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Jacksonville sleep expert sizes up the science behind melatonin diffuser designed to look like e-cigarette

Who wouldn’t love a better night’s sleep? From meditation to medicine, most would try just about anything for it. Melatonin diffusers are one of the latest products to hit the market.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Who wouldn’t love a better night’s sleep? From meditation to medicine, most would try just about anything for it.

Melatonin diffusers are one of the latest products to hit the market.

One company, in particular, is taking social media by storm: Cloudy.

With more 250,000 followers on TikTok, and nearly 500,000 followers on Instagram, people are listening.

But, at the low price of just $20, is it all too good to be true?

“This is essentially an e-cigarette. It’s the same thing as a Juul without the nicotine,” said Dr. Mariam Louis, UF Health Jacksonville’s sleep lab co-director and lung specialist.

Cloudy says its device contains only these seven ingredients: melatonin, lavender extract, L-theanine, chamomile extract, grape extract, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin.

“So, if anybody takes melatonin, at a high enough level, it will make you sleepy, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re replicating or duplicating the body’s natural rhythm,” said Louis.

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, melatonin is only recommended for people suffering from jet lag or who work overnight shifts.

Melatonin vapes products are relatively new, only first introduced to the market five years ago. Because of that, there aren’t many studies on the effects of vaping melatonin, and no regulation by the Food and Drug Administration.

WATCH: Full interview with Dr. Mariam Louis

Watch News4Jax consumer investigative reporter Lauren Verno’s full interview with Dr. Mariam Louis, UF Health Jacksonville's sleep lab co-director and lung specialist.

Louis brought up another issue with the device.

Cloudy says its melatonin diffuser works best when used retronasally, in the mouth and out the nose, without inhaling to the lungs.

When asked whether that’s possible, Louis answered: “Very difficult, very difficult. I am sure a certain percentage of this will definitely go into the lungs.”

Louis went on to say: “So anything that is inhaled, that is not meant to be inhaled, is never a good thing in terms of lung health.”

That’s why, when it comes to devices like this, Louis says she would never recommend it to her patients.

For healthy sleep without medications, Louis recommends no screen time before bed. And consistency is key, going to bed and waking around the same time even on the weekends.

Louis also says it’s completely normal to wake up in the middle of the night, and if you can’t fall back asleep within 15 to 20 minutes, get up and do an easy activity that does not involve a screen and then get back to bed when you are tired again.


About the Author:

Lauren Verno anchors the 9 a.m. hour of The Morning Show and is the consumer investigative reporter weekday afternoons.