TRUE OR FALSE. Can melatonin, the sleep hormone, pose a health risk?

the essential
She has better press than sleeping pills to promote sleep and consider a night without waking. But is melatonin safe for health? The explanations of Dr Rachel Debs, neurologist at the University Hospital of Toulouse.

Perceived as a natural hormone, melatonin has invaded the shelves of pharmacies with the promise of falling asleep quickly without waking up at night… These food supplements avoid taking sleeping pills and give a good conscience. However, consumed over the long term, do they pose health risks? “The question arises in young adults and adolescents, because these food supplements have shown toxicity, certainly at high dosage, on the reproductive organs in animals”, explains neurologist Rachel Debs who coordinates the explorations unit. neurophysiological and sleep consultation at the University Hospital Center (CHU) of Toulouse.

Apart from these profiles, melatonin (always limited to 2mg/day) is sometimes prescribed on medical advice as a cure, in patients over 55 in the event of transient insomnia. It is also prescribed in children or adults suffering from autistic disorders and in brain-damaged patients, suffering from Parkinson’s, or following a stroke which could have damaged certain circuits. In these specific cases, melatonin again sensitizes receptors in the brain.

Find your sleep ritual

But in reality, the process of taking a pill to go to sleep is not good! points to the doctor. To find a good quality sleep, we must find the ritual of falling asleep, specific to each and adopt the gestures that help our body to slow down gradually so as not to miss the signs of sleep. When I yawn, I go to bed, even if the series is not over, even if my book falls from my hands. For this, cognitive behavioral therapies are effective. On the other hand, it is illusory to think that it is enough to turn off your computer to find sleep.

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