Normally, your body makes more melatonin at night. Levels usually start to go up in the evening once the sun sets. They drop in the morning when the sun goes up. The amount of light you get each day -- plus your own body clock -- set how much your body makes.
You can also buy melatonin supplements. They come in pills, liquids, and chewables. You might find them in natural or synthetic forms. The natural forms are made from the pineal gland in animals.
People use melatonin when they have insomnia -- trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. They also take it for other sleep problems. This could include something called delayed sleep phase disorder. If you have that, falling asleep before 2 a.m. is tough. So is getting up in the morning.
Folks may also try it if they have jobs that disrupt typical sleep schedules, a condition called sleep work disorder.
It's used to treat or prevent jet lag, too. That's the tired, run-down feeling some get when they're traveling across time zones.
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