What is melatonin?

Jump to


Melatonin is a hormone produced by the pineal gland. It helps regulate the natural sleep-wake cycle.

Light affects how much melatonin your body produces. During the shorter days of winter, your body may make melatonin either earlier or later in the day than usual. This can lead to symptoms of seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

Melatonin supplements may be used to treat SAD, jet lag, and insomnia.

How safe is melatonin?

In most cases, melatonin supplements are safe in low doses. Children and pregnant or nursing women should not take melatonin without talking to a doctor first. Because melatonin makes you feel drowsy, do not drive or operate machinery when you are taking it. Talk to your doctor before using melatonin.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone made by the pineal gland, a small gland in the brain. Melatonin helps control your sleep and wake cycles. Very small amounts of it are found in foods such as meats, grains, fruits, and vegetables. You can also buy it as a supplement.

Why is melatonin used?

Melatonin supplements are sometimes used to treat jet lag or sleep problems (insomnia).

What are the side effects of melatonin?

Side effects of melatonin are rare. They may include sleepiness, headache, dizziness, and nausea. These side effects will go away when you stop taking the supplement.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.