Mother Jones

INSOMNIAC’S LITTLE HELPER

Should we really be popping melatonin like candy?

ONCE UPON A TIME, insomniacs counted sheep. Today, they take melatonin. Referred to by scientists as the “hormone of darkness,” melatonin is naturally produced by a gland in the brain at night, but it can also be purchased at any major drugstore. Millions of Americans take it, whether swallowing it in pill form, spritzing it on their skin, or enjoying it in fruit-flavored gummies. You can even pick up melatonin-infused chocolates at Whole Foods.

A sleep specialist recommended I try some six years ago, when I came to her office in desperation after months

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