The Dr. Oz Show
Airdate: September 25, 2012
Dr. Oz: Why Melatonin May Be Dangerous To Your Sleep
- Is Melatonin dangerous to your health?
- Guided relaxation for better sleep
- Anti-aging myths debunked
Could melatonin be dangerous? Dr. Oz says to watch his show before you take another dose of the popular supplement melatonin sold as a sleep aid. Anti-aging myths are debunked to save you time and money.
Photo credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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Dr. Oz: Why Melatonin May Be Dangerous To Your Sleep
Melatonin is marketed as a natural and non-addictive sleep aid and has become one of the most popular over-the-counter supplements sold today. Dr. Oz said melatonin could actually be destroying your sleep.
Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, author of The Sleep Doctor's Diet Plan: Lose Weight through Better Sleep, says melatonin is in fact not a sleep aid, it is being taken in the wrong amounts, and is actually inhibiting sleep for people across the country.
Typically, said Dr. Breus, people take melatonin at bedtime and then turn out the lights. They may fall asleep for a short time but soon they find they are still awake or have woken up so they take another melatonin pill thinking the first amount wasn't enough not realizing they have taken over the recommended dose.
Melatonin is a hormone that regulates sleep but it is not a sleep-aid. A sleep regulator supports the body's internal clock and let's the body know it's night.
April, shared her story of insomnia. She hasn't had a good night sleep in years. Each night while laying in bed, her body feels tired but her mind is racing. Sound familiar? A friend recommended melatonin, so April researched it online and read that it was safe. The first night she took melatonin she had a great night's sleep. After two weeks she began waking up soon after taking the one pill of melatonin so she would take another. The two pills failed to keep her asleep so she started taking three pills a night.
Soon, April began to experience nightmares and would have a hangover feeling in the morning with a headache, brain fog, and her daughter said she was irritable and cranky. Each morning, April would find it hard to wake up been. She's been taking melatonin for a year even with the side-effects.
Why, asked Dr. Oz, is she still taking melatonin if it's not working? April said she is still trying to get better sleep, she's feeling anxious about not sleeping and needs to do something so she kept reaching for the bottle of melatonin.
Other symptoms of melatonin overdose, explained Dr. Breus is dizziness and nausea as well. People feel trapped, he said, in a cycle of insomnia and are reaching for over-the-counter products labeled to support sleep but they are doing more harm then good and, most importantly, they are not getting more or better sleep.
Dr. Oz: Who Should Take Melatonin and How Much?
Dr. Breus met with April before the show to determine how much melatonin she was actually taking. Over the course of a night, April was taking three 3mg tablets of melatonin for a total of 9mg of melatonin each and every night. That is nine times the recommended dose of melatonin.
Melatonin is sold in doses per pill ranging from 1mg up to 5mg. Across the screen: More than 1mg of melatonin may be dangerous to your sleep.
Today's Dr. Oz Show audience was filled with mostly women who raised their hands to indicate they have taken melatonin, in most cases, for many years in doses higher than 1mg.
Dr. Oz said he is furious that manufacturers and companies are routinely recommending doses of melatonin way above the safe or necessary amount.
Research on melatonin is relatively new with the latest information leaning toward encouraging sleep and unfortunately companies have taken that information and ran with it by slapping the label “sleep aid” on the front of products.
Dr. Oz: Who Should Take Melatonin?
- People work the night sift;
- Someone who is traveling and may experience jet lag;
- The elderly, possibly.
Dr. Breus explained that melatonin should be used to support the body's internal clock. People who are going to experience a disruption to their normal sleep pattern, if they are working the night shift or jet setting, could look toward melatonin to help the with this temporary change in sleep patterns.
As we age, the amount of melatonin the body produces decreases. The elderly, said Dr. Breus, who are experiencing trouble sleeping may want to try small doses of melatonin, 1/3g to 1/2g for a few days to see if it supports their natural sleep rhythms. They should follow up with their health care provider to talk about their sleep issues and what they experienced when taking melatonin.
Melatonin is absolutely not for children, explained Dr. Breus. This is where he gets very upset, when doctors recommend to parents to get an over-the-counter sleep aid for children experiencing insomnia the parents see melatonin labeled for sleep and give it to kids. Melatonin, he said, has not been researched for use with children and children should not be given melatonin.
Dr. Oz: What Every Woman Should Do For Sleep
Instead of reaching for any over-the-counter products or pharmaceuticals, Dr. Oz said Dr. Breus has an ancient method to support sleep that is simple, safe, and it works. It's called PMR.
Dr. Breus explained that PMR, Progressive Muscle Relaxation, is just what it sounds like, relaxing the muscles to encourage sleep. The practice includes tensing muscles to relax them combined with deep breathing.
April volunteered to be hooked up to an EEG monitor to see how her brain rhythms change while she, and the rest of the audience, practiced PMR guided by Dr. Breus.
Dr. Oz: PMR - Progressive Muscle Relaxation
With eyes closed, take a deep breath in for a slow count of four in and then breath out for another count of four. Working from head to toe, tense muscles for five seconds at a time then release the muscles for another five seconds.
Dr. Breus took the audience through tensing and relaxing muscles in the eye lids, shoulders, and making fists with the hands each for a count of four to tense and another count of four while relaxing. Finally, he had the audience take in a deep breath and release.
Checking in on April after the PMR demonstration, the activity of her brain slowed as she calmed and relaxed. Dr. Oz explained that as April continues this exercise she will go into deeper and deeper relaxation and should eventually fall asleep.
Dr. Breus has recorded a guided sleep relaxation exercise to use for better sleep. Click here to see and hear Dr. Breus' guided sleep exercise from DoctorOz.com.
Click here to read Melatonin: Not A Magic Bullet For Sleep by Dr. Michael Breus, PhD on DoctorOz.com.
[Click the links to see posts from Dr. Breus' previous appearances on The Dr. Oz Show.
Dr. Oz: Common Anti-Aging Myths
Dr. Oz wants to debunk anti-aging myths to help save viewers time and money. Viewers sent in their favorite anti-aging practices for Dr. Oz to review and declare as myth or truth.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Taping under the chin to firm
Giving the area under the chin a good tapping, said this viewer, is helping to firm her sagging waddle.
MYTH! Tapping the skin does not strengthen the connective tissue nor will it support tightening the skin.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Egg white mask prevents wrinkles
MYTH! An egg white mask may help to tighten skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles however the effects are only temporary.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Back sleeping prevents wrinkles
TRUTH! Side sleeping mashes the skin on the face encouraging wrinkles. Back sleeping doesn't cause compression of the skin and can reduce the creation of wrinkles.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Moisturizer keeps wrinkles away
Women around the world spend millions on moisturizing therapies to keep wrinkles at bay. But are they really preventing wrinkles?
MYTH! Moisturizer does what it says, provides moisture to the skin. With a demonstration of a thin tarp help up with poles, Dr. Oz showed how the skin on the face is held up and kept taut with a structure of collagen and elastin – represented by the poles holding up the tarp. The structure holding up the skin weakens with age and can no longer hold the skin taut and smooth, eventually wrinkles become more pronounced. Sun exposure also contributes to a weakening of the elastin and collagen structures.
Avoiding the sun, explained Dr. Oz, is one of the best ways to prevent the appearance of wrinkles.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Lips thin as you age
A gentle brushing with a toothbrush, she said, makes her lips look fuller. She tops off that procedure with a lip plumper. She's concerned that with family history of women's lips thinning she is destined to have thin lips.
Many women in the audience admit to using lip plumpers as well to create that full lip look. Thin lips make you look older, she believes, and she thinks her husband doesn't want to kiss her thin lips.
TRUTH! It is actually true that the lips thin as we age and if you have a family history of women developing thin lips as they age then your stuck with genetic destiny. Dr. Oz demonstrated thinning of the lips with age with two pillows in red pillow cases. Fluffed up and looking sexy, that's how our lips start out but as time moves on the fluff fades and the lips thin out. As with the facial skin, collagen and elastin fades in the lips and can be further damaged with sun exposure with the end result of thinning lips.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Crossing the legs cause varicose veins
MYTH! Deteriorating and damaged blood vessel valves in the legs cause the development of varicose, not crossing the legs.
[As a person with varicose veins (thanks kids and a decade working retail), I find that crossing my legs is terribly uncomfortable since they have developed. For me, reducing the circulation in my legs when they already have circulation issues is not the most comfortable way to sit.]
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Sleeping bra-less makes breasts sag
Her 93-year-old aunt has always told her that wearing a bra at night will keep the perk in the girls as she gets older. Her breasts are not where they used to be so she wants to do whatever she can to keep them perky as she ages.
MYTH! Dr. Oz demonstrated why breasts sage with a [water-filled, maybe?] balloon set in a net bag that represents the ligaments holding up the breasts. After children and with aging, the ligaments are stretched and begin to thin causing those girls to droop. It's inevitable. Wearing a bra does not make a difference in the strength of the ligaments holding up the breasts.
This viewer also shared that her breasts don't feel the same as she has aged; they are softer and a little lumpy now that she's in her 40s. Dr. Oz explained that the breasts will contain more fat as we age and this is totally normal. This can be a benefit, though, he said by making it easier for women to examine their breasts and determine if the lumps and bumps are from normal changes in fat and tissue composition rather than abnormalities. It's always important, he emphasized, to have regular checks up to determine the health of the breasts.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Pulling hair into bun causes thinning
TRUE! Pulling the hair into a tight bun can actually thin out the hair over time.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Plucking gray hairs make more grow back
She's always been told that plucking gray hairs will cause more gray hairs to grow back even faster. Women want to look young and gray hair is associated with being old.
MTYH! Plucking does not cause more hair, gray or otherwise, to grow back. Dr. Oz explained that the scalp is covered with hair follicles each follicle can grow only one hair and one hair only. Plucking the gray hair can damage the follicles and can actually cause the follicle to no longer produce hair. If the follicle can produce another hair with the damage from plucking it will produce the same color hair but that hair may be more coarse and may grow in a direction opposite to the other hairs on the scalp.
Dr. Oz Anti-Aging Myth: Face masks for sun protection
Women in China are showing up on beaches wearing face masks in bright colors to protect the skin of the face from sun exposure. [Frankly, this creeps me out. They women look terribly scary to me!].
Dr. Oz and an audience volunteer tired on the masks made from swimsuit material. They both said it felt strange. Dr. Oz said it may help to reduce sun exposure however sunblock may be the better route rather than wearing an uncomfortable mask.
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