Melatonin Benefits – Sleep and More
When you think of melatonin, you most likely associate this natural health product with sleep or time zone travel, but it also has many other significant health benefits. Part of the brain (pineal gland) makes hormones, one of which is melatonin (melatonin is also produced in the stomach). The amount of melatonin your body produces depends on the time of the day. At night you produce up to 15
times more, which is why you feel sleepy. If your body’s natural production of melatonin decreases due to high light exposure in the evening, it does not permit your body to release the required Melatonin required for sleep. As you age your natural production decreases as well. Based on how melatonin regulates your circadian rhythm (sort of like a built-in clock that controls sleep-wake cycle), you can see its benefits for sleep. However, melatonin is also a potent antioxidant. It helps your body to produce antioxidant type enzymes (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and γ-glutamylcysteine synthase), which in turn increase antioxidants like glutathione. All of which help your body to reduce oxidative stress (free radicals). Melatonin may relieve noises in the ear (Tinnitus), in cases where melatonin levels are quite low.
Melatonin & Sleep – Your Takeaway
Melatonin may help you get to sleep quicker, sleep longer and deeper. It does not function to keep you sleeping. If you tend to wake up in the middle of the night, taking melatonin may not correct your sleeping concerns (stress-related insomnia). It can be helpful for “jet leg”, which is a fancy name for persistent interruptions to your sleep (due to time zones or shift work). This disruption could cause daytime fatigue, difficulty falling asleep, difficulty concentrating, general malaise and depression. When sourcing melatonin supplements there are many options and milligram doses, so choosing what dosage is best for you, can be a process. Sisu has a nice line of melatonin
supplements from a 10mg liquid version and 5 mg sublingual (dissolve under the tongue) version. Other brands such as Natural Factors carry sublingual tablet dosages from 1 mg to 10 mg. We suggest taking melatonin one hour before your desired bedtime, in a 1-3 mg dosage to start. If this dosage of melatonin is not enough to help you reset, consider increasing your dosage. While Melatonin has shown promise for many autoimmune disorders (IBS, Diabetes, MS), it should be avoided if you have Rheumatoid Arthritis as there is already an elevated amount of Melatonin in your blood. Melatonin should also not be used if you have liver disease or failure. If pregnant, discuss with your health care professional.
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