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Melatonin is a natural substance produced by the brain in the pineal gland. Darkness stimulates the release of melatonin and it’s at its highest in the blood before bedtime. It’s antioxidant properties so often supplements of melatonin are used to treat sleep issues.
Our sleep cycle can be interrupted for various reasons such as jet lag so often it is prescribed as a medication to be used to regulate the sleep/wake cycle especially when someone is traveling. However, long-term use can have health consequences so that it needs to be used with caution over long periods of time.
Some of the common side effects of melatonin usage include the following:
Reduction in concentration and alertness levels particularly when driving or performing any kind of mechanical or strenuous work.
Increased heart beat.
Abdominal distress.
Nightmares or confusion or sleep walking.
Nausea or giddiness.
Weakness and listlessness.
Anyone who is taking medications like blood thinners or anticoagulants, diabetes medications, immuno-suppressants or birth control pills should consult their doctor before taking melatonin. If you suffer from depression, epilepsy, disorders of the immune system or have kidney or liver problems, you should get advice from your physician. Those that are pregnant or are expecting pregnancy or breastfeeding should also avoid taking melatonin unless advised by a physician.
The side effects of melatonin with one of these conditions can interact badly with other medications or create other health problems. If you do not see any positive effects when taking melatonin following a period of one to three times you should stop taking it well or seek advice from your physician. It’s only advised for adults and children should not be given melatonin.