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The Dangers of Melatonin and the Need for Safer, More Effective Sleep Aids

tired man laying on sofa with laptop and sleeping at home office

Poor sleep has become an epidemic, with over 70 million Americans struggling to get quality rest each night. The rise in sleep troubles has led to an explosion in over-the-counter sleep aids, with melatonin supplements leading the charge. Melatonin has been touted as a safe and natural way to improve sleep, propelling it to become the most widely used over-the-counter sleep aid. However, emerging research is revealing potential risks and limited benefits of melatonin supplementation, fueling demand for safer, more effective alternatives backed by rigorous science.

To gain insights into melatonin concerns and the future of sleep aids, I spoke with Brenden Dougherty, CEO of the supplement company MDBio – The Doctors Brand™. MDBio recently conducted one of the largest clinical trials in history on a melatonin-free sleep aid called MDsleep, showing remarkable improvements in sleep quality.

Sleep mask with sleeping pills
Sleep mask with sleeping pills

The Troubling Truth About Melatonin Supplementation

While melatonin is a hormone naturally produced in the body to regulate sleep/wake cycles, Brenden explained that taking it as a supplement does not mimic the body’s precise release. “When you ingest a melatonin supplement, it floods your entire system all at once, overloading receptors everywhere.” This may explain why supplemental melatonin causes next-day drowsiness, headaches, dizziness, nausea and irritability in many users.

Brenden described how melatonin supplements also often fail to improve sleep quality or duration. “The majority of studies show melatonin is not significantly more effective than placebo for most people.” This is likely because sleep troubles are caused by complex factors like stress and anxiety, which melatonin does not address.

Most concerning are the unknown long-term impacts. “We don’t have any data on the effects of taking melatonin supplements for months or years,” Brenden said. Preliminary research indicates potential hormonal, immune and developmental effects. There is also a lack of quality control in the supplement industry, with studies showing huge discrepancies between labeled and actual melatonin levels.

With increasing evidence that melatonin supplementation may be ineffective and unsafe for many, there is a major need for alternatives backed by rigorous research.

The Rigorous Science Behind MDBio’s Melatonin-Free Sleep Aid 

To develop a safer, more effective option, MDBio leveraged over a decade of clinical expertise from their team of integrative doctors along with one of the largest clinical trials ever conducted on a sleep aid. Their melatonin-free supplement, MDsleep, significantly improved sleep quality, duration, mood and cognitive function.

“Many supplements claim to improve sleep, but few have research to back it up,” said Brenden. “We invested heavily in a rigorous clinical trial to validate if MDsleep works.”

57% of participants reported improvement in sleep disturbance, which was 35% greater than the placebo group. 38% reported less stress, a 50% greater improvement versus placebo. 14% had higher well-being scores, 64% greater than placebo. And 60% experienced less anxiety, a 17% greater improvement than placebo.

“Unlike melatonin, MDsleep enhances multiple aspects of sleep by supporting the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle regulation,” explained Brenden. This results in deeper, more restorative sleep and reduced daytime fatigue without any measurable next-day drowsiness or impairment.

MDsleep’s Effects Build Over Time

While many expected MDsleep’s benefits to plateau over the 30 days, the team found the opposite. “Remarkably, the improvements in sleep quality, mood and cognition continued to increase throughout the full study period,” said Brenden.

For example, the reduction in anxiety experienced by MDsleep users was only 9.2% after 15 days but reached 15.7% at 30 days. This contrasts sharply with medications like sleep aids and antidepressants, which often lose effectiveness over time as tolerance builds.

Brenden believes these increasing benefits stem from MDsleep working via unique mechanisms to restore the body’s natural sleep/wake cycles. “It’s designed to address root causes of sleep disruption rather than just sedate the brain.” This means benefits amplify over time as underlying sleep and mood regulation is improved.

The Future of Sleep Aids

The success of MDsleep sheds light on the future of sleep aids and alternatives to melatonin. Brenden expects continued growth in melatonin-free options as consumers learn of melatonin risks and demand greater effectiveness.

“The supplement industry is slowly waking up to the fact that most formulations aren’t backed by real science,” said Brenden. “Consumers now expect proof that what’s on the label actually works.” He believes companies will invest more in rigorous research and developing formulas that target underlying causes of sleep troubles.

Brenden also sees healthcare providers playing a bigger role in sleep health. “Doctors are seeking safe supplements they can confidently recommend to patients as alternatives to prescription medications that just sedate.” Backed by strong clinical data, MDsleep and other science-based supplements present natural options.

While melatonin continues to dominate the sleep aid market, its growth is threatened by rising concerns over ineffectiveness and long-term safety. As Brenden put it, “All signs point to melatonin use plateauing or declining as consumers discover safer, research-backed alternatives that truly improve sleep.” With MDBio’s clinical validation of MDsleep as a melatonin-free sleep aid, the market appears ripe for innovation. Companies delivering rigorous science to develop formulas that safely target root causes of disordered sleep, mood and cognition will shape the future.

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Brenden Dougherty, CEO of the supplement company MDBio – The Doctors Brand™



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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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