Well Rested: Melatonin Supplements or Prescription Drugs?

For some, falling asleep and staying asleep can be a challenge.

Job loss, illness and stressful events are among the factors that can affect a person’s ability to sleep well.

Tossing and turning for an extended period of time without having a truly restful night can begin to affect an individual’s overall energy levels and ability to concentrate.

To combat sleep issues, many choose to use sleeping pills, supplements, and over-the-counter medications. But, when these treatments fail, it may be time to see a doctor about prescription medications.

Melatonin is a popular sleep aid supplement, but did you know it’s a hormone that regulates the sleep cycle and occurs naturally in the body?

According to the Sleep Foundation, synthetic melatonin in supplement form has shown benefit in adults who have sleep issues related to night shifts and jet lag.

Melatonin may promote better sleep by helping people fall asleep faster and reducing nighttime awakenings.

It is non-habit forming and safe for short and long term use.

There is no recommended dosage for adults, and a safe dosage depends on a person’s age and weight. However, a range of 0.5 milligrams to 5 milligrams appears to be safe and effective and should be taken about an hour to half an hour before bedtime.

In children, melatonin is recommended as a short-term measure when there are conditions affecting the child’s ability to sleep, including pediatric insomnia, autism spectrum disorder, or hyperactivity disorder with attention.

Research has shown that melatonin supplements can significantly improve overall sleep times by an average of 25 minutes to 48 minutes, for children with these conditions.

However, developing better sleep habits has also been shown to be just as effective in relieving sleep problems in children.

The Jamieson product line offers sleep aid supplements that can help promote better rest in adults.

Jamieson Fast Dissolving Melatonin Tablets are formulated to help restore optimal sleep patterns and correct disruptions associated with air travel (jet lag). Rapid Dissolve Technology allows the body to quickly absorb the active ingredients for fast action and maximum effectiveness.

Plus, Jamieson’s Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) taken once daily with a meal helps metabolize amino acids and carbohydrates and promotes a healthy nervous system.

B6 is involved in the synthesis of red blood cells and can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression. Jamieson’s formulation helps metabolize carbohydrates, fats and proteins while aiding in tissue formation.

Vitamin B6 benefits the body by converting the amino acid tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate levels of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

This vitamin can also be found in eggs, bananas, nuts and seeds, cottage cheese, and chickpeas.

Sleep issues, however, may require stronger intervention – prescription medication.

People should see a doctor if they find that their sleep problems persist for three months or more, or if their symptoms begin to interfere with their daily routine.

Doctors will ask about the person’s lifestyle and any risk factors that may be contributing to their sleep problems.

People should keep a diary of the symptoms they experience, including how long it takes them to fall asleep and how often they wake up throughout the night.

Depending on the symptoms expressed, a doctor can prescribe the best treatment.

Sleeping pills differ enormously from melatonin. These prescription medications are meant to be taken on a short-term basis, usually for two weeks to two months. This maintains the effectiveness of the product and reduces the risk of product addiction.

Prescription sleeping pills include antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and z-drugs, a new class of hypnotics. These drugs work by increasing the production of chemicals in the brain that make a person sleepy.

However, some people have reported daytime sleepiness and excessive sleepiness, affecting their balance and concentration. A possible risk is also disrupted sleep quality, as prescription medications work by chemically altering the way sleep occurs. These medications can affect how people progress through the stages of sleep, which can ultimately affect overall sleep quality.

An alternative to any sleep aid or medication, however, is better sleep hygiene, which includes establishing a nighttime routine of a set bedtime and eliminating sleep disturbances like the use of a device in bed.

Regardless, people should see their doctor about any sleep issues they are having and follow their doctor’s advice to treat these issues.

About Michael Bill

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