Deprived of Sleep, Many Turn to Melatonin Despite Risks
When slumber doesn't come naturally, some are turning to melatonin, an over-the-counter sleep aid that often is mistaken for a supplement. This powerful hormone plays an important role in human biology, and specialists are questioning whether increasing levels could be doing more harm than good. A new investigation launched by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine is looking into the safety of melatonin. And while the health advisory checking the evidence is underway, the academy is recommending that melatonin not be used for insomnia in adults or children. But what is insomnia, and how is it different from a few bad nights of sleep? Insomnia disturbs sleep at least three times a week for more than 3 months, often causing people to feel tired during the day as well.
@niyam While melatonin doses typically range from 1 to 5 milligrams, bottles examined have been off target with much more or less hormone in the product than listed on the label. Researchers from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, tested 30 commercially available formulas and found the melatonin content varied from the ingredients labeled on the bottles by more than 10%. In addition to melatonin, the researchers found other substances in the bottles too: In about a quarter of the products, they also identified another chemical messenger called serotonin.