What is Melatonin and How Can It Help My Sleep?
|Melatonin, What is it, Sleep And How it Helps!||Darrell Miller||12/22/10|
December 22, 2010 03:20 PM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Melatonin, What is it, Sleep And How it Helps!
What is Melatonin?
Melatonin, or N-acetyl-5-methoxytryptamine, is a hormone secreted during the hours of darkness by the light-sensitive pineal gland located in the brain and also by bone marrow, epithelial cells and lymphocytes. Melatonin plays a role in the human circadian cycle because of the fact that it is secreted only when it is dark. It can therefore be used to treat sleeping disorders, although it also affects conditions such as fibromyalgia and depression.
Melatonin is also a powerful antioxidant, particularly protecting the DNA from free radical oxidation and studies have indicated a potential application in inhibiting the aggregation of amyloid beta protein in the brain that promotes Alzheimer's disease. It not only reduces the production of cholesterol in the gall bladder, but also increases the rate of conversion of cholesterol to bile, thus reducing the amount available for oxidation in the arteries that leads to atherosclerosis.
A melatonin supplement is also believed to be an effective treatment for migraine and helps the gall bladder to expel gallstones, rendering them less likely to become a problem.
Melatonin and Sleep
Melatonin is a hormone that is secreted mainly by the pineal gland, a small pea-sized gland in the brain that is sensitive to light in that it secretes this hormone only during the hours of darkness. For this reason, melatonin can be used to help people sleep earlier and awake earlier, by shifting the circadian cycle to an earlier time.
An interesting factor learned from the effect of light on melatonin is that it is suppressed only by blue light (460-480 nanometers) and by wearing blue filtering glasses it is possible to achieve the same effect as taking a supplement of the hormone. That is, to sleep earlier and waken earlier.
People suffering jet lag, or who have to adapt to differing shift work patterns, benefit by taking melatonin, and it has also been used in helping with benzodiazepine withdrawal and helping people to stop smoking. You must let your doctor know you are using it, and in many countries it is available only by prescription.