a woman getting a good night's sleep, sleep better

Sleep can be elusive, and many people have great difficulties getting enough. The problem is not that people don’t value sleep: most have heard that inadequate sleep may predispose us to health problems such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes or high blood pressure. The trouble is concern about how to get to sleep. Both prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills can increase the risk of falls. Falls may lead to broken bones. Might melatonin help?

Does Melatonin Make Bones Weaker or Stronger?

Q. Not long ago, you referenced a 2016 study regarding melatonin use and risk of bone fracture. A quick Google search provided more carefully designed research articles that indicate melatonin can promote bone strength.

I hope what you wrote will not make people afraid of taking moderate doses of melatonin. I once used OTC sleep drugs, but they gave me dry mouth, fuzzy thinking and impaired balance.

I’ve been able to get the best sleep ever with a moderate dose of melatonin and a change in before-bedtime habits. In addition, I’ve also been able to include vigorous exercise in my daily routine.

Changing Bedtime Routines to Sleep Better:

A. Vigorous exercise is definitely a good way to help keep bones strong. People who exercise usually get to sleep more readily as well (Kelley & Kelley, Journal of Evidence-Based Medicine, Nov. 16, 2016).

There are other evening routines that can also help people fall asleep more easily. A hot bath about an hour before bedtime is beneficial. So is turning off computers, cell phones and other screens at least an hour before retiring.

Does Melatonin Make Bones Stronger?

You are right that there is some evidence that melatonin may improve bone density. A review of research found benefit for bone (Liu et al, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, May 2013). Danish scientists found significant evidence that melatonin could improve skeletal health, but they caution that we need more studies in humans “to find out whether supplementation with melatonin at bedtime may preserve bone mass and improve bone biomechanical competence” (Amstrup et al, Osteoporosis International, Dec. 2013).

More recently, results of a pilot study showed that a nightly supplement containing 5 mg melatonin, 450 mg strontium citrate, 2000 IU vitamin D3 and 60 mcg vitamin K2 significantly increased the density of back and hip bones compared to placebo (Maria et al, Aging, Jan. 2017).  We will be on the lookout for further research.

More Information on Sleep:

In the meantime, you can learn more about overcoming insomnia safely in our Guide to Getting a Good Night’s Sleep. This information is provided as an online resource. If you purchase it, you will be emailed a link just for you that allows you to consult it whenever you wish, as many times as you like. You will be able to read it on any device that you have connected to the internet. We hope you find it helpful.

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  1. Ike

    I’ve heard or read that a half a gram of melatonin is all that is needed when you go to bed since your body produces this product also. Is this true or can the body absorb more than a half a milligram safely. I’ve suffered with insomnia for over 5 years and have yet to find something natural to help me find sleep.

  2. Doreen

    I am also interested in the supplement that increased bone strength as well as helped with sleeping. Does the Peoples Pharmacy carry that supplement?
    Thank you for all you do.

  3. Kathy

    I used 3 mg melatonin every night for a couple of months and never slept better. Problem was that with extended use it led to severe diarrhea. Had to stop taking it. Not sleeping as well now.

  4. mary
    winston-salem, nc

    I read an article on Magnolia Bark capsules, and have ordered. Can find no negative side effects. Would like any information you have.

  5. Penelope

    If you have a sleep problem, keep a diary, when you go to bed, when you arise, any special activities, meds etc. After doing that I found I couldn’t have any sweets after 2pm, or computer time after the evening meal. Getting back to sleep, even after being wakeful in the middle of the night takes i2 a melatonin pill, a sweater, and drops of lavender on my wrists, under my nose and on the pillow seem to do the trick.

  6. Virginia
    Greensboro NC

    I tried Melatonin but found that I had very vivid dreams that disturbed my sleep. I’d try magnesium but it can have a laxative affect, which I don’t need having UC & IBSD. Am trying Tylenol PM, now. Better.

  7. Gloria

    You mentioned a pilot study supplement for sleeping. Is this one product or do I have to take these supplements individually with water before bedtime? Thank you!

    • Colleen

      A recent study showed a correlation between benedryl, Tylenol PM and other drugs of this type with shrinking of the brain and dementia. Be cautious!

  8. Mick
    NSW Australia

    Melatonin, I tried this med for sleep, It gave me horrible nightmares

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