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Melatonin: A look at dependence & long-term impacts for the popular sleep aid

Melatonin Kids
Posted at 3:48 PM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 17:02:59-04

Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces, and it's primarily found in the brain in a structure called the pineal gland.

That gland regulates the sleep-wake cycle.

The hormone can be made from animals or microorganisms, but as the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) notes, the supplement is usually produced synthetically.

Melatonin is almost ubiquitous these days in pharmacies and other stores where sleep aids, supplements, and other products for sleep and health are sold. It can come in pills, gummies, or even topical creams.

As the New York Times reported, the long-term effects of melatonin use are not quite yet known.

Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, chief of a division of the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said, “For almost any medication, whether it’s prescription or over-the-counter, rarely are long-term studies done.”

Experts consider melatonin to be safe for short-term use.

If you've taken melatonin for years, you might find it hard to stop taking it before sleep.

Experts advise deciding on taking melatonin hours ahead of bedtime so you don't stress right before bed about the decision.
Try switching your melatonin routine for something else, like a caffeine-free tea