By Kerrie Smyres | October 26, 2005
Whether or not melatonin is an effective to fight insomnia is still under debate. A recent study indicates that when you take the medicine affects how it works in the body. Researchers report that it was most effective when taken in sync with an individual patient’s sleep cycle.
They warn that people shouldn’t self-medicate with melatonin. The lead researcher says, "This is all very complicated. If you give melatonin at the right time of day it can be effective. But if you give it at the wrong time it can make sleep problems worse."
Melatonin may or may not be an effective migraine treatment. A small study published last year shows that taking the supplement 30 minutes before bedtime can help reduce migraines. But headaches can also be a side effect of melatonin. I took it for a while, but stopped because it increased my headaches and made me drowsy. I was told that in my previous headache specialist’s practice, some patients didn’t have side effects at first, but developed them after a few months.
Obviously there’s no conclusive evidence or prescribing guidelines here. If you’re interested, you should definitely talk to your doctor about it. Supplements don’t have to meet ingredient requirements, so one kind can vary dramatically from another. It may also interact with other common headache meds.
An article in UC Berkeley’s Wellness Letter issues these warnings about the supplement:
- Having your levels measured won’t tell you anything, since levels vary from person to person and from hour to hour.
- Chronic use of melatonin supplements may suppress the body’s own production of the hormone.
- Nobody knows what might happen if you have high natural levels and take a supplement on top of that.
- Melatonin can interact with other hormones, which is why, in part, pregnant women and children should never take it.
- Such drugs as aspirin, beta blockers, and tranquilizers can affect melatonin levels.