CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)- Melatonin is often referred to as the “sleep hormone.”

So, how does it actually impact our bodies before bed? 

“Darkness triggers our brain to produce melatonin, which leads to that feeling of drowsiness and sleepiness,” explained Marri Horvat, MD, a sleep specialist with Cleveland Clinic. 

A person who struggles to sleep may turn to a melatonin supplement with this in mind, but Dr. Horvat urges people to talk to their doctor first.  

According to her, melatonin supplements are offered over the counter in a variety of dosages, and the right dosage can vary from person-to-person.  

Taking too much melatonin can even lead to a disruption in your internal clock – making it harder to fall asleep. 

It’s also important to figure out what’s behind your sleep problems before trying to fix them yourself.  

Dr. Horvat stressed there could be underlying issues that need to be addressed. 

“Mental health issues, sleep apnea or certain medications can all potentially contribute to sleep problems,” Dr. Horvat said. “That’s why it’s important to talk to your doctor.”

Dr. Horvat added scrolling through your phone and watching TV in bed can also be contributing to your sleep problems.  

She said people should only use the bedroom for sleep or intimacy.