I'm A Nurse: Here's Why I Won't Take Melatonin & The Supplement I Trust Instead
There are few wellness practices more important to me than my sleep. The health benefits that come with it are a great perk, but for me, it's all about shutting out the world and having some alone time (yes, I'm introverted). But as a night-shift nurse, sleeping well can be a major challenge.
I've been on a 7:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. schedule for about two years now, and I've finally cracked the code to getting quality sleep between shifts (hint: It's not melatonin).
Why I stopped taking melatonin.
I've tried melatonin supplements in the past, and not only did they not work well for me, but they're also not intended for daily long-term use.
Melatonin supplementation has become so commonplace that most people—even health care professionals like myself—aren't always aware of its real purpose. Melatonin is a hormone that our bodies naturally produce in order to regulate our circadian rhythms. By signaling to our brains that it's time to wind down, the hormone also plays a role in immune function,1 heart function2, blood sugar maintenance3, hormonal health, and more.
While it can help with the process of dozing off (especially when circadian reset is needed) at low doses, melatonin is not effective at improving sleep quality or promoting deep sleep throughout the night, nor is it safe to take long term or at high doses, which is why I turned to mindbodygreen's sleep support+.
What I take instead.
The first thing I noticed was how seamlessly I was able to wind down for bed* (which is rare coming off of a 12-hour shift in the critical care unit). Once my mind and my body were calm, it became easy for me to drift into sleep—and actually stay asleep.*
Typically, the bright lights and noise of the New York City streets would wake me up, but I found myself sleeping through all of it.* Best of all: I woke up feeling truly rested and rejuvenated—ready for my next shift.*
As a nurse, it's important for me to get at least eight hours of sleep to provide the best possible care for both myself and my patients. When taking sleep support+, I trust that I'll always get quality rest, no matter the time of day.*
Addison Kim, BSN, R.N., PCCN earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas at Austin in 2019. She currently serves the oncologic patient population as a critical care nurse at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Kim moved to New York the summer after graduating. On her off days she loves walking around the city, running along the West Side Highway, and trying different coffee shops.