This story is part of 12 days of tipsso you can make the most of your technology, home and health during the holiday season.
When you think of sleep aids, melatonin may be the first thing that comes to mind. Like so many others, I tried it out in an effort to better rest at night.
However, the few times I’ve taken any amount of the supplement, I’ve felt dizzy and “hangover” for hours the next morning. My body’s negative response to melatonin seems to defeat the purpose of taking it in the first place: to feel more rested throughout the day. So I decided that melatonin is not the best sleep aid for me.
Here are the best alternative sleep supplements to try in the new year.
Read more: 3 sleep hacks to fall asleep in 10 minutes or less
Below, Josh Axe, a clinical nutritionist and co-founder of Ancient Nutrition, shares the best alternatives to melatonin if you decide it’s not for you. Plus, he explains why melatonin can give you a hangover — and how you can avoid that effect if you choose to keep taking it. (For a better night’s sleep, also check out our overview of the best mattressesthe best pillows and the best alarm clocks of the year.)
3 sleep supplements to try instead of melatonin
If you have a similar response to melatonin, how do you find a natural sleep aid that won’t make you dizzy? Ax recommends the following sleep supplements the next time you want help catching Z’s.
- Adaptogenic Herbs: “Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha and kava help your body deal with stress and support your nervous system. They can also lower the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that can interfere with sleep,” says Axe.
- Magnesium: “Magnesium is an electrolyte mineral that may have calming effects and reduce muscle tension and headaches,” he says.
- CBD or CBN: “CBD oil, made from the hemp plant, is non-psychoactive but has sedative and analgesic effects,” says Axe. CBN is a type of cannabinoid which is used in more sleep supplements as it is the most sedative compound found in cannabis according to Sandland Sleep.
Why does melatonin give me a hangover?
Melatonin is a hormone that is naturally produced in the body and it helps tell you when to sleep and when to wake up. Taking melatonin is thought to improve sleep because it can help your body produce more of the hormone.
“Melatonin is generally believed to be safer to use than other sleep medications and less likely to cause side effects such as daytime dizziness the next day. That said, taking too much and taking it too late in the night or in the middle of the night can cause that the effects last the next day,” says Axe. “Continuous release melatonin tablets can also linger in a person’s system and lead to side effects in some cases.”
While melatonin differs from sleep medication and is generally considered safe, some people just can’t tolerate it well. “For reasons related to people’s metabolism and possibly genetics, some may be more prone to melatonin side effects, such as nausea or low energy,” says Axe.
Nature Made is one of the most well-known supplement brands out there. This melatonin supplement contains 5 mg of melatonin and 80 mg of calcium. One bottle will help you sleep for 90 days.
You will receive price alerts for Pro Nature Made Melatonin Tip
Ways to avoid a melatonin hangover
If you experience side effects such as drowsiness the next day when you take melatonin, does that mean you should never use it? According to Axe, you might want to try a few tweaks first. For starters, he says not to take it in the middle of the night. “After you take melatonin, it starts working in about an hour and lasts about 5 hours in your body, so it’s not the best idea to take it in the middle of the night if you want to wake up energized,” explains he out.
“Try taking a low dose to start, about 60 minutes before bed, and skip the sustained-release melatonin if it seems to apply to you,” he advises. According to the National Sleep Foundation, a low dose is generally considered 0.5 mg and 5 mg is on the higher side.
For those taking melatonin on a daily basis, Ax says there’s no harm in taking a break from it once in a while. “It’s usually meant to be taken for a short period of time, like a few weeks or months, but not continuously forever (unless you’re working with a doctor),” says Axe.
“That being said, it’s not known to cause dependence, so taking it longer might not be a problem unless you experience side effects,” he says.
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The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare provider if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.