Does melatonin work? Does it actually help you sleep?
That depends. There is only a small body of research to support the effectiveness of melatonin in treating insomnia, despite the fact that it is a widely used supplement sold over-the-counter as a sleep aid. Melatonin can aid in falling asleep, so it can be helpful for jet lag or shift work, but it may not be necessary for pregnancy insomnia, according to Bogler. While some people may feel sleepy after taking melatonin supplements, neither natural nor synthetic melatonin aids in maintaining sleep. Therefore, melatonin supplements are not likely to have a significant impact on your sleep health, regardless of whether your insomnia is chronic, related to pregnancy, or you’re having trouble regulating your sleep patterns because you have a newborn.
Is It Safe to Take Melatonin Supplements While Pregnant?
There is not enough data to say whether taking melatonin supplements while pregnant is safe at this time. Melatonin is not advised by experts to treat insomnia, the most common sleep disorder among pregnant women. Melatonin has instead been discovered to be an effective treatment for anxiety before and after surgery, delayed sleep-wake phase disorder, some sleep disorders in children, and jet lag.
However, in some cases, doctors may advise expecting mothers or those trying to conceive to take melatonin. For instance, some medical professionals suggest melatonin supplements to older women trying to conceive as well as to pregnant people who have preeclampsia. Melatonin may also be helpful for endometriosis sufferers, according to studies. Reliable Source National Library of Medicine, Biotech Information The National Center for Biotechnology Information promotes science and health by making biomedical and genomic data accessible. See Full Reference .
Supplementation may not be advisable in expectant women without a known medical condition linked to low melatonin levels. Melatonin levels naturally rise throughout pregnancy. Too much melatonin in the body could be a risk of taking supplements during this time.
Melatonin levels naturally rise throughout pregnancy. Too much melatonin in the body could be a risk of taking supplements during this time.
In healthy pregnant women, little research has been done on the safety of melatonin supplements. The National Center for Biotechnology Information advances science and health by providing access to biomedical and genomic information. In a study on pregnant rats, melatonin supplementation had a negative impact on litter size as well as the growth and mortality rates of the pups. See Full Reference . It is unclear, though, whether these findings apply to humans.
The best course of action may not be to take melatonin supplements if you are pregnant and have insomnia. Instead, better sleep hygiene and cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) may be helpful. Consult your doctor before beginning melatonin supplementation if you’re over the age of 35 and trying to get pregnant or if you’re expecting but are experiencing preeclampsia.
Can you take melatonin in the first trimester?
Although there’s little evidence of harm linked to melatonin exposure in the first trimester, there may be unknown risks, says Renita White, MD, an ob-gyn in Atlanta. Again, the research just doesn’t exist. She advises against taking melatonin in all three trimesters, and instead opting for medications or lifestyle changes that have been proven to be safe during pregnancy.
Don’t worry if you took melatonin before finding out you were pregnant. According to White, there’s no need to worry (more) about an unintentional melatonin exposure during the first trimester of pregnancy when you weren’t aware that you were carrying a baby.