What if there’s a natural remedy for your sleep problems that have no side effects and no risk of overdose? Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because many people think the same thing when they hear about melatonin. It has gained popularity as an easy solution to insomnia and other sleep problems. But how much do we know about this hormone? Is it safe to use it as a sleep aid? For most people, the answer is yes. But not everyone should take melatonin – especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition or are taking other medications. The potential negative effects of taking expired melatonin aren’t common but can be dangerous in some situations. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know before using melatonin again.
Can You Take Expired Melatonin?
Unfortunately, taking expired melatonin can lead to serious health issues—such as liver damage—and is not recommended. If you have an expired bottle of melatonin, do not use it. Throw it away safely. At best, the active ingredients may have degraded and lost their effectiveness. At worst, the bottle may have become contaminated with bacteria or fungi that can make you sick. Even if the medicine seems fine, the expiration date is a safety net to alert you when the medicine is no longer effective and may be dangerous to take.
The Benefits Of Using Melatonin
This is probably the most compelling reason for using melatonin. Melatonin is a very inexpensive drug. The rate at which one can buy it over the counter ranges from $3 to $10 per month depending on the brand and its potency. While this cost may be too low for a brand-name supplement, it’s better than no treatment at all. In any case, you will still have to pay for your sleep medication prescription.
2. Some Conditions May Require Melatonin Use
If you suffer from insomnia, depression, or another condition that requires you to use melatonin regularly, then there could be a medical reason behind your sleepless nights. Ask your doctor if there are any medications you must use before taking melatonin supplements or if any other conditions exist that might require a consultation before you start using it as a sleep aid.
3. It Can Cause Changes In Your Sleep Cycle
According to some medical reports, melatonin can affect the growth of cells in the brain that control sleep cycles. This could be a contributing factor to insomnia, where you find yourself waking up throughout the night or feeling extremely tired during the day. Melatonin may cause your sleep cycle to be off by up to an hour. While this is a common side effect of melatonin supplements, it’s not permanent and will stop when you stop taking them. This wouldn’t happen with prescription medication that controls your sleep cycle such as Ambien, Lunesta, or Sonata.
4. It Requires A Medication Prescription From Your Doctor
Melatonin is one of the few supplements available over the counter that requires a prescription from your doctor before you can take it regularly for insomnia (see below). Other types of supplements do not require a prescription but they are much more expensive and can have severe side effects if used improperly – these include St. John’s wort, Valerian root, and kava kava.
5. It May Lead To Dependency
Some people that have suffered from insomnia have found that they became dependent on the drug and developed withdrawal symptoms. If you find yourself becoming dependent on melatonin then you may need to consult your doctor.
How To Take Melatonin
1. It’s A Vitamin
Melatonin is classified as a vitamin because it does have some effect on metabolism. Melatonin is a hormone that your body uses to regulate sleep and wakefulness. It is produced naturally from the pineal gland in your brain and is released into the bloodstream at night to encourage sleep. The amount of melatonin you produce during the day depends in part on how much light you experience (blue light’s suppression of melatonin production), whether you’re taking oral contraceptives or sunlight exposes your skin to at least 4 hours of UV, which suppresses melatonin production all day long.
2. It Can Be Taken Before Or After Bedtime
Oral melatonin occurs when you swallow it with water or juice while using suppositories require the use of a rectal applicator tube. Suppositories that contain only hyoscine are available without a prescription. Higher doses may be required for low levels of melatonin but no more than 6 mg at any one time.
3. It Can Be Taken In The Morning, Evening, Or Before Bedtime
Melatonin can be taken before bedtime but it does have side effects if you take it too early or too late in the day. Melatonin can also be taken at other times of the day that are not when you normally fall asleep. At this time, many people are using melatonin at bedtime to help them with sleep disorders like insomnia, jet lag, and shift work disorder (see below).
4. It Shouldn’t Be Taken If You Are Breastfeeding Or Pregnant (Your Doctor Will Tell You)
Your doctor will tell you if your prescription requires you to use melatonin while pregnant or breastfeeding. If you need to take them during pregnancy then make sure to talk with your doctor about how much and when you need to start taking them before conception occurs. On the other hand, if you are breastfeeding and want to use melatonin to help you sleep at night, then talk with your doctor first. Melatonin may not be a good choice if you are nursing.
5. You Can Take Melatonin If You Are Ill Or Have Trouble Sleeping
If you have any fever or other serious physical illness that is either making you uncomfortable or causing insomnia then you may need to try melatonin. If you find yourself having difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, then try taking melatonin supplements before the onset of your normal sleeping hours. You may want to take 1-2 mg in the evening with dinner, and another 1-2 mg in the morning before rising for the day. There are some cases where some people have had success with taking melatonin supplements by themselves but it is still recommended to consult your doctor first if your problem doesn’t improve on melatonin self-medication alone.
The Dangers Of Taking Expired Melatonin
1. Melatonin Is The First-Line Treatment For Insomnia
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced in your body and is made in different parts of the brain according to your normal circadian rhythms. In some cases, it can be temporarily depleted when you are under stress or sleep deprivation and may prevent you from sleeping at night. Another reason why melatonin may not be able to help you fall asleep at night, or may make it harder for you to sleep, is because it doesn’t have any effect on the parts of your brain responsible for sleep, as natural stages of sleep (rapid eye movement or REM) don’t occur naturally when you take melatonin. Melatonin supplements are safe if taken the right way and are recommended if prescription doses do not work, however, some people may try taking melatonin supplements without consulting their doctor first before starting their self-treatment regimen.
2. Melatonin Also Has Ticlopidine Side Effects On It
Ticlopidine has been used with other medications in treating high blood pressure and heart conditions but also has dangerous side effects including liver damage which suggests that this drug may also affect melatonin levels in the body. It is highly recommended that people suffering from insomnia stop taking Ticlopidine in all cases and get their levels checked, as there is a chance that they may be suffering from side effects.
Ticlopidine is also used to treat high blood pressure but can also contribute to liver damage so it is essential that people suffering from insomnia with heart conditions consult their doctor if they want to take melatonin supplements.
3. Tryptophan Should Be Used Instead Of Melatonin
If melatonin isn’t prescribed by your doctor, then you may want to try taking Tryptophan supplements instead as not only do they work similarly but are safer than melatonin. Tryptophan supplementation has been shown to have a positive effect on the treatment of insomnia symptoms so it is highly recommended that people suffering from insomniac tendencies try taking these supplements first before trying melatonin or other melatonin supplements. It is important because the body produces both serotonin and melatonin which are similar yet different in quality and action, so you don’t want any drug(s) interfering with either one of these substances which leaves your body with no way of regulating them properly or effectively as needed.
Melatonin is a safe way to help with insomnia and other sleep disorders. It’s generally safe to take and has no risk of overdose. However, you should always consult with your doctor first to make sure it’s the right option for you. Melatonin supplements are not regulated by the FDA and do not have expiration dates. It’s important to be careful when purchasing these supplements and avoid expired products.