Is insomnia one of your constant worries?
Well, you are not alone. There are almost 70 million people in the United States alone who are unable to get a sound and natural sleep. Narcolepsy is a norm now. It is not just the sleeping disorder that people are facing but the overall sleep pattern is changing, too. An average of eight hours sleep is now reduced to 6.7 hours. Despite this, only a limited portion of the world’s population gets this amount of sleep.
Do you find it difficult to fall asleep?
There are multiple reasons why, and stress is on top of this list. Other than stress, poor sleeping habits, circadian rhythm disorder, insomnia and the adverse effects of certain medications are some legitimate reasons. Your sleep gets regulated by the sleep hormone, melatonin. Occurring naturally in your body, the pineal gland produces melatonin. The level of hormone gets increased at night and you start to feel sleepy. Your sleep gets affected when melatonin is not produced in adequate quantity in your body.
To fulfill the requirements, there are melatonin supplements that you can consume to ensure better sleep. Available in multiple forms like pills, liquids, and chewable, you can consume melatonin supplements as per your ease. There are two kinds of melatonin supplements: natural and synthetic. Manufacturers use animal’s pineal glands to produce natural supplements of melatonin.
The purpose for which you consume melatonin determines the form of intake. For instance, if you want to change your sleeping pattern or improve insomnia, consuming the supplement by mouth is the best way to do so. Melatonin supplement is helpful in treating conditions like delayed sleep phase syndrome, rapid eye movement sleep behavior, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, bipolar disorder, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease among several others.
This article attempts to offer you a complete guide about how melatonin works in your body to serve as a sleeping aid and what other benefits you can attain from it.
Is Using Melatonin For Sleep?
Let’s begin with the basics and address the most common question: what is melatonin? Melatonin is a sleep hormone your body produces. The pineal gland, located behind the third ventricle of the brain, is responsible for secreting this hormone. The melatonin hormone exudes according to a circadian cycle. As darkness prevails, the level of melatonin starts to rise in the blood and you begin feeling more sleepy.
Melatonin alarms your body when it is time to sleep and wake up. The quantity of melatonin produced in your body is dependent on the amount of light you get exposed to each day.
The melatonin plays a role in your sleep management cycle. It gets activated as the sun sets, and gets back to the inactive state as the sun rises. The proposed active time period of melatonin is from 9 pm to 9 am. The quantity of melatonin in your body can differ from that of those around you. Considering the fact that the hormone gets produced in the brain naturally, there are inhibitors present in the body that can curb melatonin release. Also, if you take too much stress or your caffeine intake is high, melatonin production in your mind can get affected. This necessitates the use of melatonin supplements to ensure that the body meets the required amount of the hormone. Natural and synthetic both supplements are effectual in regulating the hormonal supply in your blood and ensuring managed sleep patterns.
Is Melatonin Good For You?
Melatonin regulates the internal biological clock of sleep and wakefulness. Besides this, some claims declare it as an antioxidant agent that can help the body in detoxification and battle against cancerous elements. This, however, lacks strong clinical evidence. As for the functioning mechanism of melatonin in maintaining sleep cycle, here is how it works:
In the suprachiasmatic nucleus, an area in the hypothalamus of the brain, the circadian clock is present. This clock is directly affected by a cycle of light and dark produced by the suprachiasmatic nucleus on daily basis. The nucleus releases certain hormone at a different time of the day. From late afternoon and evening onwards, it starts to release hormones which prepare your body for sleep.
Similarly, in the early morning hours, the hormones released are responsible for preparing you for waking and activity. The light-related information gets passed on towards pineal gland which is in the center of the brain. As per the information, melatonin gets released at night and deactivates during daylight. In darker days or winters, your body may release melatonin earlier than routine. Since the days are shorter and nights longer, the hormone release gets impacted accordingly.
As the pineal gland secretes melatonin during darkness, the brain receives the signal that it is time to sleep. The receptors of melatonin are present in the brain, cardiovascular system, liver, intestine, and kidneys. Melatonin levels can get disrupted, too.
When this happens, you are unable to have a consistent and healthy sleep. This usually happens because of too much exposure to light in the evening, changed work schedule, lack of exercise, jet lag, and melatonin loss with increasing age.
Melatonin supplements are safe to use. Their purpose is to promote sleepiness. There are no hazards of using the supplement, but you have to take the precautionary measures yourself. For instance, taking melatonin before driving or operating machinery means deliberately putting yourself to the risk.
Melatonin helps reinforcing cues from the environment for sleep. Your body uses melatonin supplements as a tool to assist in “sleep-wake rhythms.” You will find no adverse effects caused by melatonin you use the supplements within the recommended dosage and are careful about the timing of intake.
Side effects of melatonin are uncommon. There are rarely any claims made for any detrimental influence incurred by the user. However, you may want to consult your physician before incorporating the supplement in your routine.
Also, melatonin supplements do not entail hypnotic capabilities. They are not supposed to work as sedative drugs. They can make you drowsy and make you want to sleep. But, they won’t make you fall asleep. Melatonin supplements, unlike tranquilizers or sedative pills, are sleep aids. They are safe to use and appropriate for long-term use if you maintain a low and healthy dosage.
It might be one of your major concerns that whether these supplements make you feel sleepy all the time or not. They don’t. The amount of melatonin supplied to your body does not have to be in higher quantity. The purpose of melatonin is to signal the brain that it is time to sleep. The lower quantity of the supplement can perform this task adequately. You do not have to consider higher dosage.
The objective of a melatonin supplement is to boost the level of hormone already present in the blood. It causes no additional impact that may pose threat to your overall wellness.
Melatonin supplements are gaining popularity across the globe for their effectiveness with respect to their effectiveness in addressing sleep-related problems. Production of melatonin levels can vary among people for different reasons. This variation leads a lot of people to suffer from compromised quality and quantity of sleep.
Taking melatonin supplement can ease this condition substantially. With the boost offered by the supplement, sleep-inducing effects get promoted in your body. You can use melatonin to make your sleep cycle better or change your sleeping pattern as per your schedule.
As mentioned previously, melatonin serves the purpose of informing your brain, and your body subsequently when it is time to go to bed and wake up. You can use this ability to your use if you are planning to change your sleeping hours. For night shift workers, who have recently started the job, it can get difficult to get a good sleep during the day because their mind and body remain attuned to the previous schedule. Melatonin can help them adjust to the new work hours by accustoming their sleep behavior. You can assist melatonin in this process by creating optimal conditions like maintaining darkness in your room during the day and intake only limited quantity of the supplement.
Melatonin induces heat loss in the body. It reduces the excitement level and arousal in you and curtails the brain activity. Also, it impedes the release of cortisol which results in increased blood pressure and sugar level. These activities collaboratively serve in preparing your body for sleep and making you used to the changed sleep timings.
The purpose of designing melatonin supplements is to neutralize the level of the hormone in your body. Approved by the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in 1994, melatonin supplements are widely used by people who experience trouble falling in sleep. Serving as a sleep aid, these supplements have other benefits, too. Some of these benefits are:
1. Relieves Headaches
Though there is not much clinical evidence available for this particular ability of melatonin, the user reviews show positive results when it comes to treating headaches. Cluster headaches, specifically, show a more constructive improvement when they get treated with melatonin.
2. Fights Cancer
According to some of the scientific research, melatonin has the tendency to work as an anticancer agent. It can work against the malignant cancerous elements in colon, breast, renal, brain and lungs. Some medical professionals integrated melatonin supplements with chemotherapy and radiation therapy to treat cancer and found a substantial reduction in the death risk.
Also, there were no significant adverse reactions experienced in the process. This denotes the promising future melatonin supplements have in terms of cancer treatment. Their low cost makes it them more suitable and feasible treatment option for people who are not capable of affording expensive cancer interventions.
3. Assists in Cognitive Diseases
Mental health illnesses such as Alzheimer’s and dementia are becoming common as the population above 60 years is rapidly increasing. Melatonin levels in your body tend to reduce as your age increases. This is one reason why older age people find it difficult to fall asleep and their average sleep hours reduce tremendously.
Boosting melatonin level through supplements improves not just the sleep cycle in the aged people but is also found effective in improving their cognitive health. The risk of Alzheimer curtails as the level of melatonin increases.
4. Guards against Radioactivity
This is another one of the wondrous benefits of melatonin. The free radicals in your body when getting in contact with radioactive substances cause detrimental damage to your body. If you are part of a team that spends more time in areas that have high-radiation, consuming melatonin supplements can help you strengthen your internal defense against the harmful rays.
If you are new to melatonin supplements, we strongly recommend you to start with the lowest possible dosage that can give you the results you aim to achieve. When you start small, your body gets time to adjust to the new supplement.
If you start taking larger doses, there is a high possibility that your body will not accept the supplement as it should, and you will face challenges in gaining the best results. The average dosage level for a healthy individual is 0.3 to 0.5 milligrams a day.
If it is your sleep problem you are taking melatonin supplement for, it is beneficial that you consume the pill 60 to 90 minutes before sleep. This gives your body enough time to prepare for sleep.
Melatonin Dosage for Adults
If you are an adult and face trouble falling asleep, it is best that you take 0.3 to 5 milligrams of melatonin on daily basis. However, you should only take the melatonin dose for a limited period, i.e. 9 months. The dosage of melatonin varies with the conditions you are using it for. Here are some common conditions:
- Jet lag: 0.5-8 milligrams for 2 to 5 days.
- Blood pressure: 2-3 milligrams for 4 weeks.
Melatonin Dosage for Sleep
Melatonin dosage differs when it comes to sleep problems and disorders. Here is a breakdown of dosage for some sleep-related conditions:
- Having difficulty falling sleep: 0.3-5 milligrams for 9 months.
- Have a disrupted sleep cycle: 2-12 milligrams for 4 weeks.
- Facing sleeping difficulty for an extended period of time: 2-3 milligrams for up to 29 weeks.
If you want melatonin to work in the best possible manner for you, it is important that you adhere to the dosage levels strictly. You can only gain benefits if you use the right amount at the right time. This is especially important when you are using melatonin supplements for regulating your sleep cycle or changing sleeping patterns.
Melatonin is sans any toxicity and there are no adverse reactions reported. So, if you are still contemplating on what to do about your sleeping problems, we recommend you experience melatonin. It’s safe, effective, and accessible.
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