How To Get Off Melatonin: 7 Melatonin Alternatives for Better Sleep
A good night’s sleep is incredibly important and is essential to keeping everything in your body functioning correctly. Lack of sleep affects our physical and mental operations, debilitates our immune system and metabolism, and leaves us at great risk of sickness and disease.
Research has found that: the cumulative long-term effects of sleep loss and sleep disorders have been associated with a wide range of deleterious health consequences including an increased risk of hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, heart attack, and stroke. (1)
These are just a small handful of the many serious health concerns caused by poor sleep hygiene.
It is estimated that about 70 million Americans suffer chronically from sleep problems and disorders. This means that millions of Americans are constantly experiencing hindered daily function and long-term negative health effects, adversely affecting longevity.
The modern-day solution to the sleep deprivation struggle is to opt for taking sleep aids — either prescription medication or a natural sleep aid option like melatonin. In fact, melatonin use has grown by more than 500 percent in the past two decades and is now the fourth biggest supplement among American adults.
This increase in popularity would make sense as many people are trying to shift away from a reliance on sedative-hypnotic sleeping pills and opt for more natural methods. Considering melatonin is a natural hormone, it’d make sense that we’d turn to melatonin. Especially, with all the hype from social media swearing at melatonin’s ability to aid in sleep. This has led to an increasing number (as we saw) of people (maybe even you) regularly turning to melatonin to help them fall asleep at night.
However, you may want to rethink your use of melatonin. While melatonin does deserve this hype (overall it has been shown to be effective, with studies proving melatonin was better than placebo for improving our circadian rhythms (24-hour internal clock) and sleep quality), unfortunately, it’s often being overused.
Melatonin is a great temporary solution to help ease you into slumber after a stressful day since the side effects of melatonin are relatively few when used in the short term. Nevertheless, relying on them long-term could come with some worrisome concerns and be disguising poor sleep hygiene and problems in your routine that are affecting your sleep schedule and health. So now is the time to stop taking melatonin.
If you want to learn more about the effects of long-term melatonin use, click here to read our article “Why You Should Stop Taking Melatonin Every Night?”
Plus, some people suffer from what we call the melatonin hangover, that awful groggy feeling many suffer from the morning after taking a melatonin supplement.
The 7 Best Melatonin Alternatives
Whether you suffer from the ‘melatonin hangover’ or are concerned about the long-term use of melatonin, instead of relying on quick fixes such as melatonin, it might be time to consider making some simple lifestyle adjustments that will promote healthy sleep hygiene. Here is how to get off melatonin, stop taking melatonin every night, and still enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep.
We’ve gathered our favorite non-risk alternatives that will help you enjoy quality sleep, long-term, all naturally:
1. Exercise Regularly
While regular physical activity has plenty of benefits, one often overlooked benefit is how exercise works as a nonpharmacologic treatment for disrupted sleep. Exercise alleviates stress build-up in the body and tires your body out, naturally increasing the pressure to sleep throughout the day.
Regularly completing physically demanding activities increases the demand for sleep which also enhances the quality of your sleep.
For example, a Sleep in America poll, focusing on ‘exercise and sleep’ and surveying adults aged 23 to 60, revealed that around 76-83% of respondents who engage in exercise from light to vigorous reported fairly or very good quality sleep. Those who didn’t regularly exercise, saw the percentage drop to 56%.
2. Sleep at Regular Times
Try setting a consistent bedtime and wake-up time if it’s possible for you, even on weekends. This will help maintain the timing of the body's internal clock, helping you fall asleep faster and wake up happier.
3. Wind Down with Sleep-Aiding Tea
Gently get off melatonin with a cozy bedtime ritual – a cup of warm tea has been used for centuries as a soothing way to wind down before bedtime.
Numerous studies have backed tea’s abilities to boost your immune system and fight off inflammation, with capabilities to help fight a wide range of ailments and diseases. Tea is truly a magical beverage.
As bedtime approaches (about 1 to 2 hours before) try naturally winding down and relaxing by drinking a warm cup of tea, especially tea herbs that are specifically targeted with naturally calming sedative effects. Yes, some herbs have natural capabilities that’ll help you have a restorative night's sleep.
For example - Wise Ape Tea's Orange Dreamiscle is a dreamy blend of chamomile flowers with subtle hints of orange and cream, combined with adaptogenic super-herbs to support your nightly zen, and it includes incredible sleep-wise herbs like organic Chamomile, Organic Valerian Root, organic Skullcap, and organic Passionflower. And if you want to learn more about these fantastic herbs that promote sleep and support relaxation in your body, visit our blog post on 4 Herbs That’ll Help You Sleep Better And Doze Off Faster.
4. Set Your Space for Sleep
Create a space that is ideal for sleep and relaxation. Make sure the space you sleep in is as dark as possible, a cool 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and that it’s quiet without disruptions from devices like your smartphone.
Prepare Yourself for Sleep: Avoid big meals, caffeine, and alcohol in the evening; and try to fit in some physical activity during the day. Also, try to take advantage of the light. Expose yourself to the sunlight in the morning and avoid it in the evening, to help in keeping your circadian rhythms in sync.
If you want 16 more tips for maximizing your snoozing. Then check out our article: Get Your Sleep On Better Sleep For A Better You
5. Magnesium for Sleep
In addition to its other health benefits, magnesium has also shown to be a natural supplement for promoting better sleep; fostering relaxation, especially in those with dietary magnesium deficiencies.
Research suggests that magnesium helps regulate GABA — an important neurotransmitter and amino acid. GABA has an important job in sleep health as it helps slow down communication between the brain and central nervous system — allowing the brain to relax and transition into sleep.
Magnesium promotes this calming effect by helping to maintain healthy levels of GABA. Magnesium is also an amazing muscle relaxant and an effective tool for blocking cortisol production, which helps in inducing a calming effect in the body.
You can find magnesium in powdered or tablet forms. We recommend the powdered form because the tablet form requires your stomach acid to ionize the mineral. This causes less absorption and more excretion.
There are many different types of powdered magnesium, which can make it confusing when trying to pick a magnesium to try for better sleep. However, luckily for you, there is one type of magnesium that without question is the best form of magnesium for sleep. Magnesium glycinate is by far the best magnesium to take if your goal is sleep-inducement.
Magnesium glycinate also known as magnesium bis-glycinate is a combination of magnesium and the amino acid glycine.
Research has found that glycine can promote deep and restorative sleep. Combine that will the incredible anxiety and calming effects of magnesium and you have a powerful sleep concoction when you use magnesium glycinate, giving you the restful night of sleep you deserve.
6. Expose Yourself to Sunlight
Many of us work in this modern-day age work in dark environments; office buildings have little to no windows. This is bad news for our sleep. Lack of sun exposure during the day can lead to poor sleep and waking during the night.
Sunshine regulates hormones and sleeping patterns. The light/dark cycle has a powerful effect on the body’s circadian rhythm. Sleep and alertness are heavily affected by our exposure and lack thereof. We need to increase our amount of sunlight during the day and darken our bedroom as much as possible at night, to signal to our bodies when it’s time for sleep and when it is time to be alert.
If possible, try to increase your sunlight exposure, particularly in the morning.
Light exposure is most beneficial if it occurs in the morning within the first hour of waking up. One of the reasons for this is that when we are exposed to bright sunlight, our nocturnal melatonin production occurs sooner. This resets our sleep/wake cycle, helping us fall asleep more easily at night, and wake up easier in the morning.
Morning light also sets off a plethora of positive hormone releases and neurotransmitters which make you feel good in the morning and throughout your day. The better you feel throughout the day, the happier you'll be when sleep time comes around, which means mentally you'll be clear-headed and ready for sleep. Helping you avoid tossing and turning with anxiousness during the night.
Ideally, you want to spend at least 30 minutes in the morning getting direct sunlight exposure. But if that isn't possible in the morning, any sun exposure during the day will give your sleep quality a boost.
Consider buying some black-out curtains, eating your breakfast outside, sitting outside during lunch, and trying taking a stroll outside in the sunshine during your work break - your sleep will thank you.
7. Avoid Blue Light
Avoid screens one to two hours prior to bed. As we mentioned above, we should avoid light before bed. However, one light we should especially try to avoid to protect our circadian clock is blue light.
While scrolling Instagram and watching YouTube shorts before bed is a fun pastime, it is not a healthy bedtime routine. Harvard Health Publishing researchers compared with comparable brightness the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light vs exposure to green light. The blue light suppressed the natural production of melatonin for about twice as long as the green light.
It’s also easy to fall into the trap of answering work emails, reading sad news stories, and comparing yourself to other people’s social media feeds, which can cause you stress, anxiety, and depressing thoughts in the hours leading to your bedtime.
We know it can be tough but try putting down your phone and turning off your screens at least an hour before bed; you’ll find your body will feel more relaxed and ready to fall asleep.
Get Off Melatonin and Start Enjoying Better Sleep with These Great Melatonin Alternatives
Poor sleep has negative effects on your muscle function, hormones, brain, mood, and many important biological functions. So, while it may be tempting to reach for a quick fix for your sleep problems by taking a pill every night for a couple of weeks, melatonin - and well, all sleep aids - shouldn’t be relied on over the long term and only act as an unstable Band-Aid for chronic sleep conditions.
Luckily, these incredible melatonin alternatives can help you get off melatonin and sleep just as wonderfully as when you take melatonin supplements, all without any nasty melatonin hangovers or a melatonin reliance. With these sleep solutions, you can enjoy the deep slumber that your body needs to stay energetic and healthy.
TRY OUR ADAPTOGENIC HERBAL TEA BLENDS FOR OPTIMAL SLEEP!
Here at Wise Ape Tea, we make bold and fun flavored, wellness-inspired, adaptogenic, herbal tea blends. Our Wise Ape Orange Dreamiscle tea blend is designed to calm the mind, reduce stress, and help you sink into a restorative night's sleep. Find it as loose leaf tea or in biodegradable tea bags.
This informative article is written, by Sophia McKenzie. Sophia is head content creator and writer, for several premium websites, where her expertise lies in health, nutrition, and wellness. Her content focuses on providing and sharing doable solutions to help people truly thrive and live their happiest, healthiest, fulfilled lives.