Want Better Sleep? Melatonin Can Help February 25, 2019
Sleep is crucial to your overall health. Insufficient sleep has been linked to heart disease, heart attacks, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and obesity.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep and stay asleep through the night, melatonin may be able to help. Melatonin is natural and non-habit forming, making it a much safer option than traditional sleeping pills.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is also known as the “sleep hormone.” It is produced by the pineal gland in the brain, and plays several roles in our bodies:
- Melatonin Regulates Blood Pressure
- Melatonin Boosts Your Immune System
- Melatonin Manages Your Cortisol Levels
- Melatonin Regulates Your Circadian Rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is your body’s biological clock that tells you when it is time sleep and when it is time to wake up.
How Does Melatonin Work?
As it starts to get dark, your body releases melatonin into the bloodstream to signal that it’s time to sleep. For most adults, your body starts to release melatonin at about 9 pm and peaks five hours later.
When melatonin levels rise, our body receives signals that it is time to sleep, and we start to feel tired and get ready for bed. However, if our circadian rhythm is off, and we don’t receive enough melatonin in our bloodstream, our sleep cycle can be thrown off.
If you find yourself getting tired at odd times, or are wide awake at night, it may be that you aren’t producing enough melatonin or your body is releasing it at the wrong times.
Why Does Your Circadian Rhythm Get Out of Sync?
There are two categories of factors that can affect your circadian rhythm: intrinsic (your body’s built-in factors) and extrinsic (external factors that affect your sleep cycle).
- Intrinsic Factors - If your body is producing melatonin at odd times and does not seem to be regulated by changes in light, you are experiencing an intrinsic factor that can lead to sleep loss.
- Extrinsic Factors - If you work odd shifts, or have been traveling through multiple time zones and are experiencing jet lag those are examples of extrinsic factors that upset your circadian rhythm. Late night electronic use can also impact your melatonin production.
If you’re suffering from sleep loss, there are several things you can do to get your circadian rhythm back in sync:
- Set a bedtime and get up the same time every morning.
- Spend at least 20 minutes outside in the morning between 6 am and 10 am.
- Regularly exercise.
- Do not consume caffeine or nicotine a few hours before bedtime.
- Reduce your electronic use at night or use “blue blocker” glasses. Laptops, TVs, cell phones, and other screens can trick your body into thinking it is daytime because they emit stimulating “blue light.”
If regulating your behavior doesn’t help you get your sleep disorder in order, there are more advanced therapies that can help you get your circadian rhythm to reset to the proper times.
How Much Melatonin Do You Need?
Melatonin supplements are often plant-based and offer condensed amounts of the hormone to help you overcome your sleep disorder. When you ingest a melatonin pill it simply raises the levels of melatonin already present in your body.
Our own melatonin supplement is 3 mg and we would recommend taking one pill two hours before bedtime and monitor the results.
Don’t Suffer From a Lack of Sleep
Sleep is so important for your health. If you’re worried about the many side effects of pharmaceutical sleeping pills, melatonin might be a great natural way to get back to a good night’s sleep.
Slowly add melatonin into your supplement regimen before bedtime and see if it helps! Feel free to give us a call if you have any questions. We wish you well!