Some facts about the sleep aid melatonin

Photo by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

Some common misconceptions about melatonin should not scare you away from the "sleep hormone." It is a safe substance that is naturally produced in the human body and helps you have a better night's sleep.

If you take melatonin supplements, they won't make you fall asleep in a half hour. In fact, your body starts producing it in the pineal gland when darkness comes on.

One-third of U.S. adults have trouble sleeping

Considering that about one-third of American adults don't get enough sleep, it's important to use every advantage available when confronted with a difficult sleep pattern.

Some people are so busy that their many activities deprive them of sleep. For those people, we advise slowing down and scheduling activities earlier in the day.

For others, the problem may be a busy mind. Good sleep hygiene can help with that. So can VALI Sleep Well [1], a natural sleep aid that contains melatonin and several other ingredients that help you sleep well. Read on for more on both VALI Sleep Well and good sleep hygiene below here.

And insomnia can strike at any time. About 25% of Americans get acute insomnia every year, according to a study by the University of Pennsylvania's Perleman School of Medicine. Most recover, but some people go on to experience chronic insomnia, Science Daily says [3].

The study's lead author says:

"Whether caused by stress, illness, medications, or other factors, poor sleep is very common," said senior author Michael Perlis, PhD, an associate professor of Psychiatry and director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine program. "These findings reveal new insights about the paths that acute insomnia takes and can inform interventions that target poor sleep and help people recover sustained sufficient sleep."

Apparently, one of the more common interventions is melatonin. The National Sleep Foundation says it is one of the most commonly used supplements among both adults and children in the United States [2].

How melatonin works

The Sleep Foundation explains how melatonin works:

The circadian rhythm is our body’s internal clock that maintains and regulates our daily functions. One of the functions of the circadian rhythm is to control our body’s sleep-wake cycle. Melatonin, a naturally produced chemical, aids in regulating our sleep cycle. The brain begins to release melatonin mid-to-late evening and continues production throughout the night. Melatonin signals to our body that it’s time for sleep and causes us to wake up in the morning when the brain stops producing melatonin.

Our body’s release of melatonin can become dysregulated and/or decrease in production. People who work non-traditional shifts, have jet lag, or suffer from insomnia can have abnormal melatonin release patterns. Melatonin is sold as a supplement over-the-counter in many pharmacies. Taking melatonin 30-60 minutes before bedtime, when the body should naturally be producing its own melatonin, resets the body’s sleep-wake cycle to get back on a normal rhythm.

Some misconceptions about melatonin

The National Sleep Foundation says it's a myth that melatonin makes you fall asleep. But it does signal the brain that sleep time is coming, and its release into your bloodstream makes it easier to sleep overnight.

It is false that melatonin is addictive. But the foundation says if you take too many supplements of it, your body may start producing less melatonin.


The author of the book Why We Sleep discusses melatonin and tells how to take it correctly.

Some people say you need to take it long term. The foundation says:

Myth.  For most people, taking melatonin supplements for a short period of time, such as 1-4 weeks, is all that is needed to get the body back on a normal sleep cycle and able to produce its own melatonin. Melatonin does not need to be taken long term because the body can produce it by itself.

Another misconception is that melatonin does not have side effects. In some people it causes dizziness, headaches, drowsiness, and nausea. Though the following side effects are rare, it can cause anxiety, irritability, and reduced alertness when you wake up. It can also interact with medicines, so talk to a doctor or pharmacist before you take it.

Melatonin is being studied for other possible uses besides as a sleep aid, including in treating ADHD, seizures, psychiatric disorders, dementia, high blood pressure, headaches, stomach issues, and pain. Some of the data for benefits for these conditions is conflicting, so more study is needed.

Some say you need melatonin in high doses. That is not true. It is available up to 10 mg, but most people do not see any benefit for anything over 5 mg. VALI Sleep Well [4] has 3 mg of melatonin, plus several other substances that are very beneficial in getting a good night's sleep.

What else does VALI Sleep Well have?

VALI Sleep Well has nine other ingredients that we formulate for their calming, sleep-inducing qualities. They are:

  • Magnesium, to relieve insomnia and decrease the stress hormone cortisol that can keep you awake. Magnesium helps muscles relax.
  • 5-HTP, an amino acid, 5-Hydroxytryptophan, that helps the body produce serotonin, which helps regulate the sleep cycle. 5-HTP also improves mood and eases stress and anxiety so you can fall asleep faster. 
  • GABA, a neurotransmitter that eases anxiety and reduces stress to treat insomnia. Scientists believe it is essential for deep sleep. 
  • Passion flower extract, an herb that calms and aids falling asleep and maintaining restful sleep.
  • Chamomile flower extract, an herb known for its ability to calm stress and anxiety, and relax muscles. It is the main ingredient in "sleepy time" tea.
  • Valerian extract, a root extract aids sleep and treats restlessness, nervousness, and anxiety. Sleep Well’s valerian extract is deodorized to minimize the unpleasant smell. 
  • L-theanine, an amino acid that reduces stress, calms the body, stimulates the production of GABA, and helps you stay asleep longer.
  • Lemon balm extract, a member of the mint family, it is a calming herb that reduces stress, anxiety, eases pain, and promotes healthy sleep.

    Habits for good sleep hygiene

     A good night's sleep starts with sleep hygiene or practices. The first thing is to practice a good routine that works for you that helps you get to sleep. The CDC says [5] good sleep hygiene consists of:

    • Going to bed around the same time every night
    • Making the bedroom dark, quiet, relaxing, and at a comfortable temperature—for both you and the baby, if the baby sleeps in another room
    • Removing electronic devices from the bedroom and not using them too soon before sleep
    • Avoiding large meals, coffee, and alcohol before going to bed
    • And getting exercise in the daytime, but not too soon before bedtime


      The beauty of melatonin and VALI Sleep Well is that you don't become addicted to it like some pharmaceutical sleeping pills. And the calming, anti-anxiety ingredients of VALI Sleep Well can carry over into your daily life. And the ingredients come from nature.