The Downside to Melatonin
Melatonin tends to feel like a buzzword in the world of “natural” sleep aids. It was one of the first OTC natural sleep aids to be regularly accepted by the mainstream market and quickly became an alternative to drugs such as NyQuil and Tylenol PM.
Like many others, years ago, we curiously dove into the world of melatonin to see if it could cure our sleep-deprived nights of tossing and turning. Much to our dismay, we instead wound up with many nights of wild melatonin-induced dreams and often woke up feeling a hangover-like grogginess.
How could it be? Were we alone in the side effects that we felt after a night of putting melatonin down the hatch while wishing for a sweet 8 hours of undisturbed rest? After a healthy amount of research, we discovered that our side effects were common and simultaneously uncovered that melatonin can have other not-so-great lasting impacts.
Image by: @vesnica.j
What is Melatonin?
Understanding the adverse effects means diving into the actual definition of melatonin. Produced in the pineal gland in the brain, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in the brain that your body uses to regulate your circadian rhythm (the internal clock that regulates awakeness and sleepiness). It uses the amino acid tryptophan (a precursor to serotonin) to help synthesize before it is released into the blood and cerebrospinal fluid eventually making its way to our brain. When it gets dark outside, melatonin levels naturally increase to prepare you for rest, and when the sun rises, levels drop, awakening us for the day ahead.
How is Melatonin made?
In order to replicate this “sleep” hormone outside of our bodies, it can be produced from animals, microorganisms, or synthetically. So it's not a plant-based medicine at all. It's taken on the moniker “natural” simply because we naturally produce it, sometimes the sources it comes from are natural (an animal) and sometimes they are synthetic. And if you’re vegan or concerned about animal welfare, something to be aware of.
What are the side effects of Melatonin?
It quickly became evident how ingesting more melatonin could make our bodies feel off or that our sleep was disturbed rather than supported. While melatonin is safe for short-term use, it’s absolutely not a long-term solution. To put it simply, melatonin is a bandaid when it comes to addressing and healing sleep disorders. Too much melatonin will quickly disrupt our circadian rhythm, throwing our internal clock off for the entire day or even week. The daytime grogginess we experienced post-melatonin was induced by an ‘overdose’ of the hormone, causing our body to feel like we should be sleeping during the day. These side effects are the last thing we need when looking to cure a lack of sleep that might be due to stress, anxiety, or other chemical imbalance. And here’s the real kicker: some doctors believe that the longer we take melatonin, the more difficult it becomes to produce it naturally.
Prismatic Plants Approach to Sleep
As we’ve shared before, supporting our circadian rhythm is one of the most important things we can do for our bodies. Our natural and truest flow can only happen when our internal clock is ticking smoothly. When we set out to create Good Night , we were looking for a plant-based solution that supported our natural clock rather than interfering with it. Furthering our belief that we need to support our bodies natural capabilities to heal rather than intervene with harsh medicines.
So, how does our blend of herbs in Good Night support rather than interfere? Let's start with our powerful cannabinoids: CBN + CBD. These cannabinoids are widely studied, and to this day, they've yet to find any adverse side effects. That's the type of plant medicine we love! CBD is essential for reducing our cortisol levels and helping us relax while winding down. CBN is also stress-supporting and is often used to promote deep sleep and treat pain. So, how is hemp different than melatonin? Both cannabinoids go to the root of the problem rather than applying a temporary bandaid for one night of rest. CBD and CBN work together to calm nerves naturally, supporting a healthy chemical balance and balanced nervous system. We like to think of hemp as a tool to support harmony within our bodies. The best part? No morning grogginess after a great night of sleep. For that, we thank hemp's anti-inflammatory qualities.
Calming adaptogens, functional mushrooms, and sleep-promoting herbs came next. Reishi, Ashwagandha, and Oat Straw play critical roles in actively restoring immune health, supporting healthy energy levels, and aiding muscle recovery. These plants play a part in our round-the-clock coverage that works to keep our circadian rhythm running smoothly. Unlike melatonin, this blend stabilizes and balances rather than throwing other hormones or chemicals into the mix. Guilty of teeth grinding or waking up with kinks in your neck? California Poppy, Valerian Root, and Skullcap team up to calm the nervous system and reduce muscle tension so you can fully relax once you hit the sheets.
Sense a theme here? Prismatic Plants is ALL about restoring balance naturally and supporting internal harmony rather than interfering with it. We believe that Mother Nature gave us herbal medicine to do just that.