Melatonin, Sleep, and Weight Loss

Melatonin, Sleep, and Weight Loss

Let’s face it, we’ve all had one of those restless nights where we seem to be endlessly tossing and turning, unable to just fall asleep. It may even seem that those restless nights are starting to become more frequent, and no matter how many sheep we count we just can’t catch those Zs. Though many people swear by yoga, drinking water, or meditating, sometimes these things just don’t work, but luckily, there is a natural hormone that might do just the trick.

Introducing the wonder hormone, melatonin, which works to regulate sleep timing and is used in treating sleep disorders. Medically speaking, it’s difficult to find reliable sleeping aids due to the “hangover” effect they tend to have, and prolonged use of sleeping aids can lead to dependence (Ringdahl et. al., 2004). Melatonin works differently in that it decreases the time it takes to fall asleep and increases total time asleep, leaving people more rested without that “hangover” effect (Ferracioli-Oda et. al., 2013). Melatonin supplements can be found over the counter in your local pharmacy and can give you peace of mind about getting a good night’s rest. Fortunately, the benefits don’t stop there, ensuring good sleep can have many positive impacts on the body, especially on weight loss.

According to the International Journal of Obesity, researchers have found that obesity and higher BMIs were associated with less than six hours of sleep a night (Larsen et. al., 2020). This means that taking those melatonin supplements and ensuring yourself longer sleep can not only help you feel more rested and energetic but it can also lead to a lower BMI and a reduction in weight. This is because a rested mind impedes cortisol secretion, allowing your body to appropriately expend energy and not hold onto excess fat (Auld et. al., 2017). By using melatonin in a sustained release, efficient weight loss is more achievable due to consistency of sleep quality (Haimov, 2001). So the next time you find yourself tossing and turning or at a loss to lose those extra few pounds, remember the importance of sleep and try taking melatonin for a longer, more restful night and a lighter life.

Works Cited

Auld F, Maschauer EL, Morrison I, Skene DJ, Riha RL. Evidence for the efficacy of melatonin in the treatment of primary adult sleep disorders. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2017;34:10-22. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2016.06.005.

Ferracioli-Oda E, Qawasmi A, Bloch MH. Meta-analysis: melatonin for the treatment of primary sleep disorders. PLoS One. 2013;8(5):e63773. Published 2013 May 17. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0063773

Haimov I. Melatonin Rhythm Abnormalities and Sleep Disorders in the Elderly. CNS. Spectrums. 2001;6(6):502-506. doi:10.1017/S109285290000804X.

Larsen SC, Horgan G, Mikkelsen M-LK, et al. Association between objectively measured sleep duration, adiposity and weight loss history. Int J Obes. 2020. doi:10.1038/s41366-020-0537-3

Ringdahl EN, Pereira SL, Delzell JE. Treatment of Primary Insomnia. J Am Board Fam Pract. 2004;17(3):212 LP – 219. doi:10.3122/jabfm.17.3.212