Pros: Melatonin is a hormone produced naturally by the body to trigger sleep, so it’s relatively safe when used correctly. Melatonin is even naturally occurring in many foods, like bananas! Aside from potential sleep benefits, research suggests that melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant. I do have to admit, it made me drowsy within half an hour.
Cons: HOLY GOD THE RIVER OF SNAKES! Upon further research, the most common side effects of melatonin supplementation are lucid dreams and exceptionally vivid nightmares. After taking 10 mg of melatonin, I became self-aware that I was inside a nightmare, finally clawed myself awake, only to find that I had “awoken” into another Inception-style nested nightmare. The horror! To rule out coincidence, I kept taking the melatonin for two weeks. Result: two solid weeks of waking up in a panicky pool of my own sweat.
No wonder melatonin supplements are prescription-only in Australia and the UK. One thing to note if you do take melatonin: studies show that an effective dose is much, much smaller (as little as .3mg) than what is often sold in stores (up to 10mg). With melatonin, less really is more. The extra strength dose may be responsible for my night terrors, but at this point, I’m too terrified to find out.
Sleep Rating: (note: this rating is not for melatonin supplements in general, but specifically the irresponsible and scientifically suspect Extra Strength doses that exist due to marketing rather than sound scientific research).
Did extra strength melatonin give you lucid nightmares or help with your insomnia? Share your story below!