Does Melatonin Help With Jet Lag?

Our bodies, via the pineal gland, produce a hormone called Melatonin to help regulate our sleep patterns. Melatonin is often used as an over-the-counter natural substitute to a pharmaceutical sleeping pill.

New evidence from Dr. John Swartberg, MD at the UC of Berkeley Wellness Center, says it is “remarkably effective at reducing jet lag” but warns “Don’t take too much.”

Melatonin has become increasingly popular over the last several years and has a minimum of side effects, generally daytime sleepiness due to taking too high of a dose. While Melatonin has not been approved by the FDA, there are no reports of Melatonin overdoses or fatalities, as opposed to typical over-the-counter pills which have the potential to be dangerous at high dosages.

Dr. Swartberg has a recommended regimen he has formulated to assist with jet lag that has proven to be effective in a majority of trials. “Take between one-half and three milligrams every night for three to four days after arrival when traveling eastward” he said. Western travelers should only take half a milligram on the morning they begin to travel.

The Berkeley Wellness Center has reported that some people eat special diets before changing time zones, but there is no evidence that eating certain foods is effective for jet lag or its symptoms.

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