If you can't get to sleep at night, you may be thinking about melatonin supplements. Many people would like to try melatonin for sleep, but they don't really know much about it. Here are answers to your questions.

What Is Melatonin?

This hormone is produced by your body from tryptothan, an amino acid. It's made by the pineal gland in your brain. Your body produces more of it in the late afternoon and evening hours, as the amount of daylight is dropping.

As the levels of this hormone rise, you start to feel sleepy. Early in the morning, as it gets lighter, the body makes less of it, and you start waking up.

Why Use Melatonin For Sleep?

Sometimes people have trouble falling asleep. Sometimes it's because they have lower levels of this important hormone in their bodies.

Children have the highest levels, and they usually have no trouble getting to dreamland. But as you age, your levels tend to drop, which explains why insomnia in the elderly is more common. Older folks often find that taking melatonin supplements a half hour to two hours before bedtime will help them to drop off faster.

People who work odd shifts can have a hard time getting to sleep because their internal clocks get messed up from being up at night. Some shift workers say these supplements help them, others say they don't. The best way to see if it benefits you is to try it.

Traveling across time zones is a sure way to disrupt your internal clock. This is called jet lag, and it's a common problem for air travelers.

To prevent this problem, it's recommended that you take melatonin for jet lag the day you leave, and then take it again when you want to go to bed at your destination. You should take it for several days. It doesn't work for everyone, but again, it doesn't hurt to give it a try.

Are There Any Side Effects?

Sometimes there are. The good thing is that any side effects you may experience will go away as soon as you stop taking it. It can cause drowsiness, so it's best not to take melatonin before you get in the car to drive somewhere, or if you operate heavy machinery at work.

Some people experience headaches, dizziness, and irritability. Others feel groggy the next morning when they get up. A few people report vivid dreams, too.

Always check with your doctor before taking this supplement, as it can interact with blood pressure medications, coumadin, and antidepressants, among others. Avoid taking it if you're pregnant or breastfeeding, too.

Can these supplements help you get a good night's rest? Try this natural sleep aid for yourself, and find out.

Author's Bio: 

Want to take charge of your own health, but don't know where to begin? Start with a visit to Natural Health And Wellness Tips, where Darlene Norris shares the latest buzz on natural health. Darlene is a mom and grandma who has been using natural remedies for many years to keep her family healthy and happy.

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