At WisdomAndHealth, we carry a range of pillows for sleeping. However, even a new pillow may not be enough. So what are some other alternatives if you need help falling asleep or staying asleep and you don’t want to take sleeping pills? And is melatonin an option?
Melatonin is available in a wide array of tablets, capsules, sprays, and lozenges, and is frequently marketed as a natural sleep aid. In fact, melatonin supplements have been available in the US since the 1990s as a sleep aid and for other uses as well. As a natural substance, melatonin appears to have few side effects at low doses. But even after all of this experience with melatonin, many questions remain about the right dose, as well as when that dose should be taken. In other words, should the melatonin be taken immediately at bedtime, or one hour before? What if the problem is not falling asleep, but staying asleep? Should the melatonin be in a tablet, or a liquid?
It makes sense to use melatonin as a sleep aid . This is because melatonin is naturally produced by our bodies, and is known to play a role in our circadian rhythms. In fact, melatonin levels rise after sundown , and begin to fall after ~2 am in most people. Interestingly, older folks have lower levels of melatonin in their blood stream, which may, in part, explain why we tend to sleep less as we age.
So which melatonin product should we use? And what is the right melatonin dosage? At WisdomAndHealth.com, we continue to look for a good melatonin product. But what are we looking for?
There are several factors we need to consider. First there is the bioavailability of melatonin. Bioavailability is simply the amount of drug in a pill that actually gets from your gut into your blood stream, where it can then do what it is supposed to do. So if a melatonin tablet contains 100 micrograms and it does not dissolve in the stomach, then the drug cannot get into the bloodstream. So the bioavailability is very low, and that product will not be effective.
As it happens, the bioavailability of melatonin is both low and variable . This means that a melatonin-containing product, such as a simple pill, may not be effective if it is poorly made, because the melatonin may never dissolve.
Thus, a melatonin product should come in a liquid to partly overcome this bioavailability issue. With a liquid melatonin product, you don’t have to worry about the melatonin not dissolving, because this already done for you!
In addition, an ideal melatonin product should have an ingredient(s) to help drive the melatonin from the gut into the bloodstream, so that more melatonin gets into our system. A liquid product would help get the melatonin into our bloodstream faster, so that we can fall asleep faster.
This also means that a liquid melatonin product would have a lower dose than in pill form, decreasing the unlikely chance of any melatonin-related side effects. Taste could be a problem with liquid melatonin, but this may be a small price to pay if it’s the only side effect and we fall asleep faster! Another possibility is a rapidly-dissolving tablet which dissolves under the tongue. Still another is a nasal spray, but this introduces other complications, such as nasal irritation.
Product quality is another critical factor. For example, ConsumerLab.com found many problems with a number of valerian-containing supplements. Valerian root is an herbal supplement that has been used to help with both anxiety and sleep. Rest assured that WisdomAndHealth.com will not sell any product unless we have reviewed all data related to product purity, manufacturing, and stability.
So which product can we recommend? At this point, we haven’t found a good product that we can recommend, but the search is ongoing. At WisdomAndHealth.com, we will try to answer these questions for you, and only bring you products that we feel comfortable using ourselves. Not only that, we will openly share our opinions on these products with you, so that you can make informed decisions. So stay tuned, and we’ll all sleep better very soon!
This information is not a substitute for an open discussion with your doctor. Insomnia and sleep deprivation are serious medical conditions that should be discussed with your physician before starting any course of therapy, including those mentioned in this article.