Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle. It is primarily produced by the pineal gland in the brain. Melatonin is a hormone that is released in response to darkness and inhibited in response to light. The pineal gland begins to secrete melatonin when the sun sets and darkness increases, which normally occurs after 9 p.m. Melatonin levels in the blood rise, signaling the brain to become less attentive, causing you to feel drowsy. Melatonin production peaks in the middle of the night and gradually falls in the second half of the night. Melatonin is synthesized in the evening to the extent of nearly 80%. Melatonin production and secretion begin to decrease in reaction to sunshine. This alerts you and helps you wake up in the morning.
Melatonin is a hormone that acts in combination with your body's circadian cycle. Circadian rhythms are 24-hour cycles of physical, mental, and changes in behavior. Most living things, including animals, plants, and bacteria, are affected by these natural processes, which are predominantly affected by light and dark. Melatonin also helps in the regulation of body temperature, blood pressure, and hormone levels.
Plasma melatonin levels are normally quite low during the day and gradually rise as bedtime approaches, often approximately 2 hours before a person's natural sleep onset time. In some areas of the brain, melatonin raised the levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA levels that are higher can have a relaxing impact and help alleviate anxiety symptoms.
Melatonin helps in the preparation of the body for sleep, thus persons who do not produce enough of it at night may have difficulty sleeping. Low melatonin levels at night can be caused by a variety of causes. Melatonin production is affected by stress, smoking, and exposure to too much light at night (especially blue light), not obtaining enough natural light during the day, shift work, and aging. Taking melatonin supplements can help restore your internal clock and counteract low levels.
Benefits of taking Melatonin
Melatonin supplements may help people sleep better by increasing melatonin levels in those who don't make enough of the hormone naturally. These supplements may also help people who make adequate melatonin but still have trouble sleeping due to other factors.
Light from computer and television screens, as well as other sources of light at night, can suppress the body's natural melatonin production and interrupt sleep. Melatonin alters the way the body reacts to darkness, allowing it to fall into a nighttime sleepiness routine.
Similarly, persons who sleep during the day because they work at night are less likely to create melatonin when it's time to sleep. Supplementing with melatonin can help to offset this impact. Melatonin has been shown in studies to help people sleep longer and fall asleep faster.
Melatonin reduced the time it took individuals to fall asleep when compared to a placebo, according to a 2013 meta-analysis study that included 1,683 study participants. It also helped them sleep for longer periods of time.
Other research has suggested that melatonin can improve sleep in people with:
- Jet Lag
- Shift Work Sleep Disorder
- Delayed Sleep Phase Disorder
- Sleep Disorders
- Low Melatonin in People
- Sleep Difficulties in Children
How to take melatonin
If you're thinking about using melatonin, you should start with a low-dose supplement. However, before adding over-the-counter melatonin to your treatment plan, consult with a healthcare professional. For example, 30 minutes before bedtime, start with 0.5mg or 1mg. Increase your dose to 3–5mg if that doesn't appear to help you fall asleep. Taking more melatonin than this is unlikely to help you sleep more quickly. The idea is to determine the smallest dose that will assist you in falling asleep.
Considerations before taking melatonin
During pregnancy, your natural melatonin levels are crucial. Melatonin levels change throughout pregnancy, in fact. Melatonin from the mother is passed on to the growing fetus, where it helps to create circadian rhythms, as well as the neurological and endocrine systems. Melatonin appears to be beneficial to the fetal nervous system as well. Melatonin's antioxidant properties are thought to protect the developing nervous system from oxidative stress damage. While it's apparent that melatonin is crucial during pregnancy, research on melatonin supplementation during pregnancy is limited. Melatonin supplements are not currently suggested for pregnant women because of this.
Melatonin in children
Melatonin's effectiveness in children and teenagers is still being researched. Melatonin is still being studied for children with neurodevelopmental problems including ASD and ADHD, and the results have been mixed. Melatonin appears to assist children with neurodevelopmental disorders sleep longer, falling asleep faster, and have improved sleep quality in general. Gummies are a common type of melatonin supplementation for youngsters. Some suggestions include 1 mg for babies, 2.5 to 3 mg for older children, and 5 mg for young people, depending on their age. Overall, more research is needed to determine the optimal dosage and efficacy of melatonin use in children and adolescents.
Melatonin in older adults
As you become older, your melatonin production drops. In elderly persons, these normal reductions may result in poor sleep. Melatonin supplementation has been shown to improve sleep initiation and duration in older persons in studies. Melatonin may also aid persons with Alzheimer's disease or mild cognitive impairment (MCI). According to a new recommendation, a maximum of 1 to 2 mg should be taken 1 hour before bedtime.
Melatonin is a sleep supplement that can help you fall asleep, especially if you have insomnia or are suffering from jet lag. It could also offer additional health benefits. If you're thinking about trying melatonin, start with a low dose of 0.5–1 mg 30 minutes before bed. If that doesn't work, try increasing the dose to 3–5 mg. To find out if melatonin for sleep supplementation is good for you and if there are any prescription interactions, speak with a healthcare practitioner first.