Can melatonin sprays really help you sleep better?


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There are some health and wellness trends that spread like wildfire—and melatonin is definitely one of them. Chances are, you’ve heard of this supplement that’s practically synonymous with sleep these days. But while you’ve likely seen capsules and gummies that tout this powerful ingredient, you might not be as privy to the latest melatonin formula: melatonin sprays. 

Sprays can be easier to ingest than a capsule, but do they really work? Saatva spoke with Shantha Gowda, PsyD, diplomate in behavioral sleep medicine, to find out if you should reach for this product the next time you’re tossing and turning in bed.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is now commonly known as an over-the-counter sleep aid you can buy just about anywhere. “However, melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone produced and secreted by the pineal gland (a tiny structure in the middle of the brain),” explains Gowda. “Melatonin is released a couple hours before one’s sleep time and helps to regulate the sleep-wake circadian rhythm.”

People sometimes take melatonin before bed to lure the body into sleep when they’re tossing and turning, but it’s not typically necessary. “Our bodies naturally produce and release melatonin so supplementation is not often warranted,” says Gowda.

What is a melatonin spray?

You may have already heard of (or used) melatonin that comes in tablets, gummies, or liquid form (think: with an eye dropper dispenser). Melatonin in spray form is a relatively new product and is “typically sold in 3 mg doses with different flavors such as orange, lavender, and mint,” says Gowda.

Do melatonin sprays work?

Unlike many other health “fads” on the internet, the use of melatonin has actually been widely studied. Studies show melatonin is promising when it comes to treating jet lag and insomnia in otherwise healthy adults. However, it hasn’t been shown to improve restful sleep in shift workers (i.e., those who need to wake up and fall asleep on a schedule that doesn’t match the body’s circadian rhythms). 

Another study that looked at the efficacy of melatonin sprays vs. tablets found that taking melatonin in a spray form delivers a higher concentration of melatonin and allows the body to absorb it faster than a tablet form. If you’re in a pinch and melatonin typically works for you, then this might be a great alternative to swallowing pills or chewing gummies. 

“The evidence for melatonin supplementation is strongest for the treatment of jet lag and other circadian rhythm disorders such as delayed sleep phase disorder (when people who are often called “night owls” have difficulty with a more delayed bedtime and wake time than what is considered normal),” explains Gowda. “However, many people report improved sleep when taking melatonin,” she says. 

Gowda says that since melatonin sprays are often paired with relaxing flavors like orange, lavender, or mint, using them can help to create a bedtime ritual of sorts—which may be able to help users fall asleep faster. 

“The act of using melatonin spray may help to improve sleep in and of itself by relieving the stress and worry associated with falling asleep,” adds Gowda. “More research is necessary to understand the full scope and effectiveness of melatonin sprays. It is important to consult with your doctor before using any form of melatonin.”


What does melatonin spray do?

Melatonin sprays administer melatonin, the sleep hormone, into the body. They work at a faster absorption rate than gummies or tablets. 

Is melatonin spray effective? 

Melatonin spray may be effective at helping you fall asleep. However, more research still needs to be done. It’s important to speak with your doctor before using any form of melatonin. 

How much melatonin spray should I take? 

You should always follow the instructions on the package of the melatonin spray you’re taking and consult with your doctor if you’re thinking of beginning a new supplement regimen. Generally, the dosage is one spray that contains 3 mg of melatonin. 

How long does it take for melatonin spray to work?

“Melatonin sprays, similar to other melatonin supplementation, are typically consumed 30 minutes prior to bedtime,” says Gowda. “When using melatonin to treat circadian rhythm disorders, a very small dose several hours before bedtime is found to be most effective.”

Do natural sleep supplements work? We rounded up the best natural sleep aids and what you need to know about each one.

This article originally appeared on Saatva and was syndicated by MediaFeed.

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5 common (& harmful) sleep myths debunked

5 common (& harmful) sleep myths debunked

Where’d you get your information? If you haven’t looked into it, chances are good that much of what you think you know about sleep is based on old myths and not facts.

For a 2019 study published in the journal Sleep Health, researchers at New York University’s Langone Health School of Medicine examined 8,000 websites with sleep-related information to find out what Americans think they know about healthy sleep.

The researchers identified 20 sleep myths, ranging from the statement that “during sleep the brain is not active” to “sleeping in during the weekends is a good way to ensure you get adequate sleep.”

After running their findings by a team of sleep medicine experts, the researchers determined that many of us operate with wrong, unhealthy assumptions about sleep.

Here, we’re breaking down some of the biggest sleep myths from the study and explaining how they affect your health.

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The researchers say this sleep myth is the most likely to harm someone’s long-term health. “We have extensive evidence to show that sleeping five hours a night or less, consistently, increases your risk greatly for adverse health consequences, including cardiovascular disease and early mortality,” Rebecca Robbins, PhD, lead study investigator, tells CNN.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society both recommend adults get seven or more hours of sleep per night regularly to promote optimal health.

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The researchers point out that this is usually a sign of sleep deprivation, which can lead to a host of issues including trouble concentrating, irritability, increased risk of diabetes, and a higher risk of car accidents due to drowsy driving.

They also note that sleep deprivation could be due to sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles in your throat relax, blocking the airway and causing a momentary cessation of breathing. You then wake up, gasp for air, and go back to sleep.

The sleep apnea process can repeat hundreds of times a night, preventing your body from entering deep sleep and depriving it of much-needed oxygen. This can result in high blood pressure, leading to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

While snoring by itself isn’t dangerous, it can be a sign of sleep apnea, a more serious sleep condition. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, an estimated 22 million Americans suffer from some form of sleep apnea—a serious sleep disorder that should be checked out by a health professional.

“Sleep apnea is extremely exhausting,” Robbins tells CNN. “These patients sleep and then they wake up over and over; then they are fighting sleep all day long because they’re so exhausted.” Robbins also notes that sleep apnea is under-diagnosed. “We believe it affects about 30% of the population, and around 10% are diagnosed,” she says.

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It’s well-established that although a cocktail may knock you out, alcohol also disrupts sleep by preventing you from achieving the important deep, restful phase of sleep. “It continues to pull you out of rapid eye movement and the deeper stages of sleep, causing you to wake up not feeling restored,” Robbins tells CNN.

Plus, if you already have a sleep problem, such as insomnia, sleep apnea, or a parasomnia (such as sleepwalking or sleep talking), alcohol can heighten those disorders and make getting a good night’s sleep even more difficult.

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Not so. We sleep better in cooler temperatures. In fact, the National Sleep Foundation states that the ideal temperature for sleep is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit.

Studies show people with insomnia have a warmer core body temperature immediately before initiating sleep—and the brain responds well to cooler temps, making sleep easier for those who tend to have difficulty.

A new bed can help improve your sleep—but it turns out plenty of mattress myths exist too. Here are the most common mattress myths and why you shouldn’t fall for them.

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