Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body. Melatonin used as a medication is usually done synthetically in a laboratory.
It is most commonly available in pill form, but melatonin is also available in forms that can be placed on the cheek or under the tongue. This allows melatonin to be absorbed directly into the body.
People use melatonin to adjust the internal clock of the body. It is used for time-shift syndrome, to adjust sleep-wake cycles in people whose daily work program changes (shift work disorder), and to help blind people set up a day and night cycle.
The hormone melatonin helps control your natural sleep cycle. The levels of melatonin in the blood are higher at night, some research suggests that melatonin supplements may help in treating the syndrome of timetable change or reduce the time that takes to fall asleep – although the effect is typically mild. Melatonin may be more effective for other types of sleep problems, such as delay of sleep disorder or disorders that affect heart rate.
The most common side effects of melatonin include:
Drowsy during the day
Other less common side effects of melatonin may include abdominal discomfort, mild anxiety, irritability, confusion and short feelings of depression.