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Can Melatonin Boost Improve My Sleep?

old message Can Melatonin Boost Improve My Sleep? Darrell Miller 10/06/11


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Date: October 06, 2011 12:59 PM
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Subject: Can Melatonin Boost Improve My Sleep?

Melatonin is a naturally-produced substance in the body which is responsible for the regulation of sleep - wake cycle. It is a hormone released by the pineal gland found in the brain. Melatonin is primarily involved in the control of the body’s circadian rhythm which is the body’s internal clock. This rhythm has a significant role in providing the body signals on when to fall asleep and when to wake up. Physiologically, when the environment is dim or dark, the pineal gland produces more melatonin. On the other hand, when the light is bright, the secretion of such hormone decreases.

Exposure to bright lights during the night and being in dim environment during the day can significantly alter the body’s normal production of melatonin thereby affecting the sleep - wake cycle. Therefore, more melatonin in the body will provide a feeling of sleepiness. Studies reveal that young adults have the highest level of melatonin during the night. Intensive research also reveals that melatonin production declines as we age. This is one of the reasons why some in the old population have sleeping difficulties and can wake up earlier than they were younger.

Clinical studies reveal that melatonin effectively help those individuals who have altered circadian rhythms such as travelers crossing many time zones and people working on the night shift. This hormone is also commonly prescribed for people with low levels of melatonin like the older adults and those that are schizophrenic. Furthermore, studies show that melatonin supplements do not only treat jet lags and other alterations in circadian rhythm but also prevent its onset. Melatonin greatly improves sleep by minimizing the time to fall asleep and increase the number of undisturbed sleeping hours. Ironically, melatonin also boosts daytime wakefulness and alertness.

Aside from its involvement in the sleep – wake cycle, melatonin also helps in the regulation of other hormones such as the female reproductive hormones. It has a role in determining when will the menstrual cycle start, the frequency, the duration and when will such cycle ends. It is also involved on the onset of menopause. Melatonin also has potent antioxidant property thus protecting the body from free radical damage and delaying the onset of ageing process.

As mentioned above, melatonin is naturally produced by the body. Fortunately, in today’s modern science, it can now be supplied using supplements. It comes in the form of pills, tablets, capsules, creams or lozenges that readily dissolve in the mouth. Recommended dosage is determined by the individual’s age, weight, health status and also the sleep – wake cycle. But usually, lower doses are prescribed because higher doses might cause unwanted effects such as anxiety and irritability.

Melatonin supplementation is relatively safe. However, it is still important that you should talk to your doctor first before starting supplementation so that adverse reactions and interactions with other medications will be avoided. Several clinical studies reveal that melatonin is more effective when used for short period of time, about 5 days to a week. Continuous use for a long period of time may cause the body system to be dependent of the supplements you are taking and not anymore produce on its own.







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