Melatonin, often referred to as the sleep hormone, is a central part of the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Its production increases with evening darkness, promoting healthy sleep and helping to orient our circadian rhythm.
body naturally produces melatonin, but researchers and the public have increasingly taken an interest in external sources of it, such as liquids or capsules, as a way to address sleep difficulties. In the United States, melatonin is sold as a dietary supplement, and a 2012 survey by the National Institutes of Health found it to be one of the most commonly used supplements among both adults1 and children2.
Studies have found that melatonin can improve sleep in certain cases, but it isn’t for everyone. It is important to be aware of and carefully consider melatonin’s potential benefits and downsides. People who want to use melatonin supplement should also be aware of issues related to dosage and the quality of supplements.
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