What Is The Best All Natural Sleep Aid?
Melatonin is a hormone and dietary supplement commonly used as a sleep aid.
Although it has an outstanding safety profile, melatonin’s growing popularity has raised some concerns.
Cannabidiol — also known as CBD — is one of the main cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids interact with your endocannabinoid system, which helps your body maintain a state of balance and stability, or homeostasis.
Both CBD and Melatonin have become very popular all natural sleep aids. Which option is better for you and why? What effects with both of them have on your body? When should you not take Melatonin?
Read more to find out....
What is Melatonin
Melatonin is a neurohormone produced by the pineal glands in your brain, mainly at night.
It prepares your body for sleep and is sometimes called the “hormone of sleep” or “hormone of darkness.”
Melatonin supplements are frequently used as a sleep aid. They help you fall asleep, improve sleep quality, and increase sleep duration. However, they don’t appear to be as effective as many other sleep medications.
Sleep isn’t the only body function melatonin affects. This hormone also plays a role in your body’s antioxidant defenses and helps regulate blood pressure, body temperature, and cortisol levels, as well as sexual and immune function.
In the United States, melatonin is available over the counter. Since June 2021, it has also been available over the counter in Australia for people over 55.
In contrast, Melatonin is a prescription drug in most European countries and approved for use only in older adults with sleep disorders.
Its use is growing, raising concerns about its possible side effects.
Concerns and Side Effects of Melatonin
It's not a long-term solution
Taking melatonin an hour or two before bedtime can be effective for sleep issues related to your circadian rhythms. There is some evidence that it could be effective for those with temporary jet lag from traveling across time zones, but this research has limitations and the possible benefits appear to be modest.
Shift workers with irregular schedules may also benefit from melatonin use, as may those with delayed sleep-wake phase disorder - a condition that makes it difficult to fall asleep at night, resulting in daytime fatigue. Since melatonin production also declines with age, older people may have trouble falling asleep, and melatonin could provide relief in this case.
It's always important to talk to your healthcare provider (HCP) before taking melatonin. Short-term use of melatonin may not be harmful but there is insufficient evidence on its long-term safety, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. And in some cases, relying on melatonin could simply mask another problem.
For example, sleeplessness could signal a hormonal imbalance, a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, or a sleep disorder, like sleep apnea. If left untreated, these issues could worsen or possibly lead to complications.
It's not regulated
Like all supplements, there are other potential downsides to melatonin use that shouldn't be overlooked.
It's important to understand that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn't regulate melatonin or other dietary supplements in the same way that it controls prescription and over-the-counter medications. That means the agency doesn't test these products for safety or effectiveness, and they could contain harmful hidden ingredients.
A 2017 study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine analyzed 31 melatonin supplements and found that the amount of melatonin they contained often varied wildly from what was listed on the label. The hormone serotonin was also detected in 26% of the samples analyzed. This could be potentially harmful for some people, particularly those who are taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antidepressants that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Combining medication or supplements that jointly boost serotonin can cause it to accumulate and reach abnormally high levels in the body - a serious condition called serotonin syndrome, which can result in shivering, diarrhea, muscle rigidity, fever or seizures.
It could trigger side effects
Taking melatonin could also lead to some uncomfortable symptoms. They're usually mild, but you may experience:
- Sleepiness (when you should be alert)
For these reasons, it's important to not drive or operate machinery for five hours after taking melatonin.
Dangerous interactions could occur
The supplement could also interfere with other important medications, including blood thinners, diabetes drugs, immune system-suppressing drugs, anti-seizure drugs and some contraceptives. If you're taking any type of medication, it's important to talk to your HCP before taking melatonin or any other dietary supplements.
When to Avoid Melatonin
Certain people should be more cautious about melatonin use, particularly if it triggers a negative reaction, including those with:
- Chronic insomnia. Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep that lasts a month or more shouldn't be managed with melatonin, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians. These groups recommend other more proven remedies (a combination of lifestyle changes, cognitive-behavioral therapy and/or medication), noting that there is not enough evidence that melatonin is safe and effective for long-term use.
- Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS). The tingling or "creepy-crawly" feeling in the legs that often keeps people awake could be worsened by melatonin. The supplement can intensify RLS symptoms because it lowers the amount of dopamine in the brain, according to the Restless Legs Syndrome Foundation. If you've been diagnosed with RLS or suspect that you have the condition, talk to your HCP about lifestyle changes or medications that could help.
- Dementia. This progressive cognitive deterioration is often associated with insomnia, which can tax both patients and their caregivers. But melatonin may do more harm than good among those with dementia since the condition causes people to metabolize the supplement more slowly, resulting in daytime drowsiness. In people with moderate or severe dementia, melatonin supplementation may increase the risk of falls, according to 2015 guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
If you've been drinking alcohol, it's also not safe to take melatonin.
Melatonin is also not for you if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Researchers simply don't have enough data to know if it's safe for fetuses or breastfed babies.
What about kids?
Parents desperate for some shuteye may be tempted to give it to their children. There is some evidence that melatonin can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Circadian rhythm sleep problems are common in those with these conditions.
But the possible side effects of melatonin use in kids also include increased bedwetting or urination as well as agitation. Consult your child's pediatrician before trying melatonin. It's worth noting that sleep problems in children can often be eased by creating a regular bedtime routine and sticking to healthy sleep hygiene practices, just like adults.
What About CBD For Sleep?
To understand whether CBD can improve sleep, we first have to understand what causes poor sleep.
Many things can cause you to sleep badly. According to the Mayo Clinic, insomnia can be caused by:
- mental health disorders, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and depression
- medication, which can disturb your sleep-wake cycle
- physical conditions, such as chronic pain and restless leg syndrome
- caffeine, especially when consumed late in the day
- environmental factors, such as loud noises or an uncomfortable bed
If your insomnia is caused by external factors or related conditions, CBD may help by treating the causes of sleeplessness.
While research on CBD is still in its infancy, some research suggests that CBD can treat anxiety.
A research study published in 2019 looked at whether CBD could improve sleep and or reduce anxiety. The study involved 72 subjects, with 47 experiencing anxiety and 25 experiencing poor sleep. The subjects were each given 25 milligrams (mg) of CBD in capsule form each day. In the first month, 79.2 percent of the patients reported lower anxiety levels and 66.7 percent reported better sleep.
Pain, which may also cause sleep problems, can be helped by CBD as well. Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that there’s a fair amount of evidence to support the claim that CBD soothes pain. The authors note that by reducing chronic pain, CBD can improve sleep.
Other research tells us that CBD affects the sleep cycle. Research from 2014Trusted Source looked at four patients with Parkinson’s disease. It found that CBD improved the symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), a disorder in which a person acts out their dreams. RBD is associated with poor sleep and nightmares.
A 2017 review also noted that CBD may be helpful in treating RBD, and that it shows potential for treating excessive daytime sleepiness.
Grogginess, another symptom of insomnia, might also be affected by CBD. A 2014 research study found that CBD could have the potential to promote wakefulness, based on both human and animal research.
Message from 8Labs Founder & CEO
"We know that our CBD works, but we understand why you might be hesitant. There is a lot of misinformation about CBD out there. Don't worry, we are here to help answer any questions you may have. Welcome to your CBD journey!"
Our hemp has a unique chemical composition. It is extremely rich in CBD and other cannabinoids with less than 0.3% THC. Therefore, our products do not have any negative effects associated with marijuana and THC use. With 8LABS CBD, you receive all the positive benefits of hemp’s full spectrum of components, with absolutely zero psychoactive effects.
8LABS CBD products contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids including CBC, CBG, CBDA, CBN and others. Additionally, our extracts contain terpenes - organic hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of plants. Together CBD, other cannabinoids and terpenes all interact synergistically to create what scientists refer to as an “entourage effect” that magnifies the therapeutic benefits of the plant’s individual components—so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts.
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