Brigita Kuhar

Brigita Kuhar

Brigita Kuhar

moon and NITE


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Melatonin is a hormone that is produced naturally by the pineal gland in the middle of our brains and helps to control our daily sleep-wake cycles. This hormone can also be produced synthetically in a laboratory.

Our bodies naturally produce the melatonin, so most of us assume that melatonin supplements are also natural.

Synthetic Melatonin

synthetic melatonin vs natural melatonin

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) considers synthetic melatonin a food supplement, not a medication. Therefore, we can buy melatonin without a prescription in drugstores/chemists and natural food stores. These supplements comes in form of a pill, liquid, chewable, or as a lozenge.

If you take synthetic melatonin in one of the above form on a long-term basis, medical professionals tell us it is safe when used as directed.

Nevertheless, long-term use can cause side effects which manifest as daytime sleepiness, headaches, stomach cramps, short-term feelings of depression, irritability, and dizziness.

It is worthwhile noting that you are unlikely to become addicted to melatonin but with repeated usage you might experience a diminished responses or a hangover-like effect .

Synthetic melatonin also has an array of  interactions with other drugs / medications used for various ailments, including: 

  • Bleeding disorders – melatonin might increase bleeding in people with bleeding disorders
  • Depression – melatonin can heighten symptoms of depression
  • Diabetes – melatonin might increase blood sugar levels in diabetics and careful monitoring of blood sugar is advised
  • High blood pressure (HBP) – melatonin can raise blood pressure in people who are taking certain medications to control blood pressure, hence it is advised not to use synthetic melatonin if suffering from HBP.Seizures – melatonin might increase the risk of having a seizure
  • Transplant recipients – melatonin can decrease immunity and might interfere with the immunosuppressive therapy used by people receiving transplants.

Natural Melatonin

natural melatonin vs synthetic melatonin

As mentioned above, melatonin is primarily released by the pineal gland in the brain, but it can be produced by various other tissues in the body. Natural melatonin not only helps with our sleep-wake cycles but also with the circadian rhythm sleep disorders covered in our previous blog

Do you know how to increase your melatonin levels naturally for better sleep? Here are five useful ways:

  1. Eat foods that encourage your body to produce melatonin. These are  foods rich with tryptophan such as  low-fat yogurt, poultry, seafood, nuts, and seeds, and various fruits and vegetables
  2. Consume drinks that help you fall asleep.Take a glass of warm cow’s  milk, almond milk, or natural fruit teas such as chamomile, passion fruit or peppermint.
  3. Relax in a nice hot bath.When taking a bath in a hot tub, your temperature naturally rises, and the cooling-down period immediately after your bath relaxes you. The timing of your bath is key, and it’s recommended you take a hot bath 1-2 hours before going to sleep
  4. Turn off your TV and devices.One of the best ways to ensure a good night’s sleep is to turn off the TV and other devices at least 45 minutes before going to sleep. Our phones, laptops and iPad emit blue light that can delay the release of melatonin in our bodies and increase the alertness. Newer versions of these devices have settings for reduction of the blue light but our brains are stimulated by the screens and it is best to put them all down well before our bedtime
  5. Use a therapeutic device. Technology is developing rapidly every day. In the market today, there are  a number of therapeutic devices  that increase levels of natural melatonin in our bodies.

As much as we might think synthetic melatonin is safe, a better choice is when we can stimulate a production of our own, natural melatonin.

Producing our own natural melatonin in quantities that will help us either fall asleep easily, or help us with sleeping disorders such as the circadian rhythm sleep disorder (CRSD) is a better choice than relying on synthetic supplements with an unknown quantity of melatonin and possibly suffer some of the known side effects.

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