If you’ve researched natural sleep remedies and want to know how to sleep better, you may have come across melatonin as a sleep aid. What is melatonin? It is a natural sleep aid but is also a natural hormone that your body already produces in a part of your brain called the pineal gland. Your body’s circadian rhythm monitors how much melatonin is naturally produced; when your eyes are exposed to sunlight, your body naturally slows its production of melatonin. When it gets dark at night, your body’s melatonin production increases, making you sleepy.

Is Melatonin Safe?

You can take melatonin pills at night to help sleep. Common questions are “Can I get addicted to melatonin?” and “Is melatonin safe?”. Melatonin is safe for most people but always consult your physician before taking it.

If you have any of these health issues, you should not take melatonin:

High Blood Pressure – You should not take melatonin if you are taking medications for high blood pressure.

Diabetes – Melatonin may increase your blood sugar levels, so use melatonin with caution if you have high blood sugar.

Pregnancy – Very little is known on how melatonin may interfere with pregnancy, so it’s wise to avoid taking it while pregnant. It also may interfere with ovulation, so try not to take melatonin if you’re trying to get pregnant.

Melatonin Dosage

If you take melatonin to ease insomnia, there are several different dosage options available from 0.5 mg to 12 mg. This depends on your personal preference and how much of the hormone your body needs to fall asleep. Start with a smaller dose such as 3 mg and adjust or take more as needed.

If you take melatonin every night for a long period of time, consider cutting back to a smaller dose. For those who have difficulty sleeping every night, take 2 to 3 mg of melatonin. A sleep study has shown that if you only want to take melatonin for a short period of time (up to about a month), it is safe to take up to 12 mg, depending on your needs.

For more information on dosage, see Web MD.

Boost Melatonin Naturally

To ease sleepless nights without taking pills, you can also boost your melatonin levels naturally. Your natural melatonin levels may be low if you have certain lifestyle habits. For example, staying up late at night or not getting enough sunlight can lower your body’s melatonin levels.

Try going to bed earlier to reset your body’s clock and boost melatonin naturally. In addition, get enough sun during the day, preferably early in the morning. When you are exposed to sunlight during the day your body’s production of melatonin stops until the sun sets. This resets your circadian rhythm to produce more melatonin at night and less melatonin during the day.