Melatonin is a hormone that naturally occurs in your body. When it gets dark, your body increases the production of the sleep hormone.
While it doesn’t make you sleep, the rise in your levels puts you into a state of quiet wakefulness that helps to promote shut-eye.
Due to these abilities, melatonin has also been turned into a supplement with a promise to tackle sleep disorders.
While melatonin is an effective remedy for sleep problems, Dr Nazreen Morley, a GP based in the North of England, explained there’s “no need” to take it as a daily supplement.
In fact, the small pill comes with a list of associated health risks, according to the expert.
READ MORE Doctor warns against using popular sleep supplement – tips to try instead
In the UK, melatonin is only available on prescription in a pill form, but you could also get it as a patch or a topical product over the counter.
“If you suffer from insomnia, a GP may prescribe a synthetic version of it for you to help you fall asleep faster,” Dr Morley said.
However, the expert advised against taking too much of the artificial sleep hormone.
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Dr Morley said: “Taking too much melatonin can lead to excessive fatigue and lethargy, headaches and in some cases even stomach problems.”
The GP isn’t the only one to warn against the health risks associated with the popular sleep supplement.
In a video titled ‘Not melatonin’, a TikTok doctor, known as Dr Charles, shared that melatonin can cause crazy dreams, fatigue in the morning, and even falls in the elderly.
The NHS also notes that melatonin can trigger some side effects, but most people will not have any.
The health service recommends looking out for the following problems:
- Feeling sleepy or tired in the daytime
- Stomach ache
- Feeling sick (nausea)
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling irritable or restless
- Dry mouth
- Dry or itchy skin
- Pains in your arms or legs
- Strange dreams or night sweats.
It recommends speaking to a doctor or pharmacist if the side effects are bothering you and don’t go away.
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