By Julia Fichera ’26 Associate
Sleep is one of the most mysterious bodily functions that occurs. Medical professionals are still baffled with the questions of why people sleep and what happens to them when they do drift off. While scientists have figured out some pieces of the necessity of sleep, such as brain maintenance and energy conservation, there are still many questions surrounding the biological process that is sleep and how all of the pieces we do know about it fit together. What is even more concerning is that when people don’t get enough sleep or have bad sleep quality, they may experience any number of negative effects on their bodies and lives: headaches, mood changes, difficulties concentrating, and more.
Many of the reasons that could be affecting people’s ability to get a good night’s rest are modern problems. If a person is looking at a screen too close to bedtime their natural sleeping functions may be disrupted. Studies show that screen time affects the majority of adolescent’s sleep and 30% of toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. 60% of American children and adolescents reported regular use of screens within the hour of their bedtime. Even the busy lifestyles that have become normal over the years are affecting people’s abilities to make time for sleep. A busy lifestyle for an extended period of time may cause insomnia. These modern problems require modern solutions. Melatonin supplements might just be the answer to the sleeplessness that comes from today’s lifestyles.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced in the pineal gland in the brain. Much like the function of sleep, the impact that melatonin has on the human body still remains a mystery. What research has shown so far is that it aids in synchronizing circadian rhythms in different parts of the human body; the most important and impactful one being the sleep-wake cycle.
While the body does produce its own natural melatonin, reaching for melatonin supplements to help battle the sleeplessness that has been affecting the country has become more and more common. The median market size estimate for melatonin sleep supplements in 2023 is projected to be $1.06B in 2023 with an implied CAGR of 8%. Revenue in the sleep aids market is projected to show a CAGR of 2.89% with a resulting market volume of $4.29B in 2028. Projections show that the majority of this revenue will be generated within the U.S.
As melatonin has become more and more popular, so have concerns regarding it. CNN released an article in June of 2023 linking melatonin with some negative side effects such as headaches, dizziness, stomach cramps, and more. The article goes on to state that some of the over-the-counter supplements may contain more melatonin than advertised. Since melatonin is not fully regulated by the FDA, there are no actual federal requirements forcing companies to test their products to make sure they have the proper levels of melatonin in them.
Even with these concerns the market for melatonin supplements is still growing. The view of the supplement being a natural solution for the sleeplessness that has been sweeping the nation seems to be beating out any negative stigmas that come with it. Melatonin is proving to be a friend to all who need sleep, and to all who want to make a good investment in a growing market.
Julia is a Sophomore from Baldwinsville, NY, who is pursuing a degree in Business Administration with plans to concentrate in Marketing and Management. Julia currently works as a UNH Paul College Influencer, and is the Marketing/Social Media intern at UNH’s Sustainability Institute. She is also a Paul Scholar and Honors student. Julia is eager to begin her second semester with the Fund and is grateful to be given such a unique opportunity!