affect your motor skills. This is why you should never take more than you are supposed to. It can take hours to wear off, depending on how much melatonin you have taken.
Instead of worrying about the risks that come from taking over the counter melatonin; you can try to boost your body’s natural melatonin production. Your body creates natural melatonin from various tissues around your pineal gland. When you go to bed at night the natural melatonin that your body has made is released. This is what signals your body’s natural sleep cycle to begin.
Some of you that have trouble falling asleep may not be naturally producing a high amount of melatonin. It has been proven that most older people over the age of 60 no longer produce any melatonin at all. This is what leads to those restless nights.
There are things that you can do to promote your body’s natural melatonin production. Here are just a few of them.
Tips to Promote Natural Melatonin
- Stay Hydrated – Being dehydrated can stop your melatonin production. Make sure that you are drinking plenty of water during the day.
- Power Down – Those LED lights and screens need to be powered down a few hours before bed. This allows your body to wind down and relax before bed. During this time, your body will begin releasing melatonin.
- Stretching – Try doing some light stretching before bed. This will loosen your muscles and make it easier to relax and release tension.
- Caffeine and Alcohol – Both can cause problems when it’s bedtime. Caffeine will keep your brain awake even when you try to lie down. If your brain is awake, it won’t release melatonin. Alcohol causes interrupted sleep. You may toss and turn and feel restless. Try limiting your caffeine and alcohol intake to at least 4 hours before bed.
- Diet – They always say, “you are what you eat” and that’s the case when it comes to melatonin. If you eat acidic foods or foods that are high in fat, it can cause indigestion and make it harder to fall asleep. Make sure you eat foods that are high in magnesium and potassium to help produce natural melatonin. Try and limit your late-night snacks and don’t eat a large meal after 8 o’clock.
Those are just a few ways to improve your body’s natural melatonin production. If you are having trouble getting your sleep pattern under control, you may want to try an over the counter sleep aid or consult your doctor. Melatonin is not for everyone, but if you do decide to take it make sure that you read the label and only take the recommended dose. No need to feel crappy by overdosing on melatonin, especially when you are already having sleep troubles.