Signs Your Melatonin Is No Longer Working & What To Try Instead
Plenty of people regularly turn to melatonin in an effort to get a better night's sleep. But how well does it actually support sleep quality, and how can you know if it's still working for you?
According to functional medicine doctor Frank Lipman, M.D., and board-certified family medicine doctor Robert Rountree, M.D., melatonin can help promote sleep under the right circumstances, but it may not consistently do the trick. Here's why.
Why the benefits of melatonin can wear off after a while.
"It doesn't knock you out [...] It's an indicator that now you can go into that circadian rhythm," he said. This means that in the case of jet lag or another sudden disruption to one's sleep schedule, it can be really beneficial.
Lipman agreed, noting on a recent episode of the mbg podcast, "When I see someone who has a sleep rhythm problem, if you want to get back into rhythm, melatonin is a good way to [do so]." However, he added, if rhythm isn't really the challenge, and your issues are more about sleep quality, melatonin might not do the trick.
He then noted that under those circumstances, it's not uncommon to see people upping their dose of melatonin (to amounts much higher [3 mg plus] than physiological melatonin levels). However, as you increase your dose, it could potentially affect your body's ability to naturally produce melatonin.
The sleep benefits of melatonin can also start to wear off with continued use (i.e., a desensitizing effect), leaving users unable to fall asleep quickly and feeling groggy in the morning. "Most people find once they've [taken melatonin] for a while, it loses its effect," Rountree added.
What to try instead:
When it comes to a melatonin-free supplement that enhances sleep quality and maintains safety and efficacy over time, both Lipman and Rountree are fans of mbg's sleep support+ formula.*
Made with magnesium bisglycinate, PharmaGABA®, and relaxing jujube, it's a supportive sleep supplement that is safe to take before bed every evening.*
"Melatonin is not that great for people who are just poor sleepers," Rountree said. "It's not like magnesium, which has this whole other effect on the depth of sleep and quality of sleep."*
He added of the powerful, science-backed formula: "Magnesium is one of the first things you want to reach for when you're having trouble calming down; PharmaGABA® is a plant extract that's also been shown to bond to the same brain receptors that help us calm down and relax; and jujube is probably one of the top 10 Chinese herbs used in a variety of formulas for sleep."*
When combined, the product has been shown to help hundreds of people fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling rejuvenated.*
The bottom line.
In moderation, melatonin has a place in sleep routines that are, well, not routine and need some help getting regulated. But if you're looking for deeper, more quality rest, it may be time to make the swap to magnesium plus.*
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.