Bottle of Melatonin Pills (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
Health - Wellness
Melatonin May Be Doing More Harm Than You Think
Melatonin is a hormone your brain produces when it gets dark outside, making you sleepy in preparation for bedtime. Nowadays, we often expose ourselves to blue light from our phones right before bed, which interferes with melatonin production; taking melatonin supplements may seem like a good way to make up for this, but there are risks.
While melatonin pills are considered safe for most people, side effects include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and drowsiness upon waking. More safety concerns exist for older people, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those who take other medications; melatonin can even disrupt hormonal development in children and teens.
Instead of taking melatonin, the best way to get better sleep is to establish better sleep habits, such as going to bed and waking up at the same time every day, and putting away electronic devices (including your phone) before bed. Other ways to improve sleep are to exercise and limiting heavy meals, caffeine, and alcohol right before bed.