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Is Melatonin Safe?

PSA: Stop Taking Melatonin Until You Read This

Do you take melatonin supplements? Pause for a second. It's not going to kill you, but chances are you're probably overdosing . . . by a lot. And that does affect your sleep and your health.

While discussing my nutrition and sleep routine with coach and injury prevention expert Liz Letchford, MS, ATC, the topic of melatonin supplements came up, and she freaked out stopped me midsentence: "Stop taking them immediately." Apparently, the dose that we are offered by vitamin and supplement companies is up to 33 times more than what we should be taking. Have you ever taken 10 milligrams of melatonin? The ideal dose is 0.3 milligrams.

"This can destroy your body's natural melatonin production and mess up your circadian rhythm," said Liz, who pointed me to several studies on the matter. Said studies recommended only taking the lowest possible dose of the supplement. But in a world where we're trained to think more is better, vitamin brands took advantage of our lack of knowledge. Those 10 milligram supplements aren't extrastrength sleeping pills — they're just messing up your body's natural hormone production.

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While prescribed doses of melatonin could help you through a bout of jet lag or a few sleepless nights here and there, it shouldn't be relied on as a crutch for getting better sleep. Work with your doctor or coach to get of the root of the issue with your insomnia or sleep troubles and go from there.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
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