Melatonin is a natural substance that gets produced in the brain at night. Supplements of melatonin are highly useful for people who suffer from recurrent insomnia or travel across several time zones.
People who suffer from regular insomnia or find it difficult to fall asleep at night may benefit from taking a natural "sleep hormone" called melatonin. Melatonin induces a pleasant and natural sleep that makes you wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Unlike prescription hypnotics that are habit-forming and tend to make you feel drowsy, melatonin stimulates the body's natural sleep pattern, resulting in a healthy, deep sleep that lasts through the night.
Effective for jetlag and shiftwork
Not only is melatonin useful to those who have problems with falling asleep at night, it even helps people fall asleep in the daytime where the body is not used to sleeping. This feature is particularly useful for transatlantic travelers who fly across several time zones and suffer from subsequent jetlag, but also people with shiftwork can benefit from it. In both situations, the body's circadian rhythm (24-hour rhythm) is thrown off balance and that is what causes problems with sleeping and falling asleep.
Tricking the body
When you take melatonin, you install fatigue by "tricking" the body into believing that it is time to go to sleep. In essence, it is a way of mimicking the natural process that makes you yawn and feel like going to bed. In the evening when it gets dark outside, the brain releases melatonin. This is the substance that makes you feel tired.
When moving across time zones or working at night and exposing yourself to artificial light, the body gets confused. That is what upsets the balance and interferes with the melatonin production. Taking a melatonin supplement in tablet form compensates for this disruption.
Available in many EU countries
Melatonin is available in several EU countries, both as a nutritional supplement and an over-the-counter drug. It is illegal to import melatonin from countries outside of the EU. Any shipments containing melatonin will be confiscated by customs with the risk of a fine.