WHAT IS MELATONIN? ALL SECRETS REVEALED
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Sun and light not only affects mood but also has a direct effect on our sleep quality and overall well being. Light influences the production and balance of Melatonin. Sometimes, due to intense lifestyle, working schedule and difficult living conditions, the natural production of Melatonin may be disturbed.
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin is a hormone naturally found in a human body, specifically in the pineal gland, located above the middle of the brain. During the day, a pineal gland stays dormant, but at the end of daytime, this part of the brain wakes up and releases Melatonin into the blood. The activity of pineal gland depends on daylight and darkness - dusk and dawn are indicators and promoters.
Melatonin levels rocket about two hours before bedtime and stays increased for a particular duration depending on your age: for kids - about 10 hours and more, for teenagers - 8-10 hours, adults - 7-9 hours and older people - 7-8 hours.
What does Melatonin do?
Melatonin hormone regulates the sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythms maintenance. Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN) or simply saying just a tiny area in our brain is a manager of our sleeping rhythm. It is like a mediator between nerve signals and pineal gland. The pineal gland does not identify the light by itself - the gland listens to SCN and relies on it's transferred signals. In other words, Melatonin does not identify or measure anything - this hormone is just a product, which affects our brain after a particular alert.
Nevertheless, some factors may trigger the rise of Melatonin levels even during the night. An artificial light, lack of natural sunlight during the day, stress, night shifts at work, smoking or ageing might be those factors. In such cases, you can aid yourself by taking Melatonin supplements.
Benefits of Melatonin
1. SLEEP CYCLE AND QUALITY
Despite Melatonin being a natural product of our body, a synthesized supplement aids in situations when the sleep cycle needs to be adjusted. Melatonin helps to decrease the time required to fall asleep, which results in better sleep quality. Consuming this supplement may be helpful for people struggling with the sleep-wake cycle because of working, studying or doing other activities, which prohibit sleeping. Also, it is used by people who have sleeping disorders, such as insomnia.
To prevent jet lag, adults are taking Melatonin supplements. This condition may strike while travelling across different time zones. In case to avoid such a worsening, Melatonin can be a lifebuoy which ensures the maintenance of your normal sleep cycle (read the scientific publication here).
Another sleeping problem, known as Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase disorder or in short DSWPD (sometimes DSPD), can be alleviated with Melatonin. DSWPD is a disorder when people cannot fall asleep when they actually want to. Having such an issue may be tough for those who have to wake up early regarding particular activities like work or school. This study published in 2018 claims that small intake of Melatonin before bedtime improved the condition of patients with DSWPD.
According to a study published in 2015, Melatonin may be beneficial for children suffering epilepsy and other neurodevelopmental disorders. The results showed that patients fell asleep faster than usual and had better sleep quality. However, studies seem contraventional as in some cases, Melatonin had worsened seizures.
Taking supplemental Melatonin might improve your eye health. According to this scientific publication, Melatonin alleviated so-called Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) by protecting retinas. AMD is a disease that affects a central vision and blurs the image. Hence, with Melatonin you will decrease the risk of such disease when you get older or alleviate the symptoms if you are already facing it.
4. HUMAN GROWTH HORMONE
Another feature of Melatonin is related to Human Growth Hormone or in short HGH. This research claims that Melatonin may increase levels of HGH in men due to interaction with the pituitary gland, responsible for the release of this hormone.
Some findings demonstrate the beneficial features of Melatonin regarding Tinnitus and Stomach issues (such as ulcers or heartburn). In some patients, Melatonin indeed alleviated symptoms of Tinnitus and had an impact on stomach diseases treatment.
Side effects of Melatonin
Taking Melatonin as a supplement with appropriate dosage may be safe, but you have to be aware of particular side effects that can appear. Sometimes taking Melatonin causes a headache, drowsiness during a day, nausea or dizziness, less common side effects might be irritability or anxiety, confusion, high blood pressure. In children, side effects can be similar, but in some cases, agitation or bedwetting can occur.
Before starting to take Melatonin, consult the dosage with your doctor, especially when the users will be a child. Melatonin may interact with other medications that you are using, or behave as an allergen, so bear in mind the importance of talking through it with a doctor.
You won’t find one particular opinion about appropriate Melatonin dosage, according to scientific analyses, the dosage ranges from 0,1 mg to 12 mg. For children, we recommended to do not take more than 3-6 mg a day. Nevertheless, we will repeat the same recommendation - discuss the dosage with your physician.
How to optimize Melatonin levels naturally?
There are some natural ways to regulate your Melatonin levels: