Can Melatonin Become Too Ingrained In Your Sleep Routine?

Sometimes a good night's rest can be hard to come by. This can often be due to different factors such as bad sleep hygiene, anxiety, and even insomnia. Having these problems could lead to going to sleep later than usual, or you may find yourself waking up in the middle of the night


To mitigate the problem, certain individuals have turned to add melatonin to aid in their sleep. Melatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body, usually increasing later in the day when it gets dark (via Mayo Clinic). Since some people produce less melatonin than average, it can be available as a supplement to take before going to sleep.

With the relief it can create, it's not surprising it can become a part of an individual's daily routine. However, this also can bring concern about addiction and whether taking the supplement over a long-term period is okay.

Risks of unhealthy melatonin use

Due to being a hormone found naturally in the body, melatonin has no known addictive properties. However, it is not impossible to create a dependency on the supplement.

"Melatonin is safe, cheap, and easily accessible. There is no evidence whatsoever that it is ever addictive. That is not to say it may not be abused. But it is very unlikely to cause any significant harm when used as directed," explained David Cutler, MD, a family medicine physician at Providence Saint John's Health Center, speaking to Pop Sugar.


Alex Dimitriu, MD — a double board-certified physician in psychiatry and sleep medicine — continues on to explain in the Pop Sugar interview that there is a correlation between people who have sleep anxiety, and codependency on melatonin. This is because when melatonin becomes a part of their routine, they can believe they need it to go to sleep and thus cause anxiousness when it's time to go to bed.

The best option is to use melatonin for the short-term in order to get your sleep schedule back on track. It's best to look out for side effects such as dizziness, nausea, headaches, and drowsiness. Also, it's important to consult your doctor to make sure the melatonin supplement does not interact negatively with any of your prescribed medications.


How to improve sleep hygiene

Whether you are taking melatonin or not, it's imperative to improve your sleep hygiene in order to get a better night's sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, sleep hygiene creates an efficient routine both in and out of the bedroom. Having the correct routine can allow you to sleep soundly, as well as tackle your sleep anxiety head on.


To improve your sleep at night, set 30 minutes aside to wind down before bed. During this time the best option is to lower the lights and put down your phone. Lowering the lights around you helps create a relaxing environment and triggers your brain that you are ready for bed.

The CDC also recommends people have strict schedules on when they go to sleep and when they wake up. Putting yourself in a routine is great for training your body over a long period of time.