Melatonin: Promotes Healthy Sleep Patterns
In numerous studies, Melatonin was shown to:
• May help combat insomnia
• Enhance sleep quality
• Fight jet lag symptoms
• Supports healthy ageing
• Supports mood & mental health
• May help decrease ocular pressure
What is Melatonin and where does it come from?
Melatonin is the hormone responsible for regulating the body’s biological clock. It is produced by the pineal gland, which is located in the brain. Melatonin helps to regulate sleep. During daylight, the pineal gland in the brain produces the neurotransmitter serotonin, but at night, the pineal gland stops producing serotonin and instead makes melatonin. This melatonin release helps trigger sleep.
Why take Melatonin?
• Insomnia: The ability to fall asleep and stay asleep may get a boost from melatonin supplementation. Some studies of young and elderly adults have shown that taking a small amount of melatonin before bedtime helps to both hasten sleep and improve its quality. These benefits were seen in insomniacs as well as in individuals who struggle with only occasional sleep problems.
• Sleep problems caused by pain or stress: Frequent night-time awakenings can occur as a result of chronic pain or stress. In such situations, melatonin may help by encouraging sounder slumber.
• Jet lag: If you’re working a night shift or are traveling across time zones, melatonin supplements may help your body to overcome any disorientation and quickly reestablish a normal sleep pattern. Recent studies of airline personnel and others who travel long distances found that melatonin supplements significantly relieved jet lag symptoms. This was true regardless of whether they were flying eastbound or westbound. However, not all studies have found melatonin to be superior to a placebo for such jet lag symptoms as fatigue, daytime sleepiness and impaired alertness.
• Anti-Ageing: Animal research indicates that melatonin may be of value in extending life–elderly mice administered the supplement lived 25% longer than their cohorts in one study–although much more investigation is needed before firm conclusions can be made about its value for humans in this regard. Melatonin’s antioxidant properties may help to stave off illnesses commonly related to ageing, such as heart disease and cataracts. The hormone may boost immune-system function as well, which can weaken with age.
• Mood Support: number of people who feel quite normal and energetic in summer become depressed and sluggish in winter, when sunlight is weaker and less abundant. Low melatonin levels may also be present in individuals who react in this way. Taking a melatonin supplement in the afternoon or evening may help improve mood and combat negative emotions associated with winter.
• Ocular Pressure: Taken in small amounts, Melatonin has been
shown to lower pressure in the eyes. Since studies have only been done on healthy eyes, it is uncertain whether melatonin would be an effective treatment for glaucoma.
Who needs it and what are the symptoms of deficiency?
It is largely thought that as people age, their bodies produce less melatonin. Deficiencies can lead to insomnia. The production of melatonin varies according to the amount of light you’re exposed to; more melatonin is produced at night than during the day, and your body produces more melatonin in a completely dark room than in a dimly lit one.
Stress, illness, and ageing are the culprits that can speed up this deficiency in Melatonin. Recent research has shown that Melatonin is one of the most powerful antioxidants. The problem of insomnia is helped significantly with Melatonin intake. Most people report a calm deep sleep; some report more dreams and also a good nights rest.
How much should be taken? Are there any side effects?
Melatonin researchers themselves have yet to determine the optimum doses for various users. Individual needs vary considerably depending on differences in metabolism. For purposes of sleep, larger doses are not necessarily more effective than smaller doses. (If you feel groggy the next morning, the dose you have taken was too high; if you do not experience a deep restful sleep, your dose may have been too low). Research findings indicate that the lowest potency of melatonin can usually induce natural sleep patterns or help us to cope with jet lag. However they determined that the highest potencies are needed by seniors 65 years of age and older.