Melatonin plays an important role in sleep, but many people still report difficulty sleeping after trying a melatonin supplement. What’s going on?
There are several reasons your melatonin supplement may not be helping you get the shut eye you need:
You Are Taking A Poor Quality Supplement
We talk a lot about supplement quality here at Poliquin Group because poor quality products are rampant on the market. A 2015 investigation by the New York State attorney general found that 80 percent of herbal supplements from Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and GNC contained none of the herbs listed on their labels (1). In most cases the supplements contained cheap fillers like rice, beans, peas, and house plants.
Melatonin is a neurohormone produced by the pineal gland by the brain and not an herbal aid, however, quality control is just as much of a problem. A 2017 study of 31 melatonin supplements, 70 percent of the bottles had a melatonin concentration of 10 percent or less than what was claimed (2).
So, it’s quite possible that the simply aren’t getting any melatonin from your supplement. Melatonin might work well for you if you tried a high-quality product that delivers that dose on the label. If you think this might be your situation, you should check out our 3 mg Melatonin product. Giving your biorhythm a little boost may help you get the good night’s sleep you need.
You Need A Middle of The Night Melatonin Boost
Most melatonin supplements are rapidly metabolized by the liver, increasing the risk of wakening in the middle of the night and difficulty getting back to sleep. Serum melatonin half-life is estimated to be 30 to 60 minutes, meaning that after you take a supplement, about half of it is cleared from the body within an hour. First pass metabolism is high (about 90 percent), meaning that very little of an oral melatonin supplement hits the blood stream.
Fortunately, scientists have come up with a solution: Our Melatonin QSR has a biphasic delivery system that overcomes the body’s speedy metabolism by releasing 1 mg of melatonin immediately upon digestion and the rest of the melatonin (4 mg) over a 6-hour period to sustain serum levels and help you sleep soundly throughout the night. This supplement uses a gel layer that slowly erodes as it travels through the intestine, releasing melatonin for absorption over the course of the night. Cool, huh?
Poor Sleep Hygiene
It’s important to realize that while melatonin helps tell the body when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up, it doesn’t actually make you fall asleep. This is why if you’ve had your sleep pattern disrupted, such as from traveling across time zones, it can help to reset your confused body and brain.
For general sleep problems and insomnia, studies show melatonin can be effective for some people but others get no benefit. If this is you, the first thing to consider is your sleep routine. Melatonin is unlikely to work if you are wired right up until bedtime. If your mind is racing when your head hits the pillow or you’ve been exposing yourself to blue light from screens up until the moment you turn off the light, melatonin is going to have a harder time sending you to dream land.
It’s worth making the effort to get your sleep routine up to par before trying a melatonin aid. Studies show that cognitive behavioral therapy in which you identify obstacles to healthy sleep and set goals for overcoming them has been shown to be one of the most effective ways for improving sleep.
If you still have trouble getting your zzzs, it’s reasonable to supplement with melatonin to give your brain the extra boost it needs for rest and recovery. After all, one of the primary roles of melatonin is to downregulate neural function, allowing the brain to heal.
Final Words: If you’ve had poor results with melatonin in the past, don’t give up on it yet. First, try cleaning up your sleep routine by establishing a set bed and wake time, avoiding screens in the hour before bed, avoiding late night eating, and doing deep breathing or meditation. If you decide to try a melatonin supplement, make sure it’s from a company you trust. Be aware that effective doses vary with studies showing benefits from as little as 0.1 mg to as much as 10 mg a night (3). Finally, if you suffer from middle of the night wakenings, consider a time-release melatonin to keep you in dream land the full night through.
2) Erland, L, Saxena, P. Melatonin Natural Health Products and Supplements: Presence of Serotonin and Significant Variability of Melatonin Content. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. 2017. 13(2): 275–281.
3) Phillips L, Appleton RE. Systematic review of melatonin treatment in children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and sleep impairment. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 2004;46: 771-775.