Are there any negatives to taking melatonin consistently to sleep better?
There are, but some of the negatives are relatively rare. These include rare problems with how your body handles sugar (glucose tolerance), or problems with other hormone regulation. The bigger problem is that some people don't realize how much of a sedative it is -- for example, you should really try to avoid driving or operating heavy machinery right after taking melatonin. As @Jewlzm points out, melatonin is a natural hormone produced by your body in the pineal gland, this little tiny pea of a gland that squeezes out melatonin every night -- normally, that is. Some experts think that people with low levels of Vitamin B6 may produce less melatonin. Most folks start out with a dose of 0.3-0.6 mg, which tends to produce physiologic levels of melatonin and have been shown to generate the sleep-inducing effects without the other potential problems.
I took melatonin for quite a while a few years back, and never had trouble sleeping when I went off of it. I found it to be a great natural sleep aid for those nights when I needed extra help falling asleep. However, in the long run, changing my sleeping/bedtime habits helped a lot more than the pills! I used some sleep meditations, which helped me learn how to "shut down" my mind when I'm ready for bed. I also made a hard & fast rule: the bed is for sleeping, NOT reading on, doing homework on, or being on the laptop, etc. Once I made that change, my body realized that when it's in bed, it's time for sleep!
I have found that when I used it for an extended period it tended to make me a bit "blue" after I took it. I don't use it anymore. Not that effective in my view. I try to stay away from any medications when it comes to sleeping. It is much better not to sleep for one whole night and then build a good solid sleeping routine. If you feel you can not wake for one whole night, try to binge sleep the night before (as long as you can) and then wake the next night and then put your sleep routine to work.
I find reading at a set time, say for the hour before going to bed, and then go 30 min sooner to bed than you would like to actually fall a sleep. Just gives you a nice time buffer, and maybe some extra minutes to your nightly sleep. But do not read IN your bed. Find a calm place, dim the lights and get in to a calm state of mind, and try to read some thing that helps that. ;)
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