I am confused about these melatonin sleeping aids. Some say they work, others say they don’t. And they have these slow-release melatonin and plain melatonin. Maybe the efficacy of this product depends on the form being used. Which is better among the two and which would work for my insomnia?
You’ve heard of melatonin, right? Melatonin food supplements for younger-looking skin, for a healthier you, for better sleep, I could go on and on. Well, melatonin is a neurohormone that came from tryptophan, an amino acid that naturally induces sleep and it is during sleep that cell repair happens so we can say that the claims could be true.
Melatonin is produced in the pineal gland which is located between the two hemispheres in our brain. The pineal gland is also responsible for the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter. Synthesis and production of melatonin occurs at nighttime, during sleep, or when the environment is dark, as long as little or no light enters our retina; and stops when there is light or when we are awake.
There are two types of melatonin in the market today: animal melatonin taken from the pineal gland of animals, and synthetic melatonin which is manufactured in companies. Synthetic melatonin is considered better because they contain lesser impurities. According to research, melatonin works better in small doses but the melatonin supplements that are being sold contain about 10 times the desired dose. But we can do something about that, divide the capsules.
Now, here’s another concern for melatonin consumers and would-be users. Which is better, quick-release or slow-release melatonin? You see, there are two forms of melatonin supplements: quick-release melatonin which, from the name itself, has an immediate onset of effects, and controlled- or slow-release melatonin. Another question you might ask – is it possible to have a melatonin overdose if it is quick release?
I would say both would be effective depending on when or how it is used. For cases of jet lag and disruption of circadian rhythm, quick-release melatonin would be better to help you fall asleep quickly and help your body adjust to a new sleep/wake cycle the soonest possible time. But some users claim that after the effects wear off, they wake up and find it difficult to go back to sleep again.
Slow-release melatonin, on the other hand, may be slower in onset but it helps you maintain a longer duration of sleep. And some research showed that slow-release melatonin helps treat sleep disorders brought about by depression. However, its onset is slow and it may cause some drowsiness in the morning if you take it late at night.
So, should you decide to use melatonin as a sleeping aid, it would be up to you to decide which form of melatonin preparation would work best for you, if its plain melatonin or the slow-release melatonin. But, of course, contacting your doctor and asking for his professional advise on whether melatonin supplements would be good for you or not would be the very first thing that you should do. Although allergic reactions may seem unlikely, interactions with other drugs may still be possible.