Melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the body. It’s generated by the brain when you sleep, but it exists in the form of supplements as well. Melatonin has garnered a reputation as a first-line insomnia treatment, although it is often used improperly.
In children with sleep disorders, melatonin has shown to help them fall asleep more quickly. In adults, though, the evidence isn’t as strong. Studies show that melatonin can help with jet lag, but as far as insomnia goes, the benefits haven’t been proven. It can’t hurt to try taking melatonin capsules before bed, but make sure your dosage is under 3 milligrams.
Lower doses of melatonin are actually more effective than higher ones. Experts recommend taking 1 to 3 milligrams 30 minutes before bedtime. The hormone is typically taken in the form of capsules which are available over-the-counter.
Side effects of melatonin are uncommon and short-term but may include:
- stomach cramps
It’s always best to consult with your doctor before taking a supplement such as melatonin.