Best Way to Stop Taking Melatonin or Sleep Aids | Psych in 60

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What Is the Best Way to Stop Taking Melatonin or Sleep Aids?

Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted by the pineal gland, which is a major player in your body’s clock system. Our brain produces melatonin when we are in dim light or darkness and its production is very dependent on the regularity with which we are in darkness.

People can use melatonin in one of two ways. First is a small dose, about 90 minutes prior to desired sleep onset, only about 0.5 mg – 1 mg to reinforce our circadian rhythm. The second way is using a higher dose right when sleep onset is desired.

There are three reasons why I don’t love melatonin:

1. It’s a supplement, which means the actual amount of melatonin may not match what’s in the bottle.

2. About one out of three people actually respond to melatonin, therefore it’s not the most effective tool.

3. There have been studies that have questioned its safety in the use of children. Melatonin can have effects on reproductive and endocrine systems, so it really should be used with caution.

The best way to work off melatonin or sleep aids is to gradually take smaller doses every three nights until you are completely done. However, it doesn’t usually require that much effort to stop.

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Dr. Kristin Daley
Dr. Kristin Daley received her doctorate in clinical health psychology from UNCC. In addition to her doctoral training, she is one of approximately 200 psychologists who completed their certification in behavioral sleep medicine. She is passionate about assisting people in moving into healthy places in life, and spends her free time with her husband and three children.

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