Many people start taking it melatonin in additionto help normalize sleep quality.
We continue to learn more and more about the importance of high quality sleep to keep our brain and body functioning at the highest level.
However, many different factors can interfere with a good night’s sleep and disrupt the natural release time of melatonin in the body.
However, recent research shows that melatonin works much more than just helping you sleep.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain.
The substance itself helps to regulate other hormones and maintain a natural circadian rhythm in the body. It is our inner “clock” that plays an important role when we wake up and go to sleep.
In a circadian rhythm called biological processes that take place in the body and recur regularly about every 24 hours. These include processes such as hormone secretion, diet, sleep and the like.
It directly affects our perception of light and darkness; in the dark the body releases more melatonin and we become drowsy when in the light - the body produces less melatonin, we are more alert and agile.
Normal melatonin production and release cycles can be disrupted by external factors. For example, stress, aging, specific medications, supplements, and even lighting at night can disrupt the sleep cycle.
Many researchers say that long-term disruption of our natural melatonin production cycle can lead to adverse effects, perhaps even cancer, and shortened life expectancy.
How does melatonin work
The state of light controls how much melatonin is produced and released. When dark, the brain gland signals that it begins to produce and secrete melatonin. When light reaches the optic nerve, the pineal gland is signaled to immediately stop the production of this natural sleep hormone.
Unfortunately, once a cycle has been interrupted, it can be difficult to start it again. This is why it can be difficult to get back to sleep when you wake up in the middle of the night and turn on the light. Melatonin production is not immediately restored even when the light disappears. This is why it is important not to use mobile before going to bed or waking up at night.
Melatonin also affects many process factors in our body.
This includes controlling the release of female reproductive hormones. This can help determine when a woman starts menstruating, the frequency and duration, and when she reaches menopause.
Researchers also believe that melatonin levels decrease as we age, and children have the highest levels of melatonin at night. Lower levels of melatonin can actually be associated with sleep disorders and may explain why sometimes we tend to go to bed later and wake up earlier as we get older.
Neuroprotective Effects of Melatonin
There are also many ways high levels of melatonin affect overall brain health. Melatonin is actually a very powerful and versatile antioxidant. It protects both lipids and proteins from damage and is also bound to free radicals, which contain hydroxyl and hydrogen peroxide (the two most dangerous and harmful free radicals present in the body).
Part of how melatonin works to protect the brain and neurons is the transition across the blood-brain barrier. Because it also easily disperses into all cells and enters the central nervous system, it makes it easy to “attach” brain neurons.
Melatonin Sleep Cycles
Melatonin supplements can be especially helpful for people with irregular work schedules, or if they don’t seem to be able to sleep naturally.
This can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, as well as increase overall sleep duration and sleep quality.
Melatonin can help those who engage in shift work or suffer from normal changes in the sleep cycle due to travel.
The hormone melatonin can promote deeper REM sleep, perhaps even promote conscious dreaming, and ensure that night-time memory consolidation processes are more effective.
Melatonin Consumption and Dosage
Generally, the dosage range for a dietary supplement is melatonin 1 mg. per day. It should also be noted that beta-blockers, aspirin, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce overall melatonin production in the body.
Concomitant use of alcohol or other sedative medications with this supplement may increase the feeling of relaxation and sedation (this is not recommended). The best way to take this supplement is at night or about 30 minutes before bedtime.