Melatonin is a hormone that plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep-wake cycle. It is naturally produced in the body, but can also be taken as a supplement. In the United Kingdom, melatonin is classified as a medicine and is only available by prescription. However, it is important to note that melatonin is not banned in the UK, but its use is regulated as it can have side effects and interact with other medications.
This article will discuss why melatonin is only available by prescription in the UK and the potential risks associated with its use. We’ll also look at a few natural alternatives to melatonin.
Why is melatonin banned in the UK?
Melatonin is not banned in the UK, but it is regulated as a prescription-only medication. This means that it cannot be sold over the counter and must be prescribed by a healthcare professional. The reason for this is that melatonin can have side effects and can interact with other medications, so it is important that it is used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.
It’s also important to note that although Melatonin is considered safe for short-term use, long-term use and high doses of melatonin have not been studied enough and may be associated with some risks.
What are natural alternatives to melatonin?
There are several natural herbs and supplements that may help improve sleep quality and can be used as an alternative to melatonin:
- CBD (cannabidiol) is a compound found in the cannabis plant that has been found to have potential benefits for sleep. Studies have suggested that CBD may help improve sleep quality by reducing anxiety and pain, common causes of insomnia. CBD is believed to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates sleep, pain, and mood.
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- Valerian root is a herb traditionally used as a natural sedative and is believed to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety.
- Passionflower is believed to have a mild sedative effect and may help reduce insomnia and anxiety.
- Chamomile is a natural sedative and is believed to help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
- Lavender is believed to have a calming effect and may help improve sleep quality.
- Magnesium is an essential mineral important in regulating the nervous system and may help improve sleep.
- L-theanine is an amino acid found in green tea and is believed to promote relaxation and improve sleep quality.
- 5-HTP is a naturally-occurring amino acid that is used to increase the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that plays a role in regulating sleep.
It’s worth noting that it’s always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplements or making significant changes to your diet, exercise or sleep schedule.
In summary, melatonin is not banned in the UK, but it is a prescription-only medication. This is because it can have side effects and can interact with other medications, and its use should be under the guidance of a healthcare professional.